The Diamondbacks made a minor league offer to right-hander John Lackey this offseason, writes USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, but the veteran righty passed on the opportunity. Coincidentally, Lackey’s friend and former teammate, Clay Buchholz, ultimately wound up in the D-backs organization on a similar deal and is now thriving in a rotation that has been hit hard by injuries. “I don’t bring that up to him now,” joked Buchholz, who still keeps in touch with Lackey, “because he’s a lot bigger than me. I don’t want to make him mad. But Lackey is a bulldog. I fully expect him to be with some club at some point this year. I know for a fact that he still works out and keeps his body ready.” Both Lackey and Buchholz, of course, are known commodities to D-backs GM Mike Hazen and assistant GMs Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter, each of whom has previously worked in the Boston front office.
More out of Arizona…
- Braden Shipley is being asked to work as a reliever for the time being, writes Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (subscription link), but the organization hasn’t closed the door on him as a rotation option. Shipley had actually been set to step into the rotation last month when an elbow injury sent him to the disabled list. In the interim, Buccholz stepped up and seized that spot, however. Shipley acknowledged some frustration at how the scenario unfolded, though he took a positive approach to his new role, viewing it as a chance to ease up on his arm and get some experience at the big league level before hopefully getting another starting opportunity down the line. A former first-round pick, Shipley has just a 5.23 ERA in 98 Major League innings, though the 26-year-old is still just two years removed from ranking among the game’s top 100 prospects and could yet thrive in the big leagues — especially in a new role.
- Steven Souza Jr. began a throwing program Wednesday as he works back from a recurrence of the pectoral injury he incurred during Spring Training, writes Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic. Souza threw from 45 feet today and will play catch again Friday before a Monday MRI to determine the progress he’s made in his recovery. He’ll return to a different outfield mix than the one he left, of course, as the Snakes have since acquired Jon Jay in a trade with the Royals. The presence of Souza, Jay, David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson, Chris Owings and, eventually, a healthy A.J. Pollock will lead to some decisions for the D-backs, although that’s a theoretical situation that may or may not present itself, depending on the health of that group as a whole.