Henry spot on in bid to make D-backs' rotation

Lefty logs 4 scoreless frames, keeps building vs. Texas; McGough strong in relief

March 8th, 2023

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- 's appearances have gotten better each time out this spring with Wednesday’s start in the D-backs’ 2-0 win over the Rangers being his best yet.

Henry, who is locked in a battle for the No. 5 spot in Arizona’s rotation, allowed three hits and no walks to go with three strikeouts over four scoreless innings at Salt River Fields.

“I feel like I've kind of been saying it after each outing, but a little bit better than the last one,” Henry said. “And that's the whole point of it for me is to keep building to keep competing, and  try and get your feet under yourself a little bit more each time. And I think I'll be in a good spot by the end of Spring Training.”

Henry allowed five runs (four earned) in 1 1/3 innings against the Padres in his first spring start and then yielded two runs over three innings against the Mariners in his second turn.

Against the Rangers, Henry continued to use his offspeed stuff effectively, which is key for him.

“Tommy was aggressive with a three-pitch mix,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “He seemed like he could throw the breaking ball at any time to get him back in the count. He gave us four unbelievable innings.

“He's got a good head on his shoulders. He understands what he's trying to get to with each pitch and evaluates each outing and wants to get better. I think he's a very mature player that is very coachable and is very accountable.”

Henry is competing with Ryne Nelson, Drey Jameson and Brandon Pfaadt for the final rotation spot.

Another good one for McGough

Right-hander , whom the D-backs signed as a free agent out of Japan this offseason, had yet another strong appearance as he struck out three and walked one in a scoreless inning. 

“He has the ability to mix his pitches and throw them all for strikes. And the ability to understand when he needs a swing and miss moment and when he needs to bury a pitch,” Lovullo said. “He's making some adjustments here, some very good quality adjustments, but he's pounding the zone and he's following good game plans.”

McGough was a closer for the Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball the previous four seasons after appearing for the Marlins in the big leagues in 2015.

The D-backs signed the 33-year-old with the idea that he would compete to pitch in late-game situations and so far he has shown himself capable.

“I love it here,” McGough said. “The guys have taken me in really well. So that's what's made the adjustment easy for me. The coaching staff and players are awesome. I think it's a testament to this organization -- they're just open and cool, and there's no cliques and stuff. So it's all about winning and what can we do to win, so it's cool.”

B game for Bum

With right-hander getting the start against the Reds (listen live on At Bat at 6:05 p.m. MST) on Friday night at Goodyear Ballpark,  will throw in a backfield game against the Cubs.

Bumgarner’s first outing of the spring was a simulated game and he made his first Cactus League appearance on Sunday against the Guardians.

Third baseman Josh Rojas, first baseman Christian Walker and shortstop Nick Ahmed will also play in the backfield game.