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Diamondbacks 11, Sultanes 4: Free Brandon Allen!

[Headline per request from Nick Piecoro!] The Diamondbacks cruised to any easy victory over their Mexican visitors, in front of an announced crowd of 13,436 at Chase Field tonight. Ryan Roberts hit a grand-slam in the first inning, and Brandon Allen also homered, but there was differing news for our two infielders after the game. As largely expected, Roberts has made the roster, but Allen will start the season at Triple-A Reno. For two more established members, the news was also mixed tonight: shortstop Stephen Drew saw his MRI come back negative, but J.J. Putz had a "so-so" outing in the ninth.

One more exhibition game tomorrow afternoon, then it's off to Colorado for Opening Day on Friday.

Getting the start for the DIamondbacks was Charles Brewer, who was the 12th-round pick for Arizona in 2009. The former Chaparral High student spent 2010 in two levels of A-ball, and impressed there with a 2.45 ERA in 27 starts, striking out just over a batter per inning. He was impressive tonight, retiring the first 14 Sultanes batters faced, but he just couldn't quite get the fifteenth out. That took him five attempts, four hits, three earned runs, two homers and, finally, a ground-out to second-base. Still, three runs in five innings, on four hits, with no walks and five strikeouts isn't a bad night's work for someone yet to pitch in Double-A. 

Kam Mickolio, David Hernandez and Juan Gutierrez bridged the next three innings. Mickolio was the only one of the trio to allow a hit, albeit a harmless two-out single. He is fighting it out with Esmerling Vasquez for the final spot, both in the bullpen and the roster, and that decision will be announced tomorrow. Hernandez stuck to fastballs (touching 95 mph) and curveballs to strike out the side in the seventh, and Gutierrez had an easy 1-2-3 inning, on what looks like five pitches.

There was a rare J.J.Putz sighting in the ninth. Our closer had managed just 1.1 innings in the Cactus League, and by most accounts, didn't exactly look awe-inspiring this evening, despite eventually striking out the side. After getting the first two to go down swinging, he hit a batter, walked another, and then gave up an RBI single, before finishing the game with another K, this one on a foul tip. Nick P reckoned Putz was getting "No swings and misses with [his] secondary stuff," and that throwing 91 mph fastballs past batters will probably work better against Mexican League hitters than facing the Rockies.

For our hitters, Justin Upton and Chris Young each had two hits and drove in two runs, while Henry Blanco had a hit and drew a pair of walks. Melvin Mora, Roberts and Brandon Allen each had a hit and a walk. But it wasn't enough to save Allen: as often is the case, the dreaded options came into play, which mean he can be sent down to Reno without Arizona running the risk of losing him to another team. Juan Miranda is thus likely anointed as Arizona's starting first-baseman for Friday.

Roberts takes the final spot over Tony Abreu, but the team might wonder about the wisdom of that decision, as Stephen Drew's abdominal strain refuses to go away after almost two weeks. He underwent an MRI; results were back negative, and he is officially "day to day." However, the team really doesn't have an option capable of covering full-time for Drew, if he were to go down, with both Roberts and Willie Bloomquist more "In Case Of Emergency, Break Glass" replacements at the position. Maybe Abreu will clear waivers, and we can then get him back - though if I were an NL West team, I'd consider taking him, just to screw with us. Well, if we were any kind of threat...