Results tagged ‘ Leo Rosales ’

Some D-backs notes

A couple of small notes to get you caught up on the D-backs:

Over the weekend, the team outrighted pitchers Clay Zavada and Leo Rosales, which removed the pair from the 40-man roster.

Zavada did not make the team out of Spring Training last year and then underwent Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss the rest of the season. The team will try and bring him back on a Minor League contract.

Rosales missed over three months in 2010 due to a stress fracture in his foot that required surgery. The right-hander compiled a 7.16 ERA this year.

In other news, the D-backs announced a couple of scouting hires today.

Bill Bryk and Todd Greene will join the staff as Major League scouts. In addition they will also likely be charged with keeping an eye on Arizona’s farm teams as well.

Bryk is a longtime associate of Towers and was the special assistant to the general manager/Major League scout in San Diego.

Greene, a former big league catcher, was most recently a Major League scout for the Mariners.

D-backs Daily: March 22

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TODAY’S STORIES

D-backs rally to beat the Padres in 10 innings
Brandon Allen keeps it all in perspective

NOTES AND OPINIONS

MUCH BETTER: Ian Kennedy was impressive against the Padres, allowing just two hits while throwing five scoreless innings.

Kennedy is not known as a strikeout pitcher, but he managed to fan eight without walking a batter. Throwing strikes was something he wanted to accomplish and he did that and then some.

“I just wanted to pound the zone early on,” he said. “Worked really well with Chris Snyder today. He called a great game.”

The D-backs had to be pleased to see Kennedy bounce back after struggling against the Angels in his previous outing last week.

“The outing in Tempe I just kind of took it as a bad day,” Kennedy said. “I tried to learn from it and move on.”

I don’t think there was much question that Kennedy was going to be part of the team’s rotation, but if there was, I would think that there is no longer any doubt that will be.

“Ian was really, really good,” Hinch said. “He had good rhythm, he had good command he had swing and miss type stuff. A great outing. He hasn’t pitched poorly but he hadn’t pitched a clean game.”

He sure did Monday.

NOT AS GOOD: The day did not go as well for pitchers Jordan Norberto and Esmerling Vasquez.

Norberto came into the game having not allowed a run in six innings, but he struggled with his command and walked three and allowed a hit in lasting just two-thirds of an inning. He allowed one run, which he forced in when he gave Yorvit Torrealba a free pass with the bases loaded.

“It was good to see him under a little duress,” Hinch said.

While there had been some talk of Norberto making the team out of Spring Training, I always got the impression that the organization wanted him to get a little more Minor League seasoning. After all, he has made just 16 appearances at the Double-A level.

I still think he will start the year in the Minor Leagues, though it’s not out of the question they could decide to keep him. He’s certainly been extremely impressive. Regardless if he pitches like he did early in camp, expect to see him at Chase Field at some point this year.

Vasquez, who had shown improvement in his past few outings got out of the bases loaded jam in the seventh, but got himself into trouble with walks as well. The right-hander walked three and gave up a pair of runs.

SPEAKING OF THE ROSTER: Hinch said Monday that he is likely to carry 12 pitchers to start the year with eight of them being relievers.

If you figure that four of those spot are locked up by Chad Qualls, Bob Howry, Juan Gutierrez, Aaron Heilman and the fifth is all but taken by Blaine Boyer than it leaves you with three spots open.

I have to think that at this moment, Leo Rosales is a front runner for one. The right-hander has pitched well for the most part this spring and he’s out of Minor League options.

That leaves a couple of spots and a number of different options with Vasquez, Clay Zavada, Norberto and Zach Kroenke still in the mix.

We’ll see how the last two weeks play out.

WEBB UPDATE: Nothing really new here. Webb played catch again Monday. Hinch said they are being extra cautious in building his arm strength so that he doesn’t plateau like he did earlier this month.

While they don’t want to put a timeframe on him, it certainly seems like 30 days is the minimum it would take for him to be ready after getting back on the mound. So if late-April is going to be realistic, he will need to take a step forward soon.

DOUBLING UP: The D-backs grounded into five double plays wiping out numerous scoring opportunities.

“I could have done without all the double plays,” Hinch said.

Tuesday’s off day could not come at a better time for the D-backs, who seem ready for a break.

AT THE TOP: Conor Jackson hit at the top of the order for the second day in a row and you get the feeling that Hinch is really warming to the idea of hitting him there to start the season.

It’s really an excellent idea given that it plays to Jackson’s strength (getting on base, working counts) and the team truly doesn’t have a prototypical option there.

GOING UPTOWN: I’m late to the party on this, I know, but have you seen what the organization has planned for the right-field bleachers this year?

