AZ Diamondbacks Report 

Diamondbacks edge Padres in 10 innings

Shawn Green singled in the winning run in the 10th inning as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the San Diego Padres 6-5 Monday night.

Green's hit came two innings after Tony Clark snapped an 0-for-26 slump with a tying home run.

Eric Byrnes led off the 10th with a double. With two out, left-hander Alan Embree intentionally walked Clark, a switch hitter, to get to the left-handed-hitting Green.

Green singled past second baseman Josh Barfield to score Byrnes.

Clark, who came into the game hitting .140, tied the score 5-5 with a solo homer off reliever Scott Linebrink in the eighth.

Arizona handed the National League West leaders their second loss in 16 games and snapped the Padres' eight-game road win streak.

Arizona Diamondbacks (10-11) At San Diego Padres (8-12)

Aging right-hander Woody Williams will look to make it four straight successful starts today when the San Diego Padres host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the final game of a three-game set at Petco Park.

Williams, who will turn 40 in August, has combined to allow 15 hits and seven runs in 19 innings over his last three outings -- all starts -- in which he's earned one victory and the Padres are 3-0 as a team. He threw a scoreless inning in his first mound effort of the year, a relief appearance in San Francisco on April 5.

The 1988 draft selection of the Toronto Blue Jays was 9-12 with a 4.85 earned run average last season with the Padres and is 5-5 with a 3.13 ERA in 16 career starts against the Diamondbacks.

Orlando Hernandez makes his first career appearance against San Diego in his fifth start of 2006. The Cuban import has dropped three straight since a defeat of Colorado on April 5, allowing 19 hits and 14 runs in 16 1/3 innings in that stretch.

Hernandez was 9-9 with a 5.12 ERA last season in 24 appearances with the Chicago White Sox.

On Tuesday, Claudio Vargas threw seven shutout innings and Conor Jackson went 3-for-5 and drove in a career-high four runs, as Arizona routed San Diego, 7-0.

Luis Gonzalez also had three hits and knocked in two runs, while Craig Counsell went 3-for-5 and scored three times, as the Diamondbacks won for the third time in four contests.

Vargas (2-1) scattered four hits and struck out four. Brandon Medders threw the eighth inning and Greg Aquino finished the five-hitter for Arizona.

Jake Peavy (1-3) was pounded for 10 hits and six runs in 6 1/3 innings to drop his third straight decision, as the Padres fell for the third time in four games.

D-backs Face Colorado in Home Opener

One week into the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks have the best pitching in the major leagues.

They also have the worst hitting.
The bottom line is that the Diamondbacks are 3-3 heading into their ninth home opener tonight against Colorado at Chase Field. After opening the season by winning two out of three against the Rockies in Denver, Arizona dropped two of three to the Milwaukee Brewers.

While it's risky to make judgments after six games, Arizona's much-maligned pitching has been a pleasant surprise. The Diamondbacks' 2.68 earned run average led the majors heading into Monday's games. Pitching was expected to be one of the Diamondbacks' weaknesses after the club finished 14th in the National League with a 4.84 ERA a year ago.

"It's better than I expected," general manager Josh Byrnes said Monday, a day off for the club. "So many guys are throwing the ball well the first week."

On the flip side, Arizona's touted batting order has been meek. Through Sunday's games, the Diamondbacks' .224 team batting average ranked last in the majors.

"The offense isn't really clicking yet," Byrnes said. "It's probably too early (to draw conclusions), but as we know, the two teams we played were really pretty good. We want to be in every game and that's been the case.

"The two lopsided games (a 12-5 victory at Colorado and a 7-0 victory at Milwaukee) were both in our favor."

While team officials are optimistic about the club's start, the fans have yet to catch the excitement. As of Monday, the home opener wasn't close to selling out in 49,033-seat Chase Field.

That's a concern for a club whose attendance has dropped in six of the last seven years. The Diamondbacks drew 3.6 million in their 1998 debut season. Since then, attendance has increased only once -- in 2002, as fans basked in the afterglow of the 2001 World Series triumph. Last year, the Diamondbacks drew a franchise-low 2,058,741.

General partner Jeff Moorad said he expects attendance to improve, although it might not happen overnight.

"In the end, I'd be very surprised if this market didn't support a two-and-a-half million fan base year after year," he said.

Over time, dwindling attendance may affect the Diamondbacks' payroll, which ranks fourth in the five-team N.L. West.

"We're committed to fielding a winning team, but we're also committed to running a cost-efficient enterprise," Moorad said.

"We will gladly reinvest all the proceeds we can into our team on the field.

"But there needs to be a partnership between the fans and the organization, and it's my hope that as long as the fans understand that that's our approach and philosophy, that they will support the club and allow us to continue to be competitive in the National League West."

