The Arizona Diamondbacks will go for the sweep of the Oakland A's on Sunday. A win would put them back at .500 for the first time since May 5 (14-14). It's an important win for the D-backs who are getting ready to head out on the road to face two hot AL teams in Texas and Anaheim. Joe Saunders (3-4, 3.65) faces Travis Blackley (0-1, 3.45).
Before the game on Sunday, manager Kirk Gibson talked about short stop Stephen Drew and his progress towards returning to the club. He also told an interesting tale of his retirement from baseball that came in Texas.
Stephen Drew is 3-9 (.333) with a home run and two RBI in his first two rehab games with the Triple-A Reno Aces. The plan, for now, is for Drew to travel with the Aces to Colorado for a three-game series. Beyond that, Gibson wouldn't say.
Eventually, Drew will be ready to come back which will create some tough decisions for the team that's been getting pretty consistent short stop play from Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald. Drew, who can't play any other position according to Gibby, probably won't be an everyday player when he first gets back but at some point he should be.
"I know he's made some exceptional plays already. We all know he can swing the bat. Stephen Drew is Stephen Drew. Come on, he's a very, very good ball player," Gibby said.
If I were to guess right now, the D-backs would drop Josh Bell and use McDonald or even Bloomquist as the back up third baseman while both would still likely get reps at short while Drew worked his way back to playing everyday.
Gibby didn't have those answers. Sunday was the first day he started thinking about how those pieces will fit together, "I don't have any answers yet. I generally think things through several times."
Texas retirement memories
The Arizona Diamondbacks head off to Arlington, TX for a series against the Rangers starting Tuesday. Arlington happens to be the place Kirk Gibson played his final major league game.
"That's the ballpark I retired in. The (visiting manager's) office I'll be sitting in is the office that I retired in. I walked in and talked to Sparky (Anderson) and I said, 'that's it.'"
Gibby retired in August 1995 after the Detroit Tigers traded away his friend and fellow veteran, David Wells. He'd been playing through considerable pain from a sports hernia at the time.
"It seemed to me that we were kind of cashing it in, and here I was could barley get out of bed everyday...I was just saying, 'why am I doing this, this is more than painful. What are we doing it for.' I wasn't going to stand there and take an opportunity from some young kid if that was the direction they were going in. That was fine. I went home."
-- The D-backs brought in some lefties to throw batting practice about a month ago. They've been hitting better against southpaws since.
-- Gibby didn't have a specific answer for DH over the next two series in AL parks. It will depend on health, match ups and other factors.
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