***It might not have been the shock of the century, but it certainly wasn't expected when Bob Melvin made the call that both Chris Snyder and Koyie Hill will start the season with the big league club. It had been assumed that only one of the still-eligible-for-Rookie of the Year players would open the season with the club and veteran Kelly Stinnett would back them up. Now the only question is which will be the everyday starter. With the dislocated thumb Snyder suffered, it seems likely that at least for a little while the job is Hill's.
***Scott Hairston was cut from the big league roster, leaving many to speculate that the veteran bullpen presence Melvin's been looking for all Spring could come via a trade for Hairston, who has performed well this Spring, but simply has no place to play on the D'Backs. A young, able bat like Hairston's is valued by virtually everyone, except of course the Diamondbacks.
***At the moment the Diamondbacks have had more ticket requests for the two exhibition games against the World Champion Boston Red Sox than any official game except opening day.
***A source tells FutureBacks.com that Conor Jackson has been offered a small role in a baseball movie currently in pre-production and scheduled to shoot in Arizona. Jackson's father is an accomplished actor, and he studied acting in college. No word yet on whether he will accept the role.
***At the end of last season it seemed the only player who's job was safe was Chad Tracy. After being selected to the All-Rookie team Tracy seemed like as close to a cornerstone as the Diamondbacks could boast. Then Troy Glaus was signed, but Richie Sexson and Shea Hillenbrand weren't, so Tracy moved to first. With the emergence of Conor Jackson and his move from left to first there was speculation last year's cornerstone might be this year's bench bat. Mark Grace has been working with Tracy this Spring, even going so far as to say Tracy will one day be a better hitter and fielder than he was.
***Maybe it was the strained biceps tendon, or simply rust after missing most of last year to injury, but Jose Valverde may just have pitched himself off the big league roster this Spring. Coaches are quietly happy about Manager Bob Melvin's decision to keep Oscar Villarreal in the bullpen, as he will fill Valverde's spot as the primary set up guy for Greg Aquino.
***Speaking of Aquino, the young closer took longer than expected to recover from an elbow strain, but had a solid outing Sunday, throwing a perfect 1-2-3 frame with a strikeout mixed in, allowing many in the Diamondbacks front office to exhale for the first time since March 5th when the injury was diagnosed.
***It is still a long way from happening, but Sergio Santos is making it difficult for the Diamondbacks to send him down. He's hitting .275 and slugging .500 this Spring, unfortunately for him the man signed to play short for one more year while Santos recovers fully from shoulder surgery that ended Santos' 2004 early, Royce Clayton, is hitting over .300 and making more consistent contact, which is key since Melvin has indicated Clayton will likely hit in the #2 spot in the batting order.