06/30/10 3:06 PM ET
D-backs moving Willis to the bullpen
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
After watching the left-hander walk 13 over his past two starts, D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday that the team will use Willis as a reliever beginning Friday.
"It's worth a shot," Hinch said. "We've got to get the walks under control. That's the motivation behind getting him to the bullpen, put him in a little better position to be successful and match him up a little easier."
By matchups, Hinch is referring to using Willis primarily against left-handed hitters. The D-backs do not have a lefty in their bullpen at the moment.
"I think it will be good for me," Willis said. "I feel it will help me get myself right and get my arm slot where I want it to be. I totally agree with A.J. on the move. I like it. The less I think, the less I think about messing it up, so I think it might be a good thing for me. I've had chances to do it."
Right-handers are hitting .322 against Willis this year, while he has held lefties to a .188 mark. If he is able to carry that success against lefties into the 'pen, it would be a help in the National League West, where teams have left-handed middle-of-the-order hitters like Adrian Gonzalez (Padres), Andre Ethier (Dodgers), Brad Hawpe (Rockies) and James Loney (Dodgers).
"There's going to be some good situations for me to help the team out, that's the good thing about it," Willis said. "San Diego has a couple of good lefties [and] L.A. has a couple of good lefties in the middle of the lineup, so I think it's going to pay dividends for our team."
The D-backs acquired Willis from the Tigers earlier this month in exchange for Minor League right-hander Billy Buckner.
Willis was unable to get out of the fifth inning of his Tuesday start and walked six in the 8-0 loss to the Cards.
"I did feel a lot more comfortable with my mechanics yesterday," Willis said. "I just didn't get the results like I wanted to, but I did feel really comfortable repeating my mechanics. I can't continue to walk guys and expect to win. You've got to put somebody in there that can throw strikes."
Barry Enright, who made his Major League debut Wednesday, is expected to remain in the rotation in place of Willis.
Kennedy works out kinks in bullpen session
ST. LOUIS -- Ian Kennedy had a bit of an "aha" moment during his bullpen session Tuesday.
The Arizona right-hander, who walked nine in his start Saturday against the Rays, blamed his control problems on mechanical issues, and he felt he corrected them during Tuesday's session.
"I was dotting the corner of the plate and I was like, 'I didn't feel that Saturday,'" Kennedy said.
Kennedy has taken some good-natured ribbing from his teammates about getting an extra few days between starts. The team is trying to give him some additional rest since he is on pace to shatter his career high in innings pitched.
"They asked if I was on paid leave," Kennedy said. "Or on vacation."
Kennedy also said that his actual career high for innings in a year was 170 set in 2007. That total would include his winter ball stint.
Porter appreciates interview with Marlins
ST. LOUIS -- If there was one word that described the way D-backs third-base coach Bo Porter felt Wednesday, 24 hours after finding out he was not going to get the Marlins' managerial position, it would be grateful.
Make no mistake about it, Porter wanted the job and was disappointed that he didn't get it, but he came out of the process very appreciative of both the Marlins and D-backs.
Porter interviewed for the vacancy Friday morning in Miami before rejoining the D-backs that night in Tampa.
"I'm very, very thankful to the Diamondbacks," Porter said. "It's not every day in-season that a team calls to ask for permission to talk to your third-base coach and you grant permission. So I was very fortunate for that and I thank them for that."
The Marlins on Tuesday announced that they are going to keep interim manager Edwin Rodriguez for the rest of the season before deciding on a permanent replacement.
"The interview process went well," Porter said. "From all indications that I've got, they were fairly impressed and it more so came down to the owner [Jeffrey Loria] wanting to have more time to look at the overall picture. I think it was a win-win situation for me. I think any time you are able to get a managerial interview, it can't be a bad thing. I'm thankful they gave me a chance."
It was the second time Porter had interviewed for a managerial position having previously done so with the Nationals.
"That's been my goal from Day 1," Porter said of managing in the big leagues. "That's why I've been preparing myself to do so. I feel like the right opportunity will find me."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.