What will affect D-backs' Deadline approach?

After disappointing '16, club eyes rebound with strong core

What will affect D-backs' Deadline approach?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After taking over as D-backs general manager last October, Mike Hazen and his baseball operations staff took a long look at the organization and decided that the team's core deserved another shot at competing for the postseason rather than initiate a full-on rebuilding.

How the D-backs perform in the first few months of the 2017 season will likely determine whether they continue along that course or change directions.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs opt to release injured outfielder Blanco

D-backs opt to release injured outfielder Blanco

The D-backs released outfielder Gregor Blanco, the club announced on Monday night. The move leaves the total players in Arizona's camp at 32.

Blanco, 33, signed a Minor League deal in January. Blanco batted .225/.295/.400 (9-for-40) through 14 Cactus League contests, but he hadn't appeared in a spring game since March 21 due to an oblique injury.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miller struggles with efficiency; rally falls short

Miller struggles with efficiency; rally falls short

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Angels broke open a one-run game with a three-run rally in the fifth that sparked their 4-2 win over the D-backs, but it was a commanding performance from Angels starter Jesse Chavez that ruled the day.

Chavez was masterful, getting through six full innings on just 73 pitches (43 strikes). He blanked the D-backs on three hits, walking none and striking out three, providing extra justification for being named the Angels' fifth starter.

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the D-backs on Monday.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Conger, R. De La Rosa among 4 D-backs cuts

Negron, Fuentes also reassigned to Minor League camp

Conger, R. De La Rosa among 4 D-backs cuts

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- And then there were eight. The D-backs made four roster moves Monday, leaving 33 players in the Major League camp and leaving eight more players to trim before Opening Day.

Catcher Hank Conger, right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, outfielder Reymond Fuentes and infielder Kristopher Negron were all reassigned to Minor League camp.

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the D-backs on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peralta's second spring homer leads offense

Peralta's second spring homer leads offense

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley launched his first home run of the spring, helping power a five-run first inning in the Indians' 6-5 Cactus League victory over the D-backs on Sunday at Salt River Fields.

Brantley, who is trying to be ready for Opening Day after 18 months of dealing with right shoulder and biceps issues, belted a pitch from Arizona lefty Robbie Ray to deep right field for a two-run homer. Chris Colabello later followed with a three-run blast, helping provide early support for a solid outing from starter Trevor Bauer.

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Ray finishes work in bullpen after ejection

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Ray finishes work in bullpen after ejection

In the regular season, getting ejected from the ballgame means you're done. Gather up your things, go back to the clubhouse, generally just leave the playing field for some other location. 

Since Spring Training games possess their own rules, then, the script can tend to veer away from what is "the norm" during the regular season. In Sunday's game between the Indians and D-backs, Arizona lefty Robbie Ray experienced that firsthand after being ejected by home-plate umpire Bill Miller in the fifth inning after taking issue with a called strike.

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Trio of D-backs still competing at shortstop

Trio of D-backs still competing at shortstop

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The battle to see who will be the D-backs' Opening Day shortstop is still ongoing, manager Torey Lovullo said Sunday.

Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte are in the running, though it likely will come down to Owings and Ahmed.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bill Belichick, sans short-sleeve hoodie, visits La Russa and Pollock in camp

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Bill Belichick, sans short-sleeve hoodie, visits La Russa and Pollock in camp

Two legends got together at D-backs Spring Training on Sunday afternoon at Salt River Fields. There was just one baseball icon, though. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was visiting an old friend, Tony La Russa, the D-backs' chief baseball analyst and adviser.

Since Belichick was attending the NFL meetings in Phoenix, it was an opportune time for him to say hello to La Russa, who gave him a tour of the D-backs' complex. The five-time Super Bowl champion coach also greeted All-Star outfielder A.J. Pollock, a Connecticut native and Patriots fan who was thrilled to meet him.

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D-backs cut 2, enter final phase of roster moves

D-backs cut 2, enter final phase of roster moves

TEMPE, Ariz. -- With another pair of roster moves Saturday morning, the D-backs are getting closer to having their pitching staff set for Opening Day.

