Brandon Webb

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Posted by kaori 04/04/2009 @ 23:12

Tags : brandon webb, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
D-Backs need Webb, but won't rush return - AZ Central.com
25, 2009 07:22 PM Of all the Diamondbacks' problems this season, one that probably doesn't get enough attention has been the shoulder injury that has sidelined Brandon Webb four innings into his Opening Day start. Since then, the team has trotted out...
Brandon Webb: Progressing Slowly - Rotowire
Webb (shoulder) played catch on Saturday and will continue to increase the frequency and distance of his throwing in the D-Backs' next homestand, the Arizona Republic reports. He's making progress, albeit of the slow variety....
FutureBacks Power Rankings: Week 6 - GamecockAnthem.com
Buckner has earned himself the right to remain in the D-backs' rotation at least until ace Brandon Webb is ready to return. Buckner certainly isn't the only Diamondbacks prospect recovering from a poor start to the season. Brett Moorhouse is beginning...
D-backs lend support for Schoeneweis - MLB.com
However, Tony Clark, Jon Garland, Dan Haren and Brandon Webb were among those from the organization that were able to be there. "Scott is a teammate and somebody that I've had a relationship with for a long period of time," Clark said....
VENUE: McAfee Coliseum - CBSSports.com
Now, with Brandon Webb sidelined, he's the Arizona Diamondbacks' best pitcher despite very limited support from his teammates. After having his last outing nullified by rain, Haren will make his first start at Oakland when the Diamondbacks and A's play...
Webb makes slow, steady progress - AZDiamondbacks.com
By Charles Nobles / Special to MLB.com MIAMI -- Brandon Webb took another small step Thursday toward recovering from a right shoulder injury that has sidelined him since April 7. The D-backs' ace right-hander threw 90 feet on flat ground for 10 minutes...
Clark takes some swings - MLB.com
Right-hander Brandon Webb threw off flat ground for the third time in four days on Monday, and he will throw again on Tuesday before getting a day off. Arizona manager AJ Hinch said the club will continue to be careful with Webb's troublesome throwing...
Webb plays catch for fourth time - Rotoworld.com
Brandon Webb played catch Tuesday for a fourth time since suffering a shoulder strain in mid-April. Webb is making slow progress. He'll take the day off Wednesday and is hoping to begin throwing bullpen sessions by early next week....
D-Backs' Webb throws for 1st time on DL - AZ Central.com
15, 2009 06:03 PM ATLANTA - Brandon Webb still is weeks away from a return but the Diamondbacks ace took a step forward Friday afternoon. Webb, on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, played catch from about 60 feet for five minutes....
The 2009 Braves: They're OK so far, but they need a tweak - Atlanta Journal Constitution
(Photo by M. Bradley) A year ago the Braves beat Brandon Webb on Memorial Day, and these fallible fingers went to work. “They'll be in first place by the Fourth of July,” they typed, “and come Labor Day they'll be pulling away....

Brandon Webb

Opening Day 044 Brandon Webb.jpg

Brandon Tyler Webb (born May 9, 1979 in Ashland, Kentucky), is a National Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks and was the 2006 National League Cy Young Award winner.

Brandon and his wife, Alicia, make their home in Ashland as well. He decided to stick close to home for college, attending the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Webb attended Paul G. Blazer High School in Ashland, Kentucky and was a decent student and a letterman in baseball. Brandon Tyler Webb graduated from Paul G. Blazer High School in 1997.

Webb joined the Diamondbacks right after Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling went down with injuries in the year.

Webb finished the season with a 7-16 record, leading the team in losses, as the Diamondbacks won only 51 times. He was ejected from his first game on September 17, 2004, by home plate umpire Jerry Layne after hitting St. Louis Cardinals' starter Woody Williams with a pitch.

Webb switched uniform numbers from #55 to #17. #17 had previously been taken by Bobby Estalella in 2004, and Mark Grace in 2003. In 2005, he posted a 14-12 record and an ERA of 3.54. After the season, he signed a four-year contract extension worth a guaranteed $19.5 million and a team option for the 2010.

Through his first 13 starts of the 2006 season, Webb had an unbroken 8-0 record. He suffered his first losing effort of the season on June 10, in a 5-0 loss to the New York Mets. An early contender to win the National League Cy Young Award, Webb pitched in the 2006 Major League All-Star Game, recording one hitless inning.

