Catcher Miguel Montero has played in a career-high nine consecutive games, eight as a starter. He had been the primary beneficiary of the team's managerial change six weeks ago, and will now be the team's primary backstop going forward, as Chris Snyder was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.
"I tried to do as much as I could to avoid [the DL]," Snyder said. "I
missed some games and it pretty much got to a point where I was wasting
a spot on the bench, and it wasn't going to be something where I could
heal it in a couple of days."
Montero had a five-game hitting streak entering the three-game series against Texas that began Tuesday, going 7-for-22 with a double, a home run, and three RBI. That streak was snapped in Tuesday's 8-2 victory over the Rangers, although Montero did walk and score an insurance run late in the game.
Montero, 25, is hitting .231 with three homers and 10 RBI in 130 at-bats and is certain to play more than he did as Snyder's backup last season, when he had 16 doubles and five home runs in only 184 at-bats.
Montero has struggled at times with his throwing accuracy. He has committed five errors, tied for the most among major-league catchers, and all his errors have come while attempting to catch a runner attempting to steal. He has thrown out 7 of 31 potential base stealers (23%). Snyder has thrown out 7 of 28 (25%), although three of those credited caught stealings were pickoffs initiated by the pitcher, while two of Montero's seven came that way. The two also have similar catcher's ERA -- the pitchers' ERA when they are behind the plate. Montero's ERA is 4.30. Snyder's is 4.48. Montero's was 4.56 last season, and Snyder's was 3.83.
Luke Carlin replaces Snyder on the active roster and will serve as Montero's backup for the next two weeks. After batting just .149 in 94 at-bats with the Padres last year, Carlin has been a pleasant surprise with the stick, going .287/.390/.420 with Reno prior to his callup. He also threw out 12-of-32 would-be basestealers there (38%), and even had some success controlling the running game with San Diego's notoriously oblivious-to-baserunners pitching staff last year.
"He was with us in Spring Training and he was doing a good job in Triple-A," D-backs' manager A.J. Hinch said. "He takes great pride in handling a pitching staff. He'll be a true backup for us. [Miguel Montero] will be the starter, but I'll work him in and give him some time."
Conor Jackson was transferred to the 60-day disabled list Tuesday to make
room for Carlin on the 40-man roster. Jackson has been out since
April with Valley Fever.
Jackson's news is not the worst update the D-backs have received regarding their injured players, unfortunately. While the Diamondbacks are not ready to completely rule out right-hander Brandon Webb's return this season, they seem to understand it looks less likely as his shoulder pain persists.
Manager A.J. Hinch addressed the issue for the first time in a pregame session with the media Tuesday, when Webb was given another MRI -- he had one last offseason -- and also was seen by team orthopedist Michael Lee.
"His health is priority No. 1," Hinch said before the D-backs opened their final six-game stretch of interleague play at Chase Field with an 8-2 victory over Texas. "Pitching in 2009 is a distant second until we know about him physically. At this point, I don't think it's fair until we find out everything about the situation before we talk about this year. The priorities have shifted to making sure we know everything about his health, everything about what is causing his pain."
"Up to this point, we've done everything we can to alleviate that. We thought we cleared a hurdle."
Webb has been troubled since spring training, and he has been on the disabled list since April 13th with what was first diagnosed as a major muscle injury. He made one start this season, on opening day, giving up six runs and six hits -- including two home runs -- while getting a no-decision in the D-backs' 9-8 victory over Colorado.
Webb flew home from Kansas City rather than accompany the team on a weekend trip to Seattle after a scheduled bullpen session Thursday was cancelled because he continued to feel soreness.
DIAMONDBACKS 8, RANGERS 2: Max Scherzer won his third straight start to get over .500 for the first time in his career, and the D-backs' first three hitters were 8-for-13 with seven RBI and five runs. Leadoff man Felipe Lopez had three hits and three RBI, No. 2 hitter Stephen Drew had three hits and an RBI, and No. 3 hitter Justin Upton had two hits, including his 14th home run of the season, and three RBI. Mark Reynolds played spectacular defense at first base, a welcome sight after how Sunday's contest ended.
