Jose Herrera Has Health In Mind

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. After the way his past two seasons have unfolded, catcher Jose Herrera has relatively modest goals in mind—and that’s understandable.

“I just want to be healthy all year,” he said.

The 20-year-old Herrera has been limited to just 60 games the past two seasons. After fracturing a bone in his foot in 2015, he dealt with an elbow strain during extended spring training last year then broke a bone in his hand in August that cost him the rest of the season.

Still, the Diamondbacks have seen flashes of the potential that compelled them to sign Herrera for $1 million out of Venezuela in July 2013. He hit .304/.415/.380 in 79 at-bats in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2015 and slashed .277/.351/.438 in 137 at-bats at Rookie-level Missoula last year.

Since Miguel Montero reached the big leagues in 2006, the D-backs have struggled to produce viable, big league-caliber catchers, despite routinely targeting the position in the top 10 rounds of the draft. Most notable is Stryker Trahan, their first-round pick in 2012, who has yet to advance out of Class A.

The club is hopeful Herrera can break the streak. Not only do they like the tools he brings both to the plate and behind it, they also believe in his makeup, citing the fact that he learned English as evidence of his commitment.

“He has one of the best swings we have in camp,” farm director Mike Bell said. “It’s a real clean, short swing. His catching and throwing have been outstanding—his blocking, too. I really can’t say enough good stuff about who he is and how he’s prepared each of the last two years. He’s had a couple of unfortunate setbacks, but he’s healthy and ready to go now.”

Herrera likely will open the season at low Class A Kane County.


Middle infielder Ildemaro Vargas was one of the most impressive young players in big league camp during the first two weeks of March. D-backs manager Torey Lovullo was particularly impressed with his aggressiveness. “He’s playing baseball without the fear of making mistakes,” he said.

Lefthander Anthony Banda is another who has impressed. He threw four scoreless innings, with one walk and five strikeouts, in Cactus League play before being reassigned to the minor leagues.

— Nick Piecoro covers the Diamondbacks for

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