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.