Clark is a guiding light

He is the Pied Piper of the Diamondbacks, the sage, the wise man and guru, the man anybody can and will go talk to if they have a concern or a question.

It might be a batting slump. It could be something on the home front. Maybe it has to do with a trade rumor or an uneasy situation relating to playing time. But be it business, personal or spiritual, they seek out his counsel.

"That's Tony Clark," third baseman Chad Tracy said. "If there's anything you need, you go to him. He is like a guru around here. We're lucky to have him." Luck has nothing to do with it. It was more like divine intervention.

Clark, the Diamondbacks' insightful, fierce and yet, teddy bear of a slugger, had left his whereabouts in God's hands. Upon his unceremonious release by the Detroit Tigers in fall 2001 - this after the fan favorite had hit 156 homers in a seven-year period - Clark did a lot of praying.

A longtime Valley resident and a born-again Christian, Clark wanted to play in Arizona, where he had planted roots and carved paths through his faith. That the Diamondbacks were still celebrating their dramatic World Series victory over the Yankees made it even more desirable.

"I kept promising through prayer that if I could be here year-round, I would do my best to positively affect the Valley," Clark said. "When I did that, opportunities started coming out of the woodwork. It was confirmation for me. The more of my career, my life, I was willing to give up, the better it would become."

After spending the next three seasons with three different teams - the Red Sox, the Mets and the Yankees - Clark's prayers were finally answered when he signed with the Diamondbacks as a free agent last year.


Getting it done
Clark promptly became the team's most valuable player, winning games left and right with giant, clutch swings off the bench. Whenever the Diamondbacks needed a rally or a game-turning hit, their 6-foot-7 first baseman usually provided on cue. He hit .304 with 30 homers and 87 RBIs in just 349 at-bats.

Asked what he likes best about Clark, manager Bob Melvin quickly blurted, "That he's good - and he hits the ball out of the ballpark when we tell him to.

"No," Melvin continued, "he's so focused on any particular at-bat and he's never overmatched, whether we bring him in against a closer or we give him a start."

Clark was rewarded for his efforts with a two-year contract extension, though he could have easily asked for and probably received more money than he got (around $2 million total). But it wasn't about the money, Clark said.

"I have an opportunity and a platform to make a difference with some of the programs that have been put into place, and to me, that was the paramount thing," said Clark, who through the contract, established the Tony Clark MVP Foundation, a wide-ranging charitable arm that has become an instant hit.

The foundation, which distributes thousands of free seats to Diamondbacks games in addition to scholarship funds, targets disadvantaged youth, good students, athletes and minorities. It also aids Little League programs, YMCAs and the Boys and Girls Club, while also paying homage to servicemen, police and fire departments and their families.

"I can't tell you how fortunate we are to have this guy on our club, and how fortunate the entire state is, really," said Ken Kendrick, the Diamondbacks managing general partner. "He is such an ambassador for the game."


Altered states
Clark, who is married with three children, has always been one of the "good guys" in baseball. A former basketball star at the University of Arizona and San Diego State, he quickly developed friendships inside and outside of sports and was well respected and sought after by his peers early in his pro baseball career.

But his life turned forever on Jan. 27, 2001.

Clark was in a Seattle hotel room, in town to watch his brother's final college basketball game, and was in the middle of an over-the-phone Bible study with longtime friend Jeff Totten, the chaplain leader for the Detroit Tigers.

"I was asked a question that night," Clark said, closing his eyes, and solemnly dropping his head. "If my plane went down going home, was I going to be in heaven with my wife and kids?"

Clark always had his faith but he wasn't sure whether he could safely answer that question. That night, he was saved. Over the phone, to Totten, he professed his total faith to Christ.

"It caught him square between the eyes," Totten recalled from his home in Troy, Mich. "He said, 'I don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ. That's what's missing in my life.' It's there now and it impacted his role as a husband and father, along with the quality of humility, which is a huge part of his character."

In addition to helping the Diamondbacks and multiple causes in the Valley, Clark is spreading the good word and inviting all for fellowship. Players, young and old, in the organization have flocked to him.

"He makes a difference in so many people's lives; I just love that man to death," said former major league pitcher Frank Tanana, who won 240 games with six clubs, including the Tigers. Tanana was finishing his career when Clark came up through the Tigers' system and the two quickly hit it off and have remained close friends.

Clark's best friend is Damion Easley, a utility player for the Diamondbacks and a longtime neighbor from the same north Glendale suburb. It was Easley who gradually pushed Clark closer to God. It started when they were teammates in Detroit.

"We would have been best friends anyway, because Tony has always been sincere and a genuine good person," Easley said, "but when he became saved, it was an awesome feeling for myself, personally.

"He's a leader and for him to come to God's kingdom being the leader he already was has such impact. He just has that type of personality where you feel comfortable walking up to him and saying anything and you know it's going to be OK. Guys like him are rare. He's truly a beautiful man, inside and out."


