About 100 hours from opening day is no time to suffer a setback. Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, Thursday brought the news of three.
The most serious speed bump came when right fielder Carlos Quentin aggravated his right shoulder injury while batting in a minor league game. Manager Bob Melvin said there was only about a 10 percent chance he’d be with the team on Opening Day.
Also, closer Jose Valverde developed a blood blister on his finger after catching his right (throwing) hand in a car door, and shortstop Stephen Drew was a late scratch from the lineup with a strained right quadriceps muscle. Neither of those ailments is considered serious.
Quentin’s may be.
Playing in his first game since suffering a torn labrum, Quentin tweaked the injury after his third at-bat and was removed from the game for precautionary reasons.
If Quentin is not ready for Opening Day, the Diamondbacks may enter the season with just three natural outfielders. Utility players Brian Barden, Alberto Callaspo and Robby Hammock can all play in the outfield in a pinch.
Minor league outfielder Jeffrey Salazar, who the Diamondbacks claimed from the Rockies Wednesday, provides another option.
Anticipating the possibility of a setback, the Diamondbacks had Quentin play in a minor league game rather than one of their two paid-attendance major league games Thursday. As a result, they could still backdate a stint on the disabled list to his last Cactus League appearance.
“You cross your fingers,” Melvin said of his mindset this close to the opener. “You want to get to opening day unscratched.”
The competition for the fifth starter’s job was trimmed to two players Thursday when the Diamondbacks optioned Enrique Gonzalez and Dana Eveland to triple-A Tucson.
That leaves youngsters Dustin Nippert and Micah Owings as the leading candidates for the gig. Owings gave up four runs on eight hits in four innings after relieving Randy Johnson Thursday night.
“Right now it’s still Nippert and Owings,” Melvin said. “It wasn’t Owings’s best outing, but it’s the first time he’s really been nicked up at all. So, you’ve got to give him a little bit of a break.”
Both Gonzalez and Eveland had rough springs. Gonzalez posted a 6.52 ERA and Eveland posted an 8.25 ERA in five appearances each.
Owings, who struck out four, said he felt better than his statistics showed.
“The numbers don’t indicate how I felt,” he said. “It’ll be a dream come true if (I’m the fifth starter).”
WELCOME HOME J.D.
No player wants to end up on waivers, but the experience wasn’t as bad as it could have been for right-hander J.D. Durbin.
A Scottsdale resident who graduated from Coronado High, Durbin was claimed by his hometown Diamondbacks off waivers from the Twins. General manager Josh Byrnes said Durbin, who is out of options, will likely make the team as a reliever.
“It’s going to make the transition easier,” Durbin said of his return home. “I’ve been (in Minnesota) for seven years, and I know all the guys, so it’s going to be hard to leave.”
In a corresponding move, the Diamondbacks designated for assignment outfielder Dave Krynzel who had been battling Barden and Hammock for the final spot on the team’s 25-man roster.
Durbin, 24, was a second-round pick of the Twins in 2000 and was considered a top prospect at one point. He was 4-3 with a 2.33 ERA at Triple-A Rochester last season before suffering right biceps tendinitis that sidelined him the rest of the season.
He had a 12.38 ERA this spring.
LADY IN BLUE
Ria Cortesio, who umpired in the Southern League last year, alternated between first and third bases when the D-Backs played the Cubs at HoHoKam Park on Thursday. In so doing, she became the first woman since Pam Postema in 1989 to call a major league exhibition game.
“Good for her. I’m happy she made it,” Diamondbacks starter Doug Davis said. “If she can handle some of the yelling matches, especially in the big leagues, she’ll keep her job.”
Davis said Cortesio was not perfect.
“She missed one call,” he said, alluding to a stolen base by Ryan Theriot in the third inning.
Cortesio knew many of the players on the field Thursday, since both teams have affiliates in the Double-A Southern League.
“It was pretty uneventful,” said Cortesio, who said she didn’t like the media attention.
“I love the challenge” of umpiring. “It’s fun.”
Tribune writer Jack Magruder contributed to this report.
GAME 1 AT A GLANCE—
Cubs 7, D-Backs 4
Notable pitching: Doug Davis gave up nine hits and four runs in five innings to a Cubs’ lineup that included only two starters, Jacque Jones and Matt Murton. … Brandon Lyon got three groundouts in a perfect sixth. …
Notable hitting: Miguel Montero, the only D-Backs regular in the lineup, had a two-run double to the fence in right field in the first inning. … Rich “Killer” Thompson had two singles and a walk and stole second base twice.
What: The Diamondbacks get their last look at a Cactus League park as they visit the Padres at 1:05 p.m. at Peoria Sports Complex.
Pitchers: Diamondbacks — Edgar Gonzalez, Brandon Lyon, Juan Cruz and Brandon Medders. Padres — Chris Young.
Records: Diamondbacks: 18-12, Padres: 16-12
GAME 2 AT A GLANCE
Padres 5, D-Backs 3
Notable pitching: Starter Randy Johnson struck out five in three scoreless innings. He gave up two hits with no walks.
Notable hitting: Justin Upton exhibited his speed and acceleration when he beat out a groundball to short and then advanced first to third on a single. He also tracked down a deep fly ball in the gap. … Chad Tracy was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.