PHOENIX Mike Jacobs, who made an emotional return to the major leagues last season, was one of five players removed from the Diamondbacks 40-man roster during a general housecleaning on Thursday.
When Jacobs was promoted from Class AAA Reno on Sept. 19, the D-backs said he could be a candidate as a reserve first baseman and left-handed pinch-hitter in 2013. Jacobs hit .211 with two RBIs in 19 at-bats and was 1 for 9 as a pinch-hitter.
Infielder Cody Ransom, who has spent parts of the previous two seasons with the D-backs, also was taken off the roster, as were outfielder Tyler Graham, right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo and right-hander Joe Martinez. The moves leave the team 37 players on the roster and three spots open.The D-backs needed roster spots to protect the college players taken in the 2009 draft. Outfielder Keon Broxton and right-handers Chase Anderson, Charles Brewer, Eric Smith and Kevin Munson, among others, would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 6 if they are not placed on the 40-man roster.
Matt Davidson and Chris Owings, considered the top two position player prospects in the system, do not need to be protected until 2014 because of their age.
EXTRA BASESA report in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald said that the D-backs are a likely opponent for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a proposed 2014 season-opening series in Australia, but it does not appear that a series is close. Major league baseball spokesman Pat Courtney responded to the report by saying, We are not currently exploring the possibility with the Dodgers or any other team to play in Australia. The D-backs and San Francisco were in talks to open the 2011 season in China, but negotiations went nowhere. ... Jay Bell will be the bench coach for New Zealand in the World Baseball Classic, Baseball America reported Thursday. Bell was the hitting coach at Class AA Mobile last season. New Zealand plays in a qualifying round in Taiwan that begins Nov. 30.Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter