***At the end of last season it seemed the only player who's job was safe was
Chad Tracy. After being selected to the All-Rookie team Tracy seemed like
as close to a cornerstone as the Diamondbacks could boast. Then Troy Glaus
was signed, but Richie Sexson and Shea Hillenbrand weren't, so Tracy moved to
first. With the emergence of Conor Jackson and his move from left to first
there was speculation last year's cornerstone might be this year's bench
bat. Mark Grace has been working with Tracy this Spring, even going so far
as to say Tracy will one day be a better hitter and fielder than he was.
***Maybe it was the strained biceps tendon, or simply rust after missing most
of last year to injury, but Jose Valverde may just have pitched himself off the
big league roster this Spring. Coaches are quietly happy about Manager Bob Melvin's decision to keep Oscar Villarreal in the bullpen, as he will fill
Valverde's spot as the primary set up guy for Greg Aquino.
***Speaking of Aquino, the young closer took longer than expected to recover
from an elbow strain, but had a solid outing Sunday, throwing a perfect 1-2-3
frame with a strikeout mixed in, allowing many in the Diamondbacks front office
to exhale for the first time since March 5th when the injury was diagnosed.
***It is still a long way from happening, but Sergio Santos is making it
difficult for the Diamondbacks to send him down. He's hitting .275 and
slugging .500 this Spring, unfortunately for him the man signed to play short
for one more year while Santos recovers fully from shoulder surgery that ended
Santos' 2004 early, Royce Clayton, is hitting over .300 and making more
consistent contact, which is key since Melvin has indicated Clayton will likely
hit in the #2 spot in the batting order.