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Gameday Thread, #141: 9/8 vs. Pirates

Nippert (0-0, 0.00)
Williams (10-11, 4.41)

  1. Craig Counsell, 2B
  2. Alex Cintron, SS
  3. Shawn Green, RF
  4. Tony Clark, 1B
  5. Troy Glaus, 3B
  6. Chad Tracy, LF
  7. Luis Terrero, CF
  8. Chris Snyder, C
  9. Dustin Nippert, P

Dustin Nippert gets to make the first start of his career, though one wonders whether anyone here in Arizona will be watching - most normal people have jobs, school or other things which will stop them from tuning in for a 9:35 am start. At least we should have the nation's undivided attention, since there isn't another game starting for six and a half hours after ours gets under way.

So, what do we know about Nippert? Something of a surprise to see him up in the majors this season, but we didn't get to see him in spring training this year, because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. That derailed what had been a promising career, especially given he was only a 15th-round draft pick. He totally destroyed opposing hitters at Missoula in 2002, allowing only ten earned runs in 54+ innings, and wasn't much less impressive at South Bend in 2003 (2.82 ERA in 17 starts).

He started 2004 at El Paso, but was shut down after 14 games in June for Tommy John surgery on a torn ligament in his right elbow. But he returned less than a year later - the operation was July 8, 2004, and Nippert came back on May 29, 2005 - and has continued right where he left off. He posted an 8-3 record with a 2.38 ERA that led the Southern League, and was named the player of the month for August, because of a 1.12 ERA in his six starts.

Nippert had been on standby earlier in the season, when Webb almost had to pull out of his start with a stomach virus, but that fell through - on Thursday, however, nothing should stop him and his 97-mph fastball from facing major-league hitters for the first time. However, you may remember the last pitcher we pulled up from Double-A, bypassing Tucson: Casey Daigle. How did that work out for us? :-(

Caution is therefore advised, but I'm hoping Pittsburgh will make him look as good, as we've done for some of the rookies Arizona has faced this year. I may not quite be here in time for first pitch, but should be here or thereabouts before too much longer. If anyone else has nothing better to do - y'know, like working or sleeping - you know what to do...