DENVER - If Chad Tracy looks comfortable hitting in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, it is because he is. Tracy homered into the right-field stands Thursday while making his third start there in the last four games.
He homered and singled the first time he hit second this season, Monday against Washington.
"I like knowing I’m hitting in the first inning,’’ said Tracy, a No. 3 hitter in most of his minor league career. "It lets me know that I have to be prepared to hit.’’
Tracy hit sixth most of the season but was moved up when Jose Cruz Jr. returned from the disabled list on Monday. D-Backs manager Bob Melvin said Cruz remains a possibility as a No. 2 hitter, a spot occupied by Royce Clayton most of the first month.
"(Tracy) is a good hitter. He uses the whole field. He is not afraid to take some pitches. The numbers say if you string your best hitters together, you are going to score more runs that way,’’ Melvin said.
While Cruz is back on the active roster, it may be some time before he plays for a week straight, although he made a strong case with his 12th multi-homer game Thursday.
Cruz, who rejoined the team Monday after missing a month with a low back strain, left in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday for Luis Terrero.
"That the key right now (is) getting himself endurancewise and condition-wise to where he can go out there on an everyday basis. Until I feel like he can, I’ll give him a few days off,’’ Melvin said.
"He’s looking out for my best interests,’’ Cruz said. "Once he sees I’m 100 percent back, it will be a different story.’’
Cruz is likely to get a day off in one of the final three games in Colorado, Melvin said, who added that either of lefties Luis Gonzalez or Shawn Green could get a day off against Rockies lefty Jeff Francis tonight. Gonzalez was given a day off when the D-Backs faced Francis April 19 in Denver, an 8-1 loss.
BACK IN THE MIX
Veteran Kelly Stinnett rejoined the organization after signing a Triple-A contract with the Tucson Sidewinders, playing his first game Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn. Stinnett was released the final week of spring training when the D-Backs opted to carry both young catchers Chris Snyder and Koyie Hill.
"We know him. We know what he can do. This is one of the scenarios we envisioned in Tucson (spring training). It just took awhile before it happened,’’ D-Backs general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said. "If we needed to reach into the organization, it’s great to have him down there.’’
In spring training, the DBacks talked about the possibility of having one young catcher start in the majors and sending the other to Tucson so both could play every day, with Stinnett in the majors as a backup.
Although it is difficult to tell while watching him hit, Troy Glaus is bothered by a strained tendon behind a knee, Melvin said. "When he decels (decelerates), it gets to him a little bit,’’ Melvin said, "but it’s nothing that inhibits what he is doing out there. The doctors are fine with it.’’ . . . Greg Aquino played long toss with pitching coach Mark Davis and then threw 12 pitches off a mound at about 75 percent effort, Davis said. Aquino’s first time throwing off a mound since he was placed on the disabled list on the second day of the regular season with a right ulnar nerve irritation. "He threw downhill today probably more than he did all spring,’’ Davis said. Aquino could throw off the bullpen mound again this afternoon, Davis said. . . . The D-Backs are 2-4 on Friday 13th. . . .