At the mid-point of spring training, no surprises are revealed from the Diamondbacks camp at Salt River.
While a fifth starter is to be determined, the health of outfielder Cody Ross and playing time among Willie Bloomquist and Cliff Pennington at shortstop also need resolution.
Manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers tend to keep low, emotional profiles. Asking if decisions are any closer to resolution, Gibson would not commit.
Before Wednesday’s night game with Milwaukee at Salt River, Gibson was asked if he was in a position to expedient any personnel decisions. Though he indicated cuts are coming, he would not commit in this area, as well.
While the Diamondbacks still have three players still playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, the absence of pitchers Heath Bell and David Hernandez along with Bloomquist will not accelerate or hasten Gibson’s thought process.
A principal decision still centers around the fifth starter behind Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy.
While the usual suspects remains Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs and Randal Delgado, Scottsdale native Charles Brewer was quietly making a case. His major league run, for the time being was put on hold because, after Wednesday night's game against Milwaukee, Brewer was optioned to AAA Reno.
Yet, conventional wisdom centers around Skaggs, Corbin and Delgado.
After a strong effort Wednesday night, Delgado turned heads and remains center stage in this potential three-way battle.
After a shaking first three starts, in which his ERA soared to 9.64, Delgado settled in Wednesday night against the Brewers to have his best outing. Despite singles from Norichika Aoki and Jean Segura to open the game, Delgado retired the final eight hitters he faced and allowed no runs.
Afterward, he said he is more comfortable and maximizing his talents.
“Right now, I’m concentrating on making good pitches,” he said. "I put in my work and practice. Yes, I’m happy.”
In fighting for the last rotation spot, Delgado may not be a Vegas darling. His odds appear growing of not only gaining Gibson’s attention for a spot in the rotation but to make the roster. Penciled in as a starter, he may be stereotyped type for that role rather than a long reliever.
Yet, he managed to pick himself off the mat and clearly caught Gibson’s attention Wednesday night.
“That’s the best he’s thrown so far,” the manager said. “He was up to 93 to 97 on the radar gun, and what we saw the kind of player we thought we would get.”
For his part, Delgado said his baseball and social personality are falling into place, and after the trade from Atlanta which also brought Martin Prado to the desert as well, there is a certain comfort level.
“When I got here, it was weird,” he said. “I didn’t know too many guys here and I felt like I was in a different zone. Now, I know everyone and I’m doing my routine. Working hard and we’ll see what happens.”
After Wednesday night's game, the Diamondbacks sent 15 players to the minors. Optioned to AAA Reno include right hander Chase Anderson, lefty Eury de la Rosa, outfielder Alfredo Matre and Brewer.
Optioned to AA Mobile were outfielder Keon Braxton, righty Eric Smith and right-hander Zeke Spruill.
Assigned to the minor league camp are infielders Nick Ahmed, Matt Davidson, and Chris Owings, right-handed pitchers Josh Botty, Garrett Mock, and Bo Schultz, left-handed pitcher David Holmberg and catcher Ed Easley.
That leaves 44 players left in camp, including 33 from the 40 man roster, 11 non-roster players and right-handed pitcher Daniel Hudson, who is on the 60 day disabled list.
Left-handed starter Wade Miley is slowly recovering from shoulder problems.
The Diamondbacks describe his condition as “a tired arm,” and shut down the National League rookie-of-the-year runner-up this week.
After Wednesday’s game, Gibson said Miley threw earlier in the day and is scheduled to pitch Monday March 18 against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. As well, Gibson said Miley could go a few innings in a “B” game before next Monday.
The Diamondbacks are off Thursday and resume their schedule Friday afternoon against the Oakland at Salt River.
The up-coming weekend features a Saturday contest against the Padres in Peoria, and the D-backs splitting their squad Sunday. Half will travel to Tucson to take on the Padres and the other half stays at Salt River to host the Dodgers.