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March 17 Notes - Batting Order, Benson, Webb News | March
The Diamondbacks batting order in today's spring training game is likely to be the one used on Opening Day: SS Stephen Drew LF Conor Jackson RF Justin Upton 1B Adam LaRoche 3B Mark Reynolds C Miguel Montero 2B Kelly Johnson CF Chris Young Manager A.J. Hinch said "LF Conor Jackson screams two-hole to me right now," and that he likes "the middle of the order the way it is constructed" today. Having Jackson's high OBP in the #2 slot should provide more RBI chances for the middle of the lineup, and will reduce Kelly Johnson's fantasy value a little. Kris Benson was signed to a minor league deal for $650,000, with another $100K available in incentives based on games started. Benson had an ERA between 4.00 and 5.00 every season from 2002-2006, and then underwent rotator cuff surgery in 2007. He tried to come back in 2009 with Rangers, struggling to a 8.46 ERA in 22 IP. The plan is for Benson to make at least one appearance in a spring training game before Opening Day, and then make some starts in the Minors. At this point, Benson is probably not physically ready for the #5 slot in the rotation, assuming he can even pitch effectively. The latest news on Brandon Webb is that he is targeting a late April return to the starting rotation. On Wednesday, Webb said this was the best he has felt all spring. In retrospect, Webb admits that trying to get ready for Opening Day may have been a little too aggressive. Both Edwin Jackson (2.2 IP, 7 ER) and Ian Kennedy (3.1 IP, 4 ER) struggled in their latest outings, but both seem healthy and assured everyone that there is nothing to worry about. Esmerling Vasquez continued to impress with 2 more scoreless innings, and Mark Reynolds hit his first home run of the spring.