Right-hander Zack Godley was optioned to Triple-A Reno while fellow righty Kevin Jepsen was released.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ahmed, Herum provide lone offense vs. Angels

Ahmed, Herum provide lone offense vs. Angels

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols and Carlos Perez both crushed two-run home runs to power the Angels to a 7-4 win over the D-backs on Saturday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Pujols, who is coming off foot surgery, opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with his second homer of the spring, a shot to left-center off D-backs starter Taijuan Walker. Andrelton Simmons followed later in the inning with a two-run single to give the Angels an early 4-0 lead.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tomas nearing return from strained oblique

Tomas nearing return from strained oblique

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Left fielder Yasmany Tomas, who is coming back from a strained right oblique muscle, was scheduled to receive at least four at-bats in a Minor League game Saturday, his first game action since March 5.

"The thought is that he plays [in a Cactus League game] within the next couple of days if he has a good day today," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said before Saturday's Major League game, a 7-4 loss to the Angels.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lovullo announces D-backs' starting rotation

Bradley will begin regular season coming out of bullpen

Lovullo announces D-backs' starting rotation

PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin will comprise the D-backs' starting rotation, with Archie Bradley shifting to the bullpen to open the season.

Beyond Greinke starting on Opening Day, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said he was not ready to announce what order the starters will pitch in.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Remember when Randy Johnson hit a bird with a pitch?

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Remember when Randy Johnson hit a bird with a pitch?

Randy Johnson accomplished a lot over his 22-year Major League career. He won 303 games. He struck out a still-mind-boggling 4,875 batters, second only to Nolan Ryan on the all-time list. Just two years ago, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

And, on March 24, 2001, he accidentally exploded a bird.

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Goldschmidt praises WBC 2017 experience

D-backs slugger says he will be ready for Opening Day

Goldschmidt praises WBC 2017 experience

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In some ways, it didn't take first baseman Paul Goldschmidt long to get back into the swing of things when he returned to D-backs camp on Friday after helping Team USA to its first World Baseball Classic championship, but it did take him a while to get into his locker thanks to teammate David Peralta.

While he was with Team USA, Goldschmidt did an interview with MLB Network's Intentional Talk and playfully took some shots at Peralta's social media presence. Peralta responded by using athletic tape to seal Goldschmidt's locker. He added a life-sized cloth photo of Goldschmidt over the top of the tape and then plastered it with pictures of himself.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Goldy returns to lineup; Fuentes has 3 hits

Goldy returns to lineup; Fuentes has 3 hits

PHOENIX -- Four Dodgers hitters, including second baseman Logan Forsythe, had two RBIs, while Los Angeles handled nine Arizona pitchers in an 13-6 win, despite three hits from D-backs left fielder Reymond Fuentes.

Arizona chased Dodgers starter Trevor Oaks in the fourth inning, tying the game at 4 through a solo home run by Fuentes and RBI singles from Nick Ahmed and Sergio Alcantara. The Dodgers responded with three in the bottom of the fourth, highlighted by a Justin Turner double. Andrew Chafin made his ninth Cactus League appearance, his first start, while Patrick Corbin was pitching in a Minor League game.

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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

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

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs reassign four to Minor League camp

Rule 5 pick right-hander Jones returned to Yankees

D-backs reassign four to Minor League camp

PHOENIX -- The D-backs made five roster moves Friday, reassigning outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, right-hander Erik Davis, left-hander Brian Matusz and catcher Josh Thole to Minor League camp. In addition, right-hander Tyler Jones, a Rule 5 pick, was returned to the Yankees.

With the moves, the D-backs continue to thin the ranks of their relievers as they try to settle on a bullpen, though they still have a ways to go.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lamb, Arcia homer against Cubs

Lamb, Arcia homer against Cubs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Arrieta's 465-foot homer off Zack Greinke may have stolen the show, but the pair of pitchers also put on a pretty good display on the mound in a game that ended in a 5-5 tie in front of a record crowd of 14,002 at Salt River Fields.

The D-backs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Brandon Drury singled with two outs and Jake Lamb followed with a home run to left-center.

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

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Photos: Back to Spring Training for Team USA

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Photos: Back to Spring Training for Team USA

Team USA topped Puerto Rico for its first World Baseball Classic title on Wednesday night, but the players didn't get a lot of time to soak it in -- less than 48 hours later, they were back at Spring Training, with the Major League season just over a week away.

Still, "WBC '17 champion" is a pretty cool title to bring back to the clubhouse.

