Tired of shuffling three players at first base, manager Kirk Gibson said something would give soon, and he wasn't kidding. After Friday's game, the D-backs released veteran Russell Branyan in a move than made room for Saturday starter Micah Owings on the roster. Arizona is ostensibly sticking with Juan Miranda and Xavier Nady at first base, although it should be noted that Owings was talked about as someone who might see time at first base this spring.
"It was a tough situation," Gibson said. "We'll give Russ his release, he'll get picked up by somebody, and he'll have a chance to have a different role on a different team."
Nady got the start Friday and responded with two hits and an RBI. Miranda had his best game of the season Thursday, collecting three hits, including a sixth-inning triple that missed being a home run by inches. Miranda now has six hits in his last 12 at-bats, raising his batting average by more than 40 points over that span. His .797 OPS ranks third on the team among players who have appeared in 10 or more games.
In 31 games this season, Branyan hit .210/.290/.339 with one homer and two RBI. A liability both in the field and on the base paths, Branyan made the decision to cut him easy by not hitting the way he did in spring training.
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