PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks got a couple steps closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster Friday night, optioning outfielder Tony Campana and left-handed reliever Joe Paterson to Triple-A Reno.
Paterson had a strong spring after struggling early in 2012 and spending most of the year in Reno. He pitched 10 2/3 innings and compiled a 1.69 ERA, but the second left-handed relief spot will go to Matt Reynolds, who had a rough spring (8.74 ERA in 11 1/3 innings) after coming to the D-backs in a trade from the Rockies.
“Joe threw the ball well,” D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. “I thought he threw the ball this spring more like he did in 2011. … He’ll go down there and he’s a professional, and he’ll be ready.”
Campana’s assignment to Reno opens the door for minor league outfielder Alfredo Marte to make the Opening Day roster amid injuries to Cody Ross and Adam Eaton, but Towers said things could still change, so that decision has not been made yet. Towers said there is a good chance Marte will break camp with the team as a fourth outfielder, but he wants to wait and see what happens Saturday.
“Waivers are still going on, and we don’t have to finalize things until tomorrow after the game,” Towers said. “Every day new guys come on, so to me it’s just the process is you wait until the last minute when you have to make a decision, just to find out if players are designated. The last thing you want to do is tell a player he’s on a ball club and then all of a sudden somebody pops up.”
The D-backs did tell infielder Josh Wilson on Friday night that he will make the Opening Day roster in light of Willie Bloomquist’s oblique strain. The team plans to select his contract Saturday. The D-backs also reassigned veteran pitcher Nelson Figueroa and catcher Tuffy Gosewisch to Reno on Friday night.
The D-backs are not done making moves before Monday night’s season opener with the Cardinals. They still must decide whether to keep Randall Delgado or Patrick Corbin — the heavy favorite — as the fifth starting pitcher.
Corbin made his final spring start Friday night in an exhibition against the Reds and put together a strong finish to an excellent spring, throwing six scoreless innings and allowing just two hits while striking out seven. He finished the spring 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 25 2/3 innings.
“It was good that I came out here and did well (this spring),” Corbin said. “I was just going to come out here and be myself and just work on some things. … Whatever their decision is, I feel like I’ll be up here at some point during the year.”
Delgado will get one last look Saturday when he pitches after Wade Miley. At this point, it seems a long shot he would be selected over the lefty Corbin, but he could stay with the club if there is an issue with Miley, who experienced left biceps discomfort, or “dead arm,” this spring and is still building his pitch count.
Miley’s start Saturday will determine his status for the start of the season. They don’t need a fifth starter until April 9, so they could presumably skip Miley’s first turn. Gibson, however, doesn’t anticipate that as long as Miley is fine physically Saturday.
“If he’s not healthy, that’ll be another issue,” Gibson said. “I expect him to be fine. His arm feels good. He’s (eager) to throw. I think it’s just a formality for us to confirm before we set our roster that everything’s good with him.”
If Miley is not deemed healthy after Saturday’s outing, the D-backs will have a little more maneuvering to do.
GOLDSCHMIDT MUM ON NEW DEAL
Reports of the D-backs and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt agreeing to terms on a five-year contract extension came Friday morning, but Goldschmidt wasn’t saying anything Friday afternoon, no matter how many times reporters rephrased questions.
“Just so you all know, I can’t talk about it,” Goldschmidt said. “I can’t talk about anything. Obviously there’s rumors out there. If something happens, then I’ll be able to say something about it, but right now nothing’s final or official or anything like that. So I don’t really have too much to say.”
The extension, which keeps Goldschmidt with the D-backs through 2018 with a team option for 2019, will likely be announced Saturday. Gibson couldn’t say anything about the extension either since it has not been announced, but he did offer words of praise for Goldschmidt.
“We’ve talked about ‘The Diamondback Way’ the last couple of years several times, and he’s the model Diamondback guy,” Gibson said. “For them to even have conversations about (an extension) — he’s got, what, a year and a half in the major leagues? Really, position players don’t get locked up like that. So I think it speaks for itself, the fact that could even be a possibility to happen.”
ROSS TARGETS RETURN
Gibson made it official Friday that outfielder Cody Ross will open the season on the 15-day disabled list with a calf injury, but Ross is not expected to be out long.
“He ran yesterday pretty good, pretty aggressively,” Gibson said. “It could be the second week in April, hopefully. We’re going to make sure he’s healthy.”
Ross said he hopes to be back shortly after the D-backs return from their series in Milwaukee. He will have to go on a rehab assignment to get game action before joining the big league club, likely with Triple-A Reno, which begins its season April 4 on the road. Because Ross’ DL stint will be backdated to his last Cactus League appearance, March 3, he will be able to return before 15 days from the start of the season.
Ross has been hitting in minor league games at Salt River Fields as he rehabs the strained left soleus muscle but only last week began running on ground. The D-backs have been very careful to bring Ross along slowly to prevent further injury, especially with Eaton out six to eight weeks with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.
“You look to see that he can start running, but then you have to be able to run when you get fatigued and not re-injure it,” Gibson said. “So there’s much more to the process than ‘Oh, I can just run.'”
Added Ross: “Could we have probably pushed it a little more? Maybe, but none of us were willing to take that risk. We wanted to make sure it’s completely good.
“This is a tough one to swallow, but hopefully at the end of the year we’ll be able to look back and say that was the right move.”