Eric Byrnes has been a valuable commodity for manager Bob Melvin,
who has relied upon Byrnes to play all three outfield spots this season
as well as move up and down in the batting order to fill holes when
certain players aren't producing in various roles.
"Wherever we have a problem in the order, if I need to get a spot
going or whatever it is, Eric Byrnes ends up in that spot," Melvin said.
Byrnes has always been capable of doing that, but he's become a more
complete hitter this season, according to Melvin, who notes the
player's improved on-base percentage, number of walks, and amount of times
he's hit the ball to the opposite field.
"He realized, too, he can get better," Melvin said. "He's been
working hard with 'Seitz' (hitting coach Kevin Seitzer) since Day One of
spring training about hitting the ball the other way and doing some
situational things that in the past probably hasn't been his strong suit.
"But it's a comfort to me to know if we have a problem, be it in the
No. 4 hole and we have a guy out of the lineup and I'm looking for a
guy in that spot, he's the guy I plug in there. Defensively and
offensively, he brings the same intensity, that play-with-your-hair-on-fire type
of thing every game, and yet he can acclimate to different roles,
"He's been a very, very good player for us."
Byrnes went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over
visiting Philadelphia. In his first at-bat, he smacked a 473-foot homer
into the upper deck in left field off Adam Eaton. It tied Philadelphia's
Scott Rolen for the second-longest homer ever hit in the 10-year history
of Chase Field. The longest was a 503-foot smash off the JumboTron in
center by Arizona's Richie Sexson on April 26, 2004, against the Cubs.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, PHILLIES 2: Tony Clark hit the eighth pinch home run
of his career Tuesday, sending a solo shot 457 feet to right field for
the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as Arizona won its third
Eric Byrnes also hit a mammoth homer, sending an Adam Eaton fastball
473 feet into the upper deck in left field, tying the second-longest
homer ever hit at Chase Field.
"It's a pretty cool thing when you think about all the players who
have played here," Byrnes said. "That was pretty unbelievable,
definitely something to brag about around the campfire."
Rookie right-hander Micah Owings allowed two earned runs in seven
innings for his second career victory.
--INF Chad Tracy made his first start in seven games Thursday, but
it wasn't at third base. Tracy started at first. Manager Bob Melvin
wanted Tracy's bat in the lineup against the Phillies after the infielder,
who had been sidelined due to a ribcage strain, put up a good at-bat as
a pinch hitter the previous night. Playing first base would help
prevent him aggravating the injury, Melvin said, by Tracy not having to make
long, hard throws from third.
"He wouldn't be out there if we didn't think he could handle it,"
Tracy likely will get the day off Wednesday against LHP Jamie Moyer.
Following Thursday's off day, he probably will start at third base
Friday in Houston when the Diamondbacks begin a nine-game trip.
--OF Jeff DaVanon, who hasn't played since last season following
left ankle and right shoulder surgeries, is scheduled to report to
extended spring training in Tucson on Thursday. He will be used strictly as a
designated hitter for the first few days before playing in the
outfield. After a few games there, he will join Class AAA Tucson for a rehab
--RHP Juan Cruz, who has been bothered by a sore shoulder, began a
rehab assignment with Class AAA Tucson on Tuesday.
--2B Orlando Hudson is the only Arizona player to start all 34 games
this season, and it could be awhile before he's given a day off by
manager Bob Melvin.
"I haven't been able to," Melvin said, "and I don't want to right
now. He doesn't look like he's tired. It's more his performance that has
kept him in there every day."
--Manager Bob Melvin on Phillies LHP Jamie Moyer, 44, whom he
managed in Seattle and who starts against Arizona on Wednesday: "He's
constantly coming up with new tricks, and that's why he's able to stay
successful. Back in '92, '93, '94, it looked liked like it might be his last
years, but he's studied the game well enough, he knows himself well
enough, and he's always trying to better himself. The last few years, the
cutter has been the pitch for him. ... It wouldn't surprise me if he
pitches for a couple more years."
BY THE NUMBERS: 13 -- Consecutive games lost by the Diamondbacks at
home to the Mets -- a streak dating back to May 2004 -- until Arizona
finally broke through with a 3-1 victory on May 6 at Chase Field. The
major league record for a consecutive win streak by one team at one
particular visiting city is 19, set by the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947-48 at
the Cincinnati Reds.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's been our best player, no question. At this
point in time, he is one of the premier players in the National League. ...
He's certainly found a home there. He's accountable in that spot. He
knows that the No. 3 guy is the guy you really look to, and generally,
your best hitter." -- Manager Bob Melvin on 2B Orlando Hudson, who was
leading the club with a .341 batting average after having reached base
safely via a walk or a hit in each of the team's first 33 games.
Byrnes the Go-To Guy for the Diamondbacks
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