Randy Choate knew he was good enough to make it back to the majors, but with each passing relief appearance at Triple-A Tucson and each promotion that came and went to others in the organization, he couldn't help but wonder.
"Yeah, it was discouraging at times," he said. "Because I felt I was pitching good enough to be here but I wasn't getting the call. Other guys were pitching well, too, and they got the call before me, so sometimes, it's discouraging when you feel you're doing everything you can and you're doing everything they've asked, and you don't get it."
But the good news finally came on Tuesday. After struggling pitcher Russ Oritz was designated for assignment, the Diamondbacks purchased Choate's contract from the Sidewinders and brought the left-handed reliever up to the majors for the first time since he pitched for the Diamondbacks on April 29, 2005.
He is the lone lefty on the staff -- at least until veteran Terry Mulholland returns from the disabled list -- and will be used as Arizona's specialist against opposing left-handed hitters in key situations.
On Wednesday against the Giants, he was brought in during the seventh inning to face left-handed hitter Mark Sweeney and struck him out.
Choate was 3-0 with five saves and a 2.45 ERA in 32 appearances with Tucson.
"You appreciate it a lot more when you're gone for so long," said Choate, 30. "I was telling somebody it felt like getting called up for the first time. It was just weird. I don't know if it's because I just wanted it so bad and having been down there for over a year and then being able to work my way back, but honestly, it felt like the first time."
Choate, who is 5-6 with a 4.71 ERA in 164 career games in the majors, was frustrated at losing a spot on the 25-man roster to Mulholland out of spring training. But a talk with first-year general manager Josh Byrnes helped him to refocus and stay prepared while at Triple-A Tucson.
"He just said, 'Be patient. You're definitely in our plans. We'd like to have you up there. But there are certain things keeping you out right now,'" Choate said. "All I can say is it's nice to be back."
REPLAY: Third baseman Chad Tracy was charged with three errors that led to three unearned runs and a 11-4 loss to the Giants on Wednesday at Chase Field. Tracy had committed just six errors all season entering the game.
"They were three tough plays, but they were plays that I should make," said Tracy, who doubled twice in the game and is batting .378 (14-for-37) with two home runs, four doubles and eight RBIs against the Giants this season.
Arizona fell to 1-8 with one game remaining on a 10-game homestand.
--RHP Kevin Jarvis will make a spot start on Saturday at Texas, the place in the rotation that previously belonged to RHP Russ Ortiz, who was designated for assignment by the club on Tuesday. After Saturday's start, Jarvis will return to his relief role, and the club should have RHP Juan Cruz (sore shoulder) back from the disabled list to start June 22 against Tampa Bay.
--SS Craig Counsell appeared in his 1,000th career game Wednesday against visiting San Francisco.
"He's just a guy that believes in his ability and nothing's going to beat him down, and I can honestly say I'm proud to be associated with him," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said.
--RHP Juan Cruz is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday (around 45 pitches). If all goes well, he is expected to make a minor league rehab start Saturday and rejoin the Diamondbacks immediately thereafter. Cruz has been bothered by a sore right shoulder, but he hasn't had any pain or problems for the past several days.
--3B Chad Tracy batted third and LF Luis Gonzalez fourth on Wednesday for the second consecutive game after manager Bob Melvin had flip-flopped them in the order for three consecutive games against the Mets.
"We switched it around and tweaked it, but decided to put things back to where it's been because we've been successful this year," Melvin said.
--RHP Jorge Julio, who remains Arizona's closer, has allowed one run and just three hits in his first nine appearances since being acquired in a trade from the Mets. He's retired 27 of the 32 batters he's faced.