D-backs would need 'A-plus deal' for Haren
Hall says he'll listen but feels no urgency to move club's ace
PHOENIX -- D-backs team president and CEO Derrick Hall acknowledged that the club is listening to offers for Dan Haren, but he made it clear that it did not feel an urgency to move the ace right-hander."It would need to be, in our opinion, an A-plus deal," Hall said. "I think ideally what we would ask for is Major League-ready pitching, be it starters and/or bullpen and prospects. Volume doesn't matter, it doesn't need to be four, five or six guys, it's really about the quality." Hall said that even if the team trades Haren, it does not mean that it is giving up on contending in 2011. "I think it depends on what we get in return," Hall said when asked about possible fan reaction to a deal. "If it appears to be a cash dump, it's not a good message, which is not what we're looking to do.
"As I've said before, if a deal can't get done for Haren and he's on our team next year, I'm fine with that. If we can get three or four pieces that can bring value now and are also controllable for a number of years, then we'd have to consider it. If we bring in the right pieces and explain ourselves, fans will understand that it was a move to improve our team now."Haren has two years and an option year left on his current deal. He has a partial no-trade clause that would allow him to reject a trade to 12 teams. While he has expressed a preference to remain in Arizona, where he lives year round, Haren said he would be open-minded about a possible deal. The D-backs have let teams know that just about any player on their roster is available as they try to change the mix of a team that has struggled for the better part of two years now. "There's interest in quite a few of our players, not just Dan," Hall said. One of those players is pitcher Edwin Jackson, who has one more year left on his contract. "I think preference would be to keep both or at least one of them," Hall said, regarding Haren and Jackson. "But, again, anything is possible, because if you're getting enough in return, you would have to consider it."
Qualls ironing out mechanical problems
PHOENIX -- When D-backs reliever Chad Qualls struggled this season, the natural question put to him was whether his surgically repaired left knee was an issue.The answer was always the same: No. Recently, however, Qualls has discovered that his knee, repaired in August, may indeed have been a problem. Not because it hurts him, but because he altered his mechanics ever so slightly because of it. "The knee put me in a bunch of bad habits," Qualls said. "It was almost subconscious that I was favoring it a little." Initially the mechanical issues showed up in his front shoulder flying open, and he got that corrected and thought he was over the hump. Recent struggles caused him to study things further, and he discovered that he is not getting far enough out over his front leg enough. That causes his sinker to flatten out rather than sink. "I was collapsing that leg just a little," he said. "It's the knee that I hurt, and I think subconsciously I was hesitant with it. It's getting better, though. I think I've finally got it figured out."
Montero gets right back to work
PHOENIX -- Kirk Gibson waited to post his lineup for Thursday's series opener against the Giants until after he had a chance to check with catcher Miguel Montero.The D-backs' interim manager wanted to see if Montero was up for starting after catching all 14 innings of Wednesday's contest with the Mets. Gibson should not have bothered. The answer, of course, was yes. "I'm in good shape," Montero said with a big smile. "I'm an athlete, man. I'm ready to play today. I feel good. I took two months off, so I'm rested." Montero missed 57 games after having surgery on his right knee. Judging by the way he handled Wednesday's game and considering he was ready to go Thursday, it seems there are no lingering problems from the injury. "I feel really good," he said. "The knee is 100 percent. To be honest, I don't feel anything on my knee." Last season, Montero caught all 18 innings of a game against the Padres in San Diego.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.