TUCSON - If the question is, “Who is the Diamondbacks’ third baseman?” the answer is that there may be no answer.
Manager Bob Brenly said Tuesday he expects Craig Counsell and Matt Williams to share time at third base in some fashion.
“Right now I anticipate using (Counsell) the way we have the last couple of years,” Brenly said, “he'll get a lot of playing time at third base but he'll back up Tony (Womack) at short and he'll back up Junior (Spivey) at second.”
Counsell, who played second base Tuesday, seems recovered from September neck surgery and Williams has found his stroke down the Cactus League stretch, going 11-for-28 (.393) over his past 11 games.
“It's been pretty good,” he said.
Counsell, who is happy just to feel 100 percent healthy, always expected (and accepted) a utility-type role.
“I don't think it's necessary to make any kind of decision (on a starter),” Brenly said. “They know they're both going to get plenty of at-bats and plenty of playing time. They've both done a great job this spring.”
Curt Schilling seems to be leaning toward having Chad Moeller as his primary catcher.
Moeller is tentatively scheduled to catch Schilling on Thursday against the Chicago White Sox in Tucson while the rest of the big-league team plays an exhibition at Class AA El Paso.
Moeller is also Randy Johnson's personal catcher, so the D-Backs are contemplating pairing Rod Barajas with No. 3 starter Elmer Dessens, to give Moeller a rest and because Dessens has a comfort level with Barajas, who is fluent in Spanish.
Should Patterson make the rotation, he would likely pitch to Moeller.
A revised autograph/fan outreach policy is expected to be completed soon.
The Diamondbacks instituted a mandatory 10-minute autograph session for home night games this season, but after being told of the plan when camp opened, the players sought input and have been working on a compromise with team management.
Brenly had a long meeting with the coaches early Tuesday morning to discuss roster possibilities.
“We had a lot of time to kick around how it all fits together,” Brenly said. “It
was very useful.”
One quandary is what to do with lefty Stephen Randolph, who has a 1.38 ERA this spring and is out of minor-league options. The D-Backs would need to get Randolph through waivers to send him down, which they think is unlikely, so he has a chance to make the team.
“There's a lot of interest in him,” Brenly said, “and we just think that before we let anything happen that we're going to regret later, we better give him every possible look we can.”
Outfielder David Dellucci hopes to return to action this weekend and the team has no concern he will not be ready for Opening Day. Running into the left-field wall Monday while making a catch, Dellucci suffered a bruise on the outside of his right knee and a sprained small ligament just inside the same knee. “I can walk on it today,” Dellucci said Tuesday. . . .
Closer Matt Mantei's middle fingernail is fine, but he does have a blister on the pinky side of his index finger. “It doesn't bother me when I throw,” said Mantei, scheduled to pitch today and Friday and then rest up for the season opener. . . .
Non-roster outfielder Luis Garcia has been loaned to the Mexico City Tigers of the Mexican League; Arizona retains his rights. Garcia was a star for the Tigers in 1999-2001, batting .332 or better each season. The move leaves 36 players in camp. . . .
Outfielder Victor Hall, taken by Houston in the December Rule 5 draft, was returned to Arizona on Tuesday. The D-Backs returned half the $50,000 purchase price to the Astros, who had to offer Hall back if they did not keep him on the 25-man roster. Colorado must still decide whether to keep lefty Javier Lopez, another Rule 5 pick from Arizona. . . .
The Diamondbacks broke camp after Tuesday's game, since the regulars will not return to Tucson.