Hidden gem
Staying seated in the stands for a full nine innings can be hard for even the most dedicated of baseball fans.

But for future die-hard fans still in preschool, it's nearly impossible.

Phoenix Municipal Stadium, one of the older venues in the Cactus League, might not have sweeping lawn sections or large designated play areas. But for parents who want make an A's game a family outing, the impromptu playground that forms in the small lawn area at the end of the left field stands does just fine.

"They get bored just sitting in a chair. We wouldn't have made it this long if they had to stay there," said Arcadia resident Brad Amico, as his two boys, 3 and 6, mingled with a growing group of small children playing nearby.

"We lasted two innings and then we had to find something to do."

Jason Coleman is a civil engineer from Gilbert. His 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter were taking full advantage of the soft ground and space to run.

"They'll have a blast," Coleman said. "They won't make it to the car. I'll carry them back tonight. It's great that they have a place to play, but it's hard to watch them and see the game."

Arizona at Chicago Cubs

Orlando Hudson went 3-for-3 with two RBI, including a solo home run in the fifth inning, as Arizona defeated the Chicago Cubs, 6-0, in Cactus League action.

Chad Tracy knocked in two runs for the Diamondbacks. Jeff DaVanon went 2-for-2 with a RBI and a run scored. Starter Kevin Jarvis pitched four shutout innings, striking out three and walking none.

Michael Barrett doubled for the Cubs, but Chicago managed just four hits the entire contest. Jae Kuk Ryu gave up two runs on five hits through three innings, while striking out three.

Upton turning heads in Diamondbacks camp

As Justin Upton pulled on his brand-new Arizona Diamondbacks jersey, he tried to recall what he was doing at this time last year.
"A year ago, we just started tryouts for my high school team," Upton said this week.
Tryouts? Upton chuckled when asked if he had to try out for the varsity at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Va. "No, not really," he said.
In June, the Arizona Diamondbacks picked him first overall in the amateur draft. After several months of negotiations, the club gave Upton a $6.1 million signing bonus - the largest in a minor league contract for a drafted player who was not a free agent.
And now the 18-year-old is at the Diamondbacks' training camp as a non-roster invitee. Upton showed up nearly a week before the reporting date for position players. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder started hitting balls over the fence in his first swings against big league pitching.
"Unbelievable impression," manager Bob Melvin said after watching Upton in the batting cage. "He's got great actions for an 18-year-old kid. A wooden bat looks natural in his hands. He resists going out there and trying to hit home runs on every ball in batting practice. He hits the ball the other way. Just a very impressive 18-year-old."
It was no coincidence that team owners Ken Kendrick and Jeff Moorad were watching when Upton stepped into the cage against reliever Brian Bruney on Thursday morning. The team has a huge investment in Upton, one of several shortstop prospects in the organization. Two years ago, the Diamondbacks used their first pick to draft Stephen Drew, now on the 40-man major-league roster.
For several months after the draft, it appeared the team might not be able to sign Upton, who threatened to go to college if Arizona didn't meet his contract demands. Asked this week if there was ever a point when it looked like the deal would fall through, Moorad replied, "There were about 15 of those points over the course of about six months.
"In a high-profile negotiation like that, you never know for sure," said Moorad, a former player agent who has negotiated numerous baseball contracts."
Upton tried to stay busy by working out, but he worried at times that he'd never play for Arizona. "I tried to keep my mind off of it," he said. "That's the business side of it. Of course, I had my doubts at times."
Upton is targeted for the minor leagues this season. But the club, hoping to speed his development, decided to invite him to the big league camp.
Some teenagers might be a bit awed by sharing a clubhouse with established major leaguers such as Luis Gonzalez, Craig Counsell and Shawn Green. Not Upton, whose older brother B.J. is a shortstop with Tampa Bay.
"You spend any time around him, he doesn't act, look anything like an 18-year-old kid," Melvin said. "He's got a lot of savvy. You can tell he's been around a family and brother who's been in the big leagues. He handles himself very well."
Upton has shown a quiet confidence in his ability while remaining respectful toward older teammates.
"He's mature beyond his years, both ways, physically and mentally," Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes said. "We didn't expect him to come in here and be overwhelmed by it. I think he'll learn a lot and he'll take the lessons and hopefully be in camp to win a job sooner rather than later."
Upton said he doesn't have a timeline for reaching Phoenix.
"This first year, I just want to play," he said. "Next year I'll have more expectations for myself."

Diamondbacks sign 21 players

The Arizona Diamondbacks today announced that they have signed the following 19 players for the 2006 season: righthanded pitchers Greg Aquino, Jason Bulger (signed then traded), Brian Bruney, Edgar Gonzalez, Enrique Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert, Tony Pena and Mike Schultz, lefthanded pitchers Brad Halsey and Doug Slaten, infielders Andy Green, Scott Hairston, Conor Jackson and Chad Tracy, outfielders, Luis Terrero and Chris Young, catchers Koyie Hill, Miguel Montero and Chris Snyder.

