Vazquez was upfront and honest
about all those scenarios upon being introduced to the Arizona media for the
first time since being acquired from the Yankees in the Randy Johnson trade.
But he also said he's willing to give the Diamondbacks a try.
"I feel pretty good about being here," said Vazquez,
who, because he was dealt during the middle of a multiyear contract, has the
option of demanding a trade next fall. "They've made some good changes
and I think we're going to have a good season. There was a lot of noise that I
didn't want to play on the West Coast, but I'd prefer to play on a good team
and a winning team on the West Coast than a losing team on the East
That being said, however, Vazquez added that it's important to
him and his wife to be able to make occasional trips back to Puerto Rico, and
that could come into play if he decides to exercise his trade options.
"I can't say if I'm going to ask for a trade or not,"
Vazquez said. "I know that's an option I have, but I can't tell you right
now what it's going to take. I might play in Phoenix and I might love
Vazquez said he thinks he's ironed out the problems in his
mechanics that caused his second-half swoon last season in New York, which
included serving up a grand slam in relief to Boston's Johnny Damon in Game 7
of the ALCS.
"Instead of staying on top of the ball, I was pushing the
ball," said Vazquez, who went 14-9 with a 4.75 ERA with the Yankees.
"I had a low arm angle. I think that had a lot to do with the movement on
my pitches and the action that my pitches had."
As for the trade that brought him to the desert, Vazquez said he
wished it could have worked out differently on a number of fronts. He said he
called Yankees GM Brian Cashman after the deal to discuss his views on his
one-year stay in the Bronx.
"I told him I didn't want to get traded because I didn't
want it to end the way it ended in New York," Vazquez said. "I
wanted to go back there and show everybody I'm a better pitcher than I was in
the second half. But it didn't work out and now I'm here and I want to show
everybody that I'm better than I was last year."
WHERE, WHEN: Tucson Electric Park, Tucson, Ariz. First exhibition
game is March 3 against Chicago White Sox.
WHO'S IN CHARGE: Manager Bob Melvin, first year, 156-168 during
last two seasons as Seattle Mariners manager, returns to Arizona, where he was
bench coach from 2001-02; pitching coach Mark Davis, hitting coach Mike Aldrete, bench coach Jay Bell, third-base coach Carlos Tosca, first base coach
Brett Butler, bullpen coach Chuck Kniffin.
TOP CANDIDATE TO SURPRISE: 1B Chad Tracy finished ranked in the
Top 10 in 10 different offensive categories among all rookies last season and
should benefit greatly if he his sixth in the lineup behind sluggers Luis Gonzalez, Troy Glaus and Shawn Green. Tracy is a solid contact hitter who bats
for average and sprays the ball to all three fields, and manager Bob Melvin
thinks Tracy could shine as bright as anyone in the D-backs' revamped lineup.
The signing of backup 1B Tony Clark should take some pressure off Tracy and
also push him a bit at the same time.
TOP CANDIDATE TO DISAPPOINT: 2B Craig Counsell entered spring training
with the keys to the starting job even though he may be better served as a
super-utility player coming off the bench. He can be a clutch performer but
needs to prove he can still be productive on a daily basis if it means keeping
two younger second basemen, Matt Kata and Alex Cintron, on the bench.
--LF Luis Gonzalez reported early to camp and showed no signs of
pain or discomfort in his surgically repaired right elbow. Gonzalez underwent
Tommy John surgery on Aug. 2 and won't play a full slate of Cactus League
games. "I think it's more of remembering that my goal is to be 100
percent for Opening Day," Gonzalez said. "The goal isn't to be 100
percent here; it's to be ready for Opening Day."
--RHP Brandon Lyon has recovered from ulnar nerve transposition
surgery and will compete for a spot in the bullpen after missing all of last
"His ball's got a lot of movement to it," manager Bob
Melvin said. "I've talked to a lot of people who think he's going to be a
--RHPs Ramon Pena (visa problems) and Jose Jimenez (personal
matter) were the only no-shows when pitchers and catchers reported, but both
were expected to arrive after missing only a few days.
--LHP Brad Murray, 26, was acquired from the White Sox as the
player to be named later in the Roberto Alomar trade and will report to minor
league camp March 7.
BY THE NUMBERS: 83 -- Quality starts by Javier Vazquez from
2000-03, the most of any pitcher in the majors during that span.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Going stealthy is a better way to go. You
can sneak up on some people that way. But once we get on the field and start
playing games, I don't foresee us sneaking up on people. They'll know about
us. People can pick us to finish wherever they want. The games are played on
the field, not in a boardroom or a newsroom." -- Third baseman Troy Glaus
on the 2005 season.