Webb struggled in the second half of the season in part due to elbow soreness. Webb did score a win in an emotional outing versus the San Diego Padres on August 28, pitching seven effective innings. The win came a day after close friend and former UK teammate Jon Hooker and his new bride were among the victims of the doomed Comair Flight 5191 leaving Lexington.

Webb went on to finish the 2006 season with a record of 16-8 and an ERA of 3.10, and was recognized with the NL Cy Young Award. His 16 wins tied five other pitchers for the most victories in the National League. Webb's win total marked the lowest for a starting pitcher who won the Cy Young in a full season. His 3.10 ERA was the fourth best in the majors.

As of the conclusion of his start on August 17, 2007 Webb had logged an Arizona Diamondbacks franchise record with 42 1/3 scoreless innings including three straight complete game shutouts. This is the twelfth longest such streak in major league history, and the fifth longest since 1940, surpassed only by Orel Hershiser (59), Don Drysdale (58), Bob Gibson (47) and Sal Maglie (45). His three consecutive complete game shutouts during the streak was the longest streak since Roger Clemens accomplished the same with Toronto in 1998. This streak came to an end when the Milwaukee Brewers scored in the first inning of his start on August 22, 2007.

In December, 2007, the City of Ashland, KY re-named a section of Highway 60 the "Brandon Webb Highway" in honor of their local hero. The bill was sponsored by Kentucky Rep. John Vincent (R).

On May 15, 2008, Webb won his ninth game in as many starts. Webb became the first pitcher in the Majors to win his first nine starts of the season since Andy Hawkins won ten in his first ten starts in 1985. Near the end of June, Webb was leading the major leagues in wins. He was 13-4 with an ERA of 3.21 and a WHIP of 1.13. He made the All-Star team and threw a scoreless 14th inning with two strikeouts at Yankee Stadium.

Webb finished the 2008 season with a career high 22 wins and just 7 losses. Despite leading the National League in wins, Webb finished second in the National League Cy Young voting to division rival Tim Lincecum.

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Arizona Diamondbacks

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The Arizona Diamondbacks are a professional baseball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They play in the West Division of Major League Baseball's National League. From 1998 to the present, they have played in Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark). Also known as the D-backs, Arizona has one World Series title, in 2001.

Between 1940 and 1990, Phoenix jumped from the 99th largest city in the nation to the 9th largest. As such, it was frequently mentioned as a possible location for either a new or relocated MLB franchise. Baseball had a rich tradition in Arizona long before talk of bringing a big-league team even started. The state has been a frequent spring training site since 1946. With the large numbers of people relocating to the state from the Midwest and the Northeast, as well as from California, many teams (most notably the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers) have normally had large followings in Arizona.

The first serious attempt to land an expansion team for the Phoenix area was mounted by Elyse Doherty and Martin Stone, owner of the Phoenix Firebirds, the city's Triple-A minor league baseball team and an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. In the late 1980s Stone approached St. Louis (football) Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill about sharing a proposed 70,000 seat domed stadium in Phoenix. It was taken for granted that a domed stadium was essential for a prospective baseball team to be a viable enterprise in the city. Phoenix is by far the hottest major city in North America; the average high temperature during baseball's regular season is 99.1 °F, and temperatures above 120 °F in July and August are not unheard of, but have only occurred three times.

Bidwill, with plans already in the works to leave St. Louis, opted instead to sign a long term lease with Arizona State University to use its Sun Devil Stadium as the home of his soon-to-be Arizona-based NFL franchise. Since baseball-only stadiums were not seen as fiscally viable during that era, this effectively ended Stone's bid.

In the fall of 1993, Jerry Colangelo, majority owner of the Phoenix Suns, the area's NBA franchise, announced he was assembling an ownership group, "Arizona Baseball, Inc.," to apply for a Major League Baseball expansion team. This was after a great deal of lobbying by the Maricopa County Sports Authority, a local group formed to preserve Cactus League spring training in Arizona and eventually secure a Major League franchise for the state.

Colangelo's group was so certain that they would be awarded a franchise that they held a name-the-team contest for it; they took out a full-page ad in the sports section of the February 13, 1995 edition of the state's leading newspaper, the Arizona Republic. First prize was a pair of lifetime season tickets awarded to the person who submitted the winning entry. The winning choice was "Diamondbacks," after the Western diamondback, a rattlesnake native to the region known for injecting a large amount of venom when it strikes.

