Whitesell Will Be Everyday First Baseman
Josh Whitesell (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Posted May 7, 2009


Chad Tracy will be relegated to a bench role after the promotion of Josh Whitesell from Triple-A Reno. Whitesell, who drew two walks in his 2009 Diamondbacks debut on Wednesday, will be the everyday starter at first base, possibly sitting against tough left-handed pitching.



First baseman Joshua Whitesell was in the starting lineup Wednesday, and that is where he will stay for the immediate future, manager Bob Melvin said.

Whitesell, recalled from Triple-A Reno when first baseman Tony Clark went on the disabled list earlier in the day, will supplant Chad Tracy, who got off to a strong start this season but was hitting .224 after Wednesday's 3-1 victory in San Diego.

The D-backs' team batting average is .225, the lowest in the major leagues by nine percentage points. Tracy was a triple short of the cycle in a 10-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on April 29, but is 1-for- 17 (.059) since. He was hitting .306 on April 20 this season but has gone 6-for-40 (.150) with three RBI since.

"We've got to find a way to do things a little bit differently. We'll see him in the lineup quite a bit," Melvin said of Whitesell before Wednesday's game. "(Tracy) is going to pinch hit, (and) he's going to fill in at third and first for a while. We'll see how Josh does."

Whitesell, 27, was hitting .356 with three homers and 20 RBI at Reno and was the D-backs' organizational player of the year in 2008, when he hit .228 with 36 doubles, 26 home runs, and 110 RBI at Class AAA Tucson. His RBI total was a Tucson franchise record.

Whitesell was acquired from Washington during spring training of 2008, when it became apparent that Tracy's surgically repaired right knee would take longer to heal that originally hoped. Tracy has played only 164 games the last two seasons because of knee injuries and had micro-fracture surgery on his right knee in September 2007, delaying him last spring. He hit .267 with eight homers and 39 RBI in 88 games last season.

DIAMONDBACKS 3, PADRES 1: OF Justin Upton hit two home runs, drove in all the D-backs' runs, and threw out a runner at the plate while extending his career-best hitting streak to 13 games. Upton's two-run homer off RHP Jake Peavy broke a scoreless tie in the sixth. Upton threw out C Henry Blanco attempting to tag and score on a fly to right to end the fifth. RHP Jon Garland gave up three hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out two and benefiting from three of the D-backs' four double plays as the team broke a three-game losing streak.

SNAKE BYTES

--The Diamondbacks offset four errors with four double plays Wednesday, one short of a single-game franchise record for each. After going eight games without an error, the D-backs have 10 in their last six games. C Miguel Montero has three throwing errors in the last two games, two coming on opponents' steals of second base.

--RHP Jon Garland's fourth quality start of the season Wednesday was his best -- he gave up only three singles and two walks in seven shutout innings. He is 56-49 at home and 55-42 on the road in his 10-year career.

--OF Justin Upton had his first career two-homer game and also threw out a runner attempting to tag and score on a fly ball in the Diamondbacks' victory over San Diego on Wednesday. "You never look at coming here and hitting homers. It feels pretty good knowing I was going up there just trying to barrel-up some balls, maybe hit gap, and mess up and hit two homers," he said. Upton extended his career-high 13-game hitting streak with a two-run shot off RHP Jake Peavy in the sixth and added another off RHP Duaner Sanchez. He is hitting .378 with six homers and 14 RBI during his hitting streak.

--The D-backs are 1-for-29 with runners in scoring position over the last four games, including going 0-for-7 in a 3-1 victory over San Diego that broke a three-game losing streak Wednesday. SS Josh Wilson's RBI-single in the second inning Monday is their only hit in that stretch.

--OF Chris Young broke an 0-for-23 slump with an infield single in the sixth inning Tuesday, his hit coming when Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal could not make a clean transfer on a slow grounder. Furcal did not make a throw to first base on what could have been a routine groundout. Young, hitting .167, was dropped to seventh in the order for the second time in three starts and has hit in every spot in the order expect fourth and eighth. He was ranked No. 99 among the 101 qualifiers for the NL batting title and No. 100 in on-base percentage entering Tuesday's game.

--1B Josh Whitesell went 0-for-2 with two walks in his first game as the D-backs' new starter at first, where he will take over for Chad Tracy in the near term, manager Bob Melvin said. Whitesell was recalled from Reno after hitting .356 with three homers and 20 RBI for the Aces. He led the D-backs organization in homers (26) and RBI (110) at Tucson last season after being acquired from the Nationals in spring training.

--1B Tony Clark, mired in a season-long slump, was placed on disabled list Wednesday with a sprained ligament in his right hand. Clark hit two home runs -- one from each of the plate -- while starting the season-opening 9-8 victory over Colorado but is hitting only .179. He had two hits and two RBI in his last 24 at-bats.

DIAMOND STAT: .240 - The D-backs' team on-base percentage through May 6th, easily the worst mark in all of baseball

QUOTABLE: "To succeed in anything -- fielding, base running and, of course, hitting, you have to be aggressive and kind of let your baseball instincts take over. It's really just playing the game and finding a way to get it done." -- OF Justin Upton, about his approach during his hitting streak.


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