TAKING OFF: Tuesday will be an off day for the D-backs so this blog will be dark for the day, but will be back up and running from Glendale on Wednesday.

March 11 Wrap

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Here’s a look at today’s stories: A Brandon Webb update, D-backs sign or renew all 22 pre-arbitration players and beat the Angels 4-1.

Really there’s nothing new in the Webb story, nothing that has not been obvious for the better part of the last week and that is that it is unlikely that he will be able to start the third game of the season.

Now look, that doesn’t mean that he won’t be able to start soon after that, it doesn’t mean there’s something further wrong with his shoulder and it certainly is not time to panic about his availability for the long haul of the season.

The man is recovering from shoulder surgery. He had not thrown off a mound for the better part of 11 months. There were bound to be some hiccups along the way. This was never going to be smooth sailing.

Let’s see what happens over the next week or so. It sure sounds like he just needs to get over the hump or plateau that he’s at right now (and by the way I’ve used the word “stagnant” in my stories more in the past week than I previously had used in my entire career). If he’s able to get over that hump/off that plateau/unstagnanted it could be a quick progression for him. If not…well there’s plenty of time to delve into what that means for the team.

I know that GM Josh Byrnes told The Arizona Republic in December “I don’t think there’s any scenario where it doesn’t go well for him and we’re able to overcome that.” But keep in mind that was before the team signed second baseman Kelly Johnson, reliever Bob Howry and first baseman Adam LaRoche so I’m not sure that quote is operative any longer.

Am I saying the D-backs are going to win the NL West without Webb pitching well for most of the season? No. But then again I’m not sure they win the division even with him pitching well for most of the season.

What I am saying is there is a chance they win the division with him and there’s a chance they win it without him. Surely his health will be a big factor, but there are lots of others.

Anyway, that’s more than enough about Webb for one day. Let’s take a look at some other things to come out of the game today:

– You can’t help but be impressed so far with Edwin Jackson. He threw a solid three innings today and was so efficient he had to go down to the bullpen to throw 15 more pitches so he would reach his pitch count for the day.

“Nasty stuff,” catcher Miguel Montero said about Jackson.

“Still trying to work on things,” Jackson said. “Still fine tuning.”

– Reliever Leo Rosales has looked really good this spring. The right-hander allowed a home run to Mike Napoli (what else is new, Napoli has three homers already this spring) but in two spring outings he’s retired six of the seven batters he’s faced.

“Leo’s thrown the ball well,” D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said.

Rosales kind of flew under the radar a bit last year — he pitched better than you think — and is out of Minor League options. It would not surprise me in the least if he makes the team out of Spring Training.

– Tony Abreu = en fuego.

Abreu started at third Thursday so if you’re keeping track at home he’s played second, short and third this spring. He was 2-for-3 with a double and a couple of plays in the field.

“Abreu continues to shine,” Hinch said.

Spent some time talking with Abreu after the game and it’s clear he’s feeling very confident and realizes the opportunity that he has to make this team.

– Chris Snyder hit his first home run of the spring, but more importantly has now played three days in a row — catching, dhing and catching — and has not had any issues with his surgically-repaired back.

– Aaron Heilman, who looked shaky in his first outing of the spring looked sharp striking out a pair in one inning. Since allowing four runs in one inning last Friday against the Cubs, the right-hander has allowed one hit in two innings.

Thursday game notes

Here are some notes from the D-backs 11-1 loss to the Rockies in the Cactus League opener Thursday at Tucson Electric Park:

SLOPPY PLAY: The D-backs didn’t look like a team that had spent extra time on fundamentals and team defense with some lapses in the 11-1 loss to the Rockies.

“You have a sun ball, you have a misplay on a ball back to the pitcher,” Hinch said. “We couldn’t close out innings, they scored a lot of two-out runs. So in the context of the game they did a lot right. In the context of how we did, it’s Day One and I’ll look at some good things and a couple of things we’ll address tomorrow.”

CUT ME: Starter Billy Buckner allowed a pair of first-inning runs, but the right-hander had an impressive cut fastball on the day. Buckner said he threw four or five of them and got swings and misses on every one.

“I thought he rebounded pretty well after a rough start,” Hinch said. “He just couldn’t get out of the first inning, but he bounced back with a nice inning in the second inning which showed me a little something. Pitch down and pitch to contact are the two things that I would take away from today [for him].”

IMPRESSIVE: Reliever Leo Rosales, who is competing for one of the final bullpen spots, got three comebackers in the ninth inning.

All three of the outs came on his signature changeup.

“I was just trying to locate down in the zone,” Rosales said. “They were swinging the bat today so it was important for me to pound the zone at the knees.”

