ARLINGTON, Texas - Kevin Jarvis will make his first major league start in 1,008 days today, which says a lot about his mental fortitude and perseverance. San Diego’s opening day starter in 2001, Jarvis lost much of the next two seasons to elbow surgery and complications from it while making brief stops in Seattle, Colorado and St. Louis.
He spent the majority of the last two years at Triple-A, playing in Colorado Springs (Colorado organization), Nashville (Pittsburgh) and Memphis (St. Louis). Arizona is his ninth major league team.
“It’s difficult, probably more mentally than physically, especially when you’ve had the opportunity to play at the major level for an extended period of time and gotten comfortable,’’ Jarvis said.
“You are a main part of the rotation and a big part of the club, and a short time later with a little bit of arm trouble, you look up and the privilege is not there any more. It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication to get back.’’
Jarvis has a 9.95 ERA in four relief appearances with the D-Backs, but his ERA was skewed when he gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings in a 15-2 loss to the Mets on Sunday.
He was 11-6 with a 3.38 ERA in 26 appearances for Memphis last season and was recommended to the D-Backs by special assistant Bob Gebhard.
Jarvis, taking Russ Ortiz’s spot in the rotation, is a candidate for the June 22 start also, since it appears Juan Cruz (shoulder) will not be ready to return.
His last major league start was Sept. 12, 2003, for San Diego at Los Angeles.
“It’s a welcome opportunity. I’d like to make a contribution to the ball club,’’ Jarvis said.
NEW NO. 2
Catcher Johnny Estrada hit second in the lineup for the first time this season, also the first time the D-Backs have played with the designated hitter this season.
The idea was to involve Estrada in hit-and-run plays with Eric Byrnes, Orlando Hudson and Craig Counsell hitting ahead of him, but the D-Backs did not have the opportunity to put on many plays after falling behind, 3-0, in the first inning.
Estrada, who has hit seventh in 41 of his 47 starts, singled and scored in the D-Backs’ three-run eighth inning.
“I was not going to go out of my element,’’ Estrada said when asked if the move required a change in approach. “I’m going to try to be aggressive and hit my way on base.
Conor Jackson got his first major league experience as a designated hitter Friday, when Tony Clark started at first base behind Brandon Webb.
Jackson was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly to take the team RBI lead at 38, breaking a tie with Estrada and Chad Tracy.
“It felt like I was pinch-hitting four times,’’ said Jackson, who used one of the breaks between at-bats to hit in the cage. “I just tried to stay loose. You have to have a different mind set. When you play the field, you can forget about your last at-bat.”
Jackson is expected to start at first base today against Texas left-hander John Koronka.
Damion Easley, who is hitting .310 and has a .444 onbase percentage against lefties, is a candidate to DH and likely will be in the lineup somewhere, Melvin said.
Terry Mulholland did not make the trip as the D-Backs plan his next step during recovery from an inner ear infection. Mulholland is eligible to return from the disabled list Monday.