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Happy Hairston hits, homer-heavy

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The race for the #5 starter spot in the D-backs rotation appears to have turned into a contest of who can suck the least. After EnGon's heroic third inning the other day, Dana Eveland wasted no time, letting the Rockies bat around in the first inning, including a double to the opposing pitcher before he took the mound. That inning went walk, strikeout, single, single, strikeout, single, single, single, double, groundout. Does nobody actually want to be the fifth starter?

I mean, all we're expecting from the role is someone with an ERA of six: give us six innings, four earned runs and we'll be happy. Just shamble out there every fifth day and try to keep the team in the game, by allowing our ferocious offense to do their job. Six runs in the first inning? Not so good. We had quite enough of that last season, thank you very much. So, do we reckon Micah Owings is now the top candidate for the role? Dustin Nippert is still in the mix, and we'll see today if he can avoid the meltdowns suffered by EnGon and Eveland.

However, our hitters simply treated a 6-0 deficit, before they came to the plate, as an interesting challenge, and by the end of the fourth, we were 11-9 up. That was mostly thanks to Scott Hairston, who celebrated the news he was on the Opening Day roster [which probably falls into the category of "Well, duh!" news, since he's out of options] by smacking three homers, in consecutive innings. Okay, it was breezy, 16 mph out to LF, but by most accounts, two of them were no-doubters. They were sprayed around to three different fields too: right, left and left-center.

That's six for Hairston in the spring, tied for the tops in the majors, and the 17 RBI he has is one off the lead there [hey, look: Johnny Estrada has 18 and is batting .451!]. His .963 slugging is top among all hitters with 30+ ABs. Not a bad spring. Outside of that, it was also good to see Chris Young going 3-for-5. Hopefully, he'll have a bit of momentum going into the season. Byrnes, Hudson and Snyder all had two hits each, the first two also adding a walk.

After Eveland's four innings, eleven-hit, nine earned run, er, performance (which still got him the W!), the bullpen shut the Rockies out the rest of the way, though it wasn't easy. Woody [today's "Who?" candidate], Cruz, Slaten and Glant all allowed two or more base-runners: Cruz went one better, giving up a hit and two walks but struck out the side around these in the sixth. Carrasco allowed one walk in the ninth, which was the best pitching line of the day.

As noted by johngordonma, the first sets of PowerRankings are out, from Fox Sports and CBS SportsLine. Bit of a difference of opinion: the former ranks us seventh, with Dayn Perry [sporting a natty new Sedona Red jersey, it seems] callng us "legitimate pennant contenders." However, he calls us "thin on outfielders," which suggests word of Scott Hairston hasn't reached him yet. Over at CBS SportsLine, the word is, "The rotation is much more impressive this year -- almost as impressive as some of their young offensive talent," but they seem more concerned about Quentin than, it appears, the team.

Speaking of which, Quentin took some soft toss, then had 15 swings with Melvin pitching . "Everything went very well," Melvin said. The next step would be regular batting practice, and if all goes well, a minor league game later today. If they reckon he's ready, he could play in Saturday's final exhibition at Chase Field, but if he's not, it'll be minor-league games all the way. That's because they won't count against Quentin, if we want to backdate him on the DL: only games at which admission is charged are considered.

Finally, today's entry in "Players you don't want to piss off" comes to us from Venezuela:

Former major league pitcher Ugueth Urbina was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the attempted murder of five workers on his family's ranch, a local newspaper reported Wednesday... The 31-year-old free agent was accused of joining a group of men in attacking and injuring workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them at his family's ranch.