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04/14/06 4:28 PM ET

Melvin says pitching a pleasant surprise

Manager fields questions from fans online

Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin chatted online with fans Friday. He answered questions about his pitching staff, changing up the batting order and the platoon behind the plate.

Bob Melvin: Hi, thanks for having me on. I look forward to chatting with you.

Base_Ball_2: What went wrong in last night's game against the Rockies?

Melvin: We got behind the eight-ball a little bit early. We battled back nicely and just couldn't come up with that one key hit in the latter innings.

Base_Ball_2: Any updates on Terry Mulholland?

Melvin: We don't think it's serious. The MRI didn't suggest any bone chips. We think by the 15th day he'll be throwing. Whether he's able to come off by the 15th day, I doubt, but he should be throwing by then.

mypotato: Did you dream of being a Major League manager when you were a kid? If so, what club did you dream you'd be with?

Melvin: No, I didn't. I dreamed of being a player. I didn't actually even consider being a manager until I was Phil Garner's bench coach in Milwaukee in 1999.

hellagood: Who do you feel will be the breakout player of the season?

Melvin: We feel like Conor Jackson is going to be a big-time player for us and he's already off to a good start.

Base_Ball: I would like to know what we are doing about pitching -- it seems like our only downfall this year.

Melvin: I think our pitching has been a pleasant surprise so far, being that we are second in the league in ERA and pitching was a question mark coming out of spring. The bullen in particular has been as good as any bullpen in the National League.

joe_Drake: Coach Melvin, I have noticed Jeff DaVanon getting some regular playing time. Is Eric Byrnes hurting or is DaVanon just doing the job?

Melvin: Coming into the season, we envisioned that DaVanon, being a switch-hitter, was a good fit in giving all of our guys days off in the outfield. He's a very good on-base percentage guy, makes the pitchers work and was probably one of the biggest surprises for us. He definitely profiles to be the type of hitter that we're looking for here.

ecaz: Would you agree that the constant shifting in the batting order creates ambiguity and may hurt any momentum or rhythm players may get?

Melvin: We felt all along that we'd be able to match up, especially with the guys that we have on the bench. Damion Easley has been a lefty killer throughout his career. With as many lefties as we have throughout our lineup, we felt he would be a good fit. With as many new players we have, we are still searching for the right lineups and we have several guys struggling right now, so we are trying to get our best matchups.

jimdpc1: What's your take on what you've seen from Claudio Vargas thus far? Can he become a consistent producer in the rotation?

Melvin: We feel like with Claudio as our fifth starter that our rotation is deep. Claudio, at times last year, was our best pitcher and has started out very well this year. The way he pitched in Milwaukee last weekend gives us confidence that our rotation is deep.

azdbackstaylor9: When do you think Carlos Quentin will come up to the Majors? Does he have a chance this year or will it be next year?

Melvin: We feel like he's ready to play in the big leagues now. He's just caught in a numbers game with our corner outfielders. Barring an injury early on, we will wait and see where we are in the second half, but he's certainly a guy that we feel like will be a big part of our future.

Base_Ball: Why didn't you have Conor Jackson in the lineup last night?

Melvin: Tony Clark was an offensive force for us last year and we envision him being our main pinch-hitter off the bench, and to keep him ready, he has to get periodic starts. We felt last night with Josh Fogg's left/right splits (lefties hit 100 points higher off him than righties) and Tony's success against him in the past, along with the fact that we don't want him to go too long without getting some consistent at-bats, I went with Tony. But Conor is certainly our starter.

Base_Ball_3: Is Johnny Estrada doing well behind the plate?

Melvin: Estrada had a good spring offensively and has a history of being an offensive player. But he's just off to a little bit of a slow start at the plate.

greenandhalseyfan: How soon do you think Scott Hairston will be called up this year?

Melvin: Scotty is still learning a new position. We think he's made significant strides in left field. We feel like offensively he's big-league ready, but probably needs some more reps in left field. He's a guy we wouldn't hesitate to bring up if we felt there was a spot for him.

rereit: Why did Bryan Price distract Brandon Lyon at such a crucial moment in last night's game?

Melvin: We felt like the runner on second base was tipping location and we wanted to make sure that we were on the same page with our series of signs. That was the reason Bryan went out there.

Base_Ball_2: How often will you use Chris Snyder this year?

Melvin: Snyder hit considerably higher against left-handed pitching last year and he's off to a good start offensively this year. We feel like the Estrada/Snyder tandem gives us the opportunity to use Estrada against righties, Snyder against lefties and upgrade our offense at the position considerably over last year.

Base_Ball_4: After last night's performance, would you say that Russ Ortiz had trouble with his location or was it just not his night?

Melvin: I think they had a good plan against Ortiz last night. They didn't try to pull him too much and he had trouble putting guys away.

uncleat6: Who are you looking at for the 2006 draft?

Melvin: Mike Rizzo, our vice president of scouting, has done a tremendous job of accumulating a wealth of talent. We won the Topps Organization of the Year and feel like we are in a good position to work in talented players every year. We have a bright future due to Mike's eye for talent and the staff of scouts he's assembled. We feel it's the best group in all of baseball.

Melvin: Thanks for all your great questions. I've got to run off into an advance preparation for the Astros tonight. Tonight's matchup should be a good one. On paper, it looks like a low-scoring game. It should be a great game for the fans. I hope to see you out here at the ballpark this year. Thanks again.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.