Hernandez Progresses; Counsell Returns

Posted Mar 21, 2006

Orlando Hernandez is moving forward even if his numbers don't show it; Craig Counsell is on the comeback trail and should see game action this week; Brandon Medders is locking down his return date; Jeff DaVanon continues to surprise.

    Orlando Hernandez didn't get the results, but he was pleased with
his performance during a four-inning outing Monday against the Chicago
Cubs in Tucson.
    The right-hander, expected to be the No. 2 or No. 3 man in manager
Bob Melvin's starting rotation, said he experienced no problems with
the stiffness that had affected his back and neck during his last
start. In that game, he left after just one inning.
    But against the Cubs, Hernandez said he felt completely fine, even
if his pitching line looked a little worse for the wear: eight hits,
six runs, two walks, no strikeouts, a home run and one hit by pitch.
    "When the game started, I had some worries because of the last
start, but I felt good," he said. "I threw my slider, I threw my
curveball, I threw my changeup, I threw my fastball. I feel better in
my neck and my back. ... I'm very happy today.
    "Last time, no runs, but no happy."

    --Manager Bob Melvin on the one thing he likes best about 1B Tony
Clark: "That he's good. And he hits the ball out of the ballpark when
we tell him to."
    --RHP Miguel Batista had his start pushed back a day until Wednesday
so the Diamondbacks could get LHP Brad Halsey some innings after having
his scheduled start rained out Sunday.
    --SS Craig Counsell will bat leadoff in the designated hitter's spot
Tuesday and Wednesday in games against Seattle and Oakland and, for the
first time this spring, he will get a chance to test out his injured
right shoulder when he starts at shortstop during a split-squad game
against the Mariners on Thursday night. Counsell has been sidelined
most of camp with a slight tear in his right labrum and hasn't
practiced making any simulated throws to first in game-like conditions.
    --OF Jeff DaVanon was leading the majors with 14 runs and ranked
first in the National League with a .595 on-base percentage and second
with 11 walks. His .423 batting average ranked ninth in the league.
    --RHP Brandon Medders probably will throw at least two more side
sessions before Arizona thinks about pitching him in a game. With that
in mind, manager Bob Melvin said Medders probably would start the
season on the 15-day disabled list, though it will be backdated, and
the pitcher may only miss about four games.

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