GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Jumbo Diaz is not guaranteed a spot on the Reds’ major-league roster, but the right-hand pitcher is accustomed to earning it.
Last year Diaz posted a 3.14 ERA in 43 big-league innings, but he also had the worst walk and strikeouts per nine innings of his career. Despite that, Diaz finished the season with a 2.18 ERA and .210 opponent’s average in his last 33 innings.
“I don’t feel comfortable,” Diaz said to Enquirer reporter Zach Buchanan. “I don’t want to say I’m going to be in Cincinnati because I did great last year in the second half. I come in every year working hard and trying to get ready and be one of those men on the 25-man roster when we break camp.”
Pitchers Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, Blake Wood and Tony Cingrani already occupy five of seven spots in the bullpen and if 32-year-old Diaz wants to claim the sixth, he must show improvement.
Diaz must have better fastball command, and a sharper slider. Last season Diaz was inconsistent with his change-up pitch. He worked on his change-up at the Reds’ facility in the Dominican Republic, his home country, and during winter ball Diaz worked with Reds pitching coordinator Tony Fossas.