"It's probably the most uncertain group, but we have an eye on what
we think it will be right now," Melvin said. "A week in, it can change.
We have quite a few guys we have our eye on. But right now, I think we
have a pretty good idea what it's going to look like."
Jose Valverde is the closer, and Melvin said four others -- Jason
Grimsley, Luis Vizcaino, Brandon Lyon and Brandon Medders -- are all in
the running for setup duties. With an expected 12-man pitching staff,
that leaves two spots open in the 'pen, and one of them is almost
certain to go to a left-hander, most likely Terry Mulholland, with
Felix Heredia and Randy Choate also in the mix.
As for the last spot, it figures to fall to hard-throwing Greg
Aquino, who was to be the club's closer last year but dealt with arm
fatigue coming out of camp. But if Aquino doesn't get the call, Melvin
has another option in that he can use either right-hander Claudio
Vargas or lefty Brad Halsey, the two pitchers locked in a dual for the
No. 5 starter's job.
Medders, hampered most of camp with a strained muscle near his right
scapula, is lagging behind at the moment, although the Diamondbacks are
optimistic he will be ready to start the season.
--SS Craig Counsell took a cortisone shot Tuesday to help calm down
some pain in his sore right shoulder, and the plan remains for him to
rehab his way back into action. Counsell was diagnosed with a "slap"
tear in his labrum a day before the start of Cactus League play and
after getting a second and third opinion from doctors this week,
surgery does not appear to be an option at this point.
If he were to have surgery, Counsell likely would be out for
virtually the entire season.
--Third base coach Carlos Tosca will be off the field for at least
four weeks after suffering a fracture on top of his right foot upon
being struck by a foul ball Monday in Tucson. Taking over on an interim
basis is Tony Perezchica, the club's roving minor-league infield
--The Phillies are in the market for an outfielder, preferably a
left-handed hitter, but Philadelphia has not made any inquires about
veteran OF Luis Gonzalez, who is entering the final year of his
contract in Arizona. Gonzalez, who will make $11.5 million this season,
has a club option for $10 million in 2007.
--RHP Brandon Medders (muscle strain near right scapula) will try to
play catch the next couple of days and try to throw a bullpen session
at some point this weekend. Arizona's primary seventh-inning reliever
down the stretch last season, Medders is in the running for setup man
duties, and the team doesn't want to rush his return.
--Manager Bob Melvin on the Diamondbacks' hot start this spring:
"We're getting a lot of production and the younger guys, especially,
are doing everything we've asked them to do. They're getting guys over,
they're getting guys in, we're having tougher at-bats. No one remembers
who won the Cactus League title, but we've got a lot of good, young
players here who are showing up in the latter part of games and are
being very productive."
As the roster narrows the opening day lineup becomes more clear. Now the question is, who's next. …