Tony Clark will be back in a Diamondbacks uniform today, likely in the roster spot of Justin Upton, who is a strong candidate for the disabled list because of continued soreness in his left oblique muscle.
The D-Backs reacquired Clark from San Diego for Single-A right-hander Evan Scribner on Thursday, and the players did everything but schedule a parade.
“He’s just like Mufasa, ‘The Lion King,’ ” Chris Snyder said with a chuckle.
Clark sacrificed a $500,000 trade bonus to return to the D-Backs, where he is expected to reprise his role as platoon first baseman/prime pinch hitter and clubhouse leader.
“I love it,” said Chad Tracy, who has become the regular first baseman but might lose time to Clark in certain situations.
“There’s no more important person to have in a clubhouse. He’s very well-spoken. When things need to be said, he has a way of putting things. People listen, and people really respect him.”
The move also makes Conor Jackson the primary left fielder for the rest of the season, as the D-Backs do not appear likely to make any major moves before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, general manager Josh Byrnes said.
“We need to get better offensively, but there is still no obvious spot to take at-bats away,” Byrnes said.
“If we can do it by building up our bench, that might be a way.”
Clark, 36, was with the Padres in St. Louis when the deal, which had been in the works for a week, was finished. He was to have landed in the Valley on Thursday night.
“His leadership ability … the way everyone responds to him. I couldn’t be happier,” Chris Young said.
Clark hit .239 with one homer and 11 RBIs with the Padres this season, making 10 starts — one at first base, nine at DH — and 60 pinch-hit appearances.
A switch-hitter, he hit 17 home runs and drove in 51 runs in 221 at-bats last season, when he was primarily used against right-handed pitchers. He hit 53 home runs with the D-Backs from 2005-07.
Clark signed a one-year, $900,000 deal with San Diego as a free agent in the offseason, after negotiations with the D-Backs broke down.