Diamondbacks Spring Notebook 3/1

The Colorado Rockies defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4 on Tuesday at Salt River Fields. Here are news, quotes, and notes from the spring contest between the D-backs and Rockies.

The matchup pitted Joe Saunders versus Jason Hammel, with both starters tossing two innings.  Hammel allowed only a leadoff infield hit to Kelly Johnson in his stellar start.  After a one-two-three first, Saunders allowed two runs on three hits in the second.

"Saunders pitched a good first inning, then got himself into some trouble," manager Kirk Gibson said after the game, adding that Saunders was working on his new cut fastball as well as throwing more two-seamers than usual.

Wade Miley also threw two innings in the game, but was stronger in his second frame.  In his first inning, he allowed a double before Carlos Gonzalez reached on an error by first baseman Russel Branyan.  Miley then made a throwing error trying to pick off Gonzalez, allowing a run to score and the former D-backs prospect to get all the way to third.

"Miley got himself into trouble on the pickoff," said Gibson.  "But he's learned a lot in his two outings and has real good stuff."

The D-backs scored all four of their runs in the fourth inning and committed four errors as well.

Diamondbacks Notes

  • Russell Branyan hit a three-run bomb on the first pitch he saw off southpaw Greg Smith.  It traveled around 415 feet to right-center field.
  • The Rockies scored every inning between the second and the sixth.  In the seventh, Mike Hampton loaded the bases full of Rockies before getting out of his self-made jam with a three-pitch strikeout.
  • Catcher defense was a little sloppy today.  Miguel Montero was charged with a passed ball that allowed a run to score.  Konrad Schmidt made a throwing error on an infield hit, also allowing that runner to steal third base and score.  Later in the inning, he made a throwing error on a stolen base attempt that allowed the runner to go from first to third.

Schmidt's throwing issues were not related to the hand injury he suffered in the AFL, according to Gibson.

"He took his time on picking up the ball, then rushed [the throw]," clarified Gibson.  "In infield, he threw great, but there is no runner then."

Rockies Notes

  • Chris Iannetta's two-run homer in the second inning off Saunders traveled just over 400 feet and did so in what seemed like three seconds.
  • Although ex-Diamondbacks prospect Greg Smith got terrorized on the mound, he did get back at his former team at the plate.  He doubled, took third base on a routine fly ball to left fielder Xavier Nady, then scored on a sacrifice fly in the third.  Nady, who still has a weakened throwing arm from 2009 Tommy John surgery, did not position himself well for the throw after the catch.

"I told Nady not to worry about throwing anybody out," said Gibson.  "We're all still building up arm strength at this point, and we don't want him to overthrow.  He may never get to the point where he can throw like he did before the surgery.  He can swing a pretty good bat, though."

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