Humidor Time in Arizona?
Mark Reynolds

Posted Aug 31, 2010


The Arizona Diamondbacks have noted the success of the Colorado Rockies since they took steps to make Coors Field more pitcher-friendly as well as the success of other low-payroll teams who have succeeded in pitcher's parks such as the San Diego Padres and Oakland A's. They may try to emulate Colorado by installing a humidor of their own and even raising their fences at Chase Field.

President/CEO Derrick Hall wants to follow the Colorado model to control over-abundant offense by installing a humidor in hitter-friendly Chase Field.

"We're leaning toward doing that, for sure," Hall told FOXSportsArizona.com. "I think we could do that right away ... start to work with our friends over there (Colorado) and see what we can do."

The D-backs would like to have the temperature- and humidity-controlled chamber used for storing baseballs installed in time for the 2011 season and also are considering making the fence higher in left field and pushing it back in right.

The D-backs are looking for ways to create a less hostile environment for the young pitching staff they are developing. Chase Field is ranked as the 10th-best hitters' park in the majors this season (Colorado's Coors Field remains No. 1) and the fourth-best in the NL, also trailing Chicago's Wrigley Field and Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. Chase Field had the second-most runs scored in the majors last season and has been in the top five every year since 2006.  From 2007-2009, 15% more runs were scored at Diamondbacks home games than their road games, the second highest percentage (again, to Colorado) in that span.

Colorado installed its humidor before the 2002 season in an attempt to reduce home runs at mile-high Coors Field. Studies showed it was the dry air of Denver, where humidity is about 10 percent, more than the light air that caused balls to travel. The Arizona air is similarly dry.

"I don't know if it cures everything scientifically, but it certainly does mentally," Hall said of the humidor.

With the D-backs' influx of young pitching, including a potent young threesome of Barry Enright, Ian Kennedy, and Daniel Hudson, as well as seven pitchers signed from the first eight rounds of this year's draft, it makes sense for the D-backs to create favorable conditions for them.

"It's going to be good for the pitchers. It can only help," Joe Saunders said.

Additionally, the D-backs have sluggers Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, and Adam LaRoche at the major league level who are strong enough to hit homers under any conditions, as well as Paul Goldschmidt, Brandon Allen, and Marc Krauss in the minors with similar tape-measure potential.  Reynolds, who hit his 30th and 31st home runs Monday, confirmed that the park's conditions don't matter to him.

"They can have the pitchers throw rolled up socks, it doesn't matter. We are still going to come out here and play. If it builds confidence in our pitchers, the more power to them," he said.

DIAMONDBACKS 7, PADRES 2: 3B Mark Reynolds hit his 30th and 31st home run and tied a career high with five RBI to back LHP Joe Saunders, who gave up a two-run home run to SS Miguel Tejada in the first inning before shutting out the Padres for his final seven innings. C Miguel Montero had a two-run double in a four-run first inning, capped by the first of Reynolds' two-run homers. Reynolds had an RBI single in the eighth.

SNAKE BYTES

--3B Mark Reynolds homered to right field on a fastball in the first inning and homered to left on a changeup in the third Monday while tying a career high with five RBI, the third time he has done it, two coming against San Diego. "That was lucky," Reynolds said of his homer to right. "It was up and away and I tried to get on top of it. Put a good swing on it." He surpassed 30 homers for the second straight season and has 103 homers since the start of 2008.

--LHP Joe Saunders made a quick turnaround, holding San Diego to two runs over eight innings in a 7-2 victory at Chase Field on Monday after giving up nine runs (six earned) in a 9-3 loss to the Padres at Petco Park on Wednesday. "Pretty neat. It's a little redemption," said Saunders, who broke a four-game losing streak and used only 101 pitches in eight innings.

--RF Justin Upton suffered what he called irritation in his left shoulder when he made an awkward swing while striking out in the eighth inning Monday and was removed from the game. He immediately iced the shoulder, which he also injured in the same way last season, causing him to miss one game. "It happens every once in awhile. Last year I bounced back pretty quick. Right now it's up in the air, but hopefully it will be pretty quick," Upton said.

--1B Adam LaRoche (leg) was held out of the game Monday as a precautionary measure, interim manager Kirk Gibson said. LaRoche suffered his injury running out a double in the seventh inning of a 9-7 loss in San Francisco on Sunday, although he remained in the game after talking with Gibson. LaRoche singled into gap in right-center in the ninth inning before being replaced by RHP Ian Kennedy as a pinch-runner. "He's been getting on base too much. We've been pushing him. Today was the day," Gibson said. LaRoche had nine homers in August, a career high for a month. He has tied the D-backs' franchise record for RBI by a first baseman, 87, which was set by Tony Clark in 2005, and is on pace for 107.

--SS Stephen Drew had a single and a double Monday and now has 16 hits in his last 33 at-bats, including six doubles and four home runs. He has a seven-game hitting streak, and with 12 homers this season, Drew has equaled his output from 2009.

--Hi-A Visalia 1B Paul Goldschmidt was named the California League MVP. Goldschmidt, an eighth-round draft choice out of Texas State in 2009, was hitting .305 with 38 doubles, 33 homers and 99 RBI through Sunday's games. He was tied for the minor-league lead in homers and led the Cal League in doubles, total bases (295) and OPS (.967) with a week remaining in the regular season. D-backs farm director Mike Berger has compared Goldschmidt favorably to former major leaguer Steve Balboni.

DIAMOND STAT: 3 -- Splash-down home runs by 1B Adam LaRoche after consecutive homers into McCovey Cove on Friday and Saturday, tying Carlos Delgado for the most splash-downs by a Giants' opponent.

QUOTABLE: "I've been pulling off a lot of pitches. When you get hit in the head, it's tough sometimes to stand in there against the heater. I'm just trying to be consistent." -- 3B Mark Reynolds, who was hit in the batting helmet in the sixth inning Aug. 3 against Washington.


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