***Yes, it’s April Fool’s Day, but Casey Daigle isn’t laughing. Daigle started
the Spring on the short list of candidates to snag the #5 spot in the
Diamondbacks rotation, but didn’t see many innings with the big league club
this Spring, was cut from the big league roster early, and now has been assigned
to the Double-A Tennessee Smokies. A
source with the Diamondbacks has characterized the assignment as a ‘motivational
tool,’ but it rumors have persisted around the Diamondbacks that manager Bob Melvin was displeased with Daigle’s shape coming into camp as well as his work
ethic during camp, and this decision was a wake up call for the young righty.
***There were quite a few questions
answered during the Diamondbacks exhibition game against the Red Sox last
night, and quite a few that were unanswered.
Is Russ Ortiz worth his monstrous contract? Let’s be kind and say that one wasn’t
answered after Ortiz gave up walked four, gave up four hits, and six earned
runs in 1/3 of an inning of work. One
was definitely answered when Troy Glaus went 2-3 with two homers and five
RBI. So for now the Diamondbacks are one
for two in their big offseason pickups.
***Marland Williams will join Daigle
at Double-A Tennessee, and while it doesn’t come as a huge surprise, there was
some speculation that he would start the year at Triple-A Tucson, but a Spring
which saw Williams continue to have trouble making contact consistently has him
heading back to Double-A where he will start between Jon Zeringue and Jarred Ball in the Smokies’ outfield.
***Russ Ortiz has won more games
than any other National League pitcher since the All-Star Break in 2000. He joins Brandon Webb in a rotation that
features three pitchers who walked more than 100 hitters last season.
***How happy is Triple-A Manager
Chip Hale going to be at the start of the season? His potential lineup could be:
1—CF Marland Williams
2—2B Scott Hairston
3—SS Sergio Santos
4—RF Carlos Quentin
5—1B Conor Jackson
6—LF Josh Kroeger
7—C Craig Ansman
8—3B Brian Barden
Whoa. That’s a whole lotta thunder, and the Pacific
Coast League should be afraid, very afraid.
Want more? Okay, let’s move Santos over to third and
insert Jerry Gil at short. Now let’s say
Kroeger plays a little center, Williams gets a rest, Hairston moves to left,
and you could see scrapper Steve Garrabrants.
This is fun! Maybe Jackson logs more time in
left and Kyle Nichols is launching bombs over at 1st base. And remember, Kelly Stinnett is there to give
Ansman a day off here and there, where he will likely be old enough to be
several of the player’s, and at least one coach’s grandparents.
***Ramon Pena, aka Tony Pena, aka
Adriano Rosario, entered the Spring as the dark horse for the #5 spot in the
rotation, and will head back to Double-A Tennessee to work on some things,
namely throwing pitches other than his fastball. Still, he impressed coaches, one of whom
called Pena “the real deal, watch for him next year, he could be our #3.”
***It might not have been the shock of the century, but it certainly wasn't
expected when Bob Melvin made the call that both Chris Snyder and Koyie Hill
will start the season with the big league club. It had been assumed that
only one of the still-eligible-for-Rookie of the Year players would open the
season with the club and veteran Kelly Stinnett would back them up. Now
the only question is which will be the everyday starter. With the
dislocated thumb Snyder suffered, it seems likely that at least for a little
while the job is Hill's.
***Scott Hairston was cut from the big league roster, leaving many to
speculate that the veteran bullpen presence Melvin's been looking for all
Spring could come via a trade for Hairston, who has performed well this Spring,
but simply has no place to play on the D'Backs. A young, able bat like
Hairston's is valued by virtually everyone, except of course the Diamondbacks.
***At the moment the Diamondbacks have had more ticket requests for the two
exhibition games against the World Champion Boston Red Sox than any official
game except opening day.
***A source tells FutureBacks.com that Conor Jackson has been offered a
small role in a baseball movie currently in pre-production and scheduled to
shoot in Arizona.
father is an accomplished actor, and he studied acting in college. No
word yet on whether he will accept the role.
***With the cuts made the roster now stands at 31, but there is really only
one decision left to be made, Brad Halsey or Michael Gosling for the #5 spot in
***At the end of last season it seemed the only player whose 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