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News » Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2009-03-21

Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2009-03-21

Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2009-03-21
The remade Diamondbacks bullpen is still under construction.

This much is certain: Chad Qualls will be the closer, Tony Pena and Jon Rauch are penciled in as the primary setup man, and newcomer Scott Schoeneweis will serves as a situational left-handed specialist.

That leaves three spots open, at least until Tom Gordon is ready to come off the disabled list in late April or early May after 2008 elbow surgery, as the D-backs look to find replacements for lost free agents Brandon Lyon (signed with Detroit) and Juan Cruz (signed with Kansas City).

Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, 24, is considered a top candidate to fill one of the vacancies, both because he can fill the dual role of long reliever/spot starter and also because he is out of options and would have to go through waivers to be sent to the minor leagues. Petit was 3-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 56 1/2 innings last year.

Right-hander Juan Gutierrez, 25, also is out of options. And although he does not have the major league track record of Petit, he has what scouts consider a better arm -- his fastball has been clocked in the low-90 mph range -- and almost certainly would not get through waivers according to scouts who have seen him throw the spring. The D-backs, too, prize inventory.

Others in competition are left-hander Doug Slaten, who spent most of the last two seasons with the D-backs; right-handers Leo Rosales, Billy Buckner and Bobby Korecky and lefty Travis Blackley. Rosales was 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in 27 games for the D-backs last season, and he might have an inside track to pitch the sixth or seventh inning.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: March 21, 2009

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