March 4, 2005
TUCSON - Russ Ortiz was in midseason form in the spring training opener, at least according to the word-ofmouth scouting report Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin received from Cubs manager Dusty Baker.
Ortiz stranded a runner on third base with one out in the first inning of the D-Backs’ 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, then left a runner on second base in the second to complete two scoreless innings. Marland Williams won the game with a one-out single in the ninth.
"Russ is a guy who has a history of being able to get out of jams,’’ Melvin said.
"I was talking to Dusty, and he said this is a guy you are going to have to let get out of his own mess. We saw it right away.’’
Ortiz gave up two singles and two stolen bases but struck out two.
"The only thing I wanted to do was stay aggressive with every pitch and mix in every pitch,’’ said Ortiz, who threw 30 pitches.
NOT QUITE READY
Right-hander Tony Pena, who missed the first three days of camp because of a travel issue, is to pitch one or two more bullpen sessions to work on his delivery before throwing in a game, pitching coach Mark Davis said. He could get in a game next week.
"Very small stuff. He’s not going to be behind,’’ Melvin said.
Pena has been mentioned as a candidate for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation.
"We want to give him the best shot when he goes out there. He’s got such good stuff, if Mark (Davis) sees a little something that he needs to work on, this is the time to do it.’’
Jose Jimenez, who arrived eight days late, will continue to work in the bullpen and likely is not to appear in a game until next week. "Not too far behind,’’ Melvin said.
Javier Vazquez will make his spring training debut against the White Sox on Sunday, while Ortiz and Michael Gosling are to start the split-squad games Monday, Ortiz against Oakland in Phoenix and Gosling against Colorado at TEP. . . . Major league baseball’s new drug testing policy, which includes screening for steroids, was officially in place Thursday, although no D-Backs players were tested. Every major leaguer will be tested at least once during the season; some more often through random drawings. "I felt like the (program) that was in place would have worked had we given it the time, but this is obviously a better, stricter program,’’ player rep Mike Koplove said. "I’m glad we upgraded, and hopefully people will see that we are trying to take this problem seriously.’’ . . . Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Estes had no ill effects after Wednesday’s work. Gonzalez is to be designated hitter today. . . . Catchers Chris Snyder, Koyie Hill and Kelly Stinnett will alternate time in early spring games, Melvin said. "When we get into the middle of spring, game-wise, that thing will start to heat up a little bit more,’’ Melvin said.
AT A GLANCE
D-Backs 4, White Sox 3
Notable hitting: Marland Williams lined a bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the ninth to break a tie at 3. Alex Cintron had two singles and a home run over the bullpen in right field. . . . Royce Clayton had a bunt single in the first and Luis Terrero and Sergio Santos had sacrifice bunts as the D-Backs saw fruits of their emphasis on fundamentals.
Notable pitching: Starter Russ Ortiz struck out Russ Gload with one out and a runner on third in the first, then got out of the inning with a weak grounder. . . . Brad Halsey pitched to the minimum six batters in his two innings, picking off Willie Harris after walking him with two outs in the third. . . . Randy Choate threw a 1-2-3 eighth, getting three ground balls.