SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Spring Training has been a mixed bag for Archie Bradley as he vies for a spot in what at times appears to be a filled D-backs rotation.
He's talked of having a big season -- and looked ever capable at times. He's also had some ugly lines, even taking into account the underlying caveat that numbers this time of year carry little meaning.
That mixed bag received another shake or two on Sunday.
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Bradley said it was the best he'd felt this spring after he gave up five hits and three runs in four innings in a 12-4 loss to the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Nary a ball was hit hard, but the Giants clustered hits together -- three in four batters in the second inning and back-to-back in the third -- and forced Bradley into work out of trouble.
"I saw a bunch of positives today ... I think I did a good job today of kind of slowing down and understanding the situation and really focusing on the pitches I needed to make and getting out of what could have been a lot worse," Bradley said.
Just one of the runs was earned, but it was Bradley's throwing error on what could have been a double play that contributed to them. He didn't reset his feet after fielding a comebacker and wasn't in a good position to make an accurate throw to second base.
"As soon as I let it go I knew it was going into center," Bradley said.
Bradley was clearly upset with himself after play. Emotion is part of his game -- managing it was a point of emphasis last season -- but under the circumstances this was a bit demonstrative.
"When you think about every outing, you think everything going smoothly," Bradley said in response to question about his reaction to the error. "You have a broken-bat single and then do you exactly what you want, get a comebacker, and you mess it up yourself.
"It's understanding how a play like that can change an outing. In the season, those extra pitches can keep you from going eight innings, instead only lasting five or six."
From manager Torey Lovullo's perspective, Bradley's only hiccup was the throwing error.
"But we'll take that right now," Lovullo said. "We know that it's about building innings and building pitch counts. Had that play not occurred, I think it would have been a totally different line score. But we're really not affected by that. We're going to evaluate the stuff and we're very pleased with what he did today."
Zack Greinke already was announced as the D-backs' Opening Day starter. Taijuan Walker has been dominant this spring and Robbie Ray is a near lock for the rotation. Patrick Corbin and Shelby Miller each have three Cactus League starts and have been more consistent to this point. Bradley, meanwhile, came out of the bullpen in his two appearances that preceded Sunday.
"It is a comfort level, not to make excuses," Bradley said of the difference between starting and relieving, even in the spring environment. "I can come out of the bullpen if need be but I've always been a starter. To have that rhythm and the mental side of it is big."
Bradley got the start against the division rival Giants while Miller pitched in a minor league instrasquad game earlier in the day.
"All of our starters want to go out there and perform and earn a spot," Lovullo said. "I think everybody's been competitive with each outing; some better than others."