SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With Opening Day approaching, the D-backs made their second set of moves in three days Tuesday, highlighted by their decision to option Jimmie Sherfy, their No. 15 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, to Triple-A Reno.The D-backs also reassigned veteran right-hander Neftali Feliz and catcher Anthony Recker to
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With Opening Day approaching, the D-backs made their second set of moves in three days Tuesday, highlighted by their decision to option Jimmie Sherfy, their No. 15 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, to Triple-A Reno.
The D-backs also reassigned veteran right-hander Neftali Feliz and catcher Anthony Recker to Minor League camp and released veteran left-hander Antonio Bastardo. Feliz and Bastardo faced stiff competition for bullpen roles, while Recker, who was signed to a Minor League contract in early March, faced long odds of making the club with Alex Avila, Jeff Mathis and Chris Herrmann projected as the trio of big league catchers on the D-backs roster.
"We still have some key decisions in that bullpen, and we know they're probably going to be the most difficult decisions," manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday. "We like a lot of candidates, but unfortunately you can't carry 10 guys in the bullpen."
In addition to Sherfy, Arizona optioned outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker and first baseman Christian Walker to Triple-A. Hazelbaker was a long shot to make the club following the signings of Steven Souza Jr. and Jarrod Dyson in February, locking up the four outfield spots. There wasn't room for Walker either, with Daniel Descalso and Chris Owings serving as utility players and Herrmann preparing to back up Paul Goldschmidt at first.
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Sherfy, who made his big league debut last August and didn't allow a run in 11 appearances, had been a strong candidate to earn a bullpen spot on the D-backs' Opening Day roster.
"We know he's a big league pitcher," Lovullo said. "He was on our playoff roster. We're excited about what his potential is."
The 26-year-old right-hander was slowed by shoulder fatigue early in camp, but pitched in his first Cactus League game Sunday. He threw one inning, allowing a homer, with two strikeouts.
"I feel locked in," Sherfy said, remaining upbeat after getting the news Tuesday. "I was working on my slider, trying to get the shape of it a little better to speed up, and I threw a couple last outing that I was very pleased about. Got a couple swings and misses on my changeup, was working on that too, so that was real good. The fastball glove-side was leaking over the plate a little bit, so a little more fine-tuning and that'll be right there."
Sherfy had an uphill climb and was competing against the calendar once his shoulder fatigue put him on a delayed schedule.
"He was a little banged up and took his time because he needed to take his time," Lovullo said. "We felt like player development was going to give him that opportunity to get in a rhythm and get the ball every other day and get on the roll that we want him to get on."
Archie Bradley, Brad Boxberger and Yoshihisa Hirano have spots in the back of the bullpen locked up, with left-handers Andrew Chafin and T.J. McFarland also on track, though Jorge De La Rosa remains in competition for a second or third lefty in the 'pen. The remaining two spots feature Matt Koch, Albert Suarez, Michael Blazek and Kris Medlen competing for the long-reliever role and Noel Salas emerging as the front-runner for the final spot, with Randall Delgado expected to start the season on the disabled list.
There is little doubt Sherfy will be back at some point during the season, and he feels as ready as he has ever been, saying he gained 12 pounds during Spring Training.
"I feel the best I have coming out of any spring right now," Sherfy said. "I really don't know when I'm going to be back. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and try to get better every single day."
The 29-year-old Feliz and 34-year-old Recker were in camp as non-roster invitees. The 32-year-old Bastardo had signed a free-agent deal with the D-backs in January.
The D-backs now have 35 players remaining in Major League camp.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.