Colangelo's bid received strong support from one of his friends, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and media reports say that then-acting Commissioner of Baseball and Milwaukee Brewers founder Bud Selig was also a strong supporter of Colangelo's bid.Plans were also made for a new retractable-roof ballpark, Bank One Ballpark, nicknamed the BOB, (renamed in 2005 to Chase Field) to be built in an industrial/warehouse district on the southeast edge of downtown Phoenix, across the street from the Suns' America West Arena (now US Airways Center).

On March 9, 1995, Colangelo's group was awarded a franchise to begin play for the 1998 season. A $130 million franchise fee was paid to Major League Baseball. The Tampa Bay Area was also granted a franchise, the Devil Rays (to be based in St. Petersburg), at the same time.

In the earliest days, the Diamondbacks operated basically as a subsidiary of the Suns; several executives and managers with the Suns and America West Arena were brought over to the Diamondbacks in similar roles.

There was some talk (which actually persisted for a few years after the awarding of the franchise) about the Diamondbacks being placed in the American League West. Colangelo strongly opposed this, pushing baseball officials to allow the new team to play in the National League West. Colangelo cited the relative close proximity of Phoenix to the other NL West cities; the similarities between the two fast-growing cities of Phoenix and Denver (home to the Colorado Rockies); the long history of Arizona tourism to San Diego; the Firebirds' long history as the Giants' top farm team; and the fact that Dodgers, Giants and Padres games were broadcast in the Phoenix and Tucson markets for many years.

From the beginning, Colangelo wanted to market the Diamondbacks to a statewide fan base and not limit fan appeal to Phoenix and its suburbs. Although every Major League Baseball team cultivates fans from outside its immediate metropolitan area, and even though the greater Phoenix area has 2/3 of the entire statewide population, Colangelo still decided to call the team the "Arizona Diamondbacks" rather than the "Phoenix Diamondbacks". Many in Phoenix were not pleased by this; they felt this move lent a "small market" tincture to the team's name. However, fans in other areas of the state generally embraced the "Arizona" title as a positive move to help make the team a regional team for the entire state, rather than just for the state's largest city and capitol.

Tucson, Arizona's second largest city, located about a 90-minute drive southeast of Phoenix, was selected as the home for Diamondbacks spring training as well as the team's top minor league affiliate, the Tucson Sidewinders. Radio and television broadcast deals were struck with affiliates in Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott, and Las Vegas; among others.

A series of team-sponsored fan motorcoach trips from Tucson to Bank One Ballpark were inaugurated for the opening season and are still in operation to this day (it is now known as the "Diamond Express"). The Diamondbacks are also known for the "Hometown Tour", held in January, where selected players, management and broadcasters make public appearances, hold autograph signings, etc., in various locations around Phoenix and Tucson, as well as many small and mid-sized towns in other areas of Arizona.

Two seasons before their first opening day, Colangelo hired Buck Showalter, the American League Manager of the Year in 1994 with the New York Yankees.

Their lower level minor league teams began play in 1997; the expansion draft was held that year as well.

The Diamondbacks' first major league game was played against the Colorado Rockies on March 31, 1998, at Bank One Ballpark before a standing-room only crowd of 50,179. Tickets had gone on sale on January 10 and sold out before lunch. The Rockies won, 9–2, with Andy Benes on the mound for the Diamondbacks, and Travis Lee being the first player to hit, score, homer and drive in a run.

In their first five seasons of existence, the Diamondbacks won three division titles (1999, 2001, & 2002) and one World Series (2001). In 1999, Arizona won 100 games in only its second season to win the National League West. They lost to the New York Mets in four games in the NLDS.

Colangelo fired Showalter after a relatively disappointing 2000 season, and replaced him with Bob Brenly, the former Giants catcher and coach, who had up to that point been working as a color analyst on Diamondbacks television broadcasts.

In 2001, the team was led by two of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Arizona had postseason victories over the St. Louis Cardinals (3-2 in the NLDS) and the Atlanta Braves (4-1 in the NLCS) to advance to the World Series where, in one of the most exciting series ever, in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City, they beat the reigning champions, the New York Yankees, 4 to 3, to become the youngest expansion franchise to win the World Series (in just their fourth season of play). That classic World Series is chronicled in Charles Euchner's book The Last Nine Innings (Sourcebooks, 2006). The series was also seen as the beginning of the end of the Yankees' stranglehold on baseball glory, as profiled in Buster Olney's book The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty. All games in that series were won by the home team.

