Nearing returns, Reed, Ziegler on track for Opening Day
Closer, setup man healthy as Arizona's bullpen picture clears
By Barry M. Bloom
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs have plenty of roster decisions to make as Spring Training heads toward the final two weeks, but the picture at the back end of the bullpen is becoming clearer.
Addison Reed (inflammation of the right shoulder) and Brad Ziegler (microfracture surgery on his left knee) are nearing returns to Cactus League action. Both of them said on Friday morning they should be ready to assume their roles when the season opens against the defending World Series champion Giants at Chase Field on April 6.
Reed will come back as the closer and Ziegler as the eighth-inning setup man.
"As long as nothing happens on the injury side of it," D-backs new manager Chip Hale said before Friday's game. "I'm comfortable with this because they're veterans and they know how to get ready. We just need to give them enough outings. People are starting to panic, but we still have until the 6th."
Ziegler is slated to make his spring debut on Sunday at Talking Stick against the Rockies and Reed on Tuesday at home against the Brewers.
Reed threw a batting practice session and proclaimed himself "100 percent" healthy and "ready to go" after missing almost the entire spring with the shoulder ailment. He'll throw BP again on Sunday.
"He looked great," Hale said about the right-hander who saved 32 of 38 opportunities and gave up 11 homers last season, his first with the D-backs.
Ziegler had surgery on his knee this past Sept. 9 and has been in rehab ever since, trying to get ready for the season. So far this spring, he pitched one inning in a Minor League game on Wednesday.
"Honestly, Sunday is no different to me than pitching in a Minor League game," he said. "I don't care who the opponent is and what level it's at, I just want to get out there and pitch."
Like Reed, Ziegler said he will be ready to go when the season opens.
"I'll be good," Ziegler said. "There isn't anything I can't do in a game right now. It's just a matter of being able to do it and feel normal."
Ziegler has made 246 appearances for the D-backs since he was obtained from the A's in a July 31 non-waiver Deadline trade during the 2011 season.
"The hardest part for me mentally is that I didn't know I was going to have to [microfracture surgery]," Ziegler said. "And when I came out of surgery they told me. It went from what I was hoping to be a six-week rehab to a six-month rehab. It killed my whole offseason."