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Snake Bytes, 6/22: Getting the point

How was your weekend? I got a haircut. So that was nice.

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Team news

[The Athletic] Hello, DH? Ranking Arizona’s designated hitter options if baseball returns
- 1. Jake Lamb. Lamb is the established big leaguer most in need of additional at-bats, although this would not be a full-time assignment for the left-handed slugger. Nor should it be. Lamb plays third and first and would still see some time at those positions, either to spell Eduardo Escobar and Christian Walker with off days or to allow either of those hitters to move into the DH slot themselves. If Lamb were defensively limited — and more of a sure thing offensively — perhaps manager Torey Lovullo would write him into the lineup at DH every day. But odds are Lovullo will use the extra hitter to get Lamb more time while also rotating his on-field regulars through DH duties to keep them fresh.

[The Chronicle] 'Still a lot of work': Bryce Jarvis looks to make a name for himself at the next level - The 22-year-old has an in-depth understanding of next generation pitching technology, such as Rapsodo, and has learned how to tinker with every one of his pitches to make them most effective. He now has big-league velocity on his fastball and four pitches that he can flip into the zone on command. The biggest factor slowing Jarvis’ ascent into the majors is merely the fact that he is a starting pitcher. Oftentimes starting pitchers get a taste of major league life coming out of the bullpen for a spell, but Duke head coach Chris Pollard stated that the Diamondbacks have every intention of using Jarvis as a starter.

[Arizona Sports] Former D-backs Adam Jones, Gerardo Parra debut in Japan baseball - Former Diamondbacks Adam Jones and Gerardo Parra debuted in the Japan Nippon Professional Baseball league and both shined in the spotlight. Jones played for the Diamondbacks last year after signing a one-year, $3 million contract. This offseason, he accepted a two-year, $8 million offer from the Orix Buffaloes. Parra played for the Washington Nationals last season. While he wasn’t consistent at the plate, he helped turn around the culture in the dugout with his “Baby Shark” walk-up anthem and won the World Series. This offseason, Parra signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Yomiuri Giants.

[] Diamondbacks minor leaguer working out, mentoring Billings Scarlets - While all baseball players and fans would love to see the Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball seasons begin, Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Michel Gelabert is still staying close to the game. When play was suspended, Gelabert returned home to Billings where he resides in the offseason with his wife Sarah, who is from the Magic City. In an effort to stay close to the game and keep his skills sharp, Gelabert has been working out with the Class AA American Legion baseball Billings Scarlets. “I knew (Scarlets coach) Adam (Hust) before because I was practicing at Triple Play Academy and he said I could come over and practice with the boys and help them,” said Gelabert.

[Forbes] BIJOU And Party Favor Release Their First Collaboration, ‘Whoa’ - “WHOA” is the lead single from Dorman’s forthcoming album, Diamond City, which will be released on his label DND RECS. “Diamond City is kind of what I coined Phoenix as because we have the Arizona Diamondbacks, but it also ties into my name because bijou in French is a fine jewel,” he adds. “So I wanted to implement that aspect of it into my hometown, because it’s something I take pride in.” Dorman’s mention of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team is more than just a nod to his favorite sport—he used to be a professional baseball player for the Scottsdale Sentinels and Goodyear Sentinels teams. His pitching career had to come to an end, though, because of multiple arm injuries.

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Sources -- MLBPA postpones vote as talks continue with league - Players have reversed course -- again -- deciding not to vote on Sunday on the league's 60-game proposal, as commissioner Rob Manfred made late tweaks to the offer, sources told ESPN's Jesse Rogers. Manfred sent a letter to MLBPA executive director Tony Clark offering to cancel expanded playoffs and the universal designated hitter for 2021 if a full season isn't played in 2020, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan. On Saturday, the union's executive board met and the players planned to delay voting on the proposal until they collected data on coronavirus testing after several outbreaks at training facilities and in major league cities, sources told ESPN. But on Sunday morning, the players intended to vote, sources said, before reversing course again after Manfred's letter.

[NY Post] How MLB’s coronavirus shutdown is affecting prospects’ development - The trend, in the rapidly evolving world of professional baseball, has been to nudge hitters away from honing their craft on a tee. To use pitching machines instead. A pandemic, it turns out, can moderate a trend rather efficiently. “One of the players reached out and said, ‘Can I hit off a tee?’ We said, ‘Yeah, dude!’ ” Kevin Reese, the Yankees’ senior director of player development, said recently in a telephone interview. “ ‘Ted Williams used to pick up pebbles and hit them with a broomstick. That may be all we have access to, but if it helps you work on your hand-eye coordination, awesome.’”

[] Speed limit? Baseball's slowest pitches - Velocity is everywhere in modern baseball, fostered in the amateur ranks, enhanced through high-speed cameras and advanced training techniques and flashed on scoreboard graphics after every pitch. But let’s never forget how silly a little change of pace can make a hitter look. Slower-than-slow pitches have given some moundsmen 15 minutes of fame, and they’ve extended the careers of others. Let’s take a look back at the slo-mo pitches that would have made Bugs Bunny proud.

Splinter (2008)

Rating: B-

Dir: Toby Wilkins
Star: Shea Whigham, Jill Wagner, Paolo Costanzo, Rachel Kerbs

Seth (Costanzo) and Polly (Wagner) are intending to have a nice weekend camping in the country. It doesn’t go quite as planned. In increasing order of catastrophic intensity, they experience the following. Their tent breaks. Their car is hijacked by escaping criminal couple, Dennis (Whigham), and Lacey (Krebs). They plough into something on the road, bursting the car’s radiator. And the garage into which the four pull over, has an attendant who was recently infected by a highly malicious and infectious parasite, which is capable of taking over anyone with even the slightest contact.

This, folks, is an excellent example of the reasons why we do not camp. That kind of shit doesn’t happen when you stay in a Holiday Inn.

Prejudice confirmation aside, it offers a briskly energetic tale with a decent, imaginative monster. What we see of the creature outside of its hosts, is basically a series of oily spikes – hence the film’s title. Once it is inside a victim, however, it can warp the flesh in thoroughly unnatural ways. Ways beyond the limits of regular bone and cartilage, not dissimilar to The Thing. And if you sever a piece, it is quite capable of operating independently of the main body. How can you stop a creature like that? Fortunately – or conveniently, if you prefer – Seth is working toward a PhD in biology, so has some ideas, and Polly is a bit of a “firecracker”, as Dennis puts it.

I do wish that we’d got to see more of the monster. Perhaps for budgetary reasons, Wilkins keeps shaking the camera violently, just about every time it’s on screen, making sure the audience rarely gets a good look at it. Instead, the bits most likely to stick in your mind may well be the crunchy body horror as limbs contort as they shouldn’t. Though I’m unsure whether the “enthusiastic amputation by breeze block” scene – an inevitable result of the equally inevitable infection suffered by one character – quite qualifies. It’s a little less… cerebral than the usual Cronenbergian standards.

It was a bit odd watching Wagner battle parasites of indeterminate origin (there an early hint at them being freed by geological exploration). We previously had only seen her interviewing contestants on Wipeout, and this is about as far from that as imaginable. Still, save the odd reaction shot where we imagined inserting an especially rough fail, she and the rest of the cast generally get it done. Though the sequence where a deep-frozen Seth is walking… very… slowly… to a police car felt about as contrived and artificial as a WWE ladder match.

There are no surprises in the final destination, and not many on the road there either. Yet on occasion, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’re here as much for the familiarity of the scenario as its novelty. The innovation present here is instead applied to the monster, and that’s the way it needs to be.