Blum, Hernandez Settling in for D-backs
David Hernandez – Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
With all position players now in camp, Spring Training workouts are in full swing for the D-backs.
The third day of full squad workouts took place on Monday morning, and pitchers faced off against live hitters for the first time this spring.
While pitchers get acclimated to the game environment, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was unsure of who will pitch in Friday’s opening game against the defending world champion San Francisco Giants.
“All the pitchers have now thrown,” Gibson said. “They’ve had their sides on and off, on and off. They all have thrown live today, see how everybody comes out of that. Want to make sure there’s no soreness in shoulders, or forearms, or elbows and stuff like that.”
Blum brings veteran presence, adds depth
One of Kevin Towers’ first moves as new General Manager of the D-backs was to sign infielder Geoff Blum.
Blum brings a strong veteran presence, and much needed experience to an Arizona roster that had a youthful look in recent years.
“I think the expectations are that you stick around long enough you garner hopefully a little more respect by the experiences you’ve been through,” Blum said. “I’ve been fortunate to be on some really good teams, really bad teams, and some interesting teams. I think coming here into this clubhouse and some of the rumors you hear about what had happened in the past. I think that’s exactly what it is, the past. We’re a whole new ball club.”
While Blum is highly regarded as a role player off the bench, he is also in the midst of a position battle at third base.
“So far so good,” Blum said. “Obviously I’m just happy to be here and have a job. To be put in a situation here in Arizona, is going to be a special thing for me. I’m just happy to be even mentioned in the competition at third base.”
Gibson said that the influx of veterans is already paying dividends.
“They’ve got great attitudes,” Gibson said. “They work hard. They go about their business. We’ve talked about Blanco; Blum is the same way, Mora, Bloomquist. They all have different aspects about them. It’s contagious. It’s what we were hoping for.”
Hernandez hopes to make impact in bullpen
David Hernandez is only a week into his D-backs career, but the right-handed hurler is excited to be a part of the new-look D-backs.
Hernandez and fellow reliever Kam Mickolio were shipped from Baltimore to Arizona in exchange for Mark Reynolds over the offseason.
Hernandez offered some insight on his longtime teammate Mickolio.
“He’s really tall,” Hernandez said. “He throws from a wide angle that I couldn’t repeat. He’s got a good repertoire. He just deserves a chance. It was really tough for him over in Baltimore, but I think he’s got a little more opportunities over here.”
Last season, Hernandez sported a 4.31 ERA in 79 1/3 innings of work. He also collected two saves with the Orioles, and will most likely serve as a late inning reliever for the D-backs.
Towers added the two pitchers in hopes that they will revitalize a bullpen that was dreadful in 2010.
“It’s definitely complimentary when he goes out of his way and he trades somebody that is proven big leaguer that hits home runs,” Hernandez said. “I’m happy to be a part of that package, and I’m happy that Kam came along with me. It’s definitely good to come in here knowing at least one person. It’s been really easy to get along with everybody in here.”