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Notes: Ray faces students; Leake throws

@SteveGilbertMLB
February 29, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray accomplished a couple of things Saturday morning when he faced a Japanese college team in a back-field game. First, he got his work in, tossing 44 pitches over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Second, he avoided having to face a National League West team

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray accomplished a couple of things Saturday morning when he faced a Japanese college team in a back-field game.

First, he got his work in, tossing 44 pitches over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Second, he avoided having to face a National League West team that he will likely see multiple times in 2020.

While Ray threw back at Salt River Fields, the rest of the D-backs faced off against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch, where they fell, 7-4.

With the D-backs scheduled to face the Dodgers 19 times during the regular season, they didn’t want to give Los Angeles an extra look at one of their top starters.

“It just makes sense,” Ray said. “I could face them five, six times this year. As little information as they can have is better.”

Ray allowed three hits and struck out six while not walking a batter against Keio University. Ray’s previous start of the spring was last Sunday against the A’s.

“Felt good,” Ray said. “My pitches are getting better; my command was better. These guys have unbelievable bat-to-ball skills. That last batter I faced, I think that was a curveball that was going to land before the plate and he just kind of stuck his bat out and blooped it in. Overall, I felt healthy, felt good.”

Leake throws
Injured starter Mike Leake threw an extended bullpen session Saturday morning.

Leake, who aggravated a fracture in his left (non-throwing) wrist just before camp, simulated three innings. Because he is not able to catch return throws yet, head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw caught the throws back from the catcher for him.

“He did a good job of it,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Leake simulating inning breaks. “I think he waited 10 minutes and then seven minutes and threw the ball good. He was hitting spots and just trying to make sure that his arm was moving the right way. I just asked him how it went afterward, and he said he felt good.”

More than one Marte in center
Lovullo said that Ketel Marte will get some reps in center field over the coming weeks, so he can be sharp if needed out there during the regular season.

The acquisition of center fielder Starling Marte from the Pirates this offseason allows the D-backs to play Ketel Marte, who split time between second and center last year, primarily at second base.

When Starling Marte is off, though, there may be days when Ketel Marte could get the start in center.

Noteworthy
• Right-hander Taylor Clarke allowed six runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.

“He threw some fastballs and pitches out over the plate,” Lovullo said. “This team, obviously, with those guys, they’re going to hurt you.”

• Non-roster outfielder Trayce Thompson hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and drew praise from Lovullo for implementing a recent mechanical adjustment at the plate.

Up next
Right-hander Zac Gallen, looking to claim the final spot in the D-backs’ rotation, will make his second spring appearance at 1:05 p.m. MT on Sunday, when he starts against the Indians at Goodyear.

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