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HomeLatest NewsArizona D-Backs coach Brent Strom gets back to work with Dallas Keuchel...

Arizona D-Backs coach Brent Strom gets back to work with Dallas Keuchel – The Arizona Republic

PHILADELPHIA — Left-hander Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to throw in an Arizona Complex League game on Monday night, his first outing since signing a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks last week. Pitching coach Brent Strom will be following closely.

Keuchel and Strom worked together for five seasons with the Houston Astros, and they collaborated again last week on a pair of bullpen sessions while Keuchel was on the Diamondbacks’ taxi squad.

“I watched him throw the first time without any kind of video,” Strom said. “Then I showed him a lot of things. I showed him a lot of different guys who get into their 30s and how good they move and what they can do. Guys like Cliff Lee and those kind of people. He just got into a few little habits.”

Strom thinks Keuchel wound up getting “too rotational,” which he said caused his pitches to flatten out. Strom thought Keuchel held his own against right-handed hitters with his sinker/change-up combo; the batted-ball data Keuchel generated against righties was better than his actual results. But Strom hopes the mechanical adjustments could help with his cutter, giving him a better weapon against lefties, who have hit him hard.

Strom said he will be looking for a more aggressive and athletic delivery with a faster tempo.

He said there’s a “trust factor” that exists between the two of them from their shared experience in Houston, where Keuchel won the American League Cy Young Award in 2015.

“He’s one of my favorites that I’ve ever had,” Strom said. “I really feel, and I’ve said this before, that he’s probably the prime motivator of guys that turned around the culture in Houston. In ’11, ’12 and ’13, they lose 100-plus and in ’14 he came into his own and got tired of getting beat. Hopefully, he can bring a little attitude to this club.”

Game recap: Walker, D-Backs snap Phillies’ 9-game winning streak

Keuchel was released by the Chicago White Sox last month after posting a 7.88 ERA through eight starts.

General Manager Mike Hazen said Keuchel signed with no assurances of pitching in the majors. The club wants to see him earn an opportunity by throwing well in the minor leagues. Strom said Keuchel is scheduled to throw about 80 pitches on Monday.

Read more: D-Backs’ Daulton Varsho shifts back into crowded outfield

Familiar stops

Each of the past four road cities for the Diamondbacks — Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Philadelphia — were stops in the playing career of Daulton Varsho’s father, Gary.

Daulton Varsho said people who crossed paths with his dad have approached him at every stop.

“It happens a lot,” Varsho said. “There are so many people who are still in the game. They say, ‘Hey, please tell your dad I say hi.’ I always do. He always loves it. He remembers a lot of those people. It’s a big kind of family.”

Coming to Citizens Bank Park brings back memories for him. His dad was a member of the Phillies’ coaching staff from 2002-2006, and Daulton, who was born in 1996, remembers running around the home clubhouse and rolling down the ramps in the parking garage while wearing Heelys, the kids’ shoes with wheels.

“Maybe I should buy some Heelys again and go down them,” Varsho said. “That was fun to be able to get those memories back.”

Up next: Pitching matchups for Diamondbacks-Reds series at Chase Field

Short hops

Lovullo said the club wanted to see outfielder Cooper Hummel make an adjustment with his swing path. He said Hummel, who was optioned to Triple-A Reno on Saturday, was having trouble with breaking balls down in the zone in part because of a steep, downward angle in his swing. 

*To make room on the roster for right-hander Luke Weaver, who was activated on Sunday and threw three innings in relief, the club optioned right-hander Edwin Uceta to Reno. To make room on the 40-man roster for Weaver’s return, the club designated infielder Drew Ellis for assignment.

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or nick.piecoro@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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