The Diamondbacks also announced that they have renewed the contracts of righthanded pitchers Brandon Medders and Jose Valverde.

Diamondbacks, Blue Jays Swap 4 Players

The Arizona Diamondbacks traded power-hitting Troy Glaus and a top minor league shortstop prospect Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday for gold glove second baseman Orlando Hudson and pitcher Miguel Batista.

The Blue Jays, lacking punch since Carlos Delgado left as a free agent after the 2004 season, scheduled a news conference for Tuesday evening.

Glaus led Arizona in homers (37) and RBIs (97) last season, playing in 149 games in his only season with the Diamondbacks despite occasional flare-ups of a strained tendon in the back of his left knee.

He was the 2002 World Series MVP for Anaheim, following a season in which he had a career-high 111 RBIs. In 2000, Glaus led the AL with 47 homers.

Batista, 34, had 31 saves last season, his second with the Blue Jays and first as their closer. He went 29-26 in 76 starts and 44 relief appearances with the Diamondbacks from 2001-03.

Hudson, 28, is a career .271 hitter and a spectacular defensive player.

Glaus is due to make $10.5 million next season as part of a $45 million, four-year contract he agreed to last December.

Toronto, expanding its payroll from $45 million to about $80 million, has been one of the most active teams in baseball this offseason.

The Blue Jays added starting pitcher A.J. Burnett and first baseman Lyle Overbay. They also gave closer B.J. Ryan a five-year, $47 million contract - the most lucrative in history for a reliever.

Toronto is expected to make more trades because adding Glaus creates a glut at the corner infield positions. Glaus prefers playing third base, but the Blue Jays already have Corey Koskie. The Blue Jays also have Shea Hillenbrand and Eric Hinske at first base and DH.

Batista was a closer for Toronto last season but will move to the starting rotation for Arizona, general manager Josh Byrnes said.

"Our plan is to have him in the rotation. I think he pitched well there," Byrnes said. "He pitched well (as a starter) in Arizona and his first year in Toronto. He did well, and that at this point is a greater area of need for our club."

Batista was 29-26 and made 76 starts for the Diamondbacks from 2001 through 2003. He was 11-8 with a 4.58 ERA as part of the rotation for Arizona's World Series championship team in 2001. Batista didn't allow a run in eight innings in the seven-game World Series triumph over the New York Yankees. He signed with the Blue Jays as a free agent in 2004 and was converted to a closer last season.

The trade clears the way for Chad Tracy to return to third base for Arizona, the position he played as a rookie in 2004. When Glaus was signed, Tracy moved to first base and played some in the outfield last season. Tracy led the Diamondbacks with a .308 average last season.

Tony Clark and Connor Jackson are expected to share time at first for Arizona.

The acquisition of Hudson means Craig Counsell will shift to shortstop. Hudson hit .270 in four seasons with Toronto. This year, he batted .271 with 63 RBIs and 10 home runs.

The Diamondbacks were willing to part with Santos, who hit .288 with 68 RBIs and 12 home runs for Triple-A Tucson last season, because of the rise of Stephen Drew through the minor league system.

Drew hit .389 for Class A Lancaster last season, and spent the final few weeks with Double-A Tennessee, where he batted .218 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 27 games. Byrnes said Drew probably needs another season in the minors before he is ready for the majors.

Byrnes agrees with Diamondbacks

Outfielder Eric Byrnes promised to bring energy and enthusiasm to the Arizona Diamondbacks next year. He has agreed to a one-year deal with the team worth $2.25 million and will play center field.
The opportunity to play center field was just huge for me. Ive never really gotten a ton of opportunities, Byrnes said Friday. Ive always felt that was my best position.
Byrnes, 29, slumped to a .226 batting average in a nomadic 2005 season that had him playing for Oakland, Colorado and Baltimore. His hitting fell off badly in the second half of last season. In 2004, Byrnes hit .283 for Oakland with 20 home runs and 73 RBIs.
Byrnes, who has a home in Scottsdale, has a career .259 average in four-plus major-league seasons. When he became a regular for the As, he batted either first or second in the order.

Diamondbacks ink Grimsley to one-year deal

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed free agent pitcher Jason Grimsley to a one-year contract the team announced on Wednesday. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal is pending on Grimsley passing a physical with team doctors.

The 38-year-old right-hander went 1-2 with a 5.73 earned run average in 22 games with the Baltimore Orioles last season.

Grimsley made a return to the league in mid-July after having Tommy John surgery on October 12, 2005.

The 14-year veteran has a career record of 41-56 with a 4.76 ERA and has also played for Philadelphia, Cleveland, the Angels, New York Yankees and Kansas City.


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