--1B Tony Clark dropped a throw at first base with two outs in the last of the ninth inning Sunday that gave Seattle a victory. The D-backs have had three three-error games in the last 13 games. Only Washington (64) has more errors
--LHP Doug Davis made his sixth quality start in his last 10 outings since April 29th on Sunday, giving up one run in seven innings, but did not get a decision when the bullpen and defense failed to hold a 2-1 lead in the final two innings. Davis (3-8, 3.53 ERA) has won only one of those six quality starts. He leads the NL in losses.
--LHP Clay Zavada has not allowed an earned run in his 15 major-league appearances, although he was charged with his first loss Sunday when a bases-loaded infield error gave Seattle a 3-2 victory. Zavada (1-1) won his first major-league appearance on May 21 after being recalled from Class AA Mobile. He has 14 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings, while giving up 10 hits and six walks. Zavada is a candidate to move into a more prominent bullpen role after beginning as a situational specialist.
--RHP Jon Rauch, whose early season struggles took him out of a setup role early, has recovered nicely. Rauch has been scored
upon in only one of his last 11 outings to drop his ERA to a season-low 4.94, although he was charged with his first blown save of the season Sunday when he allowed an inherited runner to score. His ERA in June is 2.16, and he could be a candidate to move into a more prominent role in the bullpen.
--The D-backs mixed and matched with the DH position in their nine interleague road games, occasionally using it as a way to give a position play a day off from the field. They used six DHs -- OF Eric Byrnes (three times), C Miguel Montero (twice), OF Justin Upton, 2B Felipe Lopez, C Chris Snyder, and SS Stephen Drew. Byrnes was 4-for-13 with a homer and four RBI as a DH, while Montero was 4-for-9 with two doubles and an RBI. On the days both catchers started, IF/OF Ryan Roberts served as the emergency catcher. Roberts caught in spring training games and continues to warm up pitchers in the bullpen when necessary.
--2B Felipe Lopez has hit safely in his last 18 starts dating to June 2nd, his third day back after returning from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the lineup for nine days. His hitting streak was interrupted when he grounded into a fielder's choice in a pinch-hit appearance June 11th. Lopez is hitting .298 with two doubles, two triples, and five RBI in that stretch, with the triple and three of those RBI (a season-high) coming Tuesday. Lopez batted .318 in April and .311 in May.
--The D-backs chose to give every starter an extra day of rest after Monday's off day and will stay in rotation through the weekend, giving each five days' rest before his next turn. The team opted to keep RHP Billy Buckner (2-4, 7.15 ERA) in his normal spot instead of pushing him back. Buckner has made six starts since joining the rotation May 22, two quality starts. He is 2-4 with a 6.17 ERA as a starter.
--C Luke Carlin's contract was purchased from Class AAA Reno when C Chris Snyder (lower back strain) was placed on the disabled list. Carlin, 28, was hitting .287 with four home runs and 22 RBI with Reno after signing as a minor league free agent last winter. Carlin made his major league debut with San Diego last season, hitting .149 in 36 games in three separate stints with the Padres. Snyder, who had been hitting .224 with five homers and 21 RBI, had not played in the field since being scratched from the starting lineup Thursday in Kansas City. He was used as a DH once.
--INF/OF Ryan Roberts, INF Josh Wilson and now C Luke Carlin have played for the Diamondbacks this season after being signed as minor league free agents over the winter, although Wilson was designated for assignment and has since played for San Diego and now Seattle.
--OF Chris Young (groin) was listed in the original starting lineup Tuesday but was a late scratch after doing some early running drills at Chase Field. Young has not played since suffering his injury while running out a triple in the eighth inning of a 12-5 victory at Kansas City on Thursday. He went 5-for-6 with four walks in the first two games of the Kansas City series, including his first four-hit game of the season Thursday.
DIAMOND STAT: 224 -- Strikeouts 3B/1B Mark Reynolds was on pace for through the first 70 games. He set a major league record with 204 last season.
QUOTABLE: "There are some days where you don't know how to explain how this happens." -- D-backs manager A. J. Hinch, after 1B Tony Clark failed to handle a throw from 3B Mark Reynolds with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning of a tie game Sunday, enable Seattle to walk off with a victory.