The Diamondbacks are expected to place Tony Clark on the disabled list today because of a long-standing right shoulder injury, and his replacement could surprise.
Right-handed reliever Tony Pena, not a position player, is the most likely candidate to fill the roster spot, a move that would add another power arm to a bullpen that has been taxed almost nightly by the inability of starters other than Brandon Webb to consistently get deep in games.
It would give the D-Backs 13 pitchers, but with first baseman Conor Jackson (shoulder) expected to be back in the lineup today would address the area of greatest need.
“We’ve been sifting through it all day,’’ general manager Josh Byrnes said. “We’re open-minded.’’
Pena has the numbers to deserve a promotion. He is 3-1 with a 1.71 ERA and seven saves in two months at Triple-A Tucson.
In 26 1 /3 innings, Pena has given up 17 hits and only two walks while striking out 21.
He features a fastball that touches the mid-90s coupled with a high-80s slider, the stuff that earned him a $400,000 bonus when he signed under his nephew’s name, Adriano Rosario, in 2002.
Clark is hitting .185 in 108 at-bats and was unavailable to play first base Monday because of the injury, manager Bob Melvin said.
With Jackson also an injury scratch, Shawn Green made his first D-Backs start at first base, his first work at that position since Sept. 28, 2004, when he was with the Dodgers.
Jackson suffered a strained left shoulder while making a swipe tag on 260-pound Prince Fielder in the sixth inning Sunday.
The MRI was negative, Melvin said, but Jackson was held out of batting practice as a precaution.
“It’s a little more sore today than yesterday,’’ Jackson said.
Clark was purposely vague about his injury, saying it occurred during early work in the batting cages and that it has been hurt “for awhile,’’ probably more than a month.
“There comes a point in time when you have to look in the mirror and realize that you are not doing the ballclub any good by continuing to work through it,’’ Clark said.
Asked if his shoulder required surgery, Clark said “I hope not.’’
If Clark is out for an extended period and the DBacks need a position player at some point, the prime candidates would be Triple-A Tucson right fielder Carlos Quentin, first baseman Chris Carter, and Brian Barden, who plays both first and third.
The Diamondbacks placed five players on Baseball America’s midseason minor league all-star teams, including newly promoted Stephen Drew and left fielder Scott Hairston on the Triple-A team.
Lancaster right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, designated hitter Mark Reynolds and lefthander Greg Smith were named to the high Class A team, although Reynolds and Smith have since been moved to Double-A Tennessee.
The D-Backs were tied with Houston and Tampa Bay for the most players selected.
Scottsdale’s Brandon Wood was one of four Angels tabbed, and was named the Double-A midseason player of the year after hitting .290 with 19 homers, 51 RBIs and 31 doubles at Arkansas.
Johnny Estrada extended his career-best hitting streak to 11 games with a second-inning double, his 400th career hit.