SAN DIEGO - With Chicago Cubs All-Star first baseman Derrek Lee expected to miss between two and three months with a broken wrist, speculation in Chicago has concerned a possible replacement.
Predictably, Tony Clark’s name has come up.
Also predictably, the Diamondbacks first baseman did not want to address unsubstantiated rumors.
“Until I am approached by somebody in this organization, I am not going to sit around and be concerned about it. I’m not concerned about it,’’ Clark said.
Clark is in the first year of a two-year contract that includes a no-trade clause after hitting 30 home runs and driving in 87 runs in 2005.
He did not seem to close any doors, however, adding “my interest is always going to be to help this organization.’’
The D-Backs are 4-1 when Clark starts this season.
GRIMSLEY STEPPING UP
Forced into an unexpected role as a long reliever, Jason Grimsley has adapted well.
Grimsley gave up only one run in 3 1 /3 innings Sunday, his first outing since pitching 4 1 /3 shutout innings against San Francisco Thursday.
“He’s saved us,’’ general manager Josh Byrnes said.
Grimsley’s 4 1 /3 -inning appearance was his longest as a reliever, and his 3 1 /3 innings Sunday was his third longest.
Both have come after ligament-replacement elbow surgery Oct. 12, 2004 — a surgery from which he returned in eight months, 14 days.
“The question that was asked after surgery was, ‘Was it going to hold up?’ It’s starting to show that it will,’’ Grimsley said.
He leads the majors with 15 1 /3 relief innings.
“It’s still 60 feet, 6 inches’’ from the rubber to the plate, he said. “As a pitcher, as a ballplayer, you pretty much go out there and do what you are told to do. Every time I get out there and pitch, it’s a bonus.’’
PLANNING TO PLAY
Craig Counsell tested his right hamstring early Monday and told manager Bob Melvin that he was ready to play, but Melvin opted to stay safe and give Counsell his fifth straight start off.
“I’m sure I’m going to play (today),’’ Counsell said.
He is hitting .340 with 12 runs and seven RBIs.
“Hamstrings are so unpredictable. You do that (injury) again, you’re looking at the DL (disabled list),’’ Melvin said.
Asked if the time off has been tough on him, Counsell said, “You have to use your head a little bit.’’
Third base coach Carlos Tosca ran for the first time on his recovering right foot during pregame drills Monday, even doing backpedaling work, and appears close to returning to the coaching box. He hopes to return for the San Francisco series this weekend or at the latest, the beginning of a sevengame homestand that starts Monday. . . .
Dustin Nippert is a candidate to enter the D-Backs’ starting rotation to replace Russ Ortiz. Nippert was to start at Triple-A Tucson tonight, but had his start pushed back two days after suffering a slight knee injury while running over the weekend. Nippert is 1-0 with a 5.73 ERA.