D-backs recall Allen, reinstate Blum
Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
The D-backs made a pair of roster moves just prior to the start of the second half of the season. First baseman Brandon Allen has been summoned from Triple-A Reno and veteran infielder Geoff Blum was activated off the disabled list.
Allen is a familiar face for the D-backs as he had brief stints with the big league club in 2009-10, after coming to Arizona via a trade with the White Sox in 2009. He was involved in a lengthy position battle during Spring Training, nearly making the big league club.
Throughout this season at Reno, he worked extensively to improve his consistency at the plate and power to the opposite field. In 83 games for the Aces, Allen batted .306 with 18 homers and 66 RBI. The first baseman caught fire in recent weeks by hitting .365 in his previous 18 contests. He’s now faced with the task of translating that performance to the Majors. Allen worked out with the team on Thursday and was in uniform for Friday’s series opener against the Dodgers.
Although he’s the newest D-back, he is already familiar with many of his teammates.
“Absolutely, there are some of the guys from Reno but a lot of guys from Spring Training,” Allen said. “It’s the same kind of group that there was in Spring Training and almost the same atmosphere as we had in Reno. So definitely, the comfort level is good here.”
D-backs skipper Kirk Gibson believes Allen will be a strong addition to the roster.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Gibson said. “I know him well. I know what his character is. He’s well liked by his teammates. He’ll fit in great, and he does bring us some things.”
Allen is expected to receive a significant amount of playing time at first base, which is an opportunity he is thankful for.
“Just be patient and some things will fall your way,” Allen said. “When I get up there and get that opportunity, I hope to take advantage of it.”
The left-handed hitter owns a career .221 Major League average. He has even displayed some thunder at the plate, including 10 doubles and five home runs in 54 games.
While his previous big league numbers may not be spectacular, he is an attractive option for the D-backs at first base. Gibson noted that there’s a lot to like about Allen’s game.
“He’s very athletic,” Gibson said. “I think he gives us a better defensive first baseman. He runs better. He’s got power. He’s always really had pretty good production numbers. I think it’s his turn. We’re looking for more production out of that spot, and thought that it was appropriate that he was the next guy that deserved the opportunity.”
Blum, meanwhile, will be making his Arizona debut. The veteran of 12 Major League seasons signed with the D-backs in the winter, but saw his first half derailed by a knee injury.
He is a career .251 hitter with 203 doubles and 468 RBI. He not only brings veteran expertise but also versatility off the bench. Blum is capable of playing all of the infield positions and is an accomplished pinch hitter.
“I’m pretty comfortable that he feels good and that he is able to do what we want him to do,” Gibson said. “We’ll try and work him in there probably a couple times a week. He certainly has experience as a pinch hitter. Blummer has got a lot of experience, and I like experience at this time of the year.”