Greinke to address early-inning struggles

April 11th, 2019

PHOENIX -- In the first two innings of his three starts this year, D-backs right-hander has allowed nine of the 14 runs he’s allowed.

Greinke allowed two runs in the first and another two in the second inning of his Tuesday start against the Rangers.

“I don’t know,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said when asked for a theory why the first two innings have been an issue for his ace. “But I had a nice conversation with Zack on that very topic. He acknowledged that it’s been happening and he has vowed to improve. And that’s one of the beauties of Zack working through his limitations. He confronts them, he’s aware of them and I feel like it’s something that won’t linger beyond this next start because he’s going to work hard to get through those first couple of innings in typical Zack fashion.”

Outside of his Opening Day start against the Dodgers, who got him for seven runs over 3 2/3 innings, Greinke has allowed just one run outside of the first couple of innings.

In other words, once Greinke gets on a roll within a game, he looks like vintage Zack Greinke, hitting the corners with pinpoint control.

“He can repeat it so well,” catcher John Ryan Murphy said of Greinke hitting his spots. “And when he needs to make a pitch, he’s going to make the pitch. Last night in his last inning he ended up striking out [Rougned] Odor. He threw two changeups that were probably the worst two that he threw all night. Just kind of not strikes out of his hand. Then we got to 3-2 and he had to make a pitch, and he threw probably the best changeup all night. That just shows you. He’s done it a long time and there’s a reason he is who he is and he’s done what he’s done.”

Roster move

The D-backs recalled catcher from Triple-A Reno on Wednesday to replace right-hander Jon Duplantier -- the club's top pitching prospect was optioned to Reno following Tuesday night’s game.

The D-backs want Duplantier to continue to develop as a starter, and he was not getting regular work as a long man in the bullpen at the big league level.

The move returned the D-backs to their preferred roster mix of 13 position players and 12 pitchers. It also once again gave them three catchers on the roster, which is something else they like given the way they rotate them.

Joseph was signed by the D-backs after Spring Training started and had a nice spring, particularly on the defensive end.

“Glad that he’s back,” Lovullo said. “He’s going to catch. He’s here to help us win some baseball games.”

The D-backs had been down to two catchers after veteran Alex Avila was placed on the 10-day injured list on Sunday due to a strained left quadriceps muscle. He is not expected to be out long.

Lovullo said it’s possible that Duplantier could come up again as a reliever this year depending on how he was pitching and what the club’s needs were. For now, though, Duplantier will join the Reno rotation and start every fifth day.

Good day for T.J.

Reliever T.J. McFarland pitched an inning in an extended spring game Wednesday throwing nine pitches and striking out two.

McFarland was so efficient with his pitches that he had to go down to the bullpen to throw extra pitches to get to 20.