Results tagged ‘ Daniel Stange ’
Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
D-backs right-handed reliever Daniel Stange made his Major League debut on Thursday, throwing, as the official scorer says, “one inning, all the rest zeroes,” which means no hits, no runs, no home runs, no walks and no strikeouts.
Other than mixing in a strikeout here or there, there are no four words in the English language that a pitcher would rather hear than, “all the rest zeroes.”
I talked to Stange for a few minutes after the game, just to shake his hand, say congratulations and welcome to Arizona. He very briefly seemed excited, with a pretty big smile, but then quickly went back to being the same stoic guy everybody met in Spring Training.
“I don’t think he really cared, he’s pretty gritty,” Manager A.J. Hinch said of Stange. “He didn’t look any different yesterday than the times I saw him pitch in the minors.
We wrote about Daniel Stange on this blog back in February, with some video of him pitching. You can find that here.
The scenario was perfect for him on Thursday. The D-backs won big, 13-5, and got eight strong innings from starter Ian Kennedy, which let Hinch give Stange the soft landing he’d like to give every player making a debut.
“That worked out nice for us,” Hinch said. “I told him before the game I didn’t know if he was going to have a soft landing or gentle entry because of the way our pitching was lined up, but it turned out great. He came in with an ideal situation where we had the lead and it was no more pressure than what a normal Major League debut would bring.”
Hinch has a unique view on the situation. Having headed up the D-backs’ player development system for the past few years and having worked as a manager for the last year, he has two different angles from which to recognize the special feeling each player gets in their big league debut.
“It’s a big day. The more you’re around the big leagues, the further you get away from what that feeling is,” Hinch said. “But you get reminded every time a new guy comes up and plays on a Major League field in an official game for the first time. It’s a big deal. You work your whole life and as a kid you dream of that day. There is only one of them and it goes by in a heartbeat. He got to contribute to a win, which was a best-case scenario for everybody.
“I told him, I didn’t know if he’d be here for a couple of days or If he’d be here for the rest of the year, but I know you’ll never want to go back to the minor leagues once you get that first taste of the big leagues.”
Here is some video of Hinch discussing Stange’s role going forward:
It’s been a little over two years since D-backs minor league closer Daniel Stange hurt his throwing elbow, so he’s in full health now, and showing it in Tucson.
Stange is one of the hardest throwers in big league camp this season, and he was one of several pitchers throwing in the second wave of live batting practice sessions this week. While he’s looked good, he — and everyone else, frankly — is nowhere close to full velocity yet.
“The thing I’m concerned about the least this early in camp is the velocity,” Manager A.J. Hinch said.
Stange said his main focus has been on command.
“(Live BP) went OK,” Stange said. “I wasn’t too happy with the offspeed stuff, but fastball command, I thought, was good. It’s my first big league Spring Training, so it’s kind of new to me. But the first thing I want is to be able to command both sides of the plate with the fastball.”
Hinch has been impressed with the right hander so far in his bullpen sessions.
“His arm strength has been really good in camp and his arm speed looks like its come back,” Hinch said. “Mechanically, I like where he is not as long in the back and is not dragging his arm like he was the year after operation. Everybody says that after a full year off recovery, it starts to tick back to where it was before.”
Another right-hander worth getting a look at in camp is Roque Mercedes, who the D-backs acquired in a trade last year with Milwaukee along with outfielder Cole Gillespie. Mercedes is tall, and actually looks even bigger than his 6-3 height listing.
Hinch said hitters commented that Mercedes’ pitches were darting to both sides of the plate.
“He’s got a great pitcher’s body and the ball comes out nicely,” Hinch said. “I think with a lot of these young pitchers, when they get in these live BP sessions, they tend to ease off a little bit to make sure they’re throwing strikes. I felt like he certainly was under control. You try to preach to these guys, ‘Don’t go too fast; don’t overthrow it.’
“He’s got a nice, simple delivery and pretty lively stuff. Today he was cutting and sinking and doing a little of everything. He’s made a nice impression. He’s got plenty of weapons to work with.”
In general, Hinch said he’s very pleased with the way practices have gone in the first week.
“I can’t tell you how nice it is to have an entire camp come in in shape,” Hinch said. “They’ve come all in good baseball shape. There is a certain aspect of Spring Training where no matter what you do, you’re going to go through a miserable soreness. But I feel like we’re ahead of the curve a little bit based on what these guys did in the offseason.”