When Al Pedrique left his post as manager of the Triple-A Tucson
Sidewinders to become third base coach for the Diamondbacks this season, he
did so with a bittersweet attitude because he loved the ability he had to
teach and manage young prospects and send them on their way to a career in the
Little did he know he'd get the same opportunity a little more
than three months into the season.
Pedrique, 43, replaced the fired Bob Brenly as Diamondbacks
manager on Friday (July 2), and he inherits a team stocked full of prospects
he tutored last season in Tucson. More than two-thirds of Arizona's roster was
made up of players with less than three full years of major league experience.
"I have mixed feelings about the whole situation," said
Pedrique, who brings eight years of minor league managing experience with him
to the job. "As much as I wanted to be a manager in the major leagues, it
never crossed my mind that it would be like this.
"I'll do the best I can to prove to the organization that I
can bring a lot to the table, and hopefully everything will work out and be
positive for the future."
In addition to Brenly, pitching coach Chuck Kniffin also was
relieved of his duties and bench coach Robin Yount resigned out of respect for
Brenly, a close friend. Kniffin was replaced by bullpen coach Mark Davis.
Yount's position was filled by Lorenzo Bundy, the former hitting coach at
In other moves, first base coach Glenn Sherlock replaces Pedrique
as third base coach, Tommy Jones, the club's director of player development,
is the new first base coach, and Dennis Lewallyn, the organization's roving
minor league pitching instructor, will serve as the new bullpen coach.
"I have a lot of confidence in my players and the coaching
staff," Pedrique said. "... I think we have the personnel to play
--One of Al Pedrique's toughest first tasks as the Diamondbacks'
new manager was to walk out to the mound in the ninth inning to meet with
and see if the left-hander was capable of finishing a complete
game Sunday (July 4) against Minnesota. Johnson wasn't going to give up
the ball -- not until afterward, when he presented it to Pedrique to
commemorate the rookie manager's first major league victory. "That means
a lot. A future Hall of Famer, the way Randy is, for him to remember that was
my first major league victory means a lot to me," Pedrique said, adding,
"He's a true professional."
--LHP Randy Johnson, who reached the 4,000-strikeout milestone on
June 29 with eight Ks against San Diego, could reach another milestone moment
against the Padres at the end of the season. He's on pace to surpass Steve
Carlton as No. 3 on the all-time strikeout list when the Diamondbacks meet the
Padres Oct. 1-3 at Bank One Ballpark. Carlton retired with 4,137 strikeouts,
the most of any left-hander.
--The Diamondbacks dug up the pitching rubber from the mound at
Bank One Ballpark and presented it to Randy Johnson on the night he struck out
eight Padres to reach the 4,000-strikeout milestone.
BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Consecutive losses by the Diamondbacks to
American League teams until Arizona beat the Minnesota Twins
on Sunday (July
4) behind the pitching of Randy Johnson.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This year has been the perfect storm in
combination of debilitating injuries, under-performance, bad luck, anything
you want to throw in there. Maybe any one of which we could have survived. But
when you combine them all, we are where we are." --Diamondbacks general
manager Joe Garagiola Jr., after the firing of manager Bob Brenly.
New manager Al Pedrique has made at least a couple of significant
changes in electing to use veteran Roberto Alomar more regularly at second
base ahead of rookie Scott Hairston, who was handed the starting job by former
manager Bob Brenley, and in re-inserting Alex Cintron
as the everyday starter
at shortstop ahead of rookie Tim Olson, who clearly was going to get more time
there under Brenley.
PITCHING TRENDS: Arizona can't find a No. 5 starter. Two days
after veteran right-hander Shane Reynolds finally made his Diamondbacks debut
-- and it was a stinker -- he landed back on the disabled list, this time with
a knee problem that required arthroscopic surgery. The Diamondbacks reached
back into the bullpen to let Andrew Good make his second start of the season,
and he got rocked just as badly as Reynolds did. The club also has used Casey Daigle
and Edgar Gonzalez
in the No. 5 spot, but neither could hold down the
job. It appears it will remain a revolving-door operation unless a trade
brings in more starting pitching help.
PITCHERS TO WATCH:
--LHP Randy Johnson might be on his way out of town, depending on
which rumor you believe. The Yankees are interested in obtaining him for the
stretch run, and if it's true, Arizona fans and National League fans alike had
better savor every chance they get to watch the Big Unit pitch.
--RHP Elmer Dessens
could make a case to be re-inserted into the
starting rotation; his work out of the bullpen has been getting more solid by
the outing. At issue, however, remains his penchant for getting roughed up
after four or five innings.
--RHP Mike Koplove
took over the closing duties for the injured
(shoulder tendinitis) and therefore became the fourth different
closer this club has used this season, following Matt Mantei, Scott Service
LINEUP LOWDOWN: With the recent signing and recall of veteran OF
Quinton McCracken, it appears the Diamondbacks won't be afraid to pull the
trigger on a deal involving either CF Steve Finley
or RF Danny Bautista
be surprised if Arizona still moves 2B Roberto Alomar, who all but asked for a
trade last month after he was benched by former manager Bob Brenly. Now that
he's getting more playing time from new skipper Al Pedrique, anything is
POSITION PLAYERS TO WATCH:
--C Robby Hammock has become Randy Johnson's personal catcher,
but other than that, he's getting almost zero playing time. If Johnson gets
dealt, Hammock's importance becomes even less and the Diamondbacks clearly
will be looking for a starting catcher in a trade.
--SS Alex Cintron has been pressing in recent weeks, and it was
about to cost him his starting job until manager Bob Brenly got fired. New
skipper Al Pedrique has said he will stick with Cintron for the rest of the
season, which could help settle down the second-year pro.
--INF Tim Olson has been a pleasant surprise in the field and at
the plate and will get spot-starting assignments wherever and whenever
possible at second base, shortstop and third base. He can also play the
MEDICAL WATCH: INF Carlos Baerga
(left calf strain) was getting
closer to participating in full baseball drills and was eyeing a return by
Friday or Saturday (July 9 or 10). INF Greg Colbrunn
underwent surgery on his
right wrist for the third time in a year and hoped to return in September. 2B
underwent surgery to repair a slightly torn labrum in his left
shoulder and, like injured 1B Richie Sexson
, is thought to be done for the
year. RHP Shane Reynolds is back on the disabled list after undergoing
arthroscopic knee surgery.