It's been a slow and tedious offseason for Diamondbacks third
baseman Chad Tracy, who continues to rehab from micro-fracture surgery on his
Just when things were starting to look up, when he was walking
better than ever and the knee allowed him to go hunting and fishing near his
home in North Carolina, another obstacle popped up in the form of a
blood clot in his right calf.
The latest setback was expected to push back his rehab efforts by at
least another week to 10 days. Tracy, whose injury opened the door at
third base for rookie Mark Reynolds, isn't expected to start hitting
until sometime in late December and he probably won't begin running until
the end of January.
That doesn't bode well for his availability when spring training
begins in February, but Tracy's goal is still to be ready for Opening Day.
"I've got to make sure I don't go out and re-injure it because I'm
not in good enough shape," Tracy said. "You can't rush the strength, and
you can't rush the endurance. It might be the end of spring training
before I get the strength and endurance back."
Before the calf problem occurred, Diamondbacks general manager Josh
Byrnes termed Tracy's rehab as being "a bit ahead of schedule," adding
of the player's availability by Opening Day, "It's unfair for a guy
recovering to put a timeline on it, but it's certainly a possibility."
Assuming free agent Tony Clark doesn't return, the Diamondbacks
would start the season with three players at the corner infield positions
-- Tracy, Reynolds and Conor Jackson. If Tracy is slow to recover, the
Diamondbacks will look to add depth behind Jackson at first and/or
Reynolds at third. Free agent Mark Sweeney has been targeted as a possible
Tracy, a career .288 hitter who have averaged nearly 20 home runs a
year in his four seasons with the Diamondbacks, likely will see more
time at first base than at third because of his knee.
--RHP Brandon Webb had been having contract talks with the
Diamondbacks about a possible extension, but discussions ceased quickly and all
negotiations have been put on hold in the team's effort to lock up its
"I would say the issue is tabled," Webb's agent, Jonathan Maurer
said. "There was some brief conversation about Brandon, but there's no
further conversation on a contract planned at this time."
Webb, the 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner who finished runner-up this
year, is signed through 2009 with a club option for 2010. But the
Diamondbacks were interested in signing him through 2013, and Webb turned
down their initial offer.
--The Diamondbacks posted 12 shutouts during the regular season, the
second most in the National League behind San Francisco (20).
Arizona's 12 shutouts were one shy of the franchise record set in 2001. RHP
Brandon Webb was the only pitcher in the majors with three shutouts in
--RHP Jose Valverde was quoted in a Dominican Republic newspaper
that he is seeking a four-year contract extension worth between $50
million and $60 million, but his agent said the closer's comments were
misconstrued. Valverde should have
to wait until he becomes a free agent following the 2009 season to get
that kind of a deal.
"By all indications, if he keeps doing what he's
doing, if he has two more years like this, he's not too far off," conceded Agent
--RHP Hiroki Kuroda, 32, was extended a contract offer by the
Diamondbacks, but the team was still waiting to hear from the Japanese free
agent, who is expected to command a salary of at least $10 million per
"It's a slow process," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said.
"He's still sifting through it and deciding the priority of things -- what
club he might want to visit and what clubs he might want to cross off
--RHPs Matt Clement and Bartolo Colon were also targeted as potential
free-agent additions, although Diamondbacks management planned to proceed
cautiously in the free agent market. It seeks to add depth to the
starting rotation because of the departure of free agent Livan Hernandez
and the health concerns of veteran Randy Johnson.
--LHP Randy Johnson's recovery from his second back surgery in two
years is going well, according to general manager Josh Byrnes, who said,
"Right now, things are progressing well. I think Randy feels like the
added time between surgery and the opening of spring training will be
beneficial. We'll know more once he gets into the routine of throwing
and recovering and throwing again."
--The Diamondbacks will debut a massive, 144-feet-wide, 55-feet-tall
video board at Chase Field next season, which will replace the
JumboTron and matrix boards in center field. The board will cost about $5
million, and with total installation and refurbishment, the project is
expected to cost $13 million overall when completed.
"I think it's just going to be one more enhancement for the fan
experience," Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said. "All eyes are either
on the players on the field or on the scoreboard. The scoreboard is
the focal spot between innings. It's going to be tremendous."
BY THE NUMBERS: $27 million -- Amount the Diamondbacks have offered
Japanese RHP Hiroki Kuroda on a three-year deal, although many industry
sources were expecting him to sign with Seattle.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm convinced this guy will do a very good job for
us. What I've gathered through the conversations I've had, he does have
a passion. He sees things. To evaluate a player you have to break him
down, and Carlos is already way ahead of the game in breaking him down
to the root of what he does." -- Jerry Dipoto, the Diamondbacks'
director of player personnel, on the hiring of Carlos Gomez, 29, as one of the
club's new major league scouts despite Gomez's limited experience.
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