The Diamondbacks scouted Cleveland right-hander Jake Westbrook’s start in Anaheim on Monday and will have a scout present when he throws again today, as Westbrook has emerged as one of the few players the D-Backs would seriously consider adding at the trading deadline.
Westbrook, a sinkerball pitcher similar to Brandon Webb, had the best groundball-to-fly-ball ratio in the American League last season and would be seen as a long-term addition, joining Webb at the top of the rotation.
Westbrook has a $5.6 million option for 2007, after which he would be eligible for free agency.
Cleveland is said to be seeking a power-hitting corner outfielder or a second baseman to help plug a leaky infield. The D-Backs are deep at both positions in the system but have second thoughts about disrupting the current team or losing a top prospect.
“I’ve been asked for weeks now if we are a buyer or a seller, and it’s really neither,’’ general manager Josh Byrnes said.
“In some ways, the last two weeks have backed that up. We still have a shot at it this year, and our young players are pretty good. Not to say we’re seeking inactivity, but it is almost like a little more of an offseason mentality’’ toward making a deal.
Cincinnati wanted Austin Kearns for Westbrook last winter.
The D-Backs have said they consider outfielders Carlos Quentin and Chris Young virtually untouchable, as well as catcher Miguel Montero and shortstop
The D-Backs have depth at second base with Orlando Hudson and Tucson’s Alberto Callaspo but see Hudson, Drew and Callaspo as a middle infield trio next season, after Craig Counsell’s contract expires.
Texas recently inquired about Luis Gonzalez, but the D-Backs deemed the offer too low to consider it and do not expect further dialogue, baseball sources said Saturday.
Names that might intrigue the D-Backs — pitching prospects John Danks and Thomas Diamond, for example — were not part of the conversation.
“I’m happy here. We’re right in the middle of the race. Once you get to the playoffs, anything can happen,’’ said Gonzalez, who as a “10-5’’ player — 10 years in the majors, the last five with the same team — has the right to veto any trade.
GREEN BACK AT FIRST
Shawn Green mentioned that he was “blowing the dust off’’ his first-base mitt upon his return to the position Monday when Conor Jackson sat out with a sore shoulder, and Green started in place of a healthy Jackson on Saturday against Colorado right-hander Josh Fogg.
“It gives us another option. Conor is going to get the majority of time there,’’ manager Bob Melvin said.
Green, hitting .307, was 6-for-19 with three doubles against Fogg entering Saturday’s game.
Jackson, hitting .265, is 3-for-21 since the All-Star break and is hitting .241 against righties.
New San Francisco first baseman Shea Hillenbrand, acquired from Toronto for Mesa’s Jeremy Accardo, is “definitely going to help them,’’ Melvin said. “Now they have an offensive first baseman.’’
Hillenbrand was a D-Back in 2003-04.