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Buckner has another strong outing for D’backs

Citizen Staff Writer



Billy Buckner, vying for a roster spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen, had another impressive pitching outing Friday but Juan Gutierrez did not.

Buckner threw two hitless innings and lowered his spring training ERA to 2.25 as Arizona beat a split-squad Seattle team 14-6.

Gutierrez, also a 25-year-old right-hander, struggled early, allowing four hits and three runs in the first inning before getting an out.

“Buckner had another good outing. . . . He’s been basically good every time out,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said.

After his initial trouble, Gutierrez retired six straight hitters, including striking out three. He allowed four hits and three earned runs as his ERA rose to 6.75 in eight innings this spring.

Despite the mixed results, Arizona pitching coach Bryan Price said both Buckner and Gutierrez are “establishing some credibility in this camp as front-runners for bullpen jobs. . . . They’re both having good camps.”

Veteran reliever Tony Peña picked up the win with one inning of work, his first appearance since playing in the World Baseball Classic.

Arizona had 13 hits, with 11 players getting at least one.

Ex-Arizona Wildcat Tony Clark hit his first home run of the spring, walked twice and scored two runs.

Seattle took an extended look at left-hander Jason Vargas, a likely long-relief candidate.

Vargas looked good early before struggling in the second and third innings.

He threw 2 1/2 innings, allowing four hits and four runs (three earned). He walked two and struck out one.

“I felt like I made some good pitches,” said Vargas, whose spring ERA is now 7.94. “I felt really good about my first two outings.

“Obviously my last two haven’t been up to par.”

Matt Tuiasosopo went 3 for 3 for the Mariners, who have seven regulars still playing in the WBC.


Two Diamondbacks recovering from injuries had encouraging Friday morning workouts.

Eric Byrnes, still nursing hamstring issues from last year, ran the bases at the minor league complex and could rejoin the team as soon as Monday.

Doug Davis, who missed his last start with a left triceps strain, looked good in a bullpen session.

In roster moves, the Diamondbacks reassigned pitchers Hector Ambriz, Tony Barnette and Brooks Brown and catcher Ed Easley to their minor league camp.

Pitcher Buckner has another strong outing

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