An estimated orderly crowd of over 300,000 celebrated at the Diamondbacks victory parade, held at Bank One Ballpark and the surrounding downtown Phoenix streets on November 7, 2001. This was the first major professional sports championship for the state of Arizona and the first for a team (in the four major North American professional sports leagues) owned or controlled by Colangelo, whose basketball Suns made it to the NBA Finals in 1976 and 1993 but lost both times. (Colangelo's Arizona Rattlers won the Arena Football League championship in 1994 and 1997.) Colangelo’s willingness to go into debt and acquire players through free agency would ultimately lead to one of the quickest free falls in major sports history when in just three years, the Diamondbacks would record one of the worst losing records in all of major league baseball by losing 111 games.

The team won the NL West Division Title again in 2002, but were swept out in the NLDS by the St. Louis Cardinals.

By the 2004 season, however, the Diamondbacks had dropped to a dismal 51-111 record, the worst in Major League Baseball that year and also one of the 10 worst records in the past 100 years of MLB, despite Johnson pitching a perfect game on May 18 of that season. Brenly was fired partway through the season and was replaced on an interim basis by coach Al Pedrique. Before the season co-MVP (with Johnson) of the 2001 World Series Curt Schilling had been traded to the Boston Red Sox, who won the World Series in 2004 and 2007.

By this time Colangelo and the other partners were embroiled in a dispute over the financial health and direction of the Diamondbacks (and notably including over $150 million dollars in deferred compensation to many players who were key members of the 2001 World Series winning team and others). He was forced to resign his managing general partner post in the late summer of 2004.

Colangelo sold his interest in the General Partnership of the Diamondbacks to a group of investors who were all involved as partners in the founding of the team in 1995. The investors include equal partners Ken Kendrick, Dale Jensen, Mike Chipman, and Jeffrey Royer. Jeff Moorad, a former sports agent, joined the partnership, and was named the team's CEO; becoming its primary public face. Ken Kendrick became the managing general partner.

Also a factor in Colangelo's leaving his post was his advancing age: Colangelo was 64 years of age in 2004, and had he not sold his sports franchises, upon his death, his family would have been faced with having to pay high estate taxes based on the value of the Diamondbacks as well as the Suns (which he sold to Robert Sarver in the spring of 2004).

Following the 2004 season, the Diamondbacks hired Wally Backman to be the team's manager. Backman was formerly manager of the Class A California League Lancaster JetHawks, one of the Diamondbacks' minor-league affiliates. In a turn of events that proved to be a minor embarrassment for the reorganized ownership group, Backman was almost immediately fired after management learned, after the fact, of legal troubles and improprieties in Backman's past. Former Seattle Mariners manager and Diamondbacks bench coach Bob Melvin became the new manager after only a ten-day tenure for Backman.

Following the Backman incident, the Diamondbacks spent heavily on free agents in order to re-build into a contender. The club signed 3B Troy Glaus, P Russ Ortiz, SS Royce Clayton, and 2B Craig Counsell, among others. They then traded Randy Johnson to the New York Yankees, for Javier Vazquez, Dioner Navarro, and Brad Halsey. They then turned around and dealt newly acquired catcher Dioner Navarro to the Dodgers for Shawn Green, and sent Shea Hillenbrand to the Toronto Blue Jays. Finally, they traded Casey Fossum to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for José Cruz, Jr.

The Diamondbacks, led by Melvin, finished the 2005 season with a record of 77 wins and 85 losses. However, this was a 26-game improvement over 2004, and actually good enough for second place in the woefully weak NL West, five games behind the San Diego Padres.

The Diamondbacks were considered by some to be the favorite to win the division after spending big money on the aforementioned free agents; however, injuries hurt the team's chances of reaching its expected potential.

Starting pitcher Ortiz was out for some time which really hurt the pitching staff. Glaus played with a hurt knee all season. Of all the free agents that signed before the season, no one had a better season than first baseman Tony Clark. Clark started the season as a bench player and ended the season starting and being an important part of the team. Clark was rewarded with a new contract at the end of the season.

In October 2005 the Diamondbacks hired 35-year-old Josh Byrnes, assistant general manager of the Boston Red Sox, to replace the out-going Joe Garagiola, Jr. as Diamondbacks General Manager. Garagiola took a position in Major League Baseball's main offices in New York City.

