Cruz to the Pen In Favor of Livan

Cruz to the Pen In Favor of Livan

Despite inconsistency from both Claudio Vargas and Juan Cruz, it was Cruz who the D'Backs elected to move to the bullpen now that Livan Hernandez has joined the Arizona rotation. ALSO: Livan's rubber arm; Conor Jackson's bruised arm; Hairston back to the Majors.


INSIDE PITCH
Right-hander Juan Cruz has been moved back to the bullpen to open a spot in the starting rotation for Livan Hernandez, who made his Diamondbacks debut on Friday against the Florida Marlins.
Cruz began the season pitching in relief, making his first seven appearances out of the bullpen before moving into the rotation for 14 starts. The other candidate to pitch in a relief role was Claudio Vargas, but he has less experience there.
"It's not like he's been out-pitched in the rotation," manager Bob Melvin said of Cruz. "Both of them have been inconsistent at times. We just feel Cruz gives us another option in the bullpen for another dominant arm.
"We feel like we don't just have a long guy down there now, but a guy who can pitch in any inning we feel we need to (pitch) him in, and a guy that can go in there and blow some people away. ...We're a better team right now in the interim with him in the bullpen."
Some of the Diamondbacks' relievers -- especially Brandon Lyon (50 appearances), Luis Vizcaino (51) and Brandon Medders (45) -- have been used a little more than Melvin would prefer. But a lack of quality starts by the starting pitchers has made it necessary.
Cruz can take away some extra innings from the bullpen and pitch in almost any situation, even late in games, if needed.
"It's not tough for me," Cruz said of returning to the bullpen. "It's still the same. You have to do your job any way you go."
REPLAY: Marlins rookie pitcher Josh Johnson limited the Diamondbacks to just two hits over seven innings, and Arizona would finish with just three hits overall in a 4-1 loss to Florida at Chase Field. Their lone run was a pinch-hit, solo home run in the eighth by Damion Easley off reliever Taylor Tankersley.
It was the fifth pinch-hit homer of the season for the Diamondbacks and the third in Easley's career.
Johnson out-shined Diamondbacks pitcher Livan Hernandez, who was making his Arizona debut Friday after his trade from the Nationals. Hernandez worked eight innings, allowing 10 hits and four runs, with one walk and four strikeouts.
"He keeps you in the ballgame and he knows how to get you out," Diamondbacks catcher Johnny Estrada said. "He's not overpowering, but he knows what he's doing out there."

NOTES, QUOTES
--OF Jeff DaVanon, whose sprained left ankle hadn't responded as well as the club had hoped, was placed on the 15-day disabled list and OF Scott Hairston was recalled from Triple-A Tucson. Arizona thought it would only be without DaVanon for a few games, but didn't want to keep playing with a short bench.
--C Johnny Estrada said he will undergo an endoscope during the team's next scheduled off-day (August 24) to test for a stomach ulcer.
--1B Tony Clark is still experiencing some discomfort in his right throwing shoulder, manager Bob Melvin said, and his minor-league rehab assignment wasn't expected to begin for several days.
--LF Luis Gonzalez will become the oldest player in history to record a season of 50 or more doubles if he reaches the half-century mark this year. Gonzalez, who turns 39 on Sept. 3, was tied for the major-league lead with 40 doubles as of Aug. 11. Tris Speaker was 38 when he finished the 1926 season with 52 doubles.
--1B Conor Jackson was expected to be in the starting lineup on Saturday against the Marlins after missing three games with a bruised left forearm, the result of getting hit by a pitch from the Giants' Jason Schmidt.
BY THE NUMBERS: 95 -- Games since 1999 in which RHP Livan Hernandez has thrown at least 120 pitches -- the most in the majors by any pitcher during that time frame. The second closest is Randy Johnson, with 66 games of 120 or more pitches.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The only thing I was looking for was a team that believed in me half as much as I believed in myself. I told Arizona that not only do I believe I can do what I did for Oakland in 2004, but I can do better, and I got the sense that they somewhat believed me." -- CF Eric Byrnes, on signing with the Diamondbacks as a free agent for the 2006 season after enduring a poor second-half finish following his trades from Oakland to Colorado and then to Baltimore.

ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:
SS Craig Counsell went on the disabled list July 15 with a fractured rib. He took batting practice Aug. 9, and he might begin a rehab assignment the week of Aug. 14.
1B Tony Clark went on the disabled list retroactive to July 17 with a sore right shoulder. He began swinging the bat July 25, his first baseball activity, and took batting practice on July 28. He played catch July 31 and long-toss Aug. 9. He is getting closer to a minor league rehab assignment.
RHP Brandon Webb left the team Aug. 1 to return to Phoenix for an MRI, which revealed no structural damage. He threw a bullpen session Aug. 3 and reported no pain. However, he was scratched from his Aug. 5 start. He threw a bullpen session Aug. 8, and he is expected to make his next start Aug. 12.
OF Jeff DaVanon didn't play Aug. 6-9 due to a sprained ankle. He was placed on the disabled list Aug. 11.
1B Conor Jackson left the game Aug. 7 after being hit on the forearm by a pitch, and he didn't play Aug. 8. X-rays were negative, but he could miss another game or two with a bad bruise that also was irritating a nerve.
3B Chad Tracy left the game Aug. 7 after suffering back spasms, but he was back in the lineup Aug. 8.
C Johnny Estrada likely will have an endoscopy to confirm a specialist's opinion that his stomach problems may be linked to an ulcer. He's been in and out of the lineup with the stomach ailment since July 31.

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