As noted in the diary on the right, it seems we'll be facing our worst nightmare today: an apparently rejuvenated Huge Manatee, who pitched three perfect innings in his spring debut. Let us pray that this was a mirage - perhaps some kind of Fata Morgana, as they call it - and the real Ortiz shows up today, waddling to the mound to deliver batting practice. I'm not a religious man, but will be serving up a small prayer around 1pm today to the baseball gods. Can't do any harm. :-) We'll take the diary as the GameDay thread for the event, and hopefully I can find a semi-live boxscore somewhere.
Two games for the Diamondbacks on Sunday, with the highlight being the 6-3 triple play turned by Drew and Clark in the second inning of the opener against Seattle - with all the retired batters were called Michael! Runners on first and second, Michael Garciaparra lined a pitch from EdGon to our shortstop - that's one. He stepped on second base, retiring Michael Morse - that's two. And then, noticing the man of first had strayed too far off base, he threw to Clark who got Michael Wilson - inning over. That bailed Gonzalez out of a nasty spot, having opened the inning with three straight hits.
Triple-plays are probably more common than you think - a total of 127 during regular-season games in the past thirty seasons, with as many as eleven in one year (1979). There have been 32 such since the Diamondbacks came into being, but only one involved us: that came on May 31, 2000 at BOB. Mark McGwire was the batter for St. Louis, and hit and 0-2 fly to center; it was caught by Steve Finley, who went home, where catcher Damian Miller nailed the runner from third, Placido Polanco. And Miller then threw to SS Tony Womack, who put out Edgar Renteria, trying to advance from second.
That ended EdGon's day (four hits but only one run in his two innings), and buoyed by that, we kept the Mariners off the board from then until the eighth inning. Owings looked good, striking out three in his two scoreless innings, lefty Greg Smith went one better, following with two hitless frames, and Tony Pena posted a zero in the seventh, though did allow a run in the eighth. One slightly worrying note: Doug Slaten endured another wobbly outing, giving up two hits, two walks, and two runs.
We were outhit by Seattle, 10-9, but did a better job of converting those into runs, partly because the Mariners were held to one extra-base hit, a double. We had four, including a home-run for Krynzel. Drew went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, and Ojeda had a two-run double in the sixth. Clark reached safely all three times he came to the plate, on a double and two walks. However, Quentin went 0-for-3 in right, leaving five men on base.
Much less success in the night-cap, where the Rockies clubbed the D-backs, 14-7, in a mistake-strewn game where the teams combined for six errors and nine unearned runs. Nippert got the start, allowing two hits and two run in two innings, walking one and striking out two, but neither run was earned. The wheels really fell off Bass in the third: it's not often a pitcher strikes out the side around nine hits, but he managed it, as the Rockies plated eight times. Elliott allowed three more in the fourth, and Shappi, Daigle and Pequero were subsequently reduced to mopping up, the trio combining for one run on four hits and three walks over the last five frames.
Chris Young batted leadoff for Arizona, and got two hits, in a very rookie-ful starting lineup - Hairston (26) was the only player older than 25. Jackson and Montero both went 2-for-3, while Hairston had three RBI, including a two-run homer as part of a fourth-inning where Arizona scored five times. However, as we entered our at-bats there 13-2 down, it was more of a stab at respectability than anything meaningful.
Jeff DaVanon may not be ready for the start of the season, as has been suspected here in the past. He's yet to appear in a game, and Bob Melvin believes time is running out. "We're not certain when he can get into a game,. Swinging right-handed, he's fine. Left-handed, he's OK some days. As far as running, he has trouble making cuts. Until he can do all those things pain-free, I don't know when he'll play." If he has to start the season on the DL, that would lock Hairston in as the fourth outfielder, and Dave Krynzel might be the beneficiary or the extra spot.
A kinder, gentler Randy, helping our youngsters develop? This was something suggested in a previous diary, by tjturlock, and it seems to have some basis in fact. The Republic reports that, "If any of the Diamondbacks' young pitchers are seeking enlightenment to better their careers, he wants to help if he can." He wants to follow in the footsteps of Jay Bell, and become a part-time coach when he finished playing for the team.
There's also a piece on Byrnes, already noted by johngordonma in the comments yesterday. It's pretty much the usual stuff, about his impending free-agency, hair-style and adrenaline-driven approach to everything. But I found myself genuinely baffled by the word "copasetic", used by Bob McManaman in the middle. In case you're wondering, like I was, it apparently means "completely satisfactory". Never say this site isn't educational...