John Hester only got 11 at-bats this spring and collected just one hit during that time. Last season, Hester batted just .211 in 95 at-bats with the Diamondbacks, but a sterling .370 in 138 at-bats with the Reno Aces.
The move was likely made to free up a roster spot for first baseman Russell Branyan. Branyan can elect to become a free agent if he is not added to the major league roster by March 25. Upon making the major league squad, Branyan's contract will escalate to a $1 million deal. The big first baseman has been among the D-backs' best hitters this spring, batting .436 with three homers in 39 at-bats. Importantly, he has only whiffed five times in that span.
"Russell's been swinging the bat great," general manager Kevin Towers said. "Offensively, he's been real, real good."
The Arizona Diamondbacks also announced that they have optioned catcher Konrad Schmidt to Triple-A Reno and reassigned right-handed pitchers Micah Owings and Brian Sweeney plus outfielder Wily Mo Pena to minor league camp. The only real surprise of the group is Pena, who had hit a robust .341 with three homers in 18 spring games.
The D-backs' now have 35 players in major league camp, including 31 on the 40-man roster and four non-roster players.
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