Bradley struggles in first start since injury

Bradley struggles in first start since injury

PHILADELPHIA -- D-backs starting pitcher Archie Bradley felt comfortable on the mound Saturday, just over two weeks since he'd been hit in the face by a line drive, but the right-hander's results left plenty to be desired.

Bradley was unable to record an out in the third inning while giving up four runs as the D-backs lost to the Phillies, 7-5, at Citizens Bank Park.

"Not very good," Bradley said of his performance. "When you fall behind like that and you have to come back and make pitches middle of the plate to get back in counts, you're not going to have a lot of success. [I've] just got to throw more strikes early in counts and put myself in better position."

Bradley was struck in the face by a 115 mph line drive off the bat of Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez on April 28 and somehow was able to avoid serious injury with a slight sinus fracture being the only damage.

Bradley said he did not experience any hesitation on the mound Saturday.

"No," he said. "That was the last thing on my mind."

A more likely culprit in his first poor outing of the season was rust.

After the injury, Bradley was placed on the disabled list and missed what would have been a pair of starts for him. He tried to stay sharp with a simulated game on Monday, but that only goes so far.

"It's just hard to keep your stuff sharp not pitching in games, and he needs to pitch," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "He's a young guy that needs to be on schedule, and hopefully next time out he'll throw better. He just had a tough night.

"He did struggle with his command and when he came over the plate, they hit him. They did a good job against him. He'll be better next time. It's part of the development. He's not a finished product at all. It was a tough start for him."

During his time on the DL, Bradley spent his bullpen sessions and the simulated game focused on the Phillies' lineup and how he would attack them. He thought that would be enough to offset his lack of game action.

"I feel like I prepared myself as best I could to be ready for this," Bradley said. "I don't want to make any excuses and say it was rust or not throwing in games. It was just a bad game. When you give big league hitters those counts, they're going to make you pay for it. I have to be more consistent in the strike zone."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.