Porter talks to Marlins about manager job
Third-base coach previously worked for Florida for five years
ST. PETERSBURG -- Although most signs point to the Marlins coming to an agreement with Bobby Valentine, D-backs manager A.J. Hinch confirmed Friday that third-base coach Bo Porter has spoken to Florida about its open manager position.
"We did grant permission to the Marlins for Bo, and obviously we'll respect their process and kind of await whatever their plans are," Hinch said. "He did make contact with them, and we're going to leave it at that until they see through their process."
Hinch added: "Obviously we all hope it's going to be quickly, especially since it's in-season. It was advantageous for everybody to have it happen quickly, but they need to make their decision on their timeline."
The manager added that he was proud of his third-base coach for being considered. Before joining the D-backs this season, Porter spent five years in the Marlins organization, most recently as their third-base coach and outfield and baserunning instructor from 2007-09.
His only experience as a manager came in 2006 with Class A Jamestown, where he also worked as the organization's outfield coordinator.
"We certainly respect and honor Bo as being a candidate," Hinch said. "There's only 30 of these jobs, so that's a very unique situation when it's midseason like this."
D-backs told to tune out trade rumors
ST. PETERSBURG -- With plenty of rumors swirling around potential roster moves by the D-backs, manager A.J. Hinch is doing everything he can to refocus his players' attention toward the field.
Sitting a distant 14 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West entering Friday night's game against Tampa Bay, Arizona has been the focus of plenty of speculation about unloading some of its top-tier players to rebuild for the future.
"I don't want these guys to feel like they're all auditioning for other teams. I want them all to be Diamondbacks, be proud to be Diamondbacks and be around to fix it and be part of the solution," Hinch said. "If their attention's directed at a rumor or a trade possibility, then that's not helping us get better.
"If they get too involved in the rumors, then they're going to take their focus away from the field. To me, it's all refunneling our energy and our time back to what we're paid to do, and that's play on the field."
Hinch said he felt like he has spent as much time downplaying rumors as he has doing anything else lately, noting how the ease of spreading information on the Internet has rapidly sped up the rumor mill.
"I don't know what's going to happen. Is there going to be another trade, or are there going to be 10 more trades?" Hinch said. "I think those are for people that are above us to decide, and we maintain our focus and play the game to the best of our ability.
"They're dealing with it each individually on their own. It's important for all of us to do our jobs, and that goes for me, for our coaching staff, for the players and trying to win games."
Unfamiliar Trop requires adjustments
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tropicana Field is a unique ballpark in many ways, and given the D-backs' lack of familiarity with the stadium, they deemed it necessary to do some extra pregame preparation.
The team went out onto the field early before Friday night's game against the Rays to field grounders and fly balls to familiarize themselves with the hard turf and unusual ceiling -- as well as the catwalks -- inside the Trop.
"It darkens up a little bit more at night, and our guys will adjust. We're used to indoor baseball, just not on the turf," manager A.J. Hinch said. "The turf on the body is a little harder. It's just different. The roof should be fine. I don't think these guys will have any problems, knock on wood. I really hope that doesn't come back to bite me. The turf doesn't play as fast as you would think. It certainly is a pounding on your body from what everybody says."
Hinch said the dirt is slightly harder than at most ballparks, forcing the infielders to adjust the way they field ground balls. What might be a normal bounce at another stadium can become more complicated off the turf, particularly when a ball hits the turf and the infield dirt. The D-backs outfielders will also have to account for the different playing surface in terms of what angles they take.
But it's not the ground surface or the way the ball bounces that has Hinch the most concerned about the team's trip to the Trop.
"More than any of that, it's our opponent. They can play. They play an aggressive style with really nothing out of the realm of possibility," Hinch said. "I told our guys, they may squeeze in the first inning. Joe's very aggressive. Adjusting to their style of play is just as significant as the turf or the ceiling."
Demel proves to be bright spot in bullpen
ST. PETERSBURG -- There wasn't a whole lot to be happy about regarding the D-backs pitching after an outing in which the staff combined to give up six runs on 10 hits and 13 walks, but Sam Demel's solid outing proved to be the sliver lining.
Demel pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings in Arizona's 6-5 loss Wednesday to the Yankees, getting out of the sixth inning by forcing a double play. It was just the third outing of his career since being acquired by the D-backs on June 15 from the A's in exchange for outfielder Conor Jackson.
The right-hander has thrown 3 2/3 innings since joining the team and has not given up a run, hit or walk while striking out four batters, three of which came in his latest performance.
"Demel showed a lot tonight," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday. "That's as difficult a situation as he's been in here for three outings. Coming in and getting the double-play ball was excellent. Going back out and dominating that part of the order with the strikeouts is very impressive, so I'm glad he's building confidence and getting that under his belt, because he's going to be asked to get some important outs here moving forward."
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.