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D-backs to sort out closer role in spring

February 13, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It appears there will be a closer's competition in the Arizona Diamondbacks camp this spring.After watching his pitchers and catchers go through their first workout Wednesday, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said it was too early to say whether Archie Bradley, Greg Holland or Yoshihisa Hirano would be

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It appears there will be a closer's competition in the Arizona Diamondbacks camp this spring.
After watching his pitchers and catchers go through their first workout Wednesday, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said it was too early to say whether Archie Bradley, Greg Holland or Yoshihisa Hirano would be his closer come Opening Day.
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Bradley and Hirano had some experience in the role last year after Brad Boxberger struggled, while the veteran Holland, who was signed as a free agent late last month, has an extensive history of closing with 189 career saves.
"I do like the spirit of competition," Lovullo said. "I do like guys being able to stand on the mound and execute and get the job done when there's a lot of stimulus. I feel like these guys are going to step up and tell us what the best situation is to use them [in the regular season] as we're watching this unfold throughout the course of the spring."
Bradley says he is unconcerned about what inning he ends up pitching in.
"I just want to win," Bradley said. "I don't care if it's the ninth inning, I don't care if it's the sixth inning, I don't care if it's starting a game. As you can see, we signed Greg Holland, we have Yoshi back, [Yoan Lopez], I mean, the bullpen, I think we're looking really well and wherever I slot in in that mix I just want it to be the best spot for me."
Speaking of Bradley
Prior to Spring Training last year, Bradley accidently had slammed his right forefinger in a car door, splitting the nail on that finger.
It was an issue that dogged Bradley throughout most of the year as the nail kept re-cracking. The crack prevented him from throwing his curveball and made him reliant on just his fastball.
This spring, he said the nail is good as new.
"Nail is healthy, no crack, been able to throw it all offseason," Bradley said. "You can hear in my tone of voice I'm really excited to get out there and throw some good curveballs this year. Honestly, I feel like a new pitcher coming into camp this year. Having that pitch, throwing it the way I'm throwing it with the command and intent I'm throwing it with, I'm really excited."
Bradley is also working again on adding a third pitch with a changeup being the focus on his efforts right now.
Center field
With the departure of A.J. Pollock and Jon Jay to free agency, the D-backs were left without a lot of options in center outside of Jarrod Dyson and Sócrates Brito, both left-handed hitters.
To fill that void, the D-backs signed free agent Wilmer Flores to play second and plan to put second baseman Ketel Marte in center, where he has very limited experience.
Lovullo said he will go slowly with Marte in center this spring, preferring that he initially get comfortable in the infield before transitioning him to center.
Sign here
The D-backs signed free-agent catcher Caleb Joseph to a one-year contract Wednesday.

The 32-year-old will compete for playing time with Alex Avila, Carson Kelly and John Ryan Murphy, but he also has a Minor League option, so he could help give the team some depth at the upper levels.
Joseph is a well-regarded defensive catcher, which is a point of emphasis with the D-backs. Since general manager Mike Hazen took over prior to the 2017 season, the club has made it a practice to carry three catchers during the season and plans on doing so again this year.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.