PHOENIX -- Even when it looked like he was going to be squeezed off the Opening Day roster, D-backs right-hander Archie Bradley refused to give in.
"That was the thing for me the whole spring, just pitch and let that take care of itself," Bradley said. "Even when they set the rotation, they said, 'Hey, you still have a chance to make this team out of the 'pen.' So for me it was just about continuing to work and not getting caught up with that and just focus on my job, and that's pitching."
Eventually, it was Bradley's performance that prompted the D-backs to deal Trevor Cahill to the Braves on Thursday and add Bradley to the rotation.
"He'll know that he earned it, which is the ideal way to earn respect around your teammates and your peers," D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said of Bradley. "That's why you set those competitions up. He deserves the ball, and he's going to get it."
The D-backs could have taken a similar road as the Cubs did with prospect Kris Bryant and sent Bradley to the Minors for the first few weeks of the season to delay his eligibility for free agency, but decided against it.
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For Bradley, making the big league roster is even more special given the struggles he went through last year both with injuries and on the field. It was the first time in his life that he began to have doubts on a baseball field.
This year, he'll be standing on the foul line for Opening Day festivities.
"It still hasn't really set in," he said. "[Manager Chip Hale] called me in today when I first got to the ballpark and told me I made the club, and I'm just trying to process it all. It's been a dream come true. Obviously there's still a lot of work left to do, but just to make the team is incredible."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.