March 2012

Ziegler helping to support military families with Saturday event

Wanted to let everyone know about a fundraising event that Brad Ziegler has Saturday.

Ziegler will be joined by Craig Breslow, Trevor Cahill, Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon (AZ time) at Hot Corner Sports Cards at the corner of Power Road and Main in Mesa.

For $20 you can get one autograph from each of the five players with the money going to benefit “Pastime for Patriots” a foundation he and his wife started to support members of the United States military and their families.

A portion of the proceeds from merchandise sold at the shop during that time will be donated to the foundation as well.

Sandwiches will be sold for $6 with $3 of that going to the foundation.

To make sure that everyone gets an autograph, if there are more requests than they can accommodate in the two-hour time period there will be a way for people to submit items they want signed and Ziegler will make sure they get taken care of.

Check out his web site or go to his Twitter timeline for more information.

D-backs Daily Wrap: March 14

WHAT HAPPENED:

– The D-backs dropped a pair of split-squad games.

They lost, 8-0, to the Padres in a day game at Salt River Fields.

They lost, 7-4, to the Rockies in a night game at Salt River Fields.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

The D-backs pitchers are serious about this sticking up for Justin Upton thing.

This is worth watching as the regular season gets underway. Teams clearly believe that the best way to get Upton out is to pitch him inside. The problem is when pitchers try to go in and don’t have good enough control and end up hitting him.

The guy was plunked 19 times last year and it got pretty ridiculous after a while. It’s not that all of the HBP’s were intentional, but after a while enough is enough. I think you’ll see the D-backs pitchers take care of it much earlier this season.

– On a related note, it will interesting to see if this adds any fuel to the D-backs-Padres rivalry. Remember, these two teams didn’t really like each other much in Arizona’s infancy as an organization. That’s cooled quite a bit, but with Josh Byrnes and A.J. Hinch now with the Padres organization and the little dustup on Wednesday…well maybe that will change.

Trevor Bauer and Patrick Corbin are pretty good.

OK, so we knew that already, but still…

Have to say watching Corbin on the mound while Bauer was throwing a simulated game in the bullpen was somewhat surreal.

It’s clear that Bauer feels very strongly about his routine and doing plenty of throwing. To this point there doesn’t seem to be a reason to change him. Why mess with success?

The D-backs are going to be featured on MLB Network’s 30-for-30 on Thursday.

– Josh Collmenter seems to be healthy after missing that start with tightness in his right forearm.

The results weren’t necessarily what he wanted, but again right now that’s not overly important.

– J.J. Putz threw well in his one inning of work in the night game.

– The D-backs finally got some hits and scored some runs in the night game. Gibson said he thought they were a little more aggressive in that game after taking too many pitches to this point in the spring.

WHAT’S COMING UP:

The D-backs travel to Mesa to take on the Cubs on Thursday with Opening Day starter Ian Kennedy set to take the mound. Kennedy has been battling flu like symptoms for the past week and allowed four runs in his last start. Barry Enright is also expected to pitch for the D-backs.

That’s all for today.
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23 days until Opening Day vs. Giants

D-backs Daily Wrap: March 12

WHAT HAPPENED:

The D-backs fell to the Indians, 3-2, in Goodyear.

– Joe Saunders left the game after being struck by a line drive.

– Kirk Gibson announced starters for Wednesday’s split-squad games.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

Saunders appears to be OK after being hit just to the side of his left shin. He will have an x-ray Tuesday just to be sure. We’ll see if he is set back by only throwing a handful of pitches rather than the 40 or so he was scheduled to throw.

– Outfielder Chris Young has looked good at the plate this spring after making a slight adjustment in his mechanics at the plate. Young is certainly playing like someone who does not want to lose playing time to Gerardo Parra in the crowded Arizona outfield.

Trevor Bauer has earned the respect of some of the veterans for his work ethic.

One of the aspects of his unique routine that could wind up being tweaked is the crow hop throw he does at the start of his warm-ups each half inning. He jammed catcher Miguel Montero’s thumb in his last outing and Montero was not pleased.

My guess: either they tell him to stop doing it or the catcher will just step out of the way from now on and let it go to the backstop.

– Speaking of Bauer…it’s a bit of a surprise that Gibson elected to go with Patrick Corbin instead of Bauer for Wednesday’s start.

