Outfielder Gerardo Parra and right-hander Bryan Augenstein looked at home in their major league debuts Wednesday, a good sign for a Diamondbacks team that can use all the help it can get these days.
Parra, recalled from Double-A Mobile on Wednesday, became the 100th player in major league history to hit a home run in his first at-bat when he hit a 93 MPH Johnny Cueto fastball 379 feet into the right field stands. Parra took out the 1-1 pitch as the second batter in the first inning of the D-backs' 10-3 loss to Cincinnati. Atlanta's Jordan Schafer homered in his first at-bat on opening day this year.
Augenstein, whose contract was also purchased from Mobile, gave up eight hits and five runs in 6 1/3 innings. Most of the damage came in a three-run second inning, when the Reds had an infield single and a bunt single. He was charged with two runs in the seventh, but one scored after he left the game.
The D-backs expect Augenstein to remain in the rotation, at least for the short term, with Yusmiero Petit (shoulder) on the disabled list. Augenstein had gone 5-0 with an 0.78 ERA in six starts at Mobile. Parra, 21, was brought up to play, manager A.J. Hinch said. He was hitting .361 with three homers, 12 RBI, and seven stolen bases for Mobile.
"I think we're willing to change things and see if we can find the right ingredients," Hinch said. "[Parra] plays with a good spirit, he plays with passion. We need more of that, and it will be exciting to see him out there on the field."
Right fielder Justin Upton is the D-backs' leading hitter at .306. Eric Byrnes, who has started in left field the last five games in place of Conor Jackson (general illness), is hitting .200. Center fielder Chris Young, who entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning Wednesday, is hitting .185.
Without naming names, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall hinted in a radio interview the day Bob Melvin's firing was announced last Thursday that some players could be demoted to the minor leagues if their production did not improve. Josh Wilson was outrighted off the 40-man roster to make room for Parra while Clay Zavada returned to Double-A upon Augenstien's promotion. The D-backs have 10 days to trade, waive or release Wilson, who was signed as a minor league free agent over the winter. Wilson pitched a scoreless inning in Monday's 13-5 loss to Cincinnati. Zavada was with the team for only one game and did not pitch.
REDS 10, DIAMONDBACKS 3: OF Gerardo Parra homered in his first major league at-bat in support fellow rookie RHP Bryan Augenstein, but the D-backs lost for the fourth time in five games under new manager A.J. Hinch while being swept in a three-game series for the first time this season. IF Augie Ojeda hit his first home run since 2007 as the D-backs fell to 9-15 at home, the most home losses in the major leagues.
--OF Gerardo Parra needed only three pitches to record his first major league home run Wednesday, when he drove a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right field as the second batter in the D-backs' first inning. "I'm the happiest any person could be to be here in the major leagues," said Parra, 21, through an interpreter. Parra is the only left-handed hitter among Arizona's four outfielders, and he is likely to play a lot in the short term because the D-backs are scheduled to face right-handed pitchers in the first six games of a 10-game road trip that begins Friday.
--RHP Bryan Augenstein admitted to a few nerves when he made his major league debut Wednesday, although it did not show in his first two innings, when he threw first-pitch strikes to five of the seven batters he faced and did not give up a hit. "It's a great feeling. It's every kid's dream. It's been my dream since I was little," said Augenstein, who will make his next start Tuesday in Florida.
--RHP Esmerling Vasquez recorded his first major league victory Sunday in the D-backs' 10-8 victory over Washington, as did manager A.J. Hinch. It was the 19th time in modern major league history that a manager and a pitcher recorded their first victories in the same game, most recently when Milwaukee manager Dale Sveum and RHP Mark DiFelice paired up in the Brewers' 6-2 victory over the Cubs last Sept. 17, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Hinch received the game ball and has it in his office.
--SS Stephen Drew returned to the starting lineup Wednesday for the first time since April 24, when he re-injured his left hamstring while making a defensive play behind second base. Drew singled home a run while hitting fourth in the order for the first time in his career as a starter.
--OF/1B Conor Jackson was given a battery of tests Wednesday, manager A.J. Hinch said, as the D-backs attempt to discover the cause of the fever and flu-like symptoms that have bothered him for the better part of two weeks. No results were immediately available. Jackson tried to play through it but was seemed to get worse last weekend before being placed on the disabled list Tuesday,
May 12th. He had two hits in his last 24 at-bats, and his average fell to .182.
DIAMOND STAT: .195 -- The D-backs' batting average with runners in scoring position, a major league low, through May 10.
QUOTABLE: "The lack of experience is overwhelmed by understanding what organizational advocacy is. We're not here to reinvent the wheel, but to change the nature of the job a little bit. OK, we'll do that." -- General manager Josh Byrnes, announcing new manager A.J. Hinch's hiring to replace Bob Melvin. Hinch, former director of player development, had never coached or managed.
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