"I mean, it's exciting," Bradley said. "He's one of the best, if not the best, in all of baseball. I just take it as a challenge, like why not start my career against someone like him? At the end of the day it's about keeping them from scoring and he's going to do the same. So it's just about pitching my game."
Bradley, who was the No. 7 overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, pitched so well this spring that he forced the team to reconsider starting him in the Minor Leagues. In fact, in order to make room for Bradley in the rotation, the D-backs traded veteran Trevor Cahill to the Braves and ate $6.5 million of his $12 million salary in the process.
"His demeanor all spring was very businesslike," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "He told me before he left from the Fall League, 'I'm going to make this team this year.' And we all said that it was an open competition, but in the back of our mind we're like eh, we've got all these older guys, they're probably going to take over and [Bradley] will be ready soon. But he backed up his words."
In an attempt to make Bradley even more comfortable for his debut, Hale will probably start veteran Gerald Laird behind the plate, because the pair worked closely during the spring.
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.