– Third-base coach Matt Williams and Gibson talked to young third baseman Matt Davidson on Monday about not taking his at-bats into the field with him. In fact, Williams offered up a challenge.

“I want you to do a game where you don’t take one pitch off,” Gibson said Williams told Davidson. “One pitch, that’s hard. Matty would know, he was that caliber of a third baseman. We want to make sure he understands that.”

– A couple of other thoughts from Monday’s game…

Encouraging to see a clean inning from Bryan Shaw.

Joe Paterson did a nice job striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Outfielder A.J. Pollock continues to impress with his heads up play. You can see why the D-backs really like him. He doesn’t get intimidated by his surroundings and seems to have a real good feel for the game. Bunted for a hit with one out and the D-backs trailing by a run in the ninth. Ball was thrown away so he immediately found himself in scoring position.

WHAT’S COMING UP:

The D-backs return to Salt River Fields on Tuesday to take on the Angels.
Trevor Cahill will make his second start of the spring and he will be followed to the mound by lefty Tyler Skaggs. The D-backs will see a familiar face on the mound as Dan Haren is scheduled to start for the Angels.
That’s all for today.
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25 days until Opening Day vs. Giants

D-backs daily wrap: March 6

WHAT HAPPENED:

The D-backs fell to the Rangers, 16-3, at Salt River Fields.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

– The D-backs have not looked good so far this spring.

So far Kirk Gibson has taken what’s happened in stride, but if they continue to miss cutoff men and play sloppy baseball you can bet he’s going to have something to say about it.

– The D-backs haven’t backed off their early work.

Gibson cited all the work he’s put his team through in the mornings as a possible explanation for what’s happened so far in games. He also hinted at the fact that he could start backing off that a little bit following Thursday’s off day.

Jason Kubel has been fitting in nicely so far this spring.

Matt Davidson has impressed so far in camp.

– Joe Saunders didn’t have a very good outing resultswise, but the left-hander said he felt good about his pitches.

No one should read much, if anything at all, into the first outing or two of spring for established veterans. This is a time for them to get their legs under them and tinker with pitches or any mechanical adjustments they may be making.

The Minor Leaguers are anxious to get going.

Farm director Mike Bell was thrilled with the amount of players who have turned out for early work thus far.

– Evan Marshall was struck in the right ribcage by a line drive Monday, but Gibson said after the game that it did not look like it was serious.

WHAT’S COMING UP:

The D-backs play host to the Indians on Wednesday at Salt River Fields.

Trevor Cahill will make his first appearance in a D-backs uniform and be followed to the mound by Tyler Skaggs.

That’s all for today.  Remember…
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31 days until Opening Day vs. Giants

March 3: D-backs daily recap

WHAT HAPPENED:

The D-backs beat the Giants, 9-6, at Scottsdale Stadium.

The D-backs tied the Rockies, 1-1, in 10 innings at Salt River Fields.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

Trevor Bauer was not fazed by pitching against big league hitters.

Bauer’s curveball was particularly impressive today as he got a couple of called strikes on it early and he seemed confident in throwing all of his pitches.

This was also the first time I had seen his pregame routine which includes playing long toss from foul pole to foul pole. It truly is an amazing thing to watch.

Tyler Skaggs says his shoulder is better.

– D-backs fans clearly were ready for the start of the Cactus League as there was a record crowd at Salt River Fields.

Everyone on the 40-man roster is now signed for the 2012 season.

– This Kevin Towers guy just might know a thing or two about judging players. Just yesterday, Towers was telling us that he liked how Marc Krauss looked early in camp. Then, wham, Krauss goes out and goes 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs in the opener.

This is a big year for him as he tries to re-establish his prospect status.

– Justin Upton and Chris Young got off to hot starts as they went a combined 5-for-6 with a homer and an RBI.

– Konrad Schmidt had a nice day going 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI against the Giants.

Speaking of Schmidt, Happy Birthday wishes go out to his grandmother Laverne Schmidt of Corte Madera, Calif. Laverne turned 93 years young Saturday and Konrad not only called her to pass along his wishes, he also had a big day at the plate.

