Diamondbacks 9, Brewers 1

BY foxsports • March 29, 2010

Rodrigo Lopez made his strongest case yet for cracking the Arizona Diamondbacks rotation.

The 34-year-old right-hander blanked Milwaukee on three hits over 5 1-3 innings in the Diamondbacks' 9-1 victory Sunday. Lopez, a non-roster invitee, did not allow a run for a second straight outing and has given up one earned run over 13 1-3 innings since giving up three runs in his first spring start.

``If not the best, it's one of the best spring trainings I've ever had,'' Lopez said.

Former Diamondbacks left-hander Doug Davis was battered for six runs and nine hits in five innings. Miguel Montero doubled in three runs and was one of four Arizona players to get two hits off Davis.

A crowd of 10,009 attended on fan appreciation day. The Diamondbacks have one more spring training game, on Tuesday, at their Tucson Electric Park home.

Next season, they will share a new facility with the Colorado Rockies near Scottsdale. That will leave no major league teams with spring training in Tucson, where Arizona has trained since the franchise's inception in 1998.

Lopez, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2007, is competing against Kevin Mulvey and Billy Buckner to become Arizona's fourth starter. He struck out five and walked one.

``That's the best he's looked all spring,'' Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said.

But after announcing on Saturday that Ian Kennedy would join Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson as starters on the opening day roster, Hinch was not ready to add Lopez to that group quite yet. Mulvey and Buckner are scheduled to pitch against San Diego in Peoria on Monday night. Lopez will get one more preseason start, Friday night against the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field in Phoenix.

``The next spot in the rotation is there and he's doing all he can to make the team,'' Hinch said. ``There are a couple of guys tomorrow night that are pushing along, too. We're in no rush to judgment here but I'm happy with how well he's thrown the ball this spring.''

Arizona's Brandon Webb, who will start the season on the disabled list during a slow comeback from shoulder surgery, had another tossing session on Sunday, including a few throws off a sloped surface, but there's been no announced timetable for a bullpen session, let alone a game appearance.

Lopez has a career 64-61 record in 166 starts in parts of eight seasons with San Diego, Baltimore, Colorado and Philadelphia. He was released by the Phillies last Sept. 9. He feels good about what he has proven this spring.

``I wanted to stay home because this is where I live (in Chandler, Ariz.),'' Lopez said. ``And after the surgery on my elbow, it's not easy to get back to the big leagues. But when I signed here, I thought I had a good chance to get back to the big leagues. The plan I had when I signed with the team, I feel like I executed it. I feel good about myself physically. I feel like I've still got some time left in the big leagues.''

Davis struck out three, walked four and hit a batter. He signed as a free agent with Milwaukee, where he pitched for just over three seasons before spending the last three with Arizona.

``Talking to (pitching coach) Rick (Peterson) and evaluating Doug, sometimes he might get out of synch,'' Brewers manager Ken Mauch said, ``and you are going to have games where you have walks, hit batsmen and give up some hits.''

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