Outfielder Eric Byrnes and left-hander Doug Davis are closer to returning to the field
from old injuries.
Byrnes, returning from a tear in his left hamstring that sidelined him for the second half of 2008, ran the bases at very nearly full speed at the minor league complex on March 13, and he was close to getting into a minor league game. If all goes well, Byrnes could get into his first Cactus League game early in the week of March 16-22, manager Bob Melvin said.
Byrnes enters spring training as the fourth outfielder, having lost his job in left field to Conor Jackson, who shifted to the outfield from first base when Byrnes went out last July.
Davis threw a bullpen session March 13, a first since he experienced pain in his left triceps prior to a scheduled start the previous weekend. Davis threw all of his pitches March 13 and seemed to be fine, according to Melvin. Davis, who had a cancerous thyroid removed last April and revealed earlier this spring that he has battled nerve issues in his left arm for the last five seasons, is tentatively scheduled to make his second spring start March 18 against Milwaukee.
With the extra week of spring training, Melvin said he believes Davis will have no trouble getting ready for the regular season. Davis is expected to be the No. 3 starter in the rotation, behind Brandon Webb and Dan Haren.
--RHP Max Scherzer, the No. 5 starter, threw to minor league hitters March 10, and he is expected to face hitters at least once more before making his Cactus League
debut. Scherzer took a cortisone shot in January to alleviate shoulder inflammation. The D-backs would not need him until April 14, their eighth game of the season, because of an off day the first week.
--OF Eric Byrnes had not participated in a spring training game through March 13, but he had been taking his hacks. Byrnes had taken live batting practice against some of the Diamondbacks' young arms, including 2007 first-round draft choice RHP Jarrod Parker, but he will not get into a game until his left hamstring is cleared.
--LHP Doug Davis, who revealed after a March 3 start that he has been affected by nerve issues in his left arm for about five years, was skipped in his next scheduled outing because of irritation in his left triceps. Davis said he did not believe the conditions were related. He was to throw at least one bullpen session before being returned to the rotation, and the D-backs believe he can be ready for the start of the regular season.
--RHPs Hector Ambriz, Tony Barnette and Brooks Brown and C Ed Easley, non-roster invitees, were reassigned to minor league camp after spending a month with the major league team during spring training. All three pitchers were selected in the 2006 draft, and they could comprise three-fifths of the Class AAA Reno rotation. Easley was a supplemental first-round pick in 2007.
--LHP Tetsuya Yamaguchi, who pitched three years in the D-backs' system after being signed as a free agent, returned to Japan in 2008 and is a member of Japan's team in the World Baseball Classic. Yamaguchi never showed the form that caused the D-backs to sign him but was Central League Rookie of the Year in Japan last season.
DIAMOND STAT: 6.35 -- RHP Brandon Webb's spring training ERA in 2006, the year he won the NL Cy Young Award.
QUOTABLE: "He doesn't look good in blue. Terrible, actually." -- Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, after seeing former Arizona 2B Orlando Hudson in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform when the teams played recently. Hudson signed as a free agent with the Dodgers earlier in the spring.
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