ARLINGTON, Texas - The Diamondbacks touched down in Pittsburgh for the second time this season late Sunday night, and pitcher Brandon Webb and catcher Johnny Estrada could make a third visit — for the All-Star game at PNC Park.
Manager Bob Melvin also was a candidate to return but declined a spot on Phil Garner’s All-Star coaching staff because of possible wrist surgery.
“I’d be happy to be able to go and catch Webby,’’ Estrada said.
Webb (8-2) leads the major leagues with a 2.37 ERA and 110 1 /3 innings pitched and leads the NL in fewest walks per nine innings (1.1). His 8-0 start is a franchise record and is the longest winning streak in the majors this season.
“That would be the ultimate,’’ Webb said of starting the All-Star game.
Estrada leads NL catchers with 38 RBIs and is hitting .308 with 13 doubles and five home runs.
“They both definitely deserve it,’’ infielder Craig Counsell said. “Webby has to be one of the best in the league, and Johnny’s our most productive player.’’
Estrada made his first All-Star appearance while with Atlanta in 2004, selected in a vote of the players and managers.
“Obviously I’d like to be another All-Star. I’d love to be able to tell my kids some day that I was a two-time All-Star,’’ Estrada said.
“It’s unfortunate that Arizona is kind of off the radar a little bit. We’re not in a big market. The fans are going to vote in the starters. It meant a lot to be chosen by the coaches and my peers.’’
Melvin said the chances are “50-50’’ that he will need surgery to repair a torn sheath protecting a tendon in his left wrist, and that the only logical time is during the All-Star break.
Melvin suffered the wrist injury during a charity golf tournament before the season and was in a protective brace until about two weeks ago, when doctors wanted the brace removed to see how the wrist responded. The injury is similar to the one that cost Greg Colbrunn most of the 2004 season.
Melvin said the surgery, if necessary, could be done July 10, the first day of the All-Star break.
As the starting pitcher in Tuesday’s game at Tampa Bay, Miguel Batista could have skipped flying to Pittsburgh in an attempt to avoid the extra plane flights and rest up.
He did not even consider it, adding with tongue firmly in cheek: “What if we get in a fight? They are going to outnumber us by one. I’m going to be there.’’
Left-hander Terry Mulholland has been told that the D-Backs do not expect a roster spot to be available when he is eligible to return from the disabled list today, and he could be released. Mulholland is 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in four appearances, giving up seven hits in three innings. He has spent all but 12 days of the season on the disabled list with left elbow soreness and an inner ear infection. . . .
Counsell and Estrada were among the D-Backs’ position players who wore powder blue wrist bands as part of Major League Baseball’s push to raise awareness of prostate cancer. The pitchers were not allowed to wear wristbands, however, because of a possible distraction to hitters.