SYDNEY, Australia - From an encouraging start, spring training has turned nasty and ugly for Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley.
Heralded by MLB.com as the number one pitching prospect, Bradley came into Salt River this spring amid high and grandiose expectations. Given marginal results from those in the starting rotation last season, Bradley generated high hopes to improve that lot and the need for greater, collective results.
After holding opponents scoreless over 6 innings in his first two spring appearances, Bradley suffered through a rough outing in his last start before going against Team Australia Friday night in the Sydney Cricket Ground.
If anything came from a difficult outing Friday night, it appeared Bradley is not ready for "prime time."
Lasting only two outs into the fourth inning, Bradley struggled with location but said afterward he's "not worried."
Surely, the concern appeared on the face of Diamondbacks' catcher Miguel Montero, who caught Bradley. While Bradley was constantly behind in the count, Montero issued this warning. Maybe, it was also in the form of advice.
"It's hard to pitch in the majors when you can't control your pitches," Montero said. "Look, (Bradley) has a lot of potential but he needs to learn how to pitch. He needs to figure it out."
Strange, because that's exactly the same phrase Bradley used when he tried to explain his maladies.
Against Team Australia, Bradley was knocked out in the fourth inning, allowed six hits, three runs, all earned and walked three hitters in an eventual 5-0 defeat to the host country. All of which did not sit well with the 21 year-old out of Broken Arrow, Okla.
"My arm felt good but I was not pleased with the results," he said. "Just did not have command and I don't know why. I was so successful last year and now I need to figure out what I did last year. In my last two outings, I'm not throwing the ball well."
With just over one week before the United States portion of the Diamondbacks' schedule begins, Bradley may not have the luxury of time.
In his four spring appearances, including Friday night against Team Australia, Bradley is now 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA.
If the organization is serious about keeping him on the 25 man roster, Bradley likely has one more start. That would be in one of the four pre-season games next week.
Then again, manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers may pull the trigger and assign Bradley to Triple A Reno with instructions to gain better command of his pitches.
"(Bradley) got behind in the count and (Team Australia) took advantage," Gibson said. "Look, they swung the bats good but, going forward, (Bradley) needs to learn some things."
Gibson then went to identify Bradley's learning curve as still rising.
"We threw a lot at him and he's good kid," Gibson added. "He'll get back on track."
At this point, Bradley's level of concern is appears genuine.
"I'm really not worried about it but just have to figure it out," he said. "I've never had this kind of problem before."
On Friday, the Diamondbacks placed outfielder Cody Ross and pitcher Matt Reynolds on the disabled list.
At the same time, the Toronto Blue Jays claimed outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo off the waiver wire from Arizona.
Before a sell-out crowd of more than 40,000, the regular season opens Saturday night at historic Sydney Cricket Ground.
Historic because of the two original grandstands which remain, the Members Pavilion was constructed in 1886. The other, the Ladies Pavilion, dates to the early 1890s.
Lefty Wade Miley (10-10, 3.55 ERA last season) takes on two-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA).
Miley faced the Dodgers twice last season. He defeated L. A. in Dodger Stadium 3-2 on May 8 and lost 5-4 on June 10, also in Dodger Stadium.
Game time is 7 p.m. local time and 1 a.m. Saturday in Phoenix. FOX Sports Arizona will carry the game live as well as game two of this series on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. local time, 7 p.m. Saturday in the Valley).