MESA — A day after Caleb Smith was named to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting rotation, the pitcher made his final start of spring training against the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
It was one to forget for the starter.
In 3.2 innings of work, Smith gave up seven earned runs on eight hits, two of which were home runs, in the team’s 7-1 loss. He walked one batter and struck out five.
Despite his final stat line of the spring, Smith isn’t putting too much stock into his performance.
“I feel like I’m in a good spot. I’ve never thrown good in spring but I feel like I’m in a good spot right now,” Smith said Monday following his outing.
“I don’t know. It’s just during spring you’re still working on things even in your last outing,” Smith said of his spring woes. “Still working on things and throwing sequences you normally wouldn’t throw. Whenever regular season hits, you don’t have that luxury of working on that stuff. You have to win ballgames.”
Entering play Monday, Smith posted a 1-2 record and a 6.75 ERA in five starts (17.1 IP). Of the D-backs’ named starters, Smith posted the highest ERA this spring.
“I think what he’ll take away from it is he had some situations where he had some put-away counts and he didn’t quite execute the way I know he expects or the way he can finish of hitters the way he’s supposed to,” Torey Lovullo said after the game.
“By and large I thought that he was attacking the zone. … I think he’s slowly [dialed in his pitches]. The next step is to go ahead and finish off some hitters. You don’t want to get banged around ever, I know it wasn’t a great outing for him. The next one will be hot. I know he will be in a better spot for it.”
With the loss, the D-backs finish the Cactus League at 8-15-5.
– The D-backs lone run came courtesy of a Christian Walker solo homer in the fourth inning. He finishes the spring with five dingers.
Entering play Monday, Walker was tied for seventh in all of spring training with 14 RBIs.
– Lovullo on outfielder Tim Locastro, who was hit in the helmet by a pitch:
“Tim was doing fine. His natural reaction when he gets hit is get up and spring to first base. I think he was stunned a little bit. He explained that to us and it kinda scared us. But we understand he took a fastball to the ear hole. He’s feeling fine.”
– Lovullo on being days away from Opening Day:
“I’m ready to turn the boys loose. That’s the way I’m looking at it. I think you get to a point in the spring where the energy level probably wasn’t as great as it was. Probably Week 4 of spring, the guys start to change their focus mentally. And even though it’s not something I want them to do I think they’re looking ahead.
“They’re very much looking forward to getting this thing started. We get to play in front of home fans. We get to play baseball games in front of fans again. I know everybody’s really excited to get that started.”
– Lovullo on injured outfielder Kole Calhoun:
“He’s in a good spot. He’s getting ready to take some live [at-bats] — more live ABs. He’s passing every test. I know that he’s feeling good and this is a progression. He’s going to have days where he’s getting after it and working through how that feels the next day.
“We’re on top of that. The medical team is on top of that. I’m hopeful we’ll re-address it by series. We’ll talk about Kole after the first series, we’ll talk about Kole after the second series. When we come back home we’ll see where we’re at. He’s in a good spot, a very good spot.”
Calhoun has been on the shelf for most all of March after undergoing a partial medial meniscectomy on his right knee this spring.