He doesn't have nearly enough plate appearances,
but if he did, the Diamondbacks are convinced pinch-hitter extraordinaire Tony Clark would deserve a trip to the All-Star Game next month in Detroit, where the
6-foot-7 backup first baseman got his start.
"Does he deserve it? Absolutely," manager Bob
Melvin said. "All I can tell you he's had as big an impact on this team as
Clark has been picking up extra at-bats lately
thanks to interleague play, which continues for the Diamondbacks Friday through
Sunday at Jacobs Field against the Cleveland Indians.
Clark was Arizona's designated hitter for all
three games the club played this week in Chicago against the White Sox and will
likely get two more DH assignments and one start at first base this weekend
against the Indians.
"I don't see any reason to take him out of there,"
Clark, who turned 33 on Wednesday, is 43-for-121
and on his birthday, he hit his 11th home run of the season, the second most on
the team behind only Troy Glaus (16). Clark has one more homer than both Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green, who have twice the number of at-bats as Clark --
Gonzalez 244 and Green 242.
"He's been unbelievable, man," Gonzalez said. "If
he had the plate appearances, you could make a case for him going to the
All-Star Game. I mean, just look at his numbers for a guy who doesn't play every
"It would probably be unprecedented, but he's very
deserving," added Green. "I'd take him on my All-Star team any day."
Clark, who with 11 pinch hits and 13 pinch-hit
RBIs, is on track to shatter Arizona single-season records in those categories -
19 hits, 16 RBIs - is taking his first-half success in stride.
"I'm thankful for my health, for the contributions
I've been able to make early on in the year, and for the opportunity to get
them," he said, "but I've been around long enough to know that the results are
something I can't control.
--The G-Force of Luis Gonzalez, Troy Glaus and Shawn Green led the way for the
second straight night on Tuesday as Arizona pinned another loss on the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The trio accounted for two homers and 8 RBIs
one night after they each homered in the same game for the first time all season
and drove in five runs.
Glaus was particularly effective Tuesday, driving
in four runs with a solo homer, his 16th, two RBI singles and a run-scoring
sacrifice fly, just his second of the year.
"The thing that impresses me the most about Troy,
not just the home runs, is driving the ball the other way with runners in
scoring position, taking RBIs where they come and not leaving any opportunities
out there," Diamondbacks shortstop Royce Clayton said.
Green, who also hit a homer, his ninth and his
fifth in a week, said Arizona is starting to rediscover its groove after a
recent slide in which it went 3-9.
"They're one of the best teams in baseball," he
said of the White Sox, "so to win the first two games of the series is big.
We're in a pennant race just like they are, so we're going to come back out and
try to win tomorrow, too."
--By taking the series with the White Sox, the
Diamondbacks recorded their first series victory in six opportunities -- their
first since winning two of three at Detroit on May 22.
--Manager Bob Melvin said he would like to see
Major League Baseball flip-flop where the designated hitter is used in future
interleague games, which commissioner Bud Selig said is under advisement. Melvin
spent the past two seasons managing the Seattle Mariners but prefers the
National League game.
"I think that's a good idea. I really do, because
I think in cities where you play it, you see that type of game all the time and
I think it's a good idea to flip flop," Melvin said. "... That, or just the play
the National League game in every city."
--SS Stephen Drew was named the California
League's Offensive Player of the Week after hitting .417 with four multi-hit
games, 10 runs scored, two home runs and eight RBIs in his first six games at
Class A Lancaster, but has been placed on the DL after injuring his hamstring
--An upset stomach and the stuffy humidity of
Chicago wasn't enough to derail Shawn Estes on Monday, and the left-hander
actually pitched as if he were in perfect health and in picturesque playing
Estes threw an eight-hit complete game in an 8-1
victory over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field to help Arizona open a
10-game trip. It was the 13th complete game in Estes' career and his first since
Sept. 24, 2003 against Cincinnati.
"I kept hydrated all game, which really helped,
and I didn't have any real stressful innings," said Estes, who threw 108
pitches, 73 for strikes. He didn't walk a batter and had five strikeouts.
Estes' performance gave Arizona's beleaguered
bullpen a much-needed day off. The relievers have been burdened with much of the
blame for the club's recent series of misfortunes and to not have to tap into
the pen at all was a huge relief for manager Bob Melvin.
The Diamondbacks are busy working the phones
trying to bring in some established, veteran help in one form or another.
General Manager Joe Garagiola Jr. spoke with two or three clubs before the game
and has been seeking help for several days now.
