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The time is finally upon us. After months of waiting, it appears that Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew is going to be activated from the disabled list, where he has been since breaking his ankle last season. Arizona general manager Kevin Towers revealed the likely plans for Drew's return on Wendesday in a radio interview on Arizona Sports 620.
He was scheduled to play three straight games this week, but had a a death in the family that would take him back home for a few days. Instead of sitting that long, Towers said he could be moved to play some with Mobile, the team's Double-A affiliate.
"We talked about maybe having him play a game or two in Mobile since we're on the East Coast, I think our trainer was going to talk to him about that," Towers said. "And then hopefully activate him on Wednesday."
He would play Sunday and Monday in consecutive games, have a recovery day on Tuesday and then could be activated on Wednesday and join the team in Atlanta during their series with the Braves.
The return of Drew will mean a roster change with the infield. The logical choice right now would be to let Josh Bell go, with Ryan Roberts, Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald all possibly getting time at third base, with Drew, Bloomquist and McDonald also playing shortstop. Manager Kirk Gibson has previously said that Drew probably would not be used as an everyday player, at least right when he returns.
His defense will be a welcome addition and if he can bat anything near what he is capable of, he will be a needed addition to the lineup.
Get more Diamondbacks coverage over at AZ Snakepit.
It took less than 24 hours for the boo-birds to become yay-birds for Justin Upton. His long three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning powered the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 14-10 win over the Seattle Mariners Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field.
Yes, the score was 14-10. Like the Steelers playing the Ravens in NFL action.
Baseballs were flying out of the yard, as the D-backs connected for five out-of-the-park bombs and one inside-the-park job. They had hit five homers by the end of the fifth inning. The biggest fly of all was Upton's shot off Mariners starter Jason Vargas, only a day after Upton had heard boos from the home crowd for failing to produce in the clutch, also in the fifth inning of Tuesday's game.
Upton talks about it in postgame comments here, though it's kind of hard to hear. Basically he said he had to give fans something to cheer about after they booed him. Upton went 2-for-4 Wednesday and scored twice to raise his average to .258.
Upton was replaced after six innings, dealing with calf cramps, manager Kirk Gibson said.
"You are happy for something like that (the home run) to happen," Gibson said. "We need to get him back on track... We need him to be that guy, and he's capable of being that guy."
It's hard to lose a game in which you hit six home runs, and the Diamondbacks made sure they didn't. They plated five runs in the fifth, breaking open a tie game despite the struggles of starting pitcher Trevor Cahill.
Aaron Hill, the hottest hitter on the Diamondbacks at present, hit the first home run, a solo shot off Vargas with one out in the bottom of the first. Another hot hitter, Jason Kubel, went deep later in the inning to give Arizona a 2-0 lead.
Kubel has 18 RBI in June alone, which put him at the top of the league for the month, at least for the time being. Kubel is also 40-for-113 this season at Chase Field, a .354 average.
Hill, with two hits Wednesday, hit a home run on the seventh anniversary of his first major-league home run, and has hit safely in 13 straight home games. In those 13 games, he is 27-for-48 (.563) with 15 extra-base hits and 14 RBI.
The Mariners, collectively an aggressive-approach team as hitters, tagged Cahill for five runs in the third to take the lead. Cahill had a 2.94 earned-run average in his career against Seattle coming into the game, but five straight hits, including a two-run double by Casper Wells and a two-run home run by Kyle Seager, produced a big inning for Seattle.
The Diamondbacks struck for three runs to tie it at 5 in the fourth, Miguel Montero and John McDonald going deep. Then came the fifth, as Upton's blast was just part of a big inning. Ryan Roberts and McDonald drove in runs to make it 8-5, and there was still more offense in store.
Roberts hit his first career inside-the-park home run in the seventh, speeding around the bases as his opposite-field drive took a bounce off the corner wall and rolled far away from the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki.
Roberts got a curtain call. The six home runs tied a Diamondbacks franchise record set twice previously.
"It's something in baseball that I never thought I would do," Roberts said. "I was relieved I was safe."
Things may not have reached an all-time low between Justin Upton and Diamondbacks fans frustrated with his performance. But after Upton struck out twice in key situations Tuesday night in a 10-inning, 12-9 loss to the Seattle Mariners, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson expressed some concern about his two-time All-Star right fielder.
Upton heard boos from the normally laid-back fans at Chase Field after he fanned in the bottom of the fifth inning with the bases loaded. The score was tied at 8 and the Diamondbacks had rallied from an 8-5 deficit.
"He feels a lot of pressure. I know the fans were booing him yesterday, that was kind of a first," Gibson said before Wednesday's matinee against the Mariners. "That worries me a little bit."
Gibson recalled getting booed himself by the hometown fans as a Detroit Tiger in 1983. He, like Upton, was a younger player with high expectations placed on him. He had to get himself into a better frame of mind that offseason, admitting later that the boos and pressure to live up to expectations got to him.
"It's not going to help him, but it introduces a new dimension to his growth as a player," Gibson said of the boos. "He's got to power through and remain determined. It's something different. It hurts. And there's nobody trying harder than Justin Upton."
Gibson feels the boos will be a good test of Upton's character, but that he is capable of going on a tear at any time. Upton hit .289 with 31 home runs and 88 runs batted in in 2011, but stands at .253 with five homers and 24 RBI in 2012. He's also struck out a team-high 64 times in 225 at-bats, a sign that he's pressing.
Gibson said Upton shouldn't be motivated by boos, that he should already be motivated to play baseball every day.
"The kid cares so much," he said.
