22 March 2011
Here is a quick summary of the roster and injury situation for the Diamondbacks heading into the final week of Spring Training.
Justin Upton - Upton left Sunday's game against the A's with a knee problem, but the injury is not believed to be serious. "It's going to be sore, but I don't think it's anything that's going to be too crazy," Upton said. "I didn't hear any cracks, pops or anything like that." The injury occurred when Upton was running into the right field corner chasing down an Eric Sogard triple, and Upton slipped and apparently jammed his knee. Upton will probably rest for a few days, but is expected to be ready well before Opening Day. Edit to add: Upton is expected to play in Tuesday's Spring Training game against the Indians.
J.J. Putz - Putz was scratched from his appearance in a game last Friday with a back problem, but thinks the problem is not serious. He played catch from around 60 feet for about seven minutes on Monday, and reported no major problems. "I felt good," he said. "I think it's kind of looking more and more like [it was] a little spasm. We still have some work to do to get it completely gone, but for the most part I think we're going in the right direction." Putz will throw long-toss next, and will hopefully be getting back on the mound by the end of the week.
Stephen Drew - Drew left a game last Wednesday with abdominal tightness, but returned to action on Sunday, playing four innings and taking two ABs. "It felt all right," Drew said. "I still feel it, not as bad. Just going day-by-day and doing a lot of work on it. Hopefully in the next day or two it will start to go away."
Geoff Blum - Blum is still a few days from returning from a knee injury. He has experienced some swelling, and was supposed to meet with team doctors on Monday. "I've been doing hitting and throwing and stuff, but the doc said that running and ground balls might irritate it a little more so I'm trying to hold off on that for a little bit until I see him again [Monday] and get the OK," Blum said. There is a chance that Blum will not be ready for Opening Day, which would temporaily help sort out the roster logjam in the infield involves Tony Abreu, Ryan Roberts, Melvin Mora, and Willie Bloomquist.
Xavier Nady - Nady has been playing Spring Training games, but still is having trouble throwing from left field. "It was just going to take time to get over the mental hurdle," Nady said. "[On Thursday] it felt good, and I was able to go out there and do it without any hesitation." "I'm excited I'm taking some steps forward," he said. "I'm just going to keep working at throwing, and obviously working on hitting, and be ready for April 1." Nady is hitting only .204/.220/.306 in Spring Training, and has only three extra base hits in 49 ABs, without a single base on balls. He is trying to beat out Gerardo Parra, Brandon Allen, and Ryan Roberts for the left field job, and all three have had a much better spring than Nady.
Barry Enright: The big news on Monday was that Barry Enright has won a spot in the starting rotation. Enright has only allowed 5 ER in 17 IP (2.65 ERA), and has struck out 10 batters while walking only 4. Most of the damage against him has come from home runs, as he has allowed 3 already in Spring Training. But Enright has been the team's most consistent starter in Spring Training, allowing 2 ER or less in each of his five appearances.
Wily Mo Pena: Despite hitting .341/.357/.585 in Spring Training with 3 HR, Pena was sent down to the Minor Leagues on Monday. He will be kept as insurance in case the team needs a right-handed power hitter off the bench, especially if Nady's struggles continue.
Micah Owings - Owings was sent back to the minors after allowing 11 hits and 7 runs (6 earned) in 7.1 IP (7.36 ERA), although he did strikeout out 10 batters while walking three.
25-Man Roster Update - With the departures of Pena and Owings, along with Brian Sweeney, Konrad Schmidt, and John Hester, the Diamondbacks are down to 35 players in camp. The following players seem to be in good shape to make the Opening Day roster:
Catchers (2): Miguel Montero, Henry Blanco
Infield (5): Juan Miranda, Russell Branyan, Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew, Melvin Mora
Outfield (3): Justin Upton, Chris Young, Gerardo Parra
Pitchers (11): Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders, Barry Enright, Armando Galarraga, Aaron Heilman, J.J. Putz, David Hernandez, Sam Demel, Joe Paterson, Juan Gutierrez
That's 21 out of 25 spots, leaving room for one more pitcher and three more position players. The position player batter comes down to Xavier Nady, Geoff Blum, Willie Bloomquist, Brandon Allen, Ryan Roberts, and Tony Abreu; that's six players for the three spots. On the pitching side, Esmerling Vasquez is probably the front-runner, with Carlos Rosa, Kam Mickolio, Mike Hampton, and Jordan Norberto also in contention.