06/05/07 10:24 PM ET
Notes: Cardinals trio take some hacks
Leinert, Boldin and Whisenhunt get their shot with D-backs
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
Matt Leinart, a pitcher in his youth who chose to give up baseball after hurting his arm, hit the only two home runs in the group, earning him a dinner from a bet with Boldin about who would hit more out.
"After I hit in the cage yesterday I thought I could hit a home run, but you've got definitely a lot more respect when you're out there playing in a big old park, and this is just batting practice," said Leinart, who called the experience a dream come true. "Randy Johnson's going tonight, I can't imagine even touching the ball with him, but it was fun, we had a good time, and I appreciate the Diamondbacks for letting us come out."
Said Whisenhunt, "It just goes to show you how difficult this sport is. It's a good opportunity to appreciate athletes from another sport and what they do."
Both Whisenhunt, who described himself as a line-drive hitter, and Arizona manager Bob Melvin were most impressed with Leinart, who Melvin said has a good swing.
Boldin displayed some power but could not get one over the fence, which Leinart said was in part due to a tough practice held earlier in the day.
"It's difficult to do, just as if we would go out there and try to play football, but you can see the swings and the contact got better and better as it went along," Melvin said. "It seemed liked the longer they were in there, the more comfortable they got, and they ended up getting some good swings, hitting some balls hard, so athletes are good athletes just about anywhere, and all three of those guys seem to be good athletes."
Tracy on the mend, could return Friday: Third baseman Chad Tracy played four innings at extended Spring Training on Tuesday, his first game action in his comeback from a strained rib cage that has kept him out of action since May 15.
Tracy went 1-for-5 and played four innings in the field. He will play Wednesday at extended Spring Training again and Thursday for Triple-A Tucson. He could be activated as early as Friday for the series opener against Boston and would likely be back for the start of a six-game road trip Tuesday against the Yankees at the latest, Melvin said.
Melvin still has not decided how to fit Tracy's bat into the lineup, with the emergence of fellow third basemen Mark Reynolds as a middle-of-the-order threat. Without giving a definitive answer, Melvin said he wants to run the best lineup out every day instead of rotating players for the sake of rotating.
"We've still got a little time left, but it's going to be difficult," Melvin said. "Conor [Jackson] is swinging the bat great, Mr. Reynolds has swung the bat very well, too, Tony Clark's swinging the bat well. Trace is one of the mainstays in our lineup. You can never have too many bats, yet how we fit them all in is yet to be determined."
Bonds show hits Chase: With the Barry Bonds circus in town this week, Melvin was asked the obligatory question about what he would do if Bonds had a chance to tie or break Hank Aaron's career home run record against his team.
The answer: the record would not factor into his decision to do anything differently.
"At this point in the season, we're still trying to get every win that we can get," Melvin said, "and you're not going to let that, a record, dictate how you're going to play a game, so, if he came in here one shy or even, we're still going to approach it the same way we'd approach it whether or not there's anything on the horizon as far as the record went."
Although Bonds did not start Tuesday's game, when he does get into the box, Melvin plans on pitching him depending how the team feels he's swinging at the time and who's on the mound for Arizona.
Owings not in 'pen: Micah Owings will not be available in the bullpen Tuesday after pitching a simulated game earlier in the day. With off-days Thursday and Monday, the team skipped Owings once through the rotation, as he will go 11 days from his start May 29 at Philadelphia to his next scheduled outing Saturday against Boston.
When the team skipped Owings earlier this month, pitching him 1 2/3 innings out of relief on his regularly scheduled day, he struggled in his next start, giving up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings.
However, Melvin attributed that to his command being off rather than his time off. Melvin said the simulated game will make it so "there aren't any cobwebs that he needs to shake out."
Owings will be available to pinch-hit if needed.
A nice day off: Monday's off-day helped a number of D-backs bothered by the aches and pains that come with the grind of playing Major League Baseball, Melvin said.
After getting the day off Sunday, Chris Young's injured right groin is close to 100 percent. The manager also mentioned minor injuries for Reynolds, Orlando Hudson and Stephen Drew -- none of whom have missed more than a day due to their ailments -- getting better.
"When you play 162 games and you're an everyday player, after the first month, health-wise you're not going to be 100 percent the rest of the year, but I think these off-days came at the right time," Melvin said.
Up next: The D-backs play the middle game of the three-game set against the Giants on Wednesday. Brandon Webb will get the start for the D-backs against Matt Morris.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.