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SCOTTSDALE Martin Maldonado Jersey , Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks will spend spring training trying to find a way to fill the void left after slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was traded to St. Louis this offseason.Filling Goldschmidt’s cleats was not the only question the Diamondbacks faced as they opened spring training Wednesday.Arizona has two starting rotation spots to fill and must close in on a closer, decisions that will likely last well into spring.“The best players perform the best when it’s needed,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I think when you put a little added pressure there and guys are nipping at your heels, it creates a competition and should enhance your ability to get the job done.”The Diamondbacks entered their third spring training under Lovullo with a hole at the back end of their bullpen after they non-tendered Brad Boxberger’s contract, allowing him to become a free agent.With Boxberger now in Kansas City, Arizona has three main candidates to fill the closer’s role: Archie Bradley, Yoshihisa Hirano and recently signed Greg Holland.Bradley could be a good fit after serving in the eighth-inning set-up role ahead of Boxberger. He has an upper-90s fastball, pitches aggressively and has the type of confidence managers like to see in a closer.Bradley had a few rough patches last season while dealing with a cracked fingernail, nearly doubling his ERA from the 1.73 he posted in 2017, but has proven he can be dominant when healthy.“He learned a lot through the course of last year that to get by on blood and guts and one pitch, it’s OK , he can do it, but I know Archie has a burning desire to be great,” Lovullo said. “That motivates him every day.”Holland was one of baseball’s best closers in Kansas City, where he earned a World Series ring in 2015. The 33-year-old was released by St. Louis after going 0-2 with a 7.92 ERA in 32 games last season, but was 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in 24 games after signing with Washington.“I don’t think of it in terms of an age,” Holland said. “I feel good and healthy, and that’s the most important thing.”Hirano pitched well for the Diamondbacks last season, his first after 12 seasons in Japan’s Pacific League. Despite the cultural and language differences, the right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.44 ERA and three saves in 75 games with Arizona.“I saw very early on he was beyond, not his years, but his experience here Darin Erstad Jersey ,” Lovullo said. “There’s so much newness to what was going on around him, he was able to slow it down and stay with who he was, and that didn’t change over the course of the year.”Zack Greinke is back as Arizona’s No. 1 starter, though he won’t report to training camp until Friday. Greinke asked Lovullo if he could delay his arrival a few days, but has already been throwing in the desert and is a veteran who knows how to get ready for a season.The Diamondbacks also have Robbie Ray and Zack Godley back to follow Greinke in the rotation, but have two slots to fill with Patrick Corbin and Clay Buchholz gone.Right-hander Luke Weaver could fill one starting spot after arriving from the Cardinals in the Goldschmidt deal. He struggled with St. Louis last season, going 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA, but the Diamondbacks are hoping he’ll have a bounce-back season.Right-hander Merrill Kelly of Scottsdale will be in the mix, but he’s never thrown a big-league pitch after spending the past four seasons pitching in Korea.Right-hander Matt Koch made 14 big-league starts last season and could make the rotation with a strong spring. The Diamondbacks also have a trio of top prospects in Jon Duplantier, Taylor Widener and Taylor Clarke, though they are untested and could start the season in Triple-A.“I do like the spirit of competition ,” Lovullo said. “I do like guys being able to stand on the mound and execute and get the job done when there’s a lot of stimulus. I feel like these guys are going to step up to the situation and tell us what the best situation is to use them during the course of the season.” DETROIT — Houston has lost right-handed reliever Brad Peacock to hand, foot and mouth disease for at least a week but is hopeful of getting Lance McCullers Jr. back within the next seven to 10 days.Peacock went back to Houston on Tuesday after being separated from the team when it arrived Monday in Detroit for three games with the Tigers. He had been ill but told the team’s medical staff Monday his condition had worsened.Peacock’s is the third known case of hand, foot and mouth disease in the majors this season. Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard and Yankees lefty J.A. Happ each went on the disabled list with the illness last month.Article continues below ...“We deal with similar things like this all the time, maybe not to this extent,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “I’m not sure why this has become a thing in major league baseball this year. There’s a running joke inside about having to sanitize everything, but I’m not aware of any sort of precautions we’ve taken.”McCullers Jr. threw a 40-pitch bullpen Tuesday and will fly to the team’s spring training base to face minor league hitters this weekend. He is expected to face hitters at least twice before being able to return to the Astros.“My stuff is there,” he said. “My stuff is ready, but it’s a process. I’ve been down this road before and like I said, this timeline that we had when the injury occurred and the timeline we knew it was going to take to heal.“We have no room for error. We have no room for setbacks, because if I do I’m not going to be able to pitch later this season and I’m not going to be able to pitch in the postseason.”He hurt his forearm swinging a bat earlier this month. He will return, but in a bullpen role through the postseason.The remaining two weeks of the season will present a challenge to Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire — he’s got more pegs than holes.Installing rookie Christin Stewart Shohei Ohtani Jersey , expected to play a big role for the Tigers going forward, as his regular left fielder means reduced playing time for outfielders Rule 5 choice Victor Reyes, Mikie Mahtook and JaCoby Jones. “I need to figure out how to get them all playing time, knowing the Stewart is going to play left field,” Gardenhire said. “I am trying to figure out how to get all of them the right amount of playing time. But it’s going to be harder if we play Stew every day, and that’s what our plan is.“We have center field and right field, and that’s Nick (Castellanos). Not too many options. I talked to Mikie. Reyes is always good.“But I talked to Mikie and told him, ‘Just hang with me here. Let me get this thing rolling and figure out the best way to keep everybody swinging.’ Mikie is going to have to play some center field. And we can take the days when Victor (Martinez) is not playing and Casty can DH. But it’s not going to be easy.”Jose Altuve told Hinch before Tuesday night’s game he was going to hit right-hander Jordan Zimmermann’s first pitch for a home run and he did, leading a three-home run night that helped the Astros to a 5-4 win over the Tigers.Houston has right-hander Gerrit Cole (13-5, 2.86 ERA) pitching Wednesday afternoon while Detroit counters with lefty Daniel Norris (0-3, 5.47 ERA).Cole has had some success against the Tigers over his career with Houston and Pittsburgh. He beat Detroit earlier this year Brandon Phillips Jersey , allowing three hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings. That made him 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA against the Tigers in five starts.Norris has not faced the Astros this season and just once in his career (May 24, 2017), not getting a decision. He worked 6 1/3 innings and allowed four hits and two runs, one earned.Detroit also announced right-hander Spencer Turnbull and left-hander Matt Hall were added to the active roster, with right-hander Johnny Barbato being designated for assignment to create a spot on the 4-man roster for the southpaw.“They’re both going to pitch,” Gardenhire said, “but Turnbull, we are trying to get him a start or two, and then maybe piggy-back that with Hall. Something like that. We’re going to make it work out. Turnbull, we definitely want to see him start. Hall can go either way.”Shortstop Jose Iglesias was to have his sore abdominal muscle examined Wednesday in Philadelphia. If it is determined he can’t be ready to play before the end of the season Detroit might call up another player to give them infield depth.

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