Diamondbacks Like Wagner’s Focus

PHOENIX—It was not hard for Double-A Mobile manager Robby Hammock to sense righthander Tyler Wagner’s competitive bent. He could hear it.

“A couple of times he gave up a hit on pitch that didn’t hit a spot,” Hammock said. “You’d hear something come out of his mouth because he gave up the line drive.”

Something unprintable.

“He’s one of those guys who has that bulldog mentality,” said Hammock, whose team faced Wagner five times in the Southern League last season.

“You could see his focus.”

Wagner, 25, came to the Diamondbacks in their final trade before the start of spring training, when they acquired him and middle infielder Jean Segura from Milwaukee for righthander Chase Anderson and second baseman Aaron Hill.

A fourth-round pick out of the University of Utah in 2012, Wagner was 11-5, 2.25 at Double-A Biloxi. He gave up more than three runs only once in 25 starts, and he was even stingier against Mobile, going 3-0, 1.50 in 30 innings. He made three quality starts and gave up as many as two runs only once.

“We saw more than our share of him,” Hammock said. “The thing about him, he would throw down, down, down. He has a plus changeup, a good sinker, good tilt on his two-seamer. A good motion. Good angle, and he throws it to good spots.”

Wagner made his major league debut against the D-backs last May 31, when he was recalled for a spot start in a game that the Brewers won in 17 innings. Wagner enters spring training on the outside looking in for a spot in the starting rotation, but the D-backs like his arm and his pattern off success.

“He doesn’t like getting hit hard; he doesn’t like giving up runs,” Hammock said.


• Hall of Famer and five-time Cy Young winner Randy Johnson is in training camp to work with the pitching staff, concentrating his work on the younger pitchers. He also spent time in camp last season. “He seems more normal than you imagined when he was playing,” veteran righthander Zack Greinke said. “But I could be wrong.”

• Manager Chip Hale said lefthander Robbie Ray is the frontrunner for the No. 5 spot in the D-backs rotation. However, righthanders Archie Bradley, Zack Godley and Wagner are also competing for it.

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