Henry returns to mound as rotation bid begins

February 24th, 2024

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It wasn't until he was warming up in the bullpen, down the left field line, to start Friday afternoon's game against the Rockies at Salt River Fields that it hit .

"I realized it would be the first time [pitching] in a stadium setting since August," Henry said.

The D-backs left-hander was placed on the injured list on July 30 with inflammation in his left elbow and did not appear in a game the rest of the season. Henry did make significant progress in rehabbing the injury, so much so that the D-backs considered adding him to the roster for the World Series.

Instead, he had to wait until the first Cactus League game of this spring to make his return.

It was a good one, too, as he allowed just one hit and struck out three over two scoreless innings.

Henry showed good command of all his pitches and, more importantly, was pleased that some of the small mechanical tweaks he made in his delivery during the offseason took hold.

Without getting too into the details, Henry focused on his hips and making his front side more sturdy. That allowed his release point to come out more consistently, and the positioning of it puts more stress on the bigger muscles in the shoulder than strain on the elbow.

"I think you know, for most of us, when you work hard all offseason and try and make changes and improvements, I think everyone's eager to get out there and [use it in] more of a game-like setting," Henry said.

Henry is competing with Ryne Nelson, Slade Cecconi, Bryce Jarvis and others for the final open rotation spot.

To get those guys comfortable from the beginning, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo is trying to give them each a start rather than have their first spring appearance be out of the bullpen.

With that in mind, Nelson will start on Saturday and Cecconi on Sunday.

Rodriguez throws on backfield

The D-backs initially planned on having Eduardo Rodriguez start Friday's Cactus League opener, but the left-hander threw a live batting practice session against Arizona hitters on a backfield instead.

"The reason why we decided to push Eduardo to the backfield was partly his idea. He wanted a little bit more of a controlled environment," Lovullo said. "He felt good enough and might have wanted [to throw] more pitches."

Broadcast team announced

One day after announcing a broadcast deal with Major League Baseball, the D-backs unveiled their broadcast teams for television and radio.

Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly will return to their roles as the primary play-by-play analysts, with Luis Gonzalez and Tom Candiotti featured as analysts on select games throughout the season.

The pregame and postgame shows will feature Jody Jackson, Todd Walsh, Mark Grace and Brandon Webb.

On the radio side, Chris Garagiola takes over for Greg Schulte, who retired following last season. Candiotti will be the primary analyst, with Josh Collmenter and Tuffy Gosewisch also serving as analysts throughout the season.

This year, Steve Zinsmeister joins the radio team as the pregame and postgame host.

The D-backs Spanish radio team returns Oscar Soria and Rodrigo Lopez, along with Richard Saenz, for their 11th season together and can be heard across the valley on Latino Mix 100.3 FM.

Up next

The D-backs play the Rockies for the second straight game Saturday, only this time, they will be the designated home team. Nelson, who is battling for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, will start for the D-backs.

Outfielder Corbin Carroll is expected to start the game in right field with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in left and Alek Thomas in center.