Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Salvatore
It’s a gorgeous day in Scottsdale as the D-backs are set to take on the defending champion San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium at 1:00 pm today.
I’ll try to bring some live blog details throughout the afternoon, including some quotes from Kirk Gibson’s pre-game press conference. This game is being broadcast on Sports 620 KTAR, so tune in on your radio in your car or office or wherever you may be this afternoon.
Here is today’s lineup:
1. Willie Bloomquist – 2B
2. Melvin Mora – 3B
3. Justin Upton – RF
4. Miguel Montero – C
5. Xavier Nady – LF
6. Brandon Allen – 1B
7. Wily Mo Peña – DH
8. Tony Abreu – SS
9. Cole Gillespie – CF
Starting pitcher – Joe Saunders
Also expected to pitch – Wade Miley, Kam Mickolio and David Hernandez.
I’m actually excited to see all three of those pitchers. Miley has been impressive in bullpen sessions this spring and he was fantastic at Double-A last season, and Hernandez and Mickolio were the right-handed relievers acquired from Baltimore this offseason.
— Pre-game press conference with Kirk Gibson:
On players dealing with nagging injuries:
“(Joe) Paterson, we shut him down for one day, but he threw a bullpen today and knock on wood, everybody is healthy. Chris Owings (oblique injury) took groundballs today. Tomorrow he’ll start throwing a little bit and do some light swinging.
“(Paterson had) a neck kink. Look at the way he throws, he jerks his neck around and it kind of gets sore. He said he’s had that before. Instead of having him try to favor something, we just shut him down and let him get back on track. And now he’s fine.”
On the lineup:
“These guys are going to move all around. I did talk to Don (Baylor) today to see how he felt about some things.”
On Melvin Mora:
Mora can hit anywhere. He can hit first or second, he could hit eighth and he wouldn’t care. We were out for early work out, and we went out and guys were bunting, Zavada and Jaime were loosening up on Field one, and I went out to the batting cage and there’s Mora with (Minor Leaguers Mike) Freeman and (Matt) Davidson, putting balls on the tee for them. That’s just how he is. he’s a true pro, a guy who just likes to play. There is no ego there at all. Mora could hit anywhere.
On using the DH in a National League game:
Just today and Sunday. The pitchers have hit a lot this spring. They’ve done a lot of bunting, a lot of slashing. They’ve hit a lot and for the first time through the games, it’s a time for Joe (Saunders) to focus on pitching. I wanted to get some of the guys hitting, like Wily Mo. We’ll do it against Sunday and that will be it.
— Great first inning for the D-backs, with Willie Bloomquist, Melvin Mora, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero all hitting singles to get up 2-0, and Brandon Allen coming through with a sacrifice fly to right to give them a 3-0 lead.
Joe Saunders followed up with a good, efficient 1-2-3 first inning concluding with a strikeout of Miguel Tejada.
All in all, it’s exactly what you want to see from the D-backs this spring – quality at bats and good, efficient pitching.
— There’s a hit-and-run for the D-backs here in the second inning, with Gillespie running to second and Bloomquist at the plate, and a grounder to third moves Gillespie up. I would imagine we’ll see a good amount of that stuff this spring, it’s exactly the reason they signed high-contact guys like Bloomquist and Mora.
— The updates aren’t as fast and furious as I’d hoped — wireless internet has been a little sketchy at Scottsdale Stadium, I think the fact that there are far more writers than seats has caused some strain on the system.
Wade Miley looked very good in his first inning of relief, with a hitless inning, one walk, one strikeout. He’s back for a second inning now.
Xavier Nady went deep with an opposite field home run. If you’re familiar with the set up of Scottsdale Stadium, the ball went out right about where the outfield berm meets the Giants bullpen in right-center field. Nady is an important guy to watch this spring.
— David Hernandez is in to pitch for the D-backs, with the Giants leading 7-4. He is among the pitchers I’m most interested in seeing this spring. There is a good chance he can be a back-of-the-bullpen guy for the team this year. We now J.J. Putz is settled in as the team’s closer, but the 7 and 8 inning roles are really up for grabs. Hernandez, Gutierrez and Heilman are the guys who have some experience in those roles, and they’re the guys most likely to claim them this year.
Hernandez has good stuff, and his numbers in relief for Baltimore – a 3.16 ERA with a .236 opponents batting average in 37 innings – were pretty good and 15 of his 33 appearances were against the big bats of Boston, New York, Tampa Bay and Toronto.
— It’s all over here, D-backs fall to the Giants 7-6. We’ll be out at Salt River Fields tomorrow for the opening of the new ballpark against the Colorado Rockies in front of a sell-out crowd. Should be exciting!