Notes: Lopez happy to be onboard
Reliever back with team that originally drafted him
LOS ANGELES -- When the Diamondbacks drafted him in 1998, Javier Lopez figured he'd one day don an Arizona uniform.
But he didn't think it'd be 2005 before he did it and he certainly didn't expect it to be the second big league uniform he'd wear.
"It's a bit ironic," Lopez said as he stood in front of his locker in the visiting clubhouse Monday at Dodger Stadium.
The Diamondbacks claimed the left-hander off waivers April 14 and assigned him to Triple-A Tucson. Due to Major League rules, a player that's optioned to the Minor Leagues must remain there for at least 10 days before being recalled unless he is replacing an injured player on the roster.
The 27-year-old was selected by the D-Backs in the fourth round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, but was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Red Sox at the 2002 Winter Meetings. Then during Spring Training the next year he was dealt to Colorado.
He excelled in 2003 with the Rockies as he appeared in 75 games and went 4-1 with a 3.70 ERA. Last year, though, he didn't have the same success as he was 1-2 with a 7.52 ERA and he was placed on waivers following Spring Training.
"It was a difficult situation over there in Colorado," Lopez said. "They went young and obviously I don't feel I'm old by any means, but my position being more of a lefty specialist doesn't really suit a bullpen that is trying to just get outs."
He does however fit in an Arizona bullpen. The Diamondbacks began the year with two lefties in the bullpen -- Randy Choate and Michael Gosling. Choate has fared better against righties than lefties and the relief role was not something Gosling, a promising starter, was used to being put in.
"For right now I'm going to use him as my situational guy late," manager Bob Melvin said.
That gives Melvin the flexibility of using Choate against a tough lefty in the sixth or seventh and still have another lefty available in the later innings.
Gosling was optioned to Tucson to make room for Lopez.
Welcome, friend: Ironically, the person most happy to see Lopez was Choate.
The two have similar pitching styles and for the first time Choate has someone he can talk to about how to approach hitters. It could also mean Melvin isn't as likely to hold Choate back for later in games since he has Lopez to use there. That could translate into more work for Choate, something he always welcomes.
"I think it will help out a lot because it's basically like having a twin there to talk to about it and go over hitters," Choate said. "When he got called up I was disappointed for Gosling, but excited for me because I think it helps to have two lefties like that to match up."
You try taking him out: Alex Cintron got his third straight start Monday, this time at shortstop in place of Royce Clayton. He started the previous two games at second base and third.
"I'm giving all three of these guys a day off," Melvin said referring to his infielders. "It's good that I can rest these guys and get him into several games in a row. He's been good."
Yes, he has. Over the two games, he is 5-for-7 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
|Shawn Green / 1B|
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
Welcome home: Monday marked the first time Shawn Green had been back to Dodger Stadium since the January trade that sent him to Arizona.
Green said it took him a while to figure out where visiting players are supposed to park and how to get to the visiting clubhouse.
"It's a little weird being on the other side of the field, but it's going to be fine," Green said. "I've moved on and I guess the best way to describe how I feel is that I left a job with an old company and now I'm playing for a new team. We love Phoenix and we've had a great experience so far."
Green received a mixture of cheers and boos when he came to the plate in the first inning.
"I don't really have any expectations," Green said when asked before the game about possible fan reaction. "I'm excited to be here. Cheers, boos, I've heard it all here so it all works for me."
Sort of a homecoming: Monday also marked a return of sorts for third baseman Troy Glaus, who spent seven years with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
"It is fun," Glaus said of being back in town. "It's exciting. I've got some friends in the area that are coming to the game tonight."
Health updates: Reliever Jose Valverde threw two innings in extended Spring Training on Monday and "did well," according to head athletic trainer Paul Lessard. Valverde is scheduled to pitch Thursday for Triple-A Tucson.
Coming up: Russ Ortiz will make his fifth start of the year Tuesday in the second game of this three-game set. Ortiz is 7-6 with a 4.61 ERA in 18 career outings (17 starts) against the Dodgers.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.