Marshall Back And Better Than Ever

PHOENIX—Righthander Evan Marshall has been back on a mound for two weeks now, and it feels just like old times. Only more so.

“Everything is great,” Marshall said. “I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. It’s part of the whole rehab process.”

Marshall missed the final two months of the 2015 season after sustaining a fractured skull when he was hit on the right side of his head by a line drive while pitching for Triple-A Reno at El Paso on Aug. 4. He had surgery to address swelling and bleeding on the brain that night.

His recovery process has gone so well that on the impact test mandated by major league baseball’s concussion protocol, Marshall said doctors told him he scored even higher than on his 2011 baseline score.

“Now all that’s left to do is make the team,” said the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Marshall, a valuable member of the 2014 bullpen before splitting 2015 between the D-backs and Reno.

“Compared to what I’ve been through, this is just fun.”

At pitching coach Mike Butcher’s suggestion, he adjusted his follow-through in an attempt to keep the ball lower in the zone. It was not an overhaul, just a small tweak, and the early returns looked good.

“I see the pitches going to the same places with movement every time,” Marshall said. “It’s definitely a boost I needed. Fastball command. When I hold the ball, I’m holding the follow through for a second. It’s such a simple thing, but it has really helped.”

Marshall, 25, who was 4-4, 2.74 in 57 appearances with the D-backs in 2014, will wear a protective foam pad inside his cap for the rest of his career. He tried the type of cap worn by Alex Torres, in which the foam is fastened to the cap with a velcro piece at the back, but he found it a bit cumbersome.

“It’s a small sacrifice to make,” he said.


• Luis Urueta and Wellington Cepeda were named to the newly created positions of short-season field coordinator and short-season pitching coordinator, respectively.

• The Drabeks will be reunited in spring training after righthander Kyle Drabek signed a minor league contract with a spring training invite. Former NL Cy Young winner Doug Drabek has been a pitching coach in the system for the last six seasons.

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