In a weak NL West division, the Diamondbacks failed to improve on their 2005 performance, finishing fourth with a slightly worse record than the year before. The season did include two excellent individual performances, however. 2B Orlando Hudson became the recipient of his second career Gold Glove Award, as announced on November 3. Hudson became only the sixth infielder in major league history to win a Gold Glove award in both the American and National Leagues. He first received the award after the 2005 season as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, and was traded to the Diamondbacks later that offseason. On November 14, it was announced that RHP Brandon Webb was the recipient of the Cy Young Award for the National League. Webb, a specialist in throwing the sinkerball, received 15 of 32 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Webb went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA and in the 2006 season was named to his first All-Star team. San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman was second place in the voting with 12 first-place votes and 77 points.

In preparation for the next season, the Diamondbacks made several significant trades during the offseason. The Diamondbacks and Brewers made a trade on November 25, 2006. Johnny Estrada, Greg Aquino, and Claudio Vargas were dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers for Doug Davis, Dana Eveland, and Dave Krynzel. On Sunday January 7, it was announced that Randy Johnson would return to the Diamondbacks on a two year contract, pending a physical. He was obtained from the Yankees in exchange for Luis Vizcaino, Ross Ohlendorf, Alberto Gonzalez and Steven Jackson. The Yankees will pay $2 million of Johnson's $26 million salary. The Diamondbacks and Florida Marlins made a deal March 26 to acquire RHP Yusmeiro Petit in exchange for Jorge Julio and cash.

The Diamondbacks announced in early September 2006 that their uniforms, which remained largely unchanged since the team's first season, would be completely redesigned for the 2007 season. Details were supposed to be kept from the public until after the 2006 postseason as per MLB rules, but the Diamondback page from the 2007 MLB Official Style Guide was somehow leaked around September 25, and local media broadcast printed the new design for all to see. Of great surprise to many fans was a brand new color scheme; apparently the original colors used by the franchise since Major League Baseball awarded it to Jerry Colangelo's ownership group in 1995 were to be discontinued.

While some fans applauded the redesign, most of the reaction to the new color scheme, which included the changing of the historical purple and traditional Arizonan colors of copper and turquoise to a reddish color known as "Sedona Red" similar to that of the Phoenix Coyotes and Arizona Cardinals color schemes, was pointedly negative.

The official unveiling of the uniforms came at a charity event on November 8 in nearby Scottsdale, where several of the players modeled the uniforms on a runway, and posed for publicity photos.

The distinctive "A" design remained unchanged save for the colors. The stylized snake-like "D" logo, also used since the early days for the road uniforms, was slightly redesigned and a completely new shoulder patch introduced. The lettering on the jerseys was completely redesigned.

In the 2007 regular season, the Diamondbacks enjoyed a relatively high degree of success with a young team including Brandon Webb, Conor Jackson, Stephen Drew, Carlos Quentin, Chad Tracy, Chris Young, Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds (called up from Double-A in May) and Justin Upton (called up from Double-A in August). The Diamondbacks in the regular season posted the best record in the NL with 90 wins and 72 losses. Despite their success, they were actually outscored by a cumulative total of 20 runs in their games.

On September 28, the Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies to secure a position in the 2007 playoffs. After the Padres' defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers on September 29, the Diamondbacks secured both the NL West title and home field throughout the NL playoffs.

After taking the first two games at home against the Cubs, in the National League Division Series, they took the series to Wrigley Field, where they completed their sweep, earning their first berth in the National League Championship Series since 2001.

In the NLCS (where, ironically, they faced the Rockies), however, the D-backs' bats – and any sort of luck they had – fell silent. Though the D-backs' pitchers kept it close, they just didn't seem to get any kind of situational hitting. Plays in key situations- Upton's slide in Game 1, Stephen Drew's baserunning mistake and Valverde's 3 walks in a row, including a bases-loaded walk in the 10th in Game 2, Yorvit Torrealba's homer in Game 3, Conor Jackson booting the ball in Game 4, and even into the 8th and 9th innings of the final game, with the D-backs trailing by two, Tony Clark struck out leaving Upton at third base in the 8th, and in the 9th, Chris Young's leadoff double was wasted...the D-backs ran out of momentum against a Colorado team who just couldn't lose and were swept by the Rockies.

The 2007 season overall was a great success, with many of the young players showing their potential and proving that the team would be a force in the National League for years to come.