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MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Shelby looking sharp for Year 2 in Arizona

Miller's fastball, mindset refreshed during Triple-A outing

Shelby looking sharp for Year 2 in Arizona

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was a Triple-A game -- the kind of game Shelby Miller surprisingly wound up pitching in eight times last season. This time, on a cloudy Wednesday in Arizona, it was not demotion to the farm but devotion to the schedule that prompted Miller's appearance here, at the Minor League complex of the rival Giants, facing a squad of unproven players. Miller took his turn on the D-backs' off-day to keep the rotation in order.

The results, then, matter even less than your average exhibition. Still, they give us a window into Miller's status. This was 4 2/3 innings in which Miller was ambushed a bit early before settling in and finding his rhythm. He gave up two runs on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts but, more important, his four-seamer was sitting at 93-96 mph, touching 97.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bradley improving, awaiting Opening Day fate

Bradley improving, awaiting Opening Day fate

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- This is familiar territory for Archie Bradley -- just under two weeks to go until Opening Day and the D-backs right-hander is uncertain of where he will be when it comes.

Manager Torey Lovullo has not named his starting rotation yet, but it seems that of the six candidates, Bradley is on the outside looking in on Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrmann's home run backs Ray's solid start

Herrmann's home run backs Ray's solid start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray turned in another impressive outing in a 4-2 win over the Royals on Tuesday in front of 10,131 fans at Salt River Fields.

Ray allowed a pair of runs over five innings while striking out six and walking one. Both of the runs came on homers.

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

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Hall: D-backs have found right blend in front office

Hall: D-backs have found right blend in front office

The D-backs made it look easy -- at first. Then reality set in.

Born out of expansion in 1998, the D-backs made postseason appearances in three of their first five years of existence, and claimed a World Series championship in only their fourth year -- quicker than any expansion team in history.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pollock returns to game action at Minors camp

Outfielder could play for D-backs on Thursday

Pollock returns to game action at Minors camp

MESA, Ariz. -- D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock played in a Minor League game Monday, his first game action since experiencing left groin tightness on March 12.

Pollock went 1-for-3, but he did not run the bases during the game. However, he ran them before the game.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs menu additions include the Churro Dog 2.0

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D-backs menu additions include the Churro Dog 2.0

Recently, the D-backs have established themselves as leaders in the ballpark food revolution. Two years ago it was the Churro Dog, a churro inside a chocolate-glazed donut topped with frozen yogurt. Last year, it was an entire cart of grilled cheese options.

Thankfully, the team hasn't decided to rest on its delicious laurels this season -- Arizona announced some new additions to its menu over the weekend, and if you don't mind, we'll be over here booking our trip to Chase Field. 

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Owings, Cron lead D-backs' offense against A's

Owings, Cron lead D-backs' offense against A's

MESA, Ariz. -- Chris Owings collected two hits, including a triple, and Jeremy Hazelbaker hit a go-ahead, two-run single to lead the D-backs to a 10-6 victory over the A's at Hohokam Stadium on Monday night.

Kevin Cron hit a two-run homer in the seventh, then added an RBI single during the D-backs' five-run, eighth-inning rally. Sergio Alcantara padded the lead with a two-run single in the ninth.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs option Shipley, Koch to Triple-A

Pridie, Sampson reassigned to Minor League camp

D-backs option Shipley, Koch to Triple-A

MESA, Ariz. -- The D-backs made four roster moves Monday, optioning right-handers Matt Koch and Braden Shipley to Triple-A Reno and reassigning infielder/outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Keyvius Sampson to Minor League camp.

Shipley opened camp as a long shot to make the rotation, while a hamstring injury set Koch back in his bid to make the Opening Day staff.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wilhelmsen motivated to earn D-backs bullpen spot

Non-roster invitee has pitched well for his hometown team

Wilhelmsen motivated to earn D-backs bullpen spot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tom Wilhelmsen set a fire under himself eight years ago, when he decided to end a six-year hiatus and get back into baseball. Another fire was set this offseason, and the big right-hander is responding similarly.

Wilhelmsen gave up the game in 2005 to hike national parks, backpack through Europe and bartend at a college bar, The Hut, in his hometown of Tucson. When he decided he wanted more -- plus a better opportunity to provide for a family he soon hoped to start -- Wilhelmsen found his way back to baseball in 2010 and was in the Major Leagues a year later.

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Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.