Game features Soria, Kelly ... and geese

March 8th, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Joakim Soria made his D-backs debut Sunday working a scoreless inning in the D-backs' 5-4 win over the Cubs at Salt River Fields.

Soria, who was signed by the D-backs at the beginning of February, allowed a leadoff walk to Nico Hoerner before getting Nick Martini to fly out and Rafael Ortega to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Soria is the D-backs' likely Opening Day closer, though manager Torey Lovullo has said he is competing with Stefan Crichton for the role.

Entering his 14th big league season, Soria has a good idea of what he needs to do to get ready for the season. Anywhere from six to 10 innings should do the trick, he said.

"I feel like I don’t need many at this point in my career," Soria said. "I just want to be ready. We’re going to go with every outing -- it depends on how I feel, how do I feel with my command, we will progress and do more or less."

Long ball bites Merrill
In his second outing of the spring, gave up three runs over three innings with all the runs coming via the home run.

Willson Contreras hit a solo homer in the first and Anthony Rizzo tagged Kelly for a two-run shot in the third.

Kelly felt like he missed his spot on Rizzo's homer, but he felt good about the pitch to Contreras, just not the result.

"Not the best, wasn't as sharp as I'd like to be," Kelly said of his outing. "It kind of felt like I needed to force the ball to the plate a little bit more than usual. I didn't feel like I had the same amount of life on the ball today. Just kind of one of those days. It's a little off."

Wild geese
It started with a goose and turned into geese.

A goose flew into Salt River Fields during the game and was joined not long after by another one as they set up camp in deep center.

Both center fielders -- the Cubs' Rafael Ortega and Arizona's Ketel Marte -- kept looking behind after each pitch to make sure the geese kept their distance.

"It kind of startled me," Lovullo said. "I saw them swooping down right in back of Ketel. The geese that I see aren't necessarily flying and I didn't know their wingspan was that big, so definitely caught my attention. It's not something you necessarily see very often. But glad none of them landed on Ketel. I don't know what their plan was, but it's an interesting layer to this game. You know, there's craziness that surrounds every baseball game. Just add this to the list of interesting things."

D-backs Madness
In lieu of their usual FanFest, the D-backs will be holding D-backs Madness presented by Chevrolet on March 20-21, an online and on-air virtual and social event.

Many of the top D-backs players, coaches and executives will take part in live and recorded events on the team’s social media channels, broadcasts on FOX Sports Arizona and 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and on site at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

“In years past, we have been able to hold a FanFest, where our players and staff could interact with our fans, and this year that is not possible in the same way,” said D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall. “Instead, we have created a series of online and on-air interactions and content for fans to enjoy as we gear up for Opening Day at Chase Field.”

Up next
The D-backs will make the short trip to Scottsdale Stadium on Monday to take on the Giants at 1:05 p.m. MST.

will make his second start of the spring for Arizona with Alex Young, Yoan López, Sam Moll and Miguel Aguilar also slated to throw.

Logan Webb will start for the Giants, and three former D-backs are scheduled to follow: James Sherfy, Silvino Bracho and Anthony Banda.