Reloading for 2008 with Dan Haren On December 3, 2007 the Diamondbacks traded Carlos Quentin to the Chicago White Sox for first base prospect Chris Carter.

Haren was expected to immediately join the Diamondbacks starting rotation which will include Webb and hopefully Randy Johnson if he rehabilitates successfully from his season-ending back injuries (Johnson was acquired from the Yankees in January 2007 and had a strong start to the 2007 season before back problems forced him out in August).

Haren was 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA for Oakland in 2007. This move was expected to make the D-backs favored to win the NL West in 2008 provided the offensive production is good.

Arizona was not able to re-sign veteran free agents Tony Clark and Livan Hernandez, who were picked up by San Diego and Minnesota, respectively.

After winning the opening game of the season on March 31 on the road against the Cincinnati Reds, the Diamondbacks found themselves with the best record in Major League Baseball, 20-8, by the start of May. At that time, they also led the NL West by 6.5 games. They lost the first series in May against the New York Mets, the first series lost since the opening series against the Reds. The Diamondbacks continued to lead the NL west despite only being 47-48 at the All-Star break.

On July 17, 2008, Tony Clark was traded back to the D-backs from the San Diego Padres for a minor league pitcher, Evan Scribner.

On August 5, Dan Haren signed a four-year, $44.75 million deal with the Diamondbacks worth a guaranteed $41.25 million through 2012 and including a $15.5 million club option for 2013 with a $3.5 million buyout.

Orlando Hudson, one of the more consistent offensive D-backs players in 2008, underwent season-ending surgery on his left wrist August 9 in the wake of a collision with catcher Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves. Hudson is due to become a free agent at the end of the season and speculation is that he will not be re-signed with the Diamondbacks, because he wants money.

LF Eric Byrnes was on the 60-day disabled list from late June, with a torn left hamstring, and was out for the remainder of the season.

On August 11, 2008, Dallas Buck, RHP Micah Owings, and C Wilkin Castillo were traded to the Reds (in last place in the NL Central at the time) in exchange for OF Adam Dunn. Dunn, who was tied for the major league lead with 32 home runs, was expected to provide a significant boost to an offense that has struggled to score runs for most of the season. Dunn seemed quite positive about being traded to a ballclub in first place in its division in August. The move was seen by some fans as a belated attempt by the D-backs to counter the trade by their division rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, for Boston Red Sox power-hitting OF Manny Ramirez on July 31 and also to compensate for the injuries to Hudson and Byrnes, generally considered two of the more "power-hitting" Diamondbacks on a team which has relied heavily on pitching and defense in recent years.

Owings, once considered an excellent pitching prospect for the Diamondbacks, struggled in the 2008 campaign with a 7.09 ERA after April 21.

On August 31, the Diamondbacks acquired former World Series MVP David Eckstein to fill the hole at secondbase which was opened after Orlando Hudson was placed on the disabled list. Eckstein was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays for Minor League pitcher Chad Beck.

They finished the season with a record of 82-80, (good for second in the NL West to the Los Angeles Dodgers).

In their short history, the Diamondbacks have been known to invite position players to pitch an inning in games that have already been blown out. The first such appearance occurred on August 30 of their 2001 division-winning season, when Manager Bob Brenly decided to pitch veteran outfielder Steve Finley for an inning of relief. Although Finley pitched a shut-out, no-hit inning, he walked a batter and also hit a batter. Brenly did this twice, as has current manager Bob Melvin.

The primary television play-by-play voice for the team's first nine seasons of play was Thom Brennaman, who also broadcasts baseball and college football games nationally for FOX Television. Brennaman was the TV announcer for the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds (along with his father Marty Brennaman) before being hired by Diamondbacks founder Jerry Colangelo in 1996, two years before the team would begin play.

In October 2006, Brennaman left the Diamondbacks to call games with his father for the Reds beginning in 2007, signing a 4-year deal (his FOX duties remained unchanged).

The English language flagship radio station is KTAR. Greg Schulte is the regular radio play-by-play voice, a 25-year veteran of sports radio in the Phoenix market, also well-known for his previous work on Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State University (ASU) broadcasts. In February 2007 he agreed to a contract extension through at least the 2011 season.

Jeff Munn is a backup radio play-by-play announcer; he served as the regular public address announcer at Chase Field in the early days of the franchise. He is well-known to many Phoenix area sports fans, having also served as the public address announcer for the Suns at America West Arena (now US Airways Center) in the 1990s. He is also the play-by-play radio voice for ASU women's basketball.

