6/22/2013 8:51 P.M. ET
Blair signing rounds out D-backs' top nine Draft picks
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The D-backs signed right-hander Aaron Blair out of Marshall University on Saturday. Taken No. 36 overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft with the club's Competitive Balance pick, Blair was the last of Arizona's first nine draftees to sign.
According to Baseball America, the D-backs inked the 21-year-old for a $1.435 million signing bonus, slightly below the $1,547,700 assigned slot value given to the pick.
Standing 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Blair has a three-pitch mix, including a fastball that can touch 94 mph and a curveball and changeup. He can throw strikes with all three, and he has some late sink to his fastball.
Pitching for Marshall, he went 5-5 with a 2.85 ERA last season, earning All-Conference USA first-team honors.
With Blair signed, the highest of Arizona's Draft picks yet to agree to a deal is Jimmie Sherfy, a relief pitcher from the University of Oregon taken in the 10th round.
After finding entrance, Spruill solid in debut
PHOENIX -- The same day he was promoted from Triple-A Reno, D-backs right-hander Zeke Spruill made his Major League debut Friday, working a clean sixth inning against the Reds.
"There was a whole mix of emotions," Spruill said. "Happy, excited, anxious and nervous a little. I didn't sleep the night before."
The 23-year-old allowed a leadoff single to the first batter he faced but bounced back to retire the next three Reds to escape the inning.
"He threw well; he did a good job," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He kept his composure and threw his pitches well."
One of the three outs Spruill recorded came via a strikeout of Donald Lutz. The righty got his hands on the ball and will give it to his parents for them to keep. Most of his family lives in Washington D.C., so Spruill hopes he will still be with the D-backs when the club goes on the road to face the Nationals next week.
Drafted out of high school five years ago, Spruill navigated his way through all five levels of the Minor Leagues to finally get the call up to the Majors on Friday. But when he arrived at Chase Field for his first day in the big leagues, he had one more obstacle to overcome: finding the players' entrance.
"I knew where the stadium was, but I didn't know where the players' gate was," Spruill said. "So I just drove around in the taxi until I found it."
Spruill, acquired in the trade that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta, started the year in Double-A Mobile but was quickly promoted to Reno, where he went 3-3 with a 4.06 ERA in nine starts. Over his last two starts in Triple-A, though, he tossed 17 scoreless innings.
"Breaking balls have gotten a lot better this year than they have been in the past," said Spruill, who is ranked by MLB.com as the D-backs' No. 8 prospect. "I've been focusing on it rather than just going out there and throwing it. I'm using it with confidence."
One batter later, Harris walks away with win
PHOENIX -- Wins in the Major Leagues do not come much easier than the victory D-backs reliever Will Harris earned Friday night.
With the gamed tied at 3 and starter Wade Miley laboring on the mound in the fifth, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson called on Harris to get the final out of the inning with the go-ahead run on third base.
Harris struck out Todd Frazier swinging on a curveball in the dirt, and the D-backs scored four times in the bottom of the inning, leaving the right-hander as the pitcher of record for Arizona in the club's 11-5 victory.
"No wins are actually easy, but I'm sure it was my shortest outing ever to get a win," Harris said, laughing.
The win marked Harris' second in the Major Leagues, his first coming last year when he tossed two clean innings against the Brewers as a member of the Rockies.
The D-backs have used Harris in different scenarios since his team debut May 10, but the 28-year-old has managed to stay mentally prepared throughout games by looking ahead to see when he might be called upon.
"You can pretty much look at their lineup and know if I'm going to get in early, like this is probably the group that I'm going to be facing," Harris said. "I was prepared before the game that if I was going to go in, I'd probably see Frazier. So you can kind of have an idea based on how you're used in the past."
• Ian Kennedy will return to the mound and start the D-backs' June 29 game in Atlanta against the Braves, the first day he's eligible to play after serving his 10-game suspension stemming from the club's June 11 tussle with the Dodgers.
Kennedy threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Saturday at Chase Field and "looked great," Gibson said.
• Aaron Hill (broken left hand) went 1-for-4 Friday night with two runs and two RBIs in his fifth rehab game with Triple-A Reno, while J.J. Putz (strained elbow) struck out three batters in an inning of work in the same game.
Hill will play for the Aces again Saturday with the hope of being activated Tuesday when the D-backs begin a series in Washington with the Nationals. Putz will take the next two days off, then pitch Monday and Tuesday for Reno.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.