Young Breaking Into Crowded Oufield


Posted Sep 13, 2006


Byrnes, Gonzo, Quentin, Hairston, DaVanon and Green were a crowded outfield. Green got moved and it was still tightly packed, and then Chris Young came along and elbowed his way to the front of the line; ALSO: Gonzo's the oldest to 50 doubles; Valverde reestablishing himself as closer; Vizcaino the lone bright spot in the bullpen.

INSIDE PITCH
Eric Byrnes might be the Diamondbacks' most valuable player this
season, his first with the team. But as good as Byrnes has been, that
doesn't mean the Diamondbacks might not have a new starting center
fielder in 2007.
That may very well be Chris Young, the top prospect acquired last
winter from the White Sox in the Javier Vazquez trade. Young has been
exceptional since a late-season promotion from Triple-A, and his
qualities -- speed, defense, strong arm, ability to hit for power --
are likely to win him a spot as Arizona's everyday starter in center
next season.
As for Byrnes, who is hitting .268 with a career-high 23 home runs
and 68 RBIs, the team would love to find a spot for him somewhere in
the outfield. The best bet could be in left field, where the
Diamondbacks could have a spot open if they elect not to bring back
veteran Luis Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has a club option worth $10 million for 2007, but the
Diamondbacks aren't going to exercise it. His best chance is that he
and the team can come to a new contract agreement, so he can retire
with the organization. If he stays, however, that might mean the club
could peruse trade offers for the energetic Byrnes.
Either way, it's going to be tough to keep Young out of the
lineup. Manager Bob Melvin said the youngster reminds him of Devon
White and Mike Cameron.
Young has made several impressive catches in center in his short
time with the big-league team, plays that "we have not seen around
here," Melvin said. The manager added he sees no reason why Young
won't be in line to potentially win several Gold Glove awards during
his career.
"He's made so many great plays in the limited time he's been
here," Melvin said, "I wouldn't rule it out."
Another aspect that excites Melvin is Young's speed.
"We haven't had much of that around here, a guy who truly can go
out there and you give him the green light and he can steal 30, 35
bases a year. He has the ability to do that," Melvin said.
Young has been hitting leadoff when he gets the occasional start
ahead of Byrnes as of late, but he probably profiles out to be more
of a No. 5 hitter because of his ability to hit home runs.
"But what impresses me the most about him early on here," Melvin
said, "is laying off the breaking balls. He understands what a
leadoff guy has to do, and for a younger guy who hasn't done too much
of that -- at the big-league level -- to have to do that and
understand that shows you how much he thinks out there and knows the
game."
REPLAY: The Washington/Montreal jinx lives on. The Diamondbacks
had a big hand in keeping it going Tuesday night.
Arizona committed three errors, including one that opened the door
for the go-ahead run to score in the eighth inning, as the Nationals
beat the Diamondbacks 5-4 at Chase Field.
That makes the Nationals 5-0 against the Diamondbacks this season
and 9-2 against them in the past two seasons. Going back to the start
of the 2004 season, when the Nationals were still the Montreal Expos,
they are 15-2 against the Diamondbacks.
Orlando Hudson's two-base throwing error in the eighth inning put
Brian Schneider in scoring position, and Nook Logan drove him home
with a single up the middle.
Stephen Drew had a two-run triple, and Hudson had a solo home run
in a losing effort.

NOTES, QUOTES
--LF Luis Gonzalez on Tuesday became the oldest player in history
to hit 50 doubles in a season with his third-inning double off
Washington's Jason Bergmann. Gonzalez turned 39 on Sept. 3. The
previous oldest player to collect 50 doubles in a season was Tris
Speaker in 1926, who was 38 years, 178 days when he reached the
milestone.
The 50 doubles by Gonzalez are a career high and single-season
club record.
--RHP Edgar Gonzalez, who has replaced RHP Enrique Gonzalez in the
rotation and will make his next start Wednesday in San Diego, said he
is benefiting from a couple of mechanical adjustments that he made
before this season. They include the occasional change of his arm
angle, as he will sometimes throw fastballs and sliders from a
sidearm position.
"This year, I wanted to be different because the hitters know me,"
he said.
--RHP Jose Valverde likely will open next season as the
Diamondbacks' closer if he continues to pitch consistently well down
the stretch, manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday. Valverde has posted a
1.50 ERA over 12 innings since being recalled from Triple-A Tucson.
"He's been up and down, but in the time that he's been on, he has
been absolutely dominating," Melvin said. "He's been as good as
anybody in the National League. A few months into the season, you'd
be looking at him as maybe making an All-Star team."
--Arizona pitchers have issued 10 walks or more in a game four
times, and in three of those games, they lost by one run.
"It'll cost you, and sometimes it doesn't cost you right then and
there," manager Bob Melvin said. "Sometimes it costs you extra
pitches and doesn't let you go further into games. It can be the
taxing of extra baserunners and having to deal with the potential
stolen bases. There's a lot of scenarios that come up ... and it will
cost you games."
--RHP Luis Vizcaino is holding opposing batters to a .136 average
(8-for-59) since Aug. 1. He ranks sixth in the National League with
22 "holds."
BY THE NUMBERS: 49 -- Doubles in 2006 by Luis Gonzalez through
Sept. 10, which broke his club record of 47 set in 2000.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "No. I've got two boys, and if they grow up and
become talented enough to play the game in high school and above,
they're going to get it offered to them. And if they ask me about it,
I'm going to say 'I didn't do 'em, you ain't gonna do 'em, and if you
do 'em, I'm gonna kick your (butt).' I can look at myself in the
mirror and say, 'I never cheated. I never corked a bat. I never did
any of that." -- Diamondbacks television analyst and former first
baseman Mark Grace, when asked if he regrets not taking steroids or
other performance-enhancing drugs to bolster his career.

ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:
SS Stephen Drew missed the Sept. 8-9 games with a fever, but he
was back in the lineup Sept. 10.
C Johnny Estrada left the game Sept. 7 with a contusion to his
right elbow after being hit by a pitch. He didn't play Sept. 8-9, but
he was back in the lineup Sept. 10.
OF Jeff DaVanon, who went on the disabled list retroactive to Aug.
6 with a left ankle sprain, had season-ending surgery on Sept. 6.
 



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