Tagged: Juan Gutierrez

Bullpen Notes: Vasquez Up, Mickolio to Reno

Photography: Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

The D-backs shook up their bullpen Wednesday, recalling right-hander Esmerling Vasquez from Triple-A Reno, and optioning right-hander Kam Mickolio to Reno.

Vasquez is a familiar name at Chase Field as this marks his third season with the big league club. He made his debut in 2009, and has spent the majority of the last two season in the Major Leagues. During that time, Vasquez has posted a 4.81 ERA in 110 games.

Vasquez enjoyed a strong Spring Training, but just narrowly missed making the Opening Day roster. He didn’t have to wait long, just under three weeks, before receiving the call to the big leagues.

In his first day back in the Majors, Vasquez took the mound in the top of the fifth inning and retired Skip Schumaker to end the inning. He threw another full inning, allowing just one hit.

In his lone outing for Reno this season, Vasquez tossed a scoreless inning without allowing a base runner.

The young hurler is pleased with his recent results and is excited to be back in Sedona red.

“I’m working hard and I feel more comfortable with my mechanics,” Vasquez said.

As Vasquez embarks on his third season at the Major League level, he hopes to continue improving and learning.

“Every year you learn more,” Vasquez said. “When you see a couple pitchers who have a lot of time, you watch and you learn. I take something.”

Gutierrez rebounds after recent struggles

After struggling on the mound in recent outings, allowing three earned runs in each of his last two appearances, D-backs relief pitcher Juan Gutierrez began to look like his old self on Wednesday night.

Gutierrez entered the game in the top of the seventh inning, and threw two innings of one-hit, shutout baseball against the Cardinals.

In his two innings of work, Gutierrez struck out three of the seven batters he faced.

“Gutierrez threw good,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We had him on the mound before the game trying to get him to not overdo it. He threw the ball great tonight, and located much better. His breaking ball was much sharper.”

In the seventh, Gutierrez allowed a leadoff double, but quickly turned things around. One batter later, he induced a groundout off the bat of Jon Jay.

The next two Cardinals hitters, Allen Craig and David Freese, were strikeout victims.

The eighth was a little smoother for the right-hander. Schumaker lined out to the third baseman Melvin Mora before Gutierrez received a fly out and another strikeout to cap off his impressive performance.

Paterson tosses scoreless ninth

Gibson called on southpaw Joe Paterson to take over the pitching duties in the ninth, and Paterson showed why he belongs at the big league level.

Paterson toed the rubber, hoping to provide a quick inning for his team.

“I felt good,” Paterson said. “I wanted to come in, throw strikes, and get us back in as quick as we can.”

Paterson struck out opposing pitcher Eduardo Sanchez to start the inning. Next up was Cardinals centerfielder Colby Rasmus, who had already collected three hits in the game.

Paterson froze Rasmus for strike three and the second out of the inning. After Daniel Descalso singled to left, Paterson ended the frame by getting Jay to hit a weak groundout back to the mound.

It was another solid outing for the D-backs’ lone bullpen lefty. Paterson entered tonight’s contest with a 0.00 ERA in five appearances.

“It was good,” Paterson said. “I shouldn’t have ever gone full count with the pitcher, but it happens. My goal was to try and get guys out pretty quick. I was glad to go out there and pitch.”