The Mariners opted to walk Aaron Hill, the hitter before Upton, to load the bases in the fifth and take their chances with Upton. Hill has been hitting very well of late; nevertheless, intentionally walking a hitter with less a reputation than Upton had to be discouraging the D-backs and their fans.
"You do get discouraged in that situation, and then the fact that they walked Hill to confront you, there's more of a level of 'I'm going to show you guys you're wrong.' And there's more disappointment."
The way Upton deals with disappointment is a work in progress, Gibson said.
"We'll watch him. Maybe it didn't bother him at all," Gibson said. "But when the boos came last night, I said that this is something different we've got to deal with now."
Ever since Daniel Hudson was recalled from AAA Reno after a rehab stint, his outings have truly been hit or miss. Yes, the Diamondbacks have won 4 out of the 5 games he has pitched in that span, but other factors have usually come into play. Two starts ago he was pulled after just one inning for allowing six earned runs against the Athletics.
On Tuesday night, Hudson managed to throw for just four innings, surrendering ten hits and adding seven earned runs to his 2012 total. When asked about what seems to be the issue, Hudson couldn't put a finger on it. "You make a couple of good pitches in an inning, then you make a mistake and all of a sudden, there's three runs on the board," he said. "It's just one of those things, you know? You just gotta try and dig deep and try to get out of it. I don't know what's going on right now. I gotta try and figure something out."
His manager, Kirk Gibson seemed to agree with Hudson's sentiments. "He really just wasn't consistent with hitting his spots. He walked a couple of guys and gave up a couple of home runs, so it was just kind of an inconsistent night for him," Gibson said.
To match all of that, the bullpen was unable to deliver for the Diamondbacks as well. The Mariners were able to tack five more runs on, leading to a total of 12 runs scored on the night. If the Diamondbacks want to get back into the race for the pennant, both the pitching and the hitting will have to be on par.
The Arizona Diamondbacks found themselves in the middle of a batting brawl against the Seattle Mariners Tuesday night. They came up on the wrong side, falling 12-9.
As the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Seattle Mariners in game two of their three-game interleague series tonight, center fielder Chris Young will not be in the lineup. In the presser before the game, manager Kirk Gibson cited his struggles on Monday and seems to think that CY is "frustrated".
"He's pressing pretty hard, give him a day to relax and to work on some things," Gibson said. When asked if Young's lack of power could be attributed to the shoulder injury he sustained earlier this season, Gibson seemed to dismiss the notion. "I don't know," Gibson said about Young and his inability to return to his early season form. "Early in the season he was locked in, so he trying to get back to that and that's pretty hard to do... He's not there right now."
In other news, Gibson gave an update as to the health status of both Stephen Drew and Takashi Saito. Drew will begin another back-to-back-to-back outing tonight in Reno with the Aces. The D-backs will have to make a decision as to whether he will be called up to the majors or not by June 27. If a decision is not made, they can extend his time with the Aces.
Saito, on the other hand, is completely unavailable in any form right now. Gibby claims that he is sick with some sort of virus. There is no timetable for his return to Reno.
On the mound for the Diamondbacks will be Daniel Hudson facing off against Erasmo Ramirez, a former relief pitcher for the Mariners. He currently holds a record of 0-1.
Here are tonight's starting lineups:
Willie Bloomquist (SS)
Aaron Hill (2B)
Justin Upton (RF)
Jason Kubel (LF)
Paul Goldschmidt (1B)
Miguel Montero (C)
Josh Bell (3B)
Gerardo Parra (CF)
Daniel Hudson (P)
Ichiro Suzuki (RF)
Franklin Gutierrez (CF)
Kyle Seager (3B)
Jesus Montero (C)
Michael Saunders (LF)
Justin Smoak (1B)
Dustin Ackley (2B)
Brendan Ryan (SS)
Erasmo Ramirez (P)
If you thought Aaron HIll's cycle was surprising before, just wait till you hear it from his perspective.
If you were watching Monday night's home game against the visiting Seattle Mariners, you'd never guess the Diamondbacks hadn't scored a single run in 21 straight innings. Arizona got a hit seemingly every time they needed one with four sac flies in their 7-1 series opening win. Second baseman Aaron Hill led the charge with three runs and a RBI while becoming the fifth D-back in team history to hit for the cycle.
The game started out just about as perfect as Arizona could hope. Already with two men on and no outs, Justin Upton slapped the third single of the inning, leading to a huge collusion at home in which Willie Bloomquist laid out catcher Jesus Montero for the first run. The D-backs would then get two more thanks to sac flies from Jason Kubel and Paul Goldschmidt.
In the third, Aaron Hill stroked a triple to lead off the inning before Upton drove him in with another sacrifice fly. It was obvious from there that four runs would be more than enough with Wade Miley pitching like the surprising ace he's been (7 IP, 9 H, 1 ER and 8 K). The Mariners would get one run for Noesi thanks to a Chris Wells RBI double but it was evident that the rookie still hasn't figured out how to pitch away from the confines of Safeco Field (6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER and 5 K).
After Hill's fifth inning double though, it all became about the cycle watch. And in the bottom of the seventh, Hill would make history, slugging a solo shot off reliever Shawn Kelly to complete the prestigious achievement. Hill joins Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew, Greg Colbrunn and Luis Gonzalez as the only five men in franchise history to pull off this feat.
Josh Collmenter and J.J. Putz then went on to do their parts, each putting up a shutout inning. The Diamondbacks will look to continue their hot-hitting ways Tuesday as Daniel Hudson takes the mound against Erasmo Ramirez.
The Diamondbacks look to take advantage of a mediocre Mariners rotation as Seattle heads to the desert for a three-game, interleague series.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a chance to improve past .500 and recover from a 2-4 road trip as the struggling Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs come to town.