Melvin Shakes Up Order

Managing Editor
Posted Jul 9, 2006


With the offense struggling, D'Backs Manager Bob Melvin knew he needed to shake things up; Jeff DaVannon moves forward, Craig Counsell drops down; bullpen work has been strong of late; a 'happy medium' is needed in the starting rotation; Brandon Webb tops all pitchers in All Star Votes.

INSIDE PITCH
Manager Bob Melvin has been making changes to his lineup for the better part of five weeks, shifting someone here, another guy there.
None were particularly drastic until Friday, when he moved Craig Counsell out of his spot atop the lineup and into the No. 8 spot.
"He's been struggling some," Melvin said. "I talked to him about it the day before yesterday on his off-day; let him know that I was going to move him down. Granted, we like him at the top of our order. He's done a great job leading off. He's just been struggling a bit."
Counsell's been struggling a little more than Melvin makes it sound. Entering playing on Friday, Counsell was hitting .197 since the beginning of June.
Moreover, his walk rate is almost half what it was last season.
Melvin inserted center fielder Jeff DaVanon into the leadoff spot for Friday, and presumably will make Eric Byrnes the leadoff hitter on days when he plays center field, at least for the time being.
REPLAY: Without a terrific performance from their bullpen following a two-hour, 39-minute rain delay on Friday night, the Diamondbacks wouldn't have been able to beat the Rockies 4-3.
With the long delay forcing starter Miguel Batista from the game, five relievers came on to hold the Rockies scoreless over the game's final five innings.
Brandon Medders pitched two scoreless frames to get the win, and Jorge Julio pitched a perfect ninth to record save No. 8.

NOTES, QUOTES
--Manager Bob Melvin compared the solid outings his starting pitchers gave him in Oakland to the shorter ones turned in during a series in Los Angeles, and said they were emblematic of their struggles all season. The key, he says, is to get consistent performances somewhere between the two extremes. "We've been spotty," he said. "We can't expect starters to throw complete games all the time. But we certainly need to try to get six innings out of them."
--RF Shawn Green was back in the lineup on Friday. He missed Wednesday's game after he was nailed in the hip by a 95 MPH fastball from Dodgers reliever Danys Baez, a victim of bean-ball war that played out over the three-game series.
--Manager Bob Melvin hasn't ironed out his starting pitching assignments for after the All-Star break. Perhaps figuring into the equation is how much Brandon Webb pitches in the All-Star game. Melvin, however, said he expects to make some tentative plans by the end of the weekend.
--The Diamondbacks' Triple-A affiliate in Tucson finally got back in action on Friday after having games cancelled the previous two days due to poor field conditions. The Sidewinders beat Las Vegas, 9-4, as center field prospect Chris Young connected for his 13th home run of the season.
--RHP Luis Vizcaino made his third consecutive appearance without allowing an earned run. Vizcaino had previously allowed seven earned runs in his past six outings.
BY THE NUMBERS: 325 -- Number of All-Star votes Brandon Webb received from players, managers and coaches, making him the league's leading vote-getter among pitchers. Webb had never before been selected to the All-Star team.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I swear that is the first time I have ever seen that." -- Diamondbacks left fielder Luis Gonzalez, reacting to the Coors Field stadium crew cleaning the upper deck of the stadium before the game had ended. The upper deck was largely vacant after a two-hour, 39-minute rain delay.

ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:
RHP Juan Cruz, who had been out since June 7 with a sore shoulder, was activated and started July 3.
OF Scott Hairston went on the disabled list retroactive to June 20 with a right shoulder injury.
RF Shawn Green didn't play July 5 due to a bone bruise on his right hip after getting hit by a pitch July 4. He was in the lineup July 7.


Related Stories
Webb In Control
 -by DiamondbacksDaily.com  Jul 7, 2006
Webb on All Star selection;Melvin to re-sign?
 -by DiamondbacksDaily.com  Jul 11, 2006
Audio D'Back and Forth: The NL West
 -by DiamondbacksDaily.com  Jul 25, 2006

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