Upton homers, D-backs beat Mexican League team
Ryan Roberts was among the final players cut before the Arizona
Diamondbacks set their opening day roster last season.
Motivated to avoid another trip to the minors, Roberts made
across-the-board changes to his game in the offseason, and it paid
off with a spring that made him a lock for this year’s team.
Roberts had an RBI double Wednesday to help Arizona beat
Quintana Roo of the Mexican League 10-2 in its final game before
the start of the regular season.
Roberts finished Cactus League play with a .519 average and a
.609 on-base percentage, both tops in the majors. In two games
against Mexican League teams, he was 2 for 4 with a home run, six
RBIs and two walks.
”I’ve worked a little harder, changed my diet program, changed
my workouts. I basically changed everything,” Roberts said. ”With
my swing, I’ve stopped trying to really drive the ball. I’ve
stopped really trying to hit homers, just try to hit the ball up
the middle and let everything else fall into place.”
Roberts will open the season as Arizona’s utility man.
”He’s played great. He came in, and he’s played with a lot of
energy,” manager Kirk Gibson said. ”He’s played a ton of
positions, and that’s how we’ll use him in the season.”
”He may get a lot of at-bats. If he keeps swinging the way he
did, he deserves to play,” he said.
Roberts hit .279 and appeared in 110 games for Arizona in 2009
but followed with a disappointing spring and regular season in
2010. He hit just .185 in spring training and was only in the
majors for 36 games, during which hit .197 and had more strikeouts
(17) than hits (13).
”He came in determined not to let that happen again,” Gibson
Justin Upton added a solo home run and Chris Young had three
RBIs for the Diamondbacks.
Starter Barry Enright allowed two runs on six hits and struck
out two in 3 2-3 innings, and Armando Galarraga followed with four
perfect innings, including two strikeouts.
NOTES: Arizona finalized its 25-man roster after the game,
optioning RHP Esmerling Vasquez and outrighting IF Tony Abreu to
Triple-A Reno and releasing RHP Carlos Rosa, who is expected play
this season in Japan. LHP Zach Duke and IF Geoff Blum will start
the season on the 15-day disabled list.