D-backs call up Elmore, put Bloomquist on DL
PHOENIX — Jake Elmore’s promotion Saturday proves perseverance pays.
Elmore was purchased from Class AAA Reno when the Diamondbacks placed Willie Bloomquist on the disabled list with a strained lower back, culminating a climb that began when he signed as a 34th-round draft choice in 2008 after a frustrating season at ASU.
“I think I was floating above my body for a while,” said Elmore, who was told of the promotion by Reno manager Brett Butler after driving in four runs in a 22-8 victory over Albuquerque on Friday night.
“He started welling up with tears, and I hugged him. I think I let out a shout.”
The D-backs also made a bullpen move Saturday, recalling right-hander Bryan Shaw from Reno and designating left-hander Mike Zagurski for assignment. The move leaves the D-backs without a left-hander in the bullpen, but they do not consider that an impediment.
Elmore, 25, was hitting .344 with 30 doubles, 73 RBIs and 32 stolen bases at Reno while hitting second in a potent lineup that leads the minor leagues in runs. He was second in the league in stolen bases and sixth in triples, and with 74 walks, he showed the skill set that led Butler to call him “the best two-hole hitter I’ve had here” in June.
Elmore has played second base, shortstop, third base and left field in Reno, and he adds versatility that the D-backs lost when Bloomquist was diagnosed with a lower back strain after doctors read his MRI on Friday.
Butler called Elmore a David Eckstein/Marco Scutaro type, a player who may not grade out high on the scouts’ scale but recognizes situations and knows how to play.
“It’s kind of something we are looking for: a guy who can put the bat on the ball,” Gibson said. “We kind of live and die with the home run a little bit too much, so to have to a guy who can put the bat on the ball, do some things, get guys moving when you are not scoring runs.”
Said the 5-foot-9, 183-pound Elmore: “I’d like to continue that reputation no matter where I bat, when I play. Don’t worry about that, just go out and play.”
Elmore transferred to ASU for the 2008 season after starring at Wallace (Ala.) State Community College but got off to a slow start and did not play much. When Elmore was drafted by the D-backs, he looked at it as a new beginning and took off from there. He was the starting second baseman on Class AA Mobile’s Southern League championship team in 2011.
“I didn’t enjoy my time as much as I could have at Arizona State, but that is what it is. A learning experience. It helped me become who I am today,” Elmore said.
Bloomquist, the only other ASU player who has been with the D-backs, understood the D-backs’ thinking.
“I don’t think I’ll need two full weeks, but I’m not going to put this team in a situation where they are playing a man short for a week. It’s not fair to what we are trying to do. It would be pretty selfish of me to ask them to wait seven days. I don’t want to play a game and then get shut down for four days with it stiffening up again,” Bloomquist said.
Bloomquist had missed nine of the D-backs’ last 11 games before going on the DL.