D-Backs notebook: Clayton has more than a glove - East Valley Tribune: Sports

D-Backs notebook: Clayton has more than a glove

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Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 11:25 pm | Updated: 8:06 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Royce Clayton was brought in for his glove, the latest example being his hit-saving (and possibly game-saving) stop in the hole in the top of the 11th inning Monday, helping preserve a tie before the D-Backs won it in their 11th.

At the same time, no D-Back has been on a better offensive run over the last 4 1/2 weeks.

After his three-hit game Wednesday, Clayton was hitting .375 since June 17, when he had a four-hit game at Cleveland. His batting average is now a season-high .265.

With six RBIs in his previous five games and 12 during the streak, Clayton has 30 RBIs.

His upswing came just as Alex Cintron seemed to be making a move on the regular position, after starting three straight games there before the All-Star break and two of the first three in the San Diego series last week. "I always find myself in situations like this. I don't know why. Maybe I put myself in situations to see how much I can endure,'' Clayton said.

"Some people call them bad experiences. I call them lessons. You keep fighting, man. That's what life is. It's not always going to be smooth. As long as you've got a leg to stand on, you are still in the fight.''

Manager Bob Melvin: "Earlier in the year he was one of our toughest-luck hitters. He's got a good, consistent approach right now. He's getting the barrel of the bat on the ball right now. The confidence is snow-balling for him.''

STILL FIGHTING

One of Koyie Hill's best days became one he would rather forget Tuesday, when after being recalled from Tucson he struck out four times and left six men on base in a 6-3 loss to Florida. But he did not let it get him down.

"The sun came up today,'' Hill said. "The same guy got four hits in one game on this field, too.''

"It's sort of like that kid you don't want to fight, because you know if you pick a fight with him one day and you beat him up, you know he is going to try to get you every day. You'll have to whip him every day. They are going to have to beat me every day. They may do it, but I'm going to be in there every day.'' Hill, recalled Tuesday when Kelly Stinnett was placed on the disabled list with a sprained left wrist, had a four-hit game last Aug. 8 against Atlanta.

DELIVERING

A small adjustment in his mechanics has helped Claudio Vargas step up while taking Russ Ortiz's spot in the starting rotation.

Vargas, 3-1 with a 3.90 ERA in five starts since joining the rotation June 21, worked with pitching coach Mark Davis on keeping his shoulders square during his delivery, and as a result has been able to keep his 90-plus mph fastball lower in the strike zone.

"When you throw downhill, you can throw more strikes and you can get better life on your fastball,'' Davis said.

Vargas said the D-Backs' inclination to let him pitch through trouble has buoyed his confidence.

"If you give up a couple of hits and then you see somebody warming up in the bullpen, you think they don't have confidence in you. then you think you have to be perfect.''

Vargas, who will make his next start against Atlanta on Friday, has permitted only 35 base runners in 30 innings while striking out 25.

STORY SUBHED

Javier Vazquez (8-9) is 1-5 in his last six starts, but the D-Backs have scored only 14 runs in those games, nine runs while he was still in. "His won-loss record probably isn't what he would want it to be, but if you are asking me if I like having this guy, absolutely,'' Melvin said.

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