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Fast start not crucial for D’backs

The Arizona Republic


The Arizona Republic

With the National League West expected to be so competitive, you would think Bob Melvin would place an emphasis on a quick start.

He is not.

The Arizona Diamondbacks manager said Sunday that he gets that question every spring about this time. Of course, he’d like to leap on top of his West rivals, but he does not see it as a prerequisite to contention.

“A lot of times if you hit your stride too early,” Melvin said, “you end up fizzling out, and that bad feeling sets in – ‘We were playing good; now all of a sudden we’re not. How do we get out of it?’ ”

Last year’s club went 16-11 in April and 16-12 in May, but didn’t catch fire until after the All-Star break, winning 21 of 26 through July and into August to surge in the division race.

“It’s different in August and September,” Melvin said. “A lot of times you go through the first three months of the season doing your thing with no end in sight. And when you can see the end you play differently – there’s no doubt about it.”

Defensive gems

Milwaukee and Arizona combined for six errors Sunday – Brewers shortstop Craig Counsell had two in one inning – but the Diamondbacks, who lost 5-4, produced two defensive gems, both in the second inning.

Justin Upton dived to his right to snare Jason Kendall’s line drive that probably would have rolled to the wall. Upton landed hard on his left wrist but stayed in the game.

One batter later, Mark Reynolds ranged to his right to steal extra bases from Mike Cameron. His throw to first appeared to pull Trot Nixon off the bag, but Nixon recovered to get the out.

Owings to take the hill

Micah Owings faces the Giants on Monday in his fifth Cactus League start this spring. The right-hander has struggled – his ERA is 11.32 in 10 1/3 innings – but a recent bullpen session did not reveal mechanical issues.

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