Rosales is out of Minor League options and would need to be placed on waivers if the team tries to send him to Triple-A Reno at the end of the spring.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Hinch plans on playing shortstop Stephen Drew and newly-acquired second baseman Kelly Johnson together as often as possible this spring to help them get comfortable with one another.

“Obviously there’s the feeds and turns, communication throughout the game on who has the bag and learning any odds and ends or quirks,” Hinch said. “Mostly it’s the turns and the tweener balls up the middle that both can get to, popup communication, things like that that are very easy to talk about in a clubhouse, but then when game speed picks up and instincts take over that’s when you see guys that haven’t played together. Timing of when to get the ball to each other on double plays is probably the most significant play that needs to be practiced. You can do all the drills you want until the game speed that’s where you really find out.”

12 AND 13? STAY TUNED: Hinch said he had not decided yet whether the team would carry 13 position players and 12 pitchers at the start of the year.

“I think that’s a good question at the end of camp,” Hinch said. “One of the advantages we have is that almost all the guys that are in these competitions have [Minor League] options so the roster flexibility at the end of camp will be pretty good.”

HUSH HUSH: Unlike past years, the D-backs will not announce starting lineups a day or two in advance. Third baseman Mark Reynolds and first baseman Adam LaRoche, though, are expected to start Friday.

FRIDAY PITCHING: Dan Haren will start against the Cubs. Wes Roemer, Clay Zavada, Jordan Norberto, Bryan Shaw, Esmerling Vasquez and Aaron Heilman are also scheduled to pitch.

SATURDAY PITCHING: Edwin Jackson makes his Diamondback debut against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Others slated to see action include Bryan Augenstein, Kyler Newby, Jose Marte, Roque Mercedes, Blaine Boyer and Juan Gutierrez.

Thoughts on the bullpen competition

It’s been an eventful week for the D-backs, who set their pitching staff and have narrowed the competition for the final bench spot to just a few players.

First, the pitching staff. It was no big surprise that Doug Slaten, Billy Buckner, Juan Gutierrez and Yusmeiro Petit grabbed the final four spots in the bullpen. It wasn’t like there was an overly impressive competition going on and as camp went on it seemed more spots became available. First it was when it was clear Tom Gordon was not going to be ready to start the season and then another opened when they decided to begin the year with Max Scherzer on the disabled list.

Petit and Buckner pitched very well in nearly all of their outings this spring and clearly deserved to make the team.

As for Slaten, he is it seems at times maddeningly frustrating for the coaching staff, many of whom believe he has a lot of potential. He struggled early in camp, but a couple of things helped rescue his candidacy. One, he worked with pitching coach Bryan Price on lowering his arm angle which led him to pitch better. And two, he’s left-handed and the team desperately wanted a second lefty to go with Scott Schoeneweis.

Gutierrez pitched very well in his first couple outings in camp and that fact along with being out of Minor League options and therefore a risk to be lost on the waiver wire helped him make the team despite being unimpressive the second half of the spring.

It’s hard to argue with the selections. Bobby Korecky and Leo Rosales were the odd men out and will start the year with Triple-A Reno. Korecky pitched well in his final few outings, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a rough start to the spring.

What will be interesting to see is who comes off the roster when Scherzer is ready to go in mid-April.

More on the position player battle in a little bit.

Notes from the last couple of days

Here are some notes from the last couple of days:

– Billy Buckner will start Wednesday’s opener. The right-hander will throw two innings as will Juan Gutierrez and Hector Ambriz. Cesar Valdez, Leo Rosales and Esmerling Vasquez are slated to throw one inning apiece.

– Other pitching notes, Dan Haren will start Thursday and be followed to the mound by Doug Daivs. Brandon Webb will go on Friday along with Jon Garland.

– Good news for the D-backs today with Max Scherzer throwing his first bullpen of the spring without any problems.

It’s worth noting that the D-backs will not need a fifth starter until April 14, seven games into the season, so it will be interesting to see what they do with Scherzer at the start of the season.

– All 11 of the ailing D-backs were back in camp on Monday after experiencing stomach problems the day before.

They were not asked to take part in the normal conditioning on Monday and the pitchers who had been sick did not have to go through pitcher fielding practice drills.

– Tuesday will be a light day for the team — maybe 45 minutes shorter than usual — before Wednesday’s first Cactus League game. In past years, they have played an intrasquad game the day before the opener, but since Spring Training is so long this year they don’t think they need the another game.

Speaking of which there will only be one “B” game on March 4 against the Rockies. Garland, Jose Marte, Leyson Septimo, Reid Mahon and Brooks Brown are slated to pitch that game.

– The D-backs early camp for Minor Leaguers got underway on Sunday.

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