D-backs recall reliever Rosa, option Stange
Move is first in effort to improve struggling bullpen
PHOENIX -- The D-backs made their first move in the effort to improve their bullpen Wednesday, when they recalled right-handed reliever Carlos Rosa from Triple-A Reno and optioned right-handed pitcher Daniel Stange to the Aces.
Is it the first of other moves to come? The D-backs' bullpen is 4-8 on the season with a Major League-worst 7.55 ERA. Relievers have blown seven saves in 14 opportunities.
"Maybe. I don't know what tomorrow brings," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "I know what today brings: This is our team and we'll do our best to play winning baseball. If moves come later, we'll announce it day by day."
Rosa, who was acquired from Kansas City on May 1, combined to go 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings in nine games for Reno and Triple-A Omaha. At Reno, Rosa has allowed four hits while walking two and striking out four in four innings in three games.
He has not pitched in back-to-back games this season.
"For me, it's a new opportunity, like I'm getting called up for the first time," Rosa, 25, said. "They told me they were happy to have me here, but I think I'm happier to be here. I'm a little nervous being with a new team and in the big leagues so fast, but I will get over it. I'm really excited to be here."
For his career, Rosa is 0-0 with a 3.21 ERA in nine games out of the bullpen for Kansas City in 2008 and 2009. He made his big league debut June 14, 2008, for the Royals against the D-backs at Chase Field.
"[Rosa's] had a little success up here in his brief time with the Royals," Hinch said. "He has pretty good fastball and a pretty good slider. He's been a little spotty with his control, but he's been pretty tough on right-handed hitters. We'll give him an opportunity and see what he looks like."
Rosa's role in the bullpen is to be determined. Moreover, Hinch did not want to elaborate on possible role changes in the bullpen but did say Chad Qualls will close -- for now.
"It doesn't really matter what I say at this point," Hinch said. "Would I expect Qualls to close? I would. He's available and he hasn't pitched for a couple of days. Defining roles doesn't get us any closer to a win. We'll play the game."
As for Stange, 24, he posted a 13.50 ERA and a .250 opponents' average with six walks and two strikeouts in four games for the D-backs after being recalled on April 28.
Hinch advises catchers to 'mix it up'
PHOENIX -- As a former catcher, D-backs manager A.J. Hinch knows that the easiest way for a catcher to help a slumping pitching staff is to keep it simple.
His advice: Mix it up.
"You have to find ways to be creative and get the guys to dig a little deeper and find ways to get outs," he said. "The catchers wear it as much as the pitching staff when it comes to this type of performance. You stick with them and you try to put them in a good position to succeed. Maybe you go into an outing with a little bit different game plan. You mix it up and try to get creative is my suggestion for them. We are all trying to find a solution."
The bullpen's recent woes have been well-documented. The D-backs starters have been a little better. The pitchers are 2-5 with a 3.38 ERA with five quality starts in their past eight games.
"First, I do know that continuing to do the same thing and expecting change is probably a bad thing to do," Hinch said. "Secondly, being pessimistic and down and pouting about it isn't going to get us any better, either. Hopefully, our team has picked itself up from a bad night and a bad week and [Wednesday] could be the day that things begin to turn."
D-backs bringing A-game on 'D'
PHOENIX -- One way to combat inconsistent pitching is by playing solid defense. D-backs manager A.J. Hinch knows as much and has been preaching the benefits of defense since he took over as skipper last season.
The play behind the pitchers has been one the highlights this season.
"For the most part, we've been pretty good and better than last year," Hinch said. "We need to get back to playing clean baseball, but for the most part, it's been an upgrade."
The D-backs had 124 errors last season, the second most in the big leagues behind Washington's 143. They had 80 errors at the All-Star break. This year, the D-backs rank 13th in the Major Leagues with 24 errors in 34 games.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.