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Fighting workout helps Buckner make D’backs

Relief pitcher Billy Buckner changed his workout routine during the offseason, training with an Ultimate Fighting Championship friend.

It paid off, with Buckner being named to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 25-man roster Tuesday.

Buckner, who gave up two earned runs in 3 1/2 innings Tuesday, wasn’t around to learn he made the roster. He exited Tucson Electric Park before the D’backs’ game with the Los Angeles Dodgers concluded. Arizona lost 10-0.

“I didn’t do any punching,” he said. “It got me into great shape. My legs are stronger than ever. I came in physically better than I have ever been. I came in nice and loose. I contribute that a lot to my strength.”

Buckner, recalled twice last season from Triple-A Tucson, was vying for a bullpen spot along with Leo Rosales and Bobby Korecky.

The bullpen is now set with Juan Gutierrez, Tony Peña, Yusmeiro Petit, Chad Qualls, Jon Rauch, Scott Schoeneweis, Doug Slaten and Buckner.

“I’ve seen a guy who has good stuff and isn’t afraid to compete,” said Arizona manager Bob Melvin of Buckner. “He had the tough role last year going up and down and pitching in games that we were behind.

“Whether it’s starting or coming in relief, he has a lot of attributes that would suggest he’s a good fit for us.”

Buckner probably secured his place on the roster with Tuesday’s outing. He threw 62 pitches, including 39 strikes, and scattered five hits.

“My body was getting tired, but my arm felt great,” Buckner said. “I wasn’t getting out front. I was leaving (the ball) up a little bit.”

Buckner had appeared in six games prior to his start against the Dodgers. His earned-run average was a respectable 2.84 in 12 1/2 innings.

Notable: Arizona’s Eric Byrnes was 2 for 5 with two doubles and two RBIs, and Felipe Lopez had three hits and scored two runs. . . . Buckner sailed along until the fourth when he gave up a homer on the first pitch to Casey Blake,followed by a double to Blake DeWitt, who later scored. . . . Arizona travels to Maryvale to face Milwaukee at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday.

Rockies beat White Sox

GLENDALE – Jorge De La Rosa struck out nine in 5 1-3 innings for the Rockies, allowing an unearned run and seven hits, in a 4-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. “I feel much better,” he said. “I’ve started getting my rhythm.”

Also on Tuesday, the Rockies reassigned Scott Podsednik to minor league camp, giving rookie outfielder Dexter Fowler a spot on the club.

Chicago’s Mark Buehrle got a nice treat after throwing six solid innings – another opening-day start. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made the announcement after Buehrle gave up two runs, one earned, and five hits.

Notable: Clint Barmes went 3 for 3 and scored two runs for Colorado. Jeff Baker had two hits and scored twice. . . . The Rockies will face the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday in Surprise at 1:05 p.m.

The Associated Press

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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