Parra, Gutierrez Heating Up As Season Approaches

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Photography: Jon Willey
By Greg Dillard
The outstanding play of D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra has turned some heads this Spring. 
After arriving to camp in stellar shape, Parra is enjoying the best Spring Training of his young career. He has emerged as a regular in manager Kirk Gibson’s lineup, and produced when given the opportunity. 
Parra is currently boasting a .350 batting average to go with his two homers and 10 RBI.
It was more of the same for Parra on Friday against the Mariners. In his first at-bat, Parra  drilled a single into center field to plate the D-backs first run of the game. After being hit by a pitch in his second plate appearance, Parra raced around the bases to score on Willie Bloomquist’s single. 
Gibson believes the impressive results are due to Parra’s hard work this Spring.
“He’s just playing well,” Gibson said. “All the hard work has paid off. He’s played a lot too, but he’s conditioned himself, strengthened himself. He’s worked a lot with Don Baylor trying to correct some things that he’s been doing the past few years.”
Gibson believes Parra is noticing the results of his new workout habits.
“I think he kind of feels the difference it’s making on him,” Gibson said. “His body is changing. He’s getting more cut, way stronger in his core, throwing a lot better, running a lot more.”
Since his arrival to the Major Leagues in 2009, Parra has seen regular playing time as the team’s fourth outfielder. Through his first two seasons in the big leagues, Parra is a career .277 hitter with 40 doubles. 
However thanks to his impressive Spring, Parra could possibly receive the majority of innings and at-bats in left field this season. 
While Parra could play center field to give Chris Young an occasional day off, Gibson believes his skills best suit him for the corner outfield spots. 
“He’s really effective on the corners, either corner,” Gibson said. “His arm comes into play. He really runs the ball down well in the corners. He’s running better, though, this year.”
Allen flashes leather at first base
Since Gibson took over as D-backs manager, he has stressed the importance of adequate defense.
On Friday, the Mariners kept first baseman Brandon Allen busy fielding his position. Through the first three innings, Allen hauled in four batted balls, fielding them with ease to retire each Seattle hitter.
Allen even turned in a highlight reel catch by diving to his right to snare a Josh Bard line drive. For Allen, defense could prove to be a deciding factor for the young D-back as he continues to fight for playing time at first base.
“I feel comfortable,” Allen said. “Getting in there, and just making routine plays. I got a lot of action over there finally. Past couple starts, haven’t gotten too many balls, but it was good today.” 
As Spring Training progress, the D-backs continue to focus on strong defense as a team. Allen said he’s just glad to contribute in the field. 
“Collectively as a team, we’re pretty solid defensively, I believe,” Allen said. “So everybody’s got to do their part, and being able to help out is awesome.” 
Gutierrez shuts down Mariners in seventh
In the top of the seventh and with the score knotted at 4-4, Juan Gutierrez toed the rubber against the Mariners in his seventh outing of the Spring. He made short order of the Seattle lineup by retiring the side in order.
The right-hander induced a ground out to first base off the bat of leadoff man Gabe Gross to start the inning. Mike Wilson was next and he didn’t fare much better as Gutierrez induced another ground out. One batter later, Gutierrez struck out Josh Bard to cap off the 1-2-3 frame. 
Friday’s inning against the Mariners was Gutierrez’s fourth consecutive scoreless outing. 
“I’m ready to go to the season,” Gutierrez said. “I fixed everything that I got to fix. So now I’m ready to go into the season.” 

Gutierrez, Demel Make Strong Pitches for Bullpen Spots

By Greg Dillard
The final spots in the D-backs’ bullpen continue to be an ongoing competition with a month left of Spring Training 
Right-handers Juan Gutierrez and Sam Demel did their part with impressive outings against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. 
In front of more than 8,000 at Tempe Diablo Stadium, Gutierrez and Demel both cruised through relatively easy innings despite a 9-8 loss for Arizona.
Gutierrez took the mound in the bottom of the fifth for Arizona, and immediately got Mark Trumbo to fly out to second baseman Kelly Johnson.
Angels’ catcher Bobby Wilson then got the only hit off of Gutierrez, a double to the right centerfield gap.
Although Los Angeles had a runner in scoring position, that was as far as it would get. Gutierrez responded by freezing Peter Bourjos on a strikeout, and then quickly sat down Maicer Izturis on another strikeout to end the inning.
For Gutierrez, it was a positive outing as he continues to prepare for the regular season.
“I’ve been making adjustments the last few outings,” Gutierrez said. “Working hard in the bullpen with my pitching coach.”
The late inning reliever has seen mixed results this Spring, but has quickly turned it around out on the rubber.
“He’s getting better,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “He’s starting to dump his curve ball over (for strikes), his sequence was way better today. He’s feeling much better about himself.
“He made some mechanical adjustments,” Gibson continued. “He worked in a bullpen then he pitched in another game. He threw the ball better. When he dumps his curveball over, I’ve said it all along, his fastball is much more dominant.” 
After Gutierrez’s outing, it was Demel’s turn to face the Halos.
Demel got off to a fast start to the Spring season by throwing three consecutive scoreless outings before allowing a run last Tuesday against the Indians. He registered another scoreless outing against the Angels. 
Demel induced Bobby Abreu into a groundout to start the bottom of the sixth inning. His only blemish came when Jeremy Moore singled to center one batter later, but that was it for the Angels. Demel then retired Vernon Wells on a ground out to third baseman Ryan Roberts.
Brandon Wood then popped out to second base to end the inning. 
“I felt good,” Demel said. “The cutter was looking really good today, mixed in some good sliders. So I was pretty happy with today’s outing.” 
While he was pleased with his work against the Angels, Demel is motivated to keep improving as Spring Training progresses.
“The next few weeks, I’m really just going to go out there and worry about controlling both sides of the plate,” Demel said. “With the cutter and the fastball, and trying to mix in a little bit of the off speed and get that ready. Mainly controlling both sides of the plate for me.”