Kevin Jarvis vs. El Duque

Posted May 19, 2006

Outside of Brandon Webb, the D'Backs starting pitching has not been a strong point this season. In today's 'Inside Pitch' examines the options.

   Though the Diamondbacks are tempted to bring up starting pitcher Kevin Jarvis
from Triple-A Tucson, there might be no immediate changes to Arizona's starting
rotation unless Orlando Hernandez still has issues with his back upon throwing a
bullpen session before Friday's game against the visiting Atlanta Braves.
   Hernandez wrenched something in his back or his side while pitching in the
first inning Tuesday against the Padres and had to leave the game after walking
the first batter he faced in the third. He also had soreness in his right knee
and there was speculation he might be headed to the disabled list.
   But "El Duque" had no problems running on Wednesday and after Thursday's day
off, the Diamondbacks are hoping he will be healthy enough to make his next
scheduled start. That could be on Sunday or Monday. Arizona has had a series of
early exits by most of its starters, other than ace Brandon Webb, which is
beginning to put a burden on a bullpen that ranked second in the National League
behind the Cardinals with a 3.22 ERA.
   Last season, the Diamondbacks had the worst bullpen in the majors, as the
relievers had a 5.40 ERA.
   If Hernandez isn't able to pitch, Jarvis would be the likeliest call-up,
although an adjacent move would have to be made to put him on the 40-man roster.
Other options include Tucson right-handers Enrique Gonzalez and Dustin Nippert,
both of whom are already on the 40-man.
   --The Diamondbacks, who are 14-10 against the NL West and 8-8 against the NL
Central, face their first opponents from the NL East on Friday when Atlanta
comes to Phoenix for the first of three games at Chase Field.
   --Arizona turned two more double plays on Wednesday, increasing its major
league-leading total to 58.
   --Though the Diamondbacks' grasp of first place in the NL West was
short-lived, RHP Jason Grimsley said it bore significance, even in the middle of
   "Hey, if you're 10 games below .500 and 11 games out, you've got a big hole
to dig yourselves out of," Grimsley said. "We're right in the mix. Who's to say
where we're going to be come Sept. 15, but I'd rather be where we are right now
and take my chances."
   --1B Tony Clark has a clause in his contract that helps pay tribute to
firefighters and police officers in Arizona. The program, called Badge of Honor
Days, allowed firemen and cops to receive a complimentary ticket to a game for
every ticket they purchase. The first Badge of Honor Day is Friday against the
visiting Braves.
   BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Double plays Chad Tracy had helped turn, the most among
National League third baseman as of May 12.
   QUOTE TO NOTE: "He had a couple bad starts, but he's worked some things out
and ever since we've gotten him, he's been very good for us. Every now and then,
everybody's going to hit a little bump in the road. But he's been quite a pickup
for us, especially considering how we got him." -- Manager Bob Melvin on RHP
Claudio Vargas, who is 13-7 for the Diamondbacks dating to last season, when
they claimed him off waivers from the Nationals.

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