Tuesday, May 29, 2007

D'backs in No Hurry to Bring Back Chad Tracy

A week ago Diamondbacks first baseman Conor Jackson might have been targeted for the bench to make room for up-and-coming prospect Mark Reynolds' and his .435 batting average. But though Jackson is hitting only .217, he may have saved himself by going 14 for his last 31 at-bats.

Look for manager Bob Melvin to take his time bringing back injured third baseman Chad Tracy, allowing Tracy to continue to recuperate at least into next week while Reynolds holds down the hot corner. That gives Melvin another seven days or so to figure out how to find a permanent spot for Reynolds.

Melvin has already promised to stick with promising rookie Carlos Quentin, who is off to a slow start after coming back from injury. Melvin's patience is starting to pay off as Quentin is 6 for his last 14 with a homer. Still, Quentin -- hitting just .221 on the season -- will remain under the microscope, as will shortstop Stephen Drew, hitting .238; and outfielder Scott Hairston, hitting .228.

Anybody could lose time should Melvin decide to turn Reynolds into some sort of super reserve.

Few players can consider themselves safe as long as Reynolds keeps hitting, as Reynolds has experience not only at third base but shortstop, second, first and the outfield, having acquitted himself well everywhere but catcher.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Reynolds, having hit a combined 31 homers in stops at Double A Tennessee and Single A Lancaster last year, has been likened to Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent. Reynolds has 62 homers since coming up with Single A South Bend three years ago.

Reynolds, 23, was initially so highly regarded that he might have been among the higher draftees in 2004, but he fell to the Diamondbacks in the 16th round due to a debilitating wrist injury that now seems like something from a previous life.

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