PITTSBURGH - Dustin Nippert will make his major league debut today, six weeks and one day after it might have been.
The right-hander was on call to replace Brandon Webb for a July 26 start at Milwaukee after Webb was pushed back a day because of flu-like symptoms.
But Webb recovered in time to make his scheduled appearance, and Nippert, who was on a Double-A Tennessee road trip in Jacksonville, Fla., stayed put.
"They had me on hold just in case they needed me,’’ Nippert said. "It was kind of nerve-racking, waiting to see what the doctor said.’’
It worked out better this way for his family and friends, at least 30 to 40 of whom are expected to attend from nearby Beallsville, Ohio.
"I think I’ll have a little bit of everybody,’’ said Nippert, who was 8-3 with a 2.38 ERA at Double-A Tennessee and was officially crowned the Southern League ERA champion when the regular season ended Monday.
"You never want to lose sight of a guy’s first experience in the big leagues,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. "Mine was an out-of-body experience. It’s something I’ll never forget. You know how special it is.
"Typically the baseball gods will take care of you in that first game. I think he’ll be all right. Once you settle in and throw a few pitches and realize that it is 60 feet, 6 inches to home plate like it is in any other ballpark, you go from there. It won’t be for lack of adrenaline, I’ll tell you that.’’
Shawn Green is the Diamondbacks’ nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente award, named after the former Pirates Hall of Famer and presented each year to a major leaguer who has shown a commitment to community service.
"It’s definitely an honor. I’m flattered to be the nominee,’’ said Green, who has donated $250,000 to the neo-natal center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in his first season with the D-Backs.
"It’s definitely more important what you do off the field. It’s important to my wife and myself. We’ve been fortunate. We’re just trying to give something back.’’
Green will be recognized before the D-Backs’ game against Colorado on Sept. 16 at Bank One Ballpark. The major league winner will be selected by a panel including Clemente’s widow, Vera, and baseball commissioner Bud Selig and presented before Game 3 of the World Series.
Left-hander Buddy Groom was the sixth reliever to record a save for the D-Backs this season with his scoreless 12th inning in a 4-2 victory Tuesday, but he said he tries not to treat that situation any differently than others.
"If you go in with a mental approach that you’re saving the game and the game is on the line, it causes you to be a little tentative,’’ said Groom, who has 27 career saves, 11 with Baltimore in 2001.
"I just try to stay aggressive and throw strikes. I want to do that all the time, whether I’m closing or not. I’m just going to try to get ahead and make them put the ball in play.’’
Groom has been scored upon only once in his last 12 outings, and lefties are 3-for-19 against him since he joined the D-Backs on July 31.
Melvin, on bench coach Jay Bell’s managerial qualifications: "He’d be a great manager. He certainly knows the game. I’m sure this year has gone a long way for him, too, in a new role, coaching. It is certainly in the offing down the road, whether it is sooner or later.’’