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Snake Bytes, 6/15: Win scratched out over Tigers

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Another squeaker, but the W’s the thing, as Arizona take both games in Detroit.

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Recaps

[AP] Taijuan Walker returns from DL, D-backs beat Tigers - Arizona scored two runs in the first inning, and that turned out to be all the Diamondbacks needed. Walker (5-3) allowed a run and six hits in his first appearance since May 19 . He had been out because of a blister on his right index finger. “I thought Taijuan was very good,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “First day back, it was all very encouraging. He got to the pitch count that we wanted him to get to, and gave us five really, really good innings, and the rest of the guys picked it up from there.”

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' Fernando Rodney mows down Tigers for another save - “I feel good,” Rodney said. “Good command, hit the location and keep the fastball down. I’m making good pitches.” When reminded of how efficient his saves have been compared to his high-wire reputation, he smiled. This is what happens when he feels as good as he does, he said. “Sometimes you feel great and you’re able to finish the game quickly,” Rodney said. “Sometimes there’s more emotion at the end of the game. But I’m prepared for that situation, too. I know how to pick my head up and come back and finish the work.”

[MLB.com] Walker strong in return as D-backs nip Tigers - "We're winning one-run games on the road, and I think that's what teams do when they play into the end of the season and have meaningful games. We're doing a lot of things right. I'm very pleased with that. We came in here yesterday and won a tough game. We did it a little backwards yesterday, I know, but we won a one-run ballgame today, 2-1, against a very good offensive team." -- Lovullo, on the importance of starting off a road trip on the right foot

Team news

[FOX Sports] D-backs thriving under Lovullo's 'loving' approach - Reliever Archie Bradley used Lovullo’s own words to describe why the players trust him so much. “He said this to me so this is a direct quote from him,” Bradley said. ‘”I’ll never forget how hard the game is.'” Bradley pointed to the way his transfer from starter to the bullpen was handled. “It was huge, just the communication, explaining the role I was in, how it was going to play out, how it shifted and just everything,” Bradley said. “He’s been up front. I’ve been in the loop from the get-go.”

[Arizona Sports] Approach change has Drury becoming dangerous hitter for Diamondbacks - All it took was an off day in June and time in the batting cage for Brandon Drury to turn around his season. Through the first 51 games of the season he wasn’t feeling himself. Because of this, Drury wanted to perfect his craft and hit the batting cage with Diamondbacks’ assistant hitting coach Tim Laker where he decided to change his entire approach to hitting. “I was just concerned at trying to get base hits,” Drury said of his approach before. “So from here on out for the rest of the season I’m just going to sell out and drive the baseball and get good pitches to hit and I’m going to be dangerous. I’m not going to just try and slap base hits anymore.”

[AZ Central] Gregor Blanco has been early spark for Diamondbacks - Blanco is 6 for 16 (.375) with two doubles, a home run and a walk in his first at-bat of a game when he’s the leadoff hitter. “I think he walks up, and he’s ready,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “These guys do a lot in their pregame preparation that heats up their body and lets them step up there ready to set the tone... One of the things that I ask is that these guys are ready to play in the first inning. Sometimes it doesn’t look like it, everybody has their moments, but by and large we get up in the first inning and are ready to do some damage. I know Gregor has done a great job setting the table for that.”

[Fanrag] AJ Pollock’s toughest assignment is throttling down - Lovullo has had conversations with Pollock about occasionally, very occasionally, throttling down when he gets back on the field. As team-first as Pollock is, he is having a little trouble with the concept. “I know where he is coming from,” Pollock said. “He wants me to be healthy. I’m on the same page as him. I want to be healthy, too. There’s some stuff in the game, when you are busting it, it is kind of eyewash. But you are busting it for your teammates. I always felt it sends a message you are here to play. You don’t have that many opportunities to go all out in baseball, and if I get a chance I always like to go full speed.”

[MLB.com] Dan Swain is D-backs' Cory Hahn 34th Pick - Siena College center fielder Dan Swain was selected by the D-backs with the "Cory Hahn 34th Pick" on Wednesday during the final day of the 2017 MLB Draft. Hahn was a freshman baseball player at Arizona State who had his career cut short on Feb. 20, 2011, when he fractured the C5 vertebrae in his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down while sliding headfirst into second on a stolen-base attempt. Hahn wore No. 34 with Arizona State, and the D-backs made him their 34th-round pick in 2013. Once he graduated in '14, the organization hired him to work in its baseball-operations department and it named the pick after him prior to the 2015 Draft.

And, elsewhere...

[Yahoo] Memo: MLB players can use nicknames on back of jersey, wear bright-colored shoes during 'Players Weekend' - MLB will relax its uniform rules for a weekend later this season, allowing players to put nicknames on the back of their jerseys, wear fluorescent-colored shoes and personalize a patch paying tribute to someone instrumental in their development, according to a memo obtained by Yahoo Sports. The event, called Players Weekend, is planned for Aug. 25-27 and was negotiated between the league and MLB Players Association.

[SI] Aaron Judge is having one of the best rookie seasons in history - It’s not a stretch to say that, at this point of the season, the greatest rookie year of all-time is within Judge’s reach. He’s on pace for 56 homers and 127 RBI, rounded to the nearest whole number. He could lose 122 points off his current 1.168 OPS and still finish with the highest OPS ever for a rookie. There may still be about four months of this regular season remaining, but it’s time to start thinking about Judge’s rookie year in its proper historical context.

[FOX Sports] Yasiel Puig suspended by MLB for obscene gesture vs. Indians - [Stay classy, Yasiel..]. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been suspended one game by the MLB for making an obscene gesture towards Indians fans during Tuesday night’s game in Cleveland. Puig, who crushed a two-run homer off of Indians starter Trevor Bauer in the second inning of the series opener, appeared to complete his home run trot with a double middle-finger salute towards Tribe fans as he crossed home plate.