Arizona isn't looking for a veteran just for
change's sake, however. If it makes a deal, it will be for a difference-maker
out of the pen -- and not necessarily a closer, either -- but someone who is as
close to automatic as possible. And the Diamondbacks appear willing to give up
some serious talent in return, if the right pitcher becomes available.
Presently, the club is weighing its options on
whether to go after a player it will be renting for the rest of the season, or
someone who could become a long-time fixture in the pen.
--The Diamondbacks' three home runs off Jose Contreras in the second inning Monday -- hit by Chris Snyder, Luis Gonzalez and
Troy Glaus -- tied the franchise record for most in an inning, which now has
been accomplished 11 times, including once earlier this season.
--RF Shawn Green was named the NL Player of the
Week after leading the league with 28 total bases and five doubles and being
tied for the league lead this past week with 12 hits, nine runs scored and 12
RBI. Green also homered on Monday, his eighth of the season and his fourth in
the past four days.
"It wouldn't surprise me at all if he keeps this
going for a while," manager Bob Melvin said.
--OF Quinton McCracken started in CF on Monday for
Jose Cruz Jr. It was McCracken's first start since May 19 in Houston.
--The supposed easy answer to the problems dogging
the Diamondbacks' bullpen backfired right in their face Sunday when Greg Aquino,
last year's closer to end the year, surrendered five runs in his first
appearance since Opening Day and made Arizona's relief corps only that much more
up in arms following a 9-4 loss in 12 innings to the visiting Kansas City Royals.
Aquino, who had been bothered by an irritated
ulnar nerve in his right elbow and had been on the disabled list since a similar
pitching performance in a 16-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs on April 4, was forced
to enter Sunday's game in the 12th inning when the game was still tied at 3 and
manager Bob Melvin had already called on three other relievers. Aquino was
activated before the game, and right-hander Edgar Gonzalez was sent back to
It wasn't the situation the Diamondbacks had
envisioned for Aquino right off the bat, and it could have set him back in a
devastating way. Aquino retired only one batter, the opposing pitcher on a foul
bunt attempt. He hit the first batter, allowed two RBI singles, balked in a run
and walked one.
"It's not ideal, but we really didn't have any
other options," Melvin said.
Gonzalez made only one appearance following his
call-up, which had sent right-hander Mike Koplove to Tucson. But Gonzalez, who
was 6-1 as a starter with the Sidewinders, showed little command and confidence
in a brief outing upon his recall.
Since Aquino was coming off the 60-day disabled
list, the club also had to clear a spot on the 40-man roster and did so by
switching RHP Brandon Lyon to the 60-day disabled list. He won't be able to
return until July 12, at the earliest, putting the Diamondbacks into an even
--UT Alex Cintron suffered sprained his left wrist
on a checked swing Saturday and was day-to-day.
--Arizona withdrew its protest from Saturday's
loss to the Royals after concluding there was no misinterpretation of the rule
when third base umpire Greg Gibson changed his call from what looked to be a
lineout by Alex Cintron to a dropped ball, which froze two Arizona baserunners
and resulted in an easy double play by the Royals during a potential big inning.
The Diamondbacks had runners on first and second
in the eighth inning Saturday when Cintron hit a line drive to Royals third
baseman Mark Teahen, who appeared to make a diving catch. Gibson signaled
Cintron out, and the baseunners retreated to tag up. But when Teahen hit the
ground, the ball rolled out and Gibson changed the call.
"It's one of those deals where it falls in
between the crack," manager Bob Melvin said. "He called it a little early, but
he ended up getting it right."
--Arizona signed recent draft picks Greg Smith, a
left-handed pitcher out of Louisiana State (their sixth-round pick) and Travis
Tuffy, an oufielder from the University of Houston (23rd-round pick). Arizona
has been in negotiations with its No. 1 overall selection, Virginia high school
shortstop Justin Upton, but the club can't formally sign him until after Upton
graduates from Great Bridge High School on Thursday.
--1B Tony Clark hit his 200th home run on
--2B Craig Counsell has matched his personal-best
single-season home run total of four, which he first accomplished with Arizona
in 2001 during its World Series championship season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 23 -- Hits allowed by left-hander
Brad Halsey in his past two starts after allowing just 73 hits in his first 11
starts and going 4-2 with five no-decisions.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're not afraid to make a move."
-- Diamondbacks general partner Jeff Moorad, when asked to explain what Arizona
plans to do with its slumping bullpen.