DENVER Manager Kirk Gibson expects to have a plane flight full of discussions with general manager Kevin Towers when the Diamondbacks travel to Kansas City on Thursday night for the start of interleague play Friday. There is a lot to talk about.
--the DH in KC.
--a timetable for the return of Chris Young and Daniel Hudson.
--the composition of the starting rotation when Hudson returns.
--the first base situation.
Gibson first mentioned the possibility of personnel adjustments after the 1-5 homestand that ended Sunday, and changes could be on the table after the D-backs' 16-22 start that now includes a 6-1 loss to Colorado's 49-year old left-hander, Jamie Moyer, here Wednesday.
The D-backs scored on doubles by John McDonald and Cody Ransom in the seventh, but they trailed, 6-0, by then. They have the same record that they had at this point last season, but the quality of play has not been the same. Changes?
"If we felt that that would be the case, we would do that, but I'm not sure that we have a resolution on what we might want to do at this point," Gibson said.
Patrick Corbin, so effective against San Francisco in a 3-1 victory Friday, gave up six earned runs in six innings to bump his ERA to 5.73 in four starts. A couple of bleeder and bloopers and a two-run, 75-foot single by Moyer did a lot of the damage, but Dexter Fowler had a couple of big hits, too.
Rookie Corbin took Josh Collmenter's spot in the rotation after Wade Miley took Hudson's following his shoulder injury, and the D-backs are nearing decision-time on the fifth spot in the rotation.
Assuming Hudson returns as expected May 26 or May 27, one of the final two games of a Milwaukee series at Chase Field, the D-backs will have to choose between left-handers Miley (4-1, 2.52 ERA) or Corbin (2-2). Then, does the odd man out move to the bullpen? Collmenter has pitched well in his two relief appearances. And how, it at all does Trevor Bauer 7-1, 1.68 ERA at Class AA Mobile figure into the discussions?
Young is even closer to a return than Hudson after another good rehab day at Class A Visalia, when he hit a grand slam on Wednesday morning. He had a homer, three doubles and seven RBIs in three games at Visalia, but the D-backs planned to send him to Class AAA Reno on Thursday, wanting to make sure his right shoulder is ready for major league wear and tear.
The D-backs could ease Young back into the lineup as a DH in Kansas City, although that takes their rangiest outfielder off the field.
Tower solved the D-backs' DH situation with a bold move in Kansas City in their first interleague road series last year, when he purchased the contract of big bopper Wily Mo Pena from Class AAA Reno.
Designatedly hit, Pena did. He homered in Kansas City in his second game, had two game-winning hits the next series in Detroit, and had a walkoff pinch-hit homer against Cleveland the next homestand. He was gone by the All-Star break, but it was good while it lasted.
The D-backs have a statistically, physically similar player at Reno this year in Randy Ruiz, 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds. Ruiz, who bats right-handed, is hitting .325.388.588 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in 31 games. He had cups of coffee with Minnesota and Toronto in 2008-10, and he had 10 homers in 115 at-bats for the Jays in 2010.
He was the organization's player of the month for April in an organization that believes in rewarding production, and there is a spot open on the 40-man roster after David Winfrey was designated for assignment early Wednesday.It might be idle speculation, but Towers' track record suggests heis never afaid to shake things up.
The D-backs have played Paul Goldschmidt and Lyle Overbay in a platoon at first base the last week, and the situation seems unsettled, certainly more so than when Goldschmidt entered spring training are the clear No. 1. Goldschmidt, hitting .219 with two home runs, doubled off the fence in right field Wednesday, the hardest of the D-backs' six hits.He also was involved in a close play at first that went a long way toward deciding the game.
Goldschmidt fielded Moyer's slow roller with two outs as Corbin ran to cover the bag, and Goldschmidt thought about flipping to Corbin before trying to make a leaping tag. He appeared to graze Moyer's behind with his glove for the out, but first base umpire Jim Reynolds called Moyer safe, and runners from second and third scored for a 5-0 lead.
"I thought I got a piece of him. That's what happens when things aren't going well. What are you going to do?" Goldchmidt said.
That is what Towers and Gibson are about to decide.
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