Revamped Diamondbacks Roster Takes Shape
Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jason Smith (Getty Images)

Posted May 18, 2007


Jason Smith and Mark Reynolds are quickly acclimating themselves to their new roles with the Diamondbacks, each contributing in their first game with the Arizona Diamondbacks. ALSO: Scott Hairston and Randy Johnson battle through injuries.

INSIDE PITCH

The decision to claim infielder Jason Smith off waivers from the Blue Jays is a good indicator the Diamondbacks are likely done with utility man Alberto Callaspo, who was placed on the restricted list last week following an altercation with his wife.

"We felt like a left-handed hitter who could play shortstop in addition to second and third was an attractive guy for us," general manager Josh Byrnes said.

Smith, who was hitting .212 (11-for-52) for Toronto before being designated for assignment, was claimed by Arizona on Wednesday. A day later, he found himself in the starting lineup in Denver, playing shortstop in place of Stephen Drew.

Smith went 1-for-3 with a strikeout.

"It's nice to get him in there right away and let him go," manager Bob Melvin said, adding of Drew, "Stephen's been out there quite a bit, so give him the day off and see what the new kid has to offer."

Smith, who was selected by the Blue Jays last year in the Rule 5 draft from the Cubs, has 23 strikeouts in 55 at-bats.

"I had a good spring, and I had a good first couple of weeks of the season and then it was almost like I hit a wall," he said. "I just didn't put together a lot of good, quality at-bats. I had way too many strikeouts. But it's a new start, a new everything, and I'm just going to try to put that behind me and do the best I can."

Mark Reynolds, promoted all the way from Class AA Mobile in the Southern League, Wednesday, remains the primary starter at third base for the next several days.

"We looked at a lot of options, and even though we'd rather not rush guys, he's done very well at Double-A with 250 at-bats over two seasons," Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes said. "He's really been solid all year this year with the bat, so he gets the nod. Obviously, we think a lot of his future, and obviously, because of the circumstances, we're going to get him to the big leagues maybe sooner than expected."

Reynolds, 23, hit 31 homers last season in the minors and was batting .306 before being promoted. He got the call in part because of injuries to regular infield contributors at Class AAA Tucson. Reynolds committed 12 errors with Mobile, although he's learning from his mistakes.

"Early in the season, it was a real struggle, mainly with the throwing," he said. "I worked hard every day at getting on top (with my throws), and now I'm feeling really comfortable."

DIAMONDBACKS 3, ROCKIES 1: Arizona captured its sixth series win in dispatching Colorado behind the pitching -- and the hitting -- of veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez. He allowed four hits over seven innings and also singled twice and scored a run, raising his batting average to .333 on the year. It was Hernandez's 30th career multi-hit game. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning, when he faced a bases-loaded situation. But Hernandez got out of it, and Colorado scored its only run in the fifth. Jose Valverde notched his 14th save.

NOTES, QUOTES


--3B Chad Tracy, suffering from a strained rib cage, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after aggravating the injury twice and realizing it wasn't getting any better.

--RHP Casey Daigle was designated for assignment so the Diamondbacks could claim INF Jason Smith from Toronto. Smith, 29, profiles as a backup shortstop to Stephen Drew after playing part of 2006 for the Rockies and then singing a minor league deal with the Cubs before being selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Blue Jays.

Smith must stay on Arizona's 25-man roster or the Diamondbacks will have to offer him back to the Cubs.

"I like him," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. "He can play anywhere in the infield. We really don't have a shortstop option behind Drew right now, and he gives us coverage at all three spots and a guy we've liked in the past."

--The Diamondbacks haven't scored more than four runs in a game for 15 consecutive games, tying a franchise record set July 19-Aug. 3, 2003.

--In beating Colorado two out of three times at Coors Field, Arizona won its first road series since its season-opening, four-game sweep at Washington.

--OF Scott Hairston was unavailable Thursday against the Rockies, a day after getting hit by a pitch in the left wrist. X-rays were negative, but his status won't be determined until Friday, when the Diamondbacks begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh.

--UT Donnie Sadler was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for INF Jason Smith, who was claimed off waivers Wednesday from Toronto. Sadler, making his first appearance in the majors in three years, was promoted when UT Alberto Callaspo was placed on the restricted list. The players' union on Thursday filed a grievance against the Diamondbacks on Callaspo's behalf.

--C Miguel Montero, who has just three extra-base hits in 57 at-bats, was hitting in the No. 5 spot Thursday. He went 0-for-4.

--OF Eric Byrnes extended his hitting streak to 11 games Thursday with a single and a triple against the Rockies.

--LHP Randy Johnson apparently has been dealing with stiffness in his back for more than a week, which was one of the reasons manager Bob Melvin lifted him from Monday's game in Denver after six innings, even though the veteran, recovering from October back surgery, was almost perfect through six innings against the Rockies at Coors Field.

"I think he's at a point in time in his career when if his body speaks to him, he will listen now," Melvin said, "where in the past, he might not."

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Home runs allowed by RHP Brandon Medders through his first 16 2/3 innings this season.



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