Ryan Roberts was recalled from Class AAA Reno on Tuesday, and the Diamondbacks immediately put him in the lineup in left field, starting the process of evaluating players from the top end of their farm system.
"It's his time. It's his job to go out and prove he belongs on the 2011 roster, and there will be others who will come up in September who will have the opportunity to contribute in those ways," interim general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
Roberts, 29, played five positions -- second base, shortstop, third base, left field and right field -- while spending most of the season at Reno, hitting .265 with 11 home runs, 55 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 94 games. It is his second stop with the D-backs this season. He was recalled when infielder Tony Abreu was placed on the disabled list May 25, and he hit .176 in 12 games, although he had consecutive game-winning pinch hits June 4-5 against Colorado.
The D-backs likely will add slugger Brandon Allen, a third catcher, and bullpen help when rosters are expanded September 1. While they have no other catchers on the 40-man roster, they are at 38 and could add one.
Konrad Schmidt, who is batting .311 with 38 extra-base hits for Mobile, is the
most qualified prospect. The 26-year-old Carlos
Corporan, who is batting .292 for Reno - including .424 in his last 10 games -
may be the more likely promotion if Mobile makes the postseason.
Roberts set career highs in virtually all statistical categories in 2009, his first full season in the majors, but he did not make the team out of spring training when they D-backs opted to keep Abreu and Rusty Ryal, who did not start Tuesday because of a severe cold, manager Kirk Gibson said. Roberts had cups of coffee with Texas and Toronto in previous seasons.
"It's a little stressful at times, but you grow with every situation that you are dealt," Roberts said of his trials the last few years. "I felt I grew as a player, just to not put too much stress on things. Not to put too much emphasis on the small stuff, rather than just to go play baseball and let everything take care of itself, kind of like you did as a kid.
"You get caught up in numbers games and options, stuff like that, but I feel better now, coming back ready just to play and have fun and not really worry about what happens. It's just kind of day by day for me now."
Infielder Bobby Crosby was released to make room for Roberts.
PADRES 5, DIAMONDBACKS 0: Rodrigo Lopez gave up two more home runs to San Diego -- he has given up six homers in 15 1/3 innings in three starts in the season series -- while raising his ERA to a season-high 5.09. The D-backs were shutout for the second straight game, stretching their scoreless streak to 20 innings, and they have only 12 hits in their last three games. Justin Upton singled and walked three times.
--RHP Rodrigo Lopez gave up two home runs, his big-league-leading 31st and 32nd of the season, while allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings at San Diego. "I tried to be too perfect and ended up making a bad pitch," said Lopez, 5-12 with a season-high 5.09 ERA. He is 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in three starts against the Padres this season, giving up 23 hits, including six home runs, and 14 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. All six of those homers are at Petco Park.
--INF/OF Ryan Roberts started in left field after being recalled from
Class AAA Reno earlier in the day, going 0-for-3 while being robbed of extra
bases on a line drive to left-center field in the second inning. Roberts, who hit .265 with 11 home runs, 55 RBI and 16 stolen bases at Reno, spent most of 2009 with the D-backs but did not make the team out of spring training when IF/OF Rusty Ryal and 2B Tony Abreu were kept.
--LHP Mike Hampton's fastball was clocked in the 86-87 mph range while the veteran pitched a scoreless inning Monday in his debut with Class AAA Reno. He gave up a single while throwing 15 pitches, eight strikes. "He was solid. He had the fastball life he's always had," D-backs interim general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "The breaking ball was just OK, but he located it well. Changeup was good." Hampton, 37, was making his first appearance since Aug. 13, 2009, his final start with Houston, after which he had surgery to repair a torn labrum and a partially damaged rotator cuff in September. He is expected to pitch again Thursday.
--INF Bobby Crosby was released to make room for INF/OF Ryan Roberts on Tuesday, after the D-backs asked if he would rather be released or designated for assignment. Crosby, acquired from Pittsburgh with OF Ryan Church and RHP D.J. Carrasco for C Chris Snyder and SS Pedro Ciriaco at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, was 2-for-12 with two doubles and two RBI with the D-backs, being used primarily as a pinch hitter. "It gives him an opportunity to reclaim his career," interim GM Jerry Dipoto said.
--OF Justin Upton singled to right field in the first inning and walked his next three times. Since moving to
the second spot in the order last Wednesday, he is 8-for-21 (.381) with four walks, posting a .440 on-base percentage.
DIAMOND STAT: .319 -- 2B Kelly Johnson's batting average at Chase Field through August 22. He was hitting .244 on the road.
QUOTABLE: "I'm pitching as well as I can, trying to put my team in position to win games. That's really all I can do." -- RHP Daniel Hudson, 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA in five quality starts since joining the Diamondbacks.
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