Today's reading comes from the book of Acts, chapter 20 and verse 35, where we remember the words the Lord Jesus himself said: `It is more blessed to give than to receive.' And when it comes to sound thrashings on the baseball field, there's no denying the truth of those words. Arizona won its first game in more than a week yesterday, despite falling behind by three runs before Juan Gutierrez retired his first Mariner, starting off the game by surrendering four consecutive hits. However, he got run support, with the hitters first making it a one-run game in the second, then taking the lead for good with a five-run fifth.
The Diamondbacks took advantage of some wildness by the Seattle pitchers, who issued ten free passes: Tony Clark, Luke Carlin and Chris Roberson had two each. However, we also pounded out a total of thirteen hits, by eleven different players, including a two-run bomb by Clark: However, I was amused to note that the AP report described it thus: "Tony Clark hit his home run of the spring." Insert appropriate sarcastic comment there. Stephen Drew and Conor Jackson each had two hits and a walk, joining Clark, Carlin and Roberson in reaching safely three times. Good to see the offense picking things up, after a bad few games from them.
After Gutierrez settled down, retiring the last six batters he faced to end, Tony Peña made his first appearance since returning from the WBC, with an unearned run in the third [Arizona made three errors, from Justin Upton, Ryan Roberts and Trent Oeltjen]. Doug Slaten had a scoreless fourth, but the most impressive performance was from Billy Buckner, who had two innings of no-hit ball, and is certainly making his case for a bullpen spot. Not that he'll see me saying so, as he said, "I don't read anything. I stay off the Web sites. I don't want to hear good or bad. All I can control is throwing strikes." Keep up the goo...oh, never mind... Bobby Korecky had a poor eighth - it's clearer with each appearance - now eight hits and three walks in four spring innings - why he was dumped by the Twins. Jon Coutlangus had a scoreless ninth. No, I've got nothing more. I just wanted to type "Coutlangus."
Eric Byrnes and Doug Davis, though neither played, both had hopeful results from their workouts on Friday. Bob Melvin said Byrnes is "getting better every day. It's by the far the best I have seen him run. If all goes well, he will take [Saturday] off, get him in a Minor League game on Sunday and have him back with us Monday or Tuesday." The prognosis was almost as optimistic for Davis, who will throw again Sunday, and is tentatively scheduled for 40 pitches on Wednesday against the Brewers. Barring any more road-bumps, he will then still be on track for the Opening Day roster. Nick Piecoro says Max Scherzer is scheduled to make his spring debut on Tuesday, so we'll finally have all five members of the rotation getting work next week.
This afternoon's game against the Royals in Surprise will be on the radio, so call this an informal Game Day Thread if anyone should be about. Here's the projected Arizona line-up, courtesy of Steve Gilbert:
- Oeltjen LF
- Young CF
- Drew SS
- Tracy 3B
- Clark 1B
- Whitesell DH
- Snyder C
- Wilson 2B
- Watson RF
Jon Garland gets the start. with former D-back Juan Cruz scheduled to pitch against his team for the first time since signing with the Royals. We appreciate the draft picks, Juan. Gilbert reports elsehwere in his blog, that despite his spring struggles, Doug Slaten could still get a spot in the bullpen as another lefty behind Scott Schoeneweis. Melvin said, "If you do have a second lefty than you really can tag [Schoeneweis] for a certain situation late in the game. If you don't, it's tough to just pitch him to one left-hander if he's your only guy." However, if your other southpaw isn't getting people out... So far, Slaten has thrown four innings, and allowed seven hits, four walks and five earned runs. Nice bit on Schoeneweis here, and how his success is because he has no fear on throwing down and in to left-handed batters.
Finally, some more reassignments have taken place, pitchers Hector Ambriz, Tony Barnette, Brooks Brown, and catcher Ed Easley, being sent down. Brown struggled (2.2 IP, 6 ER), but both Ambriz (four scoreless innings) and Barnette (5.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) did well in their time with us, so we'll see them in spring training next season, I expect. With that, back to the WBC!