Diamondbacks Suffer First Pitch Clock Violation in Loss to Athletics

Rico Garcia of the Oakland Athletics pitches to Caleb Roberts of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
(Photo by Evan Thompson)

Athletics 12, Diamondbacks 7

MESA, Arizona (Feb 25) — Did you know that a pitcher needs to throw his final warmup pitch before there are 30 seconds left on the timer? No? Neither did this reporter — who paid close attention during the rules meeting. And neither did Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Drey Jameson, who began his 2023 Cactus League campaign against the Oakland Athletics with a 1–0 count before even throwing a pitch.

“That actually happened at the start of the game,” Jameson confessed. “I had a ball against me already…. But now that I know this — when I went out there for the second inning, it was obviously not that big of a deal. Just throw your last warm up pitch before 30 seconds.”

Athletics starter JP Sears did not know that part of the rule, either. However, he lucked out. “I didn’t have the clock in my first inning out there,” he said. “But I saw it happen, so I was able to remember that for the second (inning).”

Once Jameson got going, he shut the Athletics down. In two innings, he surrendered no runs on one hit and a walk, striking out one. The Athletics ultimately rallied to win the Cactus League matchup, 12–7, on a six-run fifth inning. Regardless of the outcome, bench coach Jeff Banister — the acting manager, with this being a split-squad game — was pleased with what he saw.

“I felt like our guys had good energy,” Banister said after the game, which was the first of the 2023 spring season for the Diamondbacks. “A lot of positives. Games like this let us know exactly how we need to continue to work. (But I was) pleased to have guys get out on the dirt, see another uniform, and play a baseball game.”

Corbin Carroll Gets Ball Rolling for Diamondbacks

Left fielder Corbin Carroll, the highly touted prospect and heavy favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year, led off the game with a first-pitch single to shallow left-center. He stole second on the third pitch to center fielder Alek Thomas, who ultimately struck out. An infield single by right fielder Jake McCarthy — who hit a comebacker that ricocheted off Sears — put runners on the corners for third baseman Emmanuel Rivera. A sacrifice fly to the warning track in center plated Carroll for the first run of the game.

When Carroll broke for second on the stolen base, Sears had let the pitch clock run to two seconds left before delivering. Carroll timed his jump perfectly, drawing questions to whether he saw the pitch clock running low. “I didn’t really know where the pitch clock was — I think it’s on the wall,” Carroll explained. “And I was focused on (Sears), just reading him.”

“Corbin is a really good runner,” Sears said. “Right when he got on base, I knew he was going to steal, and he did.” He continued by saying he needs to get better with his “time zone” as the spring progresses.

Gabriel Moreno Impressive in Cactus League Debut

Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno, one of the two players who came from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Daulton Varsho, homered in his first spring at-bat of 2023. Sears, who has been working on a different grip for his slider, used the old grip and hung it. “I was really upset with that,” Sears said. “Felt a little rushed on that pitch. It was a little bit of a mindless pitch.” Moreno made Sears pay, belting a no-doubt home run down the left-field line.

One inning later, Moreno raised eyebrows with his defensive play. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Athletics right fielder Ramon Laureano hit a swinging bunt in front of the plate. Moreno pounced on the slow bouncer and raced back home, tagging the plate a split-second before the sliding Nick Allen. Banister, himself a former catcher, was impressed that Moreno “had the instinct to tag the plate and make a snap throw to first.” Laureano beat the throw by a narrow margin, but the fact that it was even close impressed Banister.

Moreno also made a snap back-pick to first that nearly retired the runner. First baseman Pavin Smith said it was not a planned play but a testament to Moreno’s instincts and strong arm. Moreno saw the runner leaning and fired. Smith was there and got the tag down, but the runner barely beat the throw.

Praise from His Pitcher

Jameson said pitching to Moreno was “fun,” adding, “He’s legit. Hasn’t caught me much, but before the game I told him my game plan. He was calling stuff that I already had preset in my glove, which shows a lot to me about the kind of catcher that he is. (Moreno) pays attention to the little details that go a long way. That’s just the ballplayer he is. Goes yard in his first at-bat? He’s the real deal.”

What Drey Jameson Worked On

The main goal of the game for Jameson was to refine his sinker. “(I’m) working on that front-hip sinker to lefties,” he explained. “I didn’t get it over, so I left a couple inside. Then I fell behind trying to take some off the sinker in the 2–0 count to have more movement within the sinker. It was a swing-and-miss. Then I threw another four-seam fastball a little high. I tried to go back to that slow sinker again, maybe get a ground ball and not get the walk. But I left it too far down. It was never a strike. But you’ve got to do that kind of stuff to progress through spring training.”

Jameson went into more detail, saying that he was “trying to get that sinker to both sides of the plate,” “run off a little bit,” and “get the octopus effect.” He didn’t get the swings he wanted, but he also felt that, with this being the first spring training game, hitters were not nearly as aggressive as they would have been in a higher-stakes game.

He felt his fastball worked well and was also pleased with his changeup. In addition, his slider was “moving” and “had the right action,” but he “needed to get dialed in on the visual of where to start that pitch.”

Looking Ahead

The Diamondbacks continue their Cactus League schedule Sunday afternoon. They will face the San Diego Padres on the road at Peoria Sports Complex, with first pitch at 1:05 pm.

Photo Credit:

MESA, Arizona (Feb 25) — Oakland Athletics pitcher Rico Garcia pitches to Caleb Roberts of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the ninth inning at Hohokam Stadium. The Athletics won the Cactus League contest, 12–7. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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