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D’backs’ Slaten trying to return to form



Doug Slaten seemed to have secured a permanent spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen two years ago.

Slaten, 29, appeared in nine games with Arizona in 2006 after being called up from Triple-A Tucson. The following season, he made the major league roster out of spring training. He appeared in 61 games, compiling a 3-2 record with a 2.72 ERA.

His future looked bright as he allowed only 12 of 36 inherited runners to score.

But a strained right knee last year set him back as he went 0-3 with an ERA of 4.73. This spring, Slaten is again having to fight for a spot with the D’backs.

Arizona has one left-hander scheduled for the bullpen this year – veteran Scott Schoeneweis.

“I am just happy where I am at a place feeling comfortable out there every day,” said Slaten, who pitched a scoreless inning in a 9-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Tucson Electric Park on Friday. “That’s really what I am happy about. Whatever decisions have to be made are out of my control.”

Slaten has four scoreless innings in his last four appearances. But this spring didn’t start out too well, as his Friday performance lowered his ERA to 5.40.

Arizona pitching coach Bryan Price had a bullpen session recently with Slaten to work on his problems.

“I had a few adjustments,” Slaten said. “Over the last couple of years, I got into some bad habits. At the time, I didn’t know they were bad habits. You are out there trying to compete.

“I know I have changed from a couple of years ago mechanics-wise with some health issues. I’ve been trying to put it piece by piece back to where I thought I used to be.”

One adjustment Slaten has made involves dropping his arm angle to three-quarters instead of throwing over the top. “It’s been sort of a patchwork of putting things back together,” Slaten said.



Arizona vs. Cleveland, 1:05 p.m., Tucson Electric Park; Colorado vs. Chicago Cubs, 1:10 p.m., Hi Corbett Field

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