PHILADELPHIA - Closer of the present Jorge Julio and — who knows? — closer of the future Tony Pena were off limits for all but the biggest of emergencies Wednesday after a heavy workload in the last week.
Julio pitched in five straight games (over six days) through Tuesday and had failed to convert save opportunities Sunday and Tuesday, only his second and third failures after 11 saves in two months with the D-Backs.
Pena, who recorded his first major league victory Tuesday, pitched two innings Sunday and Tuesday.
Asked if Julio was affected by the workload, manager Bob Melvin said, “I don’t know. The velocity was there. We try to monitor that pretty well. If I looked up and saw 91 or 92 . . . we saw some 97s and 98s.’’
Pena has impressed Melvin with his composure and makeup in his nine days with the D-Backs.
“From the first pitch he threw, a fastball away that he dotted right on the corner at 95 (on July 18), it really looked like none of the extenuating circumstances would bother him at all,’’ Melvin said.
The bullpen was even thinner since Luis Vizcaino was unavailable because of continued right elbow inflammation, although Melvin said he is better and a player move is unlikely.
Brandon Lyon, the closer the first seven weeks of 2005, would have been the likely option to close, Melvin said.
A PERSON OF INTEREST
New York Mets righthander Brian Bannister pitched five innings in a rehabilitation start for St. Lucie of the Class A Florida State League on Wednesday, giving up three earned runs and six hits while walking four and striking out one.
The D-Backs scouted the game as they continue to explore trade options while tracking Bannister, who has been out since late May with a hamstring injury.
The Mets had a top front office staff member at the DBacks-Phillies game Wednesday, but the Mets were said to be more interested in the Phillies, who started right-hander Jon Lieber.
Lieber has been widely reported as available, although he has another year on his contract worth $7.5 million.
A HEAVY-HEART START
Miguel Batista left the team Wednesday and flew to the Dominican Republic to be with his family after the death of his grandmother Monday. The D-Backs told Batista he could miss his scheduled start Tuesday, but he opted to stay, giving up four runs in six innings.
“That was obviously more important than one baseball game,’’ Melvin said. “Whether or not it affects his next bullpen, maybe, but it shouldn’t affect his next start,’’
Batista is to rejoin the team in Houston, where he is scheduled to oppose Roger Clemens on Sunday.
QUENTIN TAKES A SEAT
Despite three home runs in his three starts, including the game winner Tuesday, Carlos Quentin did not start Wednesday.
“Sure, it’s hard. It’s hard not to start (Jeff) DaVanon today, too,’’ Melvin said.
“We have five guys out there who all warrant playing time. We’re going to have to find ways to make sure everybody gets to play. All of them can be very productive for us.’’
DaVanon tied the score with a two-out triple in the eighth inning Tuesday after Quentin stole second base, the first stolen base of his career.
Johnny Estrada was back in the starting lineup after being hit in the right ankle and right forearm Tuesday, the red mark still apparent on his right arm. Estrada, hitting .323, is eight plate appearances from qualifying for the NL leader board. A player needs 3.1 plate appearances per team game to qualify — he has 302. . . . The D-Backs have one scheduled off day, Aug. 10, between the start of this trip Tuesday and the end of their next trip, Aug. 24.