ANAHEIM -- D-backs reliever Archie Bradley has thrown few curveballs this year because he has regularly suffered a crack in the nail of his right forefinger.
"Since before spring started, I've been dealing with a cracked nail that I've been having to get a fake nail on the whole season," Bradley said. "I would say this is like my 55th nail. The last road trip I had it replaced four out of six days."
Bradley's usage of the curve is down this month to 13 percent. He used it a season-high 18 percent of the time in May.
Those totals are a far cry from last year, when he threw it 20 percent or more in five of the season's six months.
Bradley puts a great deal of stress on the forefinger nail because his curve is a "spike curve," in which the nail of the forefinger is dug into the seams of the baseball.
"It's been a challenge," Bradley said. "I've had to get creative and had to throw some pitches where I would have rather thrown curveballs maybe, but I can't at the time."
It hasn't seemed to impact his performance, however, as he has a 2.27 ERA in 36 games in relief this year.
Bradley is a regular at Desert Nail and Spa in Arizona, where he gets his nail worked on.
"I've gotten really deep into the nail world," Bradley said. "I feel like I've got a lot of knowledge and it's just something at least probably for this year I'm going to have to continue to grind with. It is what it is, and hopefully I'm on a program now where I know what I need to do for the nail to stick together."
Bradley has gone recently with a thicker replacement nail because he's found that they last longer. Even that is a challenge, though.
"Even every new nail, it's a new feel, because it's a little thicker or a little less thick and it's trying to find the right place to put it," Bradley said. "It's been a grind."
During some outings, it doesn't impact Bradley at all, whereas others he will not throw a curve or limit the number he does throw.
"There's been times where I've got it fixed, and like in San Fran, the first curveball I threw, my nail broke and I knew based on the break that I could probably throw two to five curveballs in the game before it gets to the point where it messes up my nail bad," Bradley said. "You've still got to get batters out."