03/30/11 7:30 PM ET
Reliever Mickolio earns spot in bullpen
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Kam Mickolio earned a spot in the bullpen and reliever Esmerling Vasquez has been optioned to Triple-A. Left-handed reliever Joe Paterson was told that he made the team Wednesday morning.
Left-handed pitcher Zach Duke and infielder Geoff Blum will start the season on the disabled list. The club also released pitcher Carlos Rosa in order to sell the player to Japan.
The D-backs are also pondering their options at shortstop if starter Stephen Drew, who is day to day because of an abdominal strain, is not available for Friday's regular season opener against Colorado. It appears that Willie Bloomquist is the front-runner, especially when you consider that Tony Abreu cleared waivers and was optioned to Triple-A. Ryan Roberts can also play shortstop.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he expects J.J. Putz, who has been slowed by a stiff back this spring, to be ready to close if needed on Friday. Putz pitched back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time this spring.
As for Mickolio, he was called into Gibson's office following Tuesday's game against Monterrey and given the news by D-backs general manager Kevin Towers.
"I'm just going to go out there and compete," Mickolio said. "We'll have to minimize walks because walks are huge coming from the bullpen. We'll pick each other up and deal with each situation as it is presented to us."
Roberts, who hit .509 this spring, was also told that he made the club on Tuesday night, while Brandon Allen was sent down to Triple-A. Juan Miranda and Russell Branyan will share the duties at first base for the D-backs.
Roberts was pleased with the news but is not satisfied. He blames himself for a subpar year last season. In 2009, he hit .279 in 110 games for the D-backs. He hit .197 in 36 big league games in 2010.
"They treat you like a king here and when you come from nothing like me, you get complacent and big-headed," Roberts said. "That's not going to happen anymore. Every player has a story or their "thing" that you get past, and 2010 was my "thing." I'm going to stay consistent with my approach and the numbers will come."
D-backs strengthening ties with Mexico
PHOENIX -- The D-backs strengthened their ties with Mexico this week.
On Tuesday, the D-backs topped the Monterrey Sultanes, 11-4, at Chase Field. They completed exhibition play against Mexico's Quintana Roo Tigres on Wednesday.
"It only opens more doors and creates more opportunities for both sides and organizations to play each other, " said D-backs special assistant Luis Gonzalez. "We are so close to Mexico that we have a lot of fans that love these teams. It's a nice competition for us and it's the first time for some of the Mexican players to play here, and I'm sure that's fun, too. "
Last season the D-backs and the Rockies played an exhibition game in Hermosillo, marking it the ninth time the club traveled to the city. In 2009, the D-backs played Team Mexico, also in Hermosillo. The Sultanes visited Chase Field in 2008.
Monterrey's roster featured former D-backs player Karim Garcia, along with former Arizona Minor Leaguers Agustin Murillo, Sergio Lizarraga and Chris Roberson.
"I finally made it to the stadium, but not with the team I had in mind," Roberson said. "I didn't make the team here but this is great. I had a chance to visit with some of my boys over here and catch up a little bit."