Looking to increase his versatility, the Arizona Diamondbacks have infielder Ryan Roberts working with catchers in the early morning, and he is expected to start behind the plate in a minor league game in the coming days.
Roberts, who has limited experience behind the plate, figures it can’t hurt as he competes for a spot on the opening day roster. Pick James Skelton, a catcher who has been working at second base, appears to be the leading candidate to make the club.
“If they want me to pitch, it don’t matter; anything helps,” Roberts said. “I’ll do anything.”
Primarily a second baseman, Roberts has been catching bullpen sessions and doing drills with coach Glenn Sherlock.
Roberts said he used to catch regularly when he was a kid and that the Toronto Blue Jays, the organization that drafted him, had him start working behind the plate in 2006. He has appeared at catcher in two games in his six-year pro career.
If Roberts caught in emergencies, the Diamondbacks could more regularly use Miguel Montero or Chris Snyder as a pinch hitter off the bench.
D’backs fall to Texas
SURPRISE – Chris Davis hit a seventh-inning grand slam off Arizona pitcher Tony Pena to snap a 4-4 tie and lead the Texas Rangers to an 8-5 victory over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
Vicente Padilla improved on his velocity for the Rangers, allowing three runs and eight hits and two walks while striking out one in six innings.
Arizona right-hander Jon Garland struggled through his first two innings and gave up a solo home run to Rangers catcher Jared Saltalamacchia before settling down to retire 10 of the final 12 batters he faced.
Garland allowed four runs and six hits and finished with two walks and four strikeouts over five innings. Eric Byrnes had a two-run double for the Diamondbacks and Chad Tracy had an RBI single.
The Associated Press