PHOENIX—Righthander Braden Shipley admitted he made it a little more difficult on himself in his first major league spring training camp last season, and a slight mechanical malfunction did not help, either.
But Shipley regained his form in the second half of 2015 at Double-A Mobile, and he remains the organization’s top pitching prospect, all the wiser from another year of experience.
“I think going into the season I was trying too hard to put myself into a position to get called up,” Shipley said of his 2015 experience. “When you put that sort of pressure on yourself, it just kind of gets to you. I think it just kind of caught up to me a little bit,”
Shipley, 24, got off to a strong start at Mobile, going 2-1, 2.64 in his first six appearances before running into a spell in which he walked a few more batters than normal. Tips from Mobile pitching coach Wellington Cepeda and rehab coordinator Brad Arnsberg helped Shipley get into a more balanced position during his delivery.
After the slight adjustment, Shipley ran off a four-game winning streak in mid-July and he finished the season as he had begun, going 5-4, 2.54 in his final 74 1/3 innings.
“I just kind of told myself I was going to be relaxed and trust my stuff and attack guys like I normally do,” Shipley said.
He has found more of a comfort level in second major league spring training.
“I’m just taking it day by day, just going to go out there to compete. That’s really all I can do,” Shipley said. “If it ends up I get sent down or whatever, I know what not to do this year. So I’m just going to go out there and pitch. That’s all I can do, really. Let the big guys make the decisions. My goal is to just make it hard on them.”
• Righthander Evan Marshall pitched a hitless ninth inning and recorded a save in a spring training game March 4, exactly seven months after he suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain when he was struck by a line drive while pitching for Triple-A Reno.
• The D-backs made several roster moves March 7, optioning righthander Dominic Leone to Triple-A Reno and catcher Oscar Hernandez to high Class A Visalia. They also reassigned cactcher Ronnie Freeman, lefthander Will Locante and righthanders Matt Buschmann, Jose Cisnero, Miller Diaz, Adam Miller and Matt Stites to minor league camp.