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Diamondbacks Hope a Closer Emerges

February 15, 1998

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ At some positions, the Arizona Diamondbacks are what an expansion team is supposed to be _ an opportunity.

Pitchers and catchers practiced for the second time Sunday, and manager Buck Showalter said every bullpen job was up for grabs, along with second base and left and right field.

``Marty Janzen might end up being the sleeper of this whole thing, and he was our last pick,″ Showalter said of the 24-year-old right-hander.

Janzen was 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA in 12 relief appearances for Toronto last season. Now he’s competing with Felix Rodriguez, Todd Erdos, Hector Carrasco and Ben Ford to become the closer.

``This is a guy with three above-average pitches when he’s right,″ Showalter said. ``He’s a big, strong kid. He got a little too muscle-bound and worked too stiff, I think, last year, but he’s really streamlined now.″

Rodriguez has a 96 mph fastball and the control problems that go with it. He had one save and a 4.30 ERA in 26 games last year with Cincinnati.

``I can be a long reliever, I can be a closer, too,″ Rodriguez said. ``I can do whatever he wants.″

Non-roster right-hander Mark Davis, the 1989 NL Cy Young Award winner who is trying to come back from arm problems, had similar feelings.

``I look at everybody who comes out of the bullpen as a stopper,″ Davis said. ``Whether it’s the fifth inning or the ninth inning, you come out and you’re supposed to stop whatever is going on.″

Because of overnight rain, the Diamondbacks worked out indoors at their new complex.

Pitchers who didn’t get the work the first day worked off the five available mounds. The others did long throws on one of the practice diamonds.

Showalter said catcher Jorge Fabregas would work out early Monday so he can attend his arbitration hearing in Phoenix. Fabregas, who made $275,000 last year with the Chicago White Sox, has been offered $875,000 but wants $1.5 million.

Outfielder Karim Garcia, expected to report early to work on left (throwing) shoulder after offseason arthroscopic surgery, missed the second day of practice.

Position players aren’t allowed to join in practice until Wednesday, and Showalter wasn’t worried.

``I talked to him about seven days ago,″ Showalter said. ``We were talking about him coming in today, and he said I would be very pleasantly surprised about where he is. He’s been throwing for quite a while.″

Non-roster infielder Mike Robertson also began working out, and right-hander Bob Wolcott pitched after missing practice Saturday because of the birth of his son.

Garcia will make it three outfielders working out on their own to get a jump on trying to win starting jobs on either side of center fielder Devon White. Brent Brede and Hensley Meulens reported the first day.

``You talk about Dave Dellucci, Brede and (Yamil) Benitez and Garcia, you’re talking about four guys for two jobs. It’s way too early to put anybody ahead of somebody else just because of where they were drafted,″ Showalter said.

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