07/14/07 10:16 PM ET
Notes: Salazar trying to earn spot
Outfielder has proven his skills, especially on defense
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Salazar has impressed with his defense, as well as his .429 batting average, since being called up just prior to the All-Star break. Not bad for a guy that was claimed off waivers from the Rockies just prior to the end of Spring Training. The 26-year-old hit .283 in 19 games for Colorado last year.
"Sometimes there's just a right place at the right time for you, and that's why you keep persevering in this game," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "You get a chance to play in the big leagues and it doesn't work out for you the first time ... you've got to continue to persevere."
Salazar was back in the lineup Saturday for the fifth straight game. His long-term future with Arizona, though, is more likely as an extra outfielder.
"We've got a lot of good young outfielders here, so that's still yet to be determined," Melvin said of Salazar's future. "The one thing about this game is that nothing is for sure. With Carlos Gonzalez and [Justin] Upton and some of these other guys coming up and [Carlos] Quentin obviously still in our plans as a right fielder, it looks a little bit full as far as starters go. But there's a role for guys that know how to come off the bench and know how to play either as a fourth or fifth outfielder."
Speaking of Gonzalez: Gonzalez has been on an offensive tear for Double-A Mobile lately.
Gonzalez hit three home runs in a two-day span recently. In a 10-game stretch through Friday, he hit .342 with five homers and 10 RBIs.
"He's made a mechanical adjustment that is putting him in better position to stay upright and squared to the pitcher," farm director A.J. Hinch said. "It's nice to see him make an adjustment within the game. That's a positive sign in his maturation and development."
Gonzalez, who played for the World Team in the Future's Game the past two years, is regarded -- along with Mobile teammate Upton, who hit a three-run homer Saturday -- as the team's top two position player prospects.
Still figuring it out: Melvin continues to try and find playing time for four players at the infield corners. Tony Clark got the nod at first Saturday, while Chad Tracy started at third. Conor Jackson was at first Friday and Mark Reynolds will start at third Sunday.
"I don't have an absolute recipe for how we're going to do this still," Melvin said.
Get in there: Left-handed specialist Doug Slaten tossed an inning Friday night and Melvin will look to get him in there again Saturday in order to keep him ready.
"Probably hasn't gotten the regular-type work," Melvin said. "He's been [warming] up quite a bit down there, but not the regular type work to keep him sharp."
Down on the farm: Triple-A Tucson split a doubleheader in Colorado Springs on Friday. Quentin was 1-for-5 with two runs scored, while Jeff DaVanon played right field and went 1-for-3.
DaVanon was scheduled to play center field Saturday and his injury rehab assignment runs out after Monday's game. At that time, the D-backs will either need to activate him or have him sit out for five days before sending him on another rehab assignment.
"He'll play today and we'll see where we're at," Melvin said.
Catcher Edward Easley, the D-backs' second pick of the supplemental round in last month's Draft, has been on a tear for short-season Yakima. Easley was 2-for-5 with a homer and a pair of RBIs on Friday. In eight games since he signed, Easley is hitting .345 with a pair of home runs.
Up next: The D-backs wrap up the three-game series with the Padres on Sunday afternoon with Brandon Webb taking on Justin Germano.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.