The sickening sight and sound of a line drive striking Seattle reliever Rafael Soriano on Tuesday brought back unpleasant memories to Tony Clark.
Former D-Backs righthander Willie Blair suffered a broken jaw when he was hit by a Julio Franco line drive on May 4, 1997, while playing with Clark in Detroit.
“It sounded like it hit the bat twice,” said Clark, playing first base at the time. “That’s one of those things, it can put you to sleep for a very long time if it gets you in the right place.”
Soriano was diagnosed with a concussion after being hit behind the right ear by a Vladimir Guerrero line drive. He was taken off the field on a stretcher.
“I never think about that,” Jose Valverde said. “If you think something like that could happen, you would never play baseball.”
Brandon Lyon witnessed a similar event while with Queens of the New York-Penn League in 2000, his first pro season.
Lyon was charting pitches behind the plate when teammate Derrek Nunley was struck in the mouth by a line drive, requiring facial surgery and keeping him out for a month.
“I saw him get stretchered off. You’re feeling for him, and you’re thinking that could be you,” Lyon said. “The right spot, the right speed. There’s nothing you can do.”
Catcher Miguel Montero, infielder Andy Green and pitcher Greg Aquino will join the D-Backs when rosters expand Friday.
Green and Aquino will be activated from the disabled list while Montero will be recalled from Tucson, his first trip to the major leagues.
The D-Backs also could elevate a left-handed reliever, either Doug Slaten or Randy Choate, although they would have to add Choate to the 40-man roster to do so. Their roster is at 38.
Montero is hitting a combined .286 with 17 home runs and 75 RBIs while at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Tucson and appears to be challenging for a spot in the majors next season.
Juan Cruz was taken out of the starting rotation three weeks ago because of concerns about his right shoulder, Melvin revealed Wednesday, a day after Melvin and pitching coach and Bryan Price went to the mound to check on Cruz after a 2-1 pitch to his first batter.
“One of the reasons I did put him in the bullpen was because he was suffering, not some pain, but getting into a tired arm type of area,” Melvin said. “The longer we were running him out there, we felt that was going to crop up at some point.”
Cruz is 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA overall this season with all his decisions coming in his 14 starts, in which he has a 4.56 ERA. He has made 13 relief appearances.
“I didn’t feel too good yesterday, that’s all,” said Cruz, adding he did not believe his shoulder should have been a rotation issue.
Melvin said winter ball or a winter strengthening program “may be something we look at in the offseason.”
“I may play winter ball, but I don’t need the innings,” said Cruz, who has 89 2 /3.
Chris Snyder (right hand) was a late lineup scratch. He took a foul tip off his right hand in the game Sunday and it continues to bother him.. . . .
Brandon Webb and Andy Green returned to Kentucky on Tuesday after the passing of former teammate Jon Hooker and will join the team in Washington, where the team starts a six-game road trip Friday. The weather forecast is for heavy rain Friday as the remnants of tropical storm Ernesto are expected to strike. . . .
D-Backs prospect Mark Reynolds hit two more homers — he has three in two games — and had four RBIs on Tuesday when Team USA beat Puerto Rico. The U.S. fell to 4-1 in pool play when it lost to Venezuela, 12-9, in 11 innings Wednesday. Tucson right-hander Mike Bacsik took the loss. . . . Cyle (pronounced Kyle) Hankerd, the D-Backs’ thirdround choice in the June draft, was named the Northwest League MVP after hitting .384 with four homers and 38 RBIs in 54 games.