07/22/08 10:09 PM ET
Cool experience: D'Antona called up
Prospect to serve as late-game pinch-hitter, face lefties
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
The D-backs selected D'Antona's contract Tuesday following a trade with the Nationals that sent infielder Emilio Bonifacio to the Nats for reliever Jon Rauch.
"It's great," D'Antona said as he arrived at Chase Field just in time for batting practice. "It was the best call I've ever gotten on my cell phone. It was just surprising."
As soon as he got that call, D'Antona got into his car and drove the 90 miles from Tucson to Phoenix with no air conditioning on a day when the mercury touched 103 degrees. He arrived a sweaty mess, but wore a huge grin.
D'Antona was drafted in the second round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, the same Draft that yielded Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin in the first round.
Though he had somewhat fallen off the prospect map the past couple of years, D'Antona played his way back on this year as he hit .367 with 31 doubles, 17 homers and 67 RBIs for Triple-A Tucson.
Though drafted as a right fielder, D'Antona has primarily played the corner infield positions and has also caught. With the D-backs, he'll be used at times against left-handed pitchers and, along with Tony Clark, serve as a late-game pinch-hitter.
"There's a guy that deserves a shot at the big leagues," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "You look at his Triple-A numbers and they're off the charts. Through hard work and great performance, he deserves a shot at the big league level. His numbers off lefties are terrific. He's another guy that gives us some sock off the bench, along with Tony. He gives us a little more oomph on the bench than we've seen earlier on."
To make room for D'Antona on the 40-man roster, the D-backs shifted outfielder Eric Byrnes from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.