Devine hopes offseason work pays dividends

Devine hopes offseason work pays dividends

Devine hopes offseason work pays dividends
PHOENIX -- More than three years have passed since Joey Devine stamped his rookie campaign with a 0.59 ERA, a marvel that has since been overshadowed by injury, following his 2009 Tommy John surgery.

The 28-year-old righty insists his elbow is now a non-issue. Ditto for his back, which affected his 2011 performance that spanned 26 games in Oakland and 23 with Triple-A Sacramento. Devine spent the offseason reacquainting himself with the weight room, and enters camp ready to return to his dominating ways as a late-inning relief option.

"I worked hard this offseason to try and get as strong as possible," Devine said. "Ever since pro ball started, I've tried not necessarily to stay out of the weight room, but limit what I do in there -- because I tend to put on bulk pretty [easily]. But I said, I need to get back in and get strong. That's what I did in college, and that became my mindset this offseason, getting back in there and mixing [weights] with cardio."

He's hoping the results equate to an uninterrupted 2012 season. Devine set and accomplished a goal of pitching in 50 games last year -- a realistic number after missing two full seasons -- and now has another one in mind.

"Last year was probably the toughest year of my career, even more than the two years I missed, because it was such a rollercoaster ... ride," he said. "So many ups and downs. But I feel like I'm the strongest I've ever been, and my goal is to be in the big leagues all year, and to be a contributing factor to this team. As far as roles, I'm not too concerned."

That doesn't mean he's indifferent toward the closer role, a job he'll be competing for alongside Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour and Fautino De Los Santos.

"My vision is always as a closer," Devine said. "I was a closer in college and at all three levels of the Minor Leagues, and did it toward the end of '08.

"At the same time, I look at our bullpen and any bullpen and, typically, if you have a good bullpen, you have five or six guys who can close. Obviously, only one guy is going to be the one who does so in the ninth. But I think there are times to win the game in the seventh, and times to really shut it down in the sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth. Of course, I would love to be the team's closer, and that's what I'm going to work toward. But my biggest thing is going to be to stay healthy, and the rest will take care of itself."