One of the biggest stories this spring was the development, or lack of development, of right-handed pitcher Archie Bradley.
With the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation already in a flux and after the news in mid-March that Patrick Corbin was lost to Tommy John surgery until at least next spring, several pundits called for the ascendancy of Bradley, the D-backs’ second pick on the first round, and number seven overall, in the 2011 draft.
Coming off a power season at double A Mobile, in which he went 12-5 with the BayBears, a 1.97 ERA in 21 starts, Bradley immediately turned heads. Combine that with a 2-0 mark and a 1.26 ERA with Advance A Visalia, Bradley turned in a 14-5 year with a 1.84 ERA.
That promoted support for Bradley to received immediate consideration to join the rotation.
General manager Kevin Towers and field manager Kirk Gibson both resisted and Bradley, by the end of spring training, proved to be a mere mortal.
What may have been the downfall was his second to last spring training effort against Team Australia. On March 21 in the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground, Bradley started and lasted 3.2 innings, surrendered six hits, walked three and yielded three runs, all earned. Eventually, he lost a 5-0 decision and was demoted to Triple A one week later.
After five starts. a record of 1-4 and a 5.18 ERA with the Aces this season, Bradley appears to hit a significant roadblock. A minor strain on the flexor muscle in his right elbow was detected and the Diamondbacks are now forced to shut him down.
Placed on the Triple A, 7-day disabled list, Arizona officials say Bradley will not pick up a baseball for at least two weeks.
“I was surprised he came (to Phoenix),” Gibson said before Tuesday night’s home game with the Rockies. “There was nothing on his reports up here to indicate he was sore.”
While Gibson indicated Bradley’s most recent MRI “looks good,” officials remain hopeful for a swift recovery.
“The period (Bradley is facing) is not that lengthy,” Gibson added. “We’re in an age of technology and imaging so we’re able to look at these things more closely.”
After last season’s numbers, Bradley was nearly anointed a spot in the rotation. With Randall Delgado a question mark, the underachievement of Trevor Cahill, the prospect of Brandon McCarthy to land on the disabled list somewhere during 2014 and the absence of Corbin all interacted to forecast Bradley's ascension to the major league level.
Yet, at age of 21, and Bradley will not be 22 until mid-August, the Diamondbacks appear in no hurry to do anything, at this point, which would put Bradley’s promising future in jeopardy.