Grace to work for D-backs during jail sentence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Former Arizona Diamondbacks player and broadcaster Mark Grace will work for the team on a work release program during his four-month jail sentence for driving under the influence, the team confirmed Tuesday.

A team spokesman said Grace, who was dismissed as the team’s color commentator in October, will serve as a guest instructor during spring training, which began Tuesday. Grace will continue working for the team after spring training, possibly as a roving minor league instructor, but his role has not been finalized.

Grace was arrested in Scottsdale last summer and later charged with endangerment and four felony counts of DUI. He pleaded guilty in January to felony endangerment and misdemeanor DUI and received the four-month sentence and two years of supervised probation. He began serving the jail term Sunday and is allowed to leave the Lower Buckeye Jail in Phoenix for work from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grace previously was arrested on a DUI charge in May 2011.

Grace played 13 seasons for the Chicago Cubs before spending the last three of his playing career with the Diamondbacks, helping the team to its lone World Series title in 2001. Grace announced his retirement in September 2003 and began his broadcasting career soon after.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Tuesday he called general manager Kevin Towers during the offseason with the idea of inviting Grace to spring training. Towers and team president Derrick Hall had already been discussing the idea.

“He’s got a lot of knowledge and wisdom,” Gibson said. “He’s been in the game a long time, and he’s got a great sense of humor. We felt like he had something to add.”

Gibson said Grace will work with major leaguers for about two weeks before going to the minor-league side of camp to start learning the system “from the bottom up.”

“He’s got a great opportunity, he’s got a great gift,” Gibson said. “Here he knows he’s got to clean his act up. We talked about it, I talk to him about it all the time. He learned a lesson before, but this is a whole different lesson. His friends are there for him. That’s the way I look at it.”