SnakeBytes, 6/3: (Almost) Undefeated in June edition

Not really relevant to yesterday, but I just like this picture. - Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

And it's already the 3rd. Go, us... Ok, we didn't actually play yesterday, but we take our victories where we can find them. As the team heads for Colorado, we have news on A.J. Pollock, thoughts on the draft, other professional baseball in Arizona, and a Frenchy update.

Team news

[ArizonaSports] D-backs' A.J. Pollock undergoes hand surgery - Monday afternoon, Pollock had a plate and screws placed in his fractured right hand during a surgery performed by Dr. Don Sheridan. According to the Diamondbacks, Pollock is tentatively scheduled to resume baseball activity in about eight weeks.

[dbacks.com] D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock earns second National League Player of Week award - Sad irony here, since Pollock, sustained a fractured fourth metacarpal bone against the Reds on Saturday. He still led the Majors in hitting over the past week with a .522 (12-for-23) average. led the NL with a .593 on-base percentage, scored nine runs, and was tied for the league lead in hits and slugging percentage (1.000).

[ArizonaSports] D-backs find success in the month of May, take strides after sluggish start - With the infusion of rookie Chase Anderson into the rotation and increased production out of Bronson Arroyo and Josh Collmenter, the D-backs' rotation showed signs of life that were missing throughout the team's unfortunate stumble out of the gates. The five-man unit combined to go 11-6 with 13 quality starts in 25 total appearances.

[FOX Sports] D-backs' recovery is all about the pitching - The D-backs had a 3.65 ERA team in May, shaving 1 1/2 runs off their season total... The games have regained a sense of normalcy. Bullpen roles are stabilized. Hitters do not have to feel like they need a big inning to stay in games. The defense can be content with the making the routine play instead of trying to force extra outs. "You ride behind your pitchers," center fielder A.J. Pollock said. "That sets the tone for the team. Good or bad, hitting is a streaky thing. If you can keep a team in a game consistently, which our pitches have done lately, it has really kept us fighting and competitive. It's huge.

[dbacks.com] Webb reflects on 'devastating' end to career - "It was tough. I put a lot of time and effort in for nothing," Webb said. "That was the most frustrating part, never being able to come back especially when everything seemed to look fine in the pictures and all that. That was the toughest part, to go from the top of the game, probably one of the best pitchers in the game, to be done."

[STLToday] La Russa starts journey down untraveled road - [La Russa] says he will influence what bunt defenses are used and "how we play the game." His hand will be seen with staffing. This is not some honorary post made for a guy who’s already ridden his last rodeo. Kendrick has issued a de facto all-points bulletin: La Russa’s way will be the organization’s way. "The general manager will have his normal responsibilities. The only thing is they’ve inserted a guy with 50 years’ experience who will be part of that process," La Russa says.

The draft

[dbacks.com] Diamondbacks focusing on talent above need in 2014 Draft - The CBA reined in some of the spending on the Draft so more high school players elected to sign in 2011, the year prior to the limits, rather than attend college. Had they gone to college, this would be the first time they would be eligible to be drafted again. "This is the first year you're seeing the results of the change in the CBA in terms of this year's Draft," Montgomery said. "I think there are less guys at the college level because we signed a lot of them in 2011."

[AZ Central] Depleted Diamondbacks need big hits in draft - The Diamondbacks have clear positions of need, and it will be tempting to address one of them with the 16th overall pick. "All things being close to equal, you go to the need," Towers said. "I've always felt in all drafts... that your good hitters are going to go off the board rather quickly, whether it be high school or college. If you're looking for that outfield bat or that premier-type catcher, you're going to have to take them early. They're just not going to be around later." There is a general feeling that the 2014 draft class is pitching-deep, and Towers anticipates being able to nab a pair of good arms with the two comp picks.

[Venom Strikes] Predicting the 1st 2 Draft Picks of the Diamondbacks - "LaRussa probably doesn’t want to use his first pick on a guy who may not even play baseball. Zimmer is the guy for Arizona to grab with its first pick... This is a tough one but the recent trades of young pitchers leads me to believe the call is for Fulenchek."

Around baseball

[Tucson News] Kino baseball stadium lacks baseball - A pro group in Phoenix has been trying to expand to Tucson but is finding the task difficult at best. "It's been a little frustrating trying to get things done here," said Joe Sperle, president and partner in the Freedom Baseball League. "There seems to be some foot dragging here," he said. Sperle's league is comprised of four teams which play out of the Goodyear Stadium. "We want to expand that to six teams, adding Tucson and Ajo," he said. But county officials have not been receptive to the idea.

Hang on, there's another pro baseball league in Phoenix? Why was I not informed about this? I did some digging, and discovered the Freedom Professional Baseball League website, along with their Twitter feed. Opening Day is on June 13th, and they currently have four teams: Goodyear Centennials, Phoenix Prospectors, Peoria Explorers and Prescott Federals. Having been entranced by Fox Sports' Pecos League show, I think we'll definitely be heading down the road for some games in Goodyear.

Justin Masterson threw seven shutout innings for the Indians against the Red Sox, striking out ten and allowing three hits. But what makes it worthy of mention was his fourth inning, where he struck out the side on nine pitches, the "immaculate inning." It was part of a stretch of 26 consecutive strikes thrown by Masterson.

[NYTimes] Jeff Francoeur and Jason Lane Look for a Way Back to the Major Leagues - A .204 average last season landed Francoeur here, but he might as well have fun while climbing back. "He’s an authentic little boy," said Pat Murphy, the Chihuahuas’ manager. "The little kid that’s good for everybody to have is still in him. That’s what makes it special being around him every day." Francoeur, 30, is an outfielder who pitches for fun, and to save the Chihuahuas’ bullpen. In five and a third innings over six appearances, he has allowed four hits and three earned runs, with three walks and four strikeouts.

And finally, one of the more unusual pitches you'll ever see. from Japanese right-hander Kazuhito Tadano, of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Sadly, it wasn't called a strike.


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