by Ben Catley
The end of February is here, and as the World Baseball Classic gets underway beginning tomorrow, it leaves us with more time to focus on what should be an interesting couple of weeks at Arizona Diamondbacks camp. Three mainstays for the D-backs – Gerardo Parra (2006 Osprey), Miguel Montero (2002-03) and newly-acquired Martin Prado will play for Venezuela, as will former Osprey outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (2003).
Parra was held out of Wednesday’s game against Cincinnati with soreness in his left arm. Nothing serious, and he should be back in the lineup when the D-backs play today. Parra also has received some advice from manager Kirk Gibson as it pertains to his two early errors in Cactus League play … and some of it has to do with his new glove.
You can read about the D-backs’ trio here, and read Miggy go all sorts of Ricky Bobby in the piece.
– You can add two more former Osprey pitchers to the list of those who have appeared in a Cactus League game who are not either part of the 40-man roster or the list of Non-Roster Invitees…
Seth Simmons (2011) and JR Bradley (2010) each pitched against Cincinnati on Wednesday. One problem … the Reds scored often in the late innings. Six runs, in fact, four of which were charged to Taylor Siemens (2011). Both Simmons – who made his second appearance of the spring and lowered his ERA – and Bradley each allowed a run.
– Bryan Shaw (2008) has been okay for the Cleveland Indians in his first two outings of the Spring – 2 IP, H, R, ER, BB, K, 1-1 save opportunities.
– It looks like Jose Valverde (2000) will be using his time at the World Baseball Classic as a big-time audition for teams in need of a late-inning reliever. No team has signed the right-handed former closer, and while rumors had him headed to the New York Mets, Miami Marlins and possibly even back to the Houston Astros, no team has yet to offer Valverde a contract.
Landing spots like Miami and Houston are less likely landing spots for Valverde, since they are in rebuilding mode and are less likely to chase after a veteran for the back end of the bullpen. The Mets seemed to be the best fit, but the two sides reportedly did not get close enough to work out a deal.
Don’t be surprised if Valverde ends up on a team that could be an arm in the bullpen away from contending. Any team that loses a closer during Spring Training would be a consideration. So would a team which has issues with its closer that have nothing to do with their arm. Like … dare I say this … the Cleveland Indians. Chris Perez is likely to be gone by the end of the season, if not before, and while the before-mentioned Bryan Shaw could be the closer-in-waiting, another right-hander with closer experience is not a bad thing.
– Staying on the theme of former Osprey pitchers – Eric Smith, Eury De La Rosa and Charles Brewer, all 2009 alumni, are scheduled to pitch today against the Reds.
– Goldy Update: OK, it has been a while since we have talked Paul Goldschmidt (2009). Three Cactus League games, 2-for-5 with a double and three walks. So far, so good …
– EatonMania Update: I really should stop referring to our Adam Eaton (2010) as EatonMania … especially since every time I do, this song pops into my head:
Anyway, Eaton went 1-for-3 on Wednesday, with his average rolling back a bit … to .438 on the spring. He also hit leadoff once again, and you are beginning to think that Eaton will be the starter there if things continue to progress this spring.
– Speaking of Wednesday’s game, Chris Owings (2009) managed to get his first Cactus League hit of 2013 in seven at-bats, and also turned a double play.
– Finally, a reminder … vote in our latest Bird Droppings poll, on whom you think will be the former Osprey who will be making their Major League Debuts in 2013. You can vote for more than one, and we will reveal the results – as well as my picks – sometime in March.