GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Despite being a veteran, reliever Jumbo Diaz is not a lock to make the Reds' bullpen out of Spring Training. His last outing before his planned departure for the World Baseball Classic did not have him leaving camp on a positive note.In Friday's 8-4 Reds win over
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Despite being a veteran, reliever Jumbo Diaz is not a lock to make the Reds' bullpen out of Spring Training. His last outing before his planned departure for the World Baseball Classic did not have him leaving camp on a positive note.
In Friday's 8-4 Reds win over the Cubs, Diaz gave up all four earned runs on two home runs after his team carried a combined no-hitter through seven innings. Over three appearances, the 33-year-old right-hander has a 9.00 ERA with eight runs (six earned) and eight hits over three innings; opposing hitters are batting .412.
"I know I am fighting for a spot here," Diaz said on Saturday. "So far in my outings, I'm not doing so well. But I think I'm throwing hard and can get on track and be ready for the season. I feel good right now. I think I will do everything I can [to get] ready for my outings every time I go to the mound."
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Diaz is leaving for Miami on Sunday to join the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic.
"When I get an opportunity, I will try to do the same as I do over here, working on my pitches, trying to get ahead of the hitter," he said. "I've been working in the bullpen, working on my mechanics and trying to get better every day."
Diaz had three stints with the Reds last season and posted a 3.14 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 45 appearances. He retired 30 of the 45 first batters he faced and allowed six of his 19 inherited runners to score. It took the third visit to the big leagues before he seemed to get straightened out.
Manager Bryan Price is less concerned about Diaz's early performances and more on whether his reliever will be used enough while pitching for his country.
"My only concern is [that] he gets regular work in the Classic, and if they're playing for a long time that he's being used on a regular basis," Price said. "When Jumbo comes back, I want him to be sharp from having faced hitters. I want his arm in shape from facing hitters and pitching innings. That will only benefit him as we come down the stretch here as far as finalizing our bullpen."
• Pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who missed several days with a stomach virus, threw a side session on Saturday morning. Arroyo, a non-roster invitee trying to make a comeback, could get into his first Cactus League game early next week, Price said.
• Fellow hurler Anthony DeSclafani, who resumed throwing on Thursday after missing a few days with tenderness in his right elbow, could throw a bullpen session next week, but a target date for his first game has not been established.
• The first camp cut came when right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez was re-assigned to Minor League camp. Gutierrez, 21, was signed last summer after defecting from Cuba and has been catching up after not pitching much the last two seasons.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.