On November 1, 2006, the team announced that the TV voice of the Milwaukee Brewers since 2002, Daron Sutton, would be hired as the Diamondbacks primary TV play-by-play voice. Sutton was signed to a five-year contract with a team option for three more years. Sutton is considered one of the best of the younger generation of baseball broadcasters. His signature chants include "lets get some runs" when the D-Backs trail in late innings. Sutton's father is Hall of Fame pitcher and current Washington Nationals broadcaster Don Sutton.

Former Diamondback and Chicago Cub Mark Grace and former Major League knuckleball pitcher Tom Candiotti were the Diamondbacks primary color analysts for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Former Diamondback player (and current Diamondbacks minority owner) Matt Williams also does color commentary on occasion, as does former Cardinals and NBC broadcast legend Joe Garagiola, Sr.., a longtime Phoenix-area resident and father of Joe Garagiola, Jr., the first GM of the Diamondbacks (as head of the Maricopa County Sports Authority in the early 1990s, Garagiola, Jr. was one of the primary people involved in Phoenix obtaining a Major League Baseball franchise).

The Diamondbacks announced in July 2007 that for the 2008 season, all regionally broadcast Diamondback TV games will be shown exclusively on FSN Arizona; and a few could possibly be shown on the national MLB on FOX telecasts. FSN Arizona is currently seen in 2.8 million households in Arizona & New Mexico. The previous flagship station, since the inaugural 1998 season, was KTVK, a popular over-the-air independent station in Phoenix.

Spanish broadcasts The flagship Spanish language radio station is KSUN AM 1400 with Miguel Quintana and Arthuro Ochoa as the regular announcers. They are sometimes joined by Richard Saenz or Oscar Soria.

Games are also televised in Spanish on KPHE-LP with Oscar Soria and Jerry Romo as the announcers.

As of the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame election, no inducted members have played or managed for the Diamondbacks.

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José Valverde

José Rafael Valverde (born July 24, 1979 in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic) is a closer in Major League Baseball for the Houston Astros. His nickname is Papa Grande or Big Papa.

He throws both 2 and 4-seam fastballs, a splitter, and a slider.

Valverde made his Major League Baseball debut in 2003 to help out the injury plagued Arizona Diamondbacks, joining Brandon Webb and Andrew Good after injuries to Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling left the team out of contention.

Although he had been the Diamondbacks' closer since replacing Brian Bruney in 2005, trouble on the mound in the month of June 2006 forced management to give the role to Jorge Julio. Valverde regained the role after spending some time with the Diamondbacks' Triple-A affiliate, the Tucson Sidewinders. He returned to the closer role in early September (as Julio became too inconsistent) and pitched well in his return. Valverde finished the 2006 season with a record of 2 wins, 3 losses, an ERA of 5.84 and 18 saves.

On June 23, 2007, Valverde passed Matt Mantei as the Diamondbacks all-time saves leader, with his 75th, a perfect ninth against the Baltimore Orioles. Valverde made the 2007 MLB All-Star Game as a closer for Arizona. Until he was traded during the 2007 offseason, Valverde was the Diamondbacks' closer, and led all of Major League Baseball in Saves (47 of 54) during the 2007 regular season.

On September 25, 2007, Valverde was named as one of 10 finalist for the "DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year Award." On December 14, 2007, Valverde was traded to the Houston Astros for pitchers Chad Qualls, Juan Gutiérrez and IF/OF Chris Burke.

He finished his first year in Houston with 44 saves in 51 chances, a 6-4 record, 83 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.38. He led the NL in saves for the second straight year and was second in the majors in saves for 2008.

When Valverde enters into the game, a brief video set to Percy Rodrigues's opening narration of the trailer from Jaws plays on the Minute Maid Park screen, leading into a montage of his best moments as an Astro backed by the Saliva song Ladies and Gentlemen.

Born in El Seibo, Dominican Republic, he stands 6'4" tall and weighs 255 lbs. He has a wife and a newborn girl.

During Game 3 of the 2007 NLDS, Ron Santo referred to Valverde as a "Hot Dog with Mustard".

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South Bend Silver Hawks

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The South Bend Silver Hawks are a U.S. Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks, that plays in the Midwest League.

South Bend, Indiana was awarded a Midwest League franchise