Roberts, Ryal vying for final spot
D-backs pair eagerly awaiting club's decision
PHOENIX -- As Opening Day approaches, there is excitement for most in the D-backs' clubhouse, but there is also quite a bit of anxiety.
With Friday night's announcement that Tony Abreu has made the team, only one spot remains. Ryan Roberts and Rusty Ryal are waiting to hear which of them will be in Phoenix on Monday and who will be headed to Triple-A Reno.
The D-backs plan to trim their roster to 25 on Saturday, which should make for some serious tossing and turning on Friday night.
"It's probably the most powerless feeling you can have," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said of what the bubble players are going through.
Roberts, who hit the game-winning homer on Friday, knows that he has had a poor spring, but he's hopeful he's shown enough this past week to keep his spot. If not, he is going to lose a $5,700 deposit on the house he rented and will need to pack up his wife and young daughter and head to Reno.
"My swing is back," he said. "I'm getting right. I know I can hit. It's out of my control right now."
Zavada is odd man out in bullpen
PHOENIX -- Leave it to Clay Zavada to sum up his demotion to Triple-A Reno in a way that everyone could understand."When you're consistent, they love you," he said. "When you're not, they're a little apprehensive to take a shot. Can't blame them. If you've got a car that breaks down every once in a while, you don't want to take it on a long trip, and 162 games is a long trip. That's the way I look at it." By optioning Zavada, the D-backs elected to keep fellow left-hander Jordan Norberto, who entered camp as a long shot to make the team. "For him to make this team is a great accomplishment," manager A.J. Hinch said of Norberto. "When the door opened, he came and took it and he outpitched Zavada." Zavada was 3-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 49 games for the D-backs last year, but he struggled throughout Spring Training, compiling an 8.00 ERA in 10 games and walking nine batters in nine innings. "Clay's a good pitcher," Hinch said. "He looked out of sync the entire spring from a mixture of things." Zavada spent the spring working on his curveball to become more effective against left-handed hitters and making some mechanical adjustments, but he made no excuses. "The bottom line is I wasn't throwing strikes and I wasn't consistent," he said.
Abreu lands gig on Opening Day roster
PHOENIX -- Following the game with the Cubs on Friday night, the D-backs finalized their pitching staff by optioning left-hander Clay Zavada to Triple-A Reno and announcing that Jordan Norberto had made the team.That means the D-backs will have a rotation of Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Rodrigo Lopez. The bullpen will consist of Chad Qualls, Juan Gutierrez, Bob Howry, Aaron Heilman, Blain Boyer, Esmerling Vasquez, Leo Rosales and Norberto. The D-backs also announced that infielder Tony Abreu had made the team, meaning there is just one spot open on the roster for either Rusty Ryal or Ryan Roberts. D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said a decision will be made on Saturday. In addition, the team said left-hander Zach Kroenke had cleared waivers and was optioned to Reno. Abreu was acquired from the Dodgers in a trade for Jon Garland on July 31 and his .357 batting average during Cactus League play, along with the fact that he proved he could play second, short and third, clinched him a spot. "We had a lot of eyes on him early on," Hinch said. "We were curious as to how he was going to look defensively. When we traded for him, we knew a switch-hitting, middle-of-the-diamond player was a great get at that time. The only question we really had was how comfortable he was going to look at shortstop, and he looked extremely comfortable and continued to make plays."
D-backs' opener sells out
PHOENIX -- The D-backs Opening Day game against the Padres on Monday afternoon is sold out.There will be a limited amount of single and standing-room-only tickets made available at 9 a.m. MST on Monday at the Chase Field ticket office or by calling 602-514-8400. The roof to the ballpark will be open for the game, and the club is advising fans sitting in areas of the ballpark not in the shade to wear a cap and bring sunscreen.
'Evening on the Diamond' raises $1.3M
PHOENIX -- The D-backs got off to a good start on the playing surface of Chase Field even before a pitch in the 2010 season had been thrown.The club raised $1.3 million for the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation on Thursday night at the fourth annual "Evening on the Diamond," which was held on the field at the stadium. Comedian Jay Leno was the headliner of the event. "During these challenging economic times, we could not be happier to have raised $1.3 million last night at our marquee fundraising event to benefit the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation," D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said in a statement. "We will continue to be able to assist hundreds of non-profit organizations throughout Arizona because of the generosity of everyone in attendance, including all of the D-backs players and coaches." A live auction at the event raised a record $470,000 and the 750 in attendance at dinner on the infield and were treated to a one-hour live performance by Leno. Since 1997, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation has raised and donated more than $15.5 million to the Arizona community.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.