– Was not over at the game with the Giants, but heard that Rusty Ryal was forced to leave the game. Gibson told us that Ryal has been battling some tightness in his groin.

– Looks like LHP Wade Miley pitched well against the Giants tossing two scoreless innings.

– Matt Davidson was 1-for-3 against the Rockies, but was even more impressive with his glove at third.

“Davidson I thought played pretty well over there,” Gibson said. “Showed soft hands. I like the way he looks at the plate.”

– Because of the split-squad game, Davidson and outfielder A.J. Pollock had to play all nine innings.

“I didn’t really want to do that the first day, but they handled themselves well,” Gibson said. “We’ll try and adjust tomorrow. I may not use them tomorrow.”

– Impressive day on the mound for the D-backs against the Rockies. Patrick Corbin was a little wild with three walks in 1 2/3 innings. Lefty Mike Zagurski struck out two of the three batters he faced and Evan Marshall also looked sharp.

“Pitching overall today was good,” Gibson said.

If you haven’t read Nick Piecoro’s piece on Bauer in today’s Arizona Republic, do yourself a favor and check it out. Good stuff.

WHAT’S COMING UP:

The D-backs play host to the Giants at Salt River Fields on Sunday with Opening Day starter Ian Kennedy on the mound.

– Relievers Takashi Saito and Craig Breslow are expected to make their D-backs debuts in the game. Brad Ziegler and David Hernandez are also among those who should see action.

– If you don’t have tickets yet, you’re out of luck. The game is officially a sellout.

– Brian Burres will start for the split-squad Giants, who are throwing Madison Bumgarner against the Brewers in Maryvale .

That’s all for today.  Remember…
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34 days until Opening Day vs. Giants

March 2: D-backs Daily Recap

WHAT HAPPENED:

– The D-backs had their final workout before Spring Training games begin.

– The team did some fundamental drills and took batting practice in the Salt River Fields main stadium.

Tyler Skaggs was scratched from his Saturday start with some tenderness in his shoulder.

– GM Kevin Towers met with the media.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

– The D-backs are being extra cautious with Skaggs and Kirk Gibson went out of his way to say that Skaggs was much improved from Thursday to Friday, but the staff does not want to take any chances with such a prized prospect. Especially with it being the opener, Skaggs would certainly be at max effort.

– As the spring goes on and the team begins to make cuts, look for Towers to not always be in the main stadium.

“I’ll probably spend more time on the back fields watching our young kids and getting a better feel for what we’ve got in the pipeline,” Towers told us.

– Minor Leaguer Marc Krauss has made an impression on Towers so far after a disappointing 2011.

“Marc Krauss, his body is completely different from where he was last year,” Towers said. “He’s lost a lot of weight and is in great shape. I know coming into last year he was a name given to me to kind of keep your eye on. You can tell that he worked real hard this offseason to get his body back in shape. Body looks great, swing looks good. I see him in the weight room every day, he’s working real hard.”

– The D-backs could look to lock up their top two pitchers.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Towers has made it clear that they hadn’t approached the pair yet and that the club had no desire to negotiate in season. So we should know one way or the other sooner rather than later.

– The D-backs are still looking for catching help. Towers said that their efforts did not increase because of calling off the Montero extension talks.

“I think we were active even before that,” Towers said. “Not knocking what we have down below, but throughout the whole system that’s probably an area we’re as light on prospect talent. We were talking to clubs this winter trying to indentify young catchers that could be available just to add to the depth in our system. That hasn’t changed. We’ve targeted probably a handful of guys that we’ll scout not only in the spring, but probably throughout the Minor League season, more guys at Double-A/Triple-A that we think are close to give us protection just in case something doesn’t happen with Miggy at the end of the season.”

The D-backs games this weekend are popular.

WHAT’S COMING UP:

– The D-backs play a split-squad game against the Rockies at Salt River Fields (1:10 p.m.) and the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium (1:05 p.m.)

Trevor Bauer will start the game against the Rockies with Patrick Corbin among those seeing action.

Josh Collmenter will start the game against the Giants with Wade Miley, Bryan Shaw and Charles Brewer among those expected to see work.

– Ian Kennedy will get the start against the Giants on Sunday at SRF.

That’s all for today.  Remember…
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1 day until spring opener
35 days until Opening Day vs. Giants

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