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The Arizona Diamondbacks made a few roster moves on Thursday design to improve the team's offense. With the All-Star Game in the rear view mirror there's now just 70 games left to make up the three-game lead held by the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. That might be optimistic thinking to assume that this young team has a chance at winning the division, let alone holding off a second-half charge from the Colorado Rockies, but what else can they do except try to win games.
Coming in are first baseman Brandon Allen and third baseman / utility infielder Geoff Blum. Allen will replace Juan Miranda at first. It's not clear yet if the right-handed Xavier Nady will still platoon with the left-handed Allen but even if the current trend holds true, Allen should get at least 100 at-bats in the next few months. At 25 and having proven all there is to prove in the minor leagues, Allen's earned this shot.
Manager Kirk Gibson in speaking with reporters seemed to indicate as much, "For me, B.A.'s the guy. I think it's the right thing to do."
Miranda is out-righted to Triple-A Reno. He has no remaining options so he'll have to clear waivers.
The other move to finally add Geoff Blum to the roster is long overdue. Blum, 38, initially was said to have knee soreness in March and then had surgery in April with an expected six to eight week recovery time. He's now finally ready to suit up for the Diamondbacks after hitting .429 in four rehab games in Reno.
Blum replaces big Wily Mo Pena who quickly became a fan favorite for his towering home runs (five in 17 games). But Pena only was hitting .196 and is unable to play any defensive position in the field. Pena was designated for assignment, which means the team has 10 days to trade him or seven days to put him on waivers to see if he clears and returns to Reno. They can also just release him to become a free agent.
Blum gives Gibson a guy who can play multiple positions in the infield and also hits from both sides of the plate. Gibby loves to have options on his bench and clearly was willing to sacrifice a big bat in favor of the versatility.
The D-backs set the top of their rotation with Joe Saunders, Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson pitching the next three games but left the door open for a change at the bottom by not announcing starts for Josh Collmenter or Zach Duke. Both Duke and Collmenter have struggled in their recent starts. Collmenter would likely continue to be effective out of the bullpen if the D-backs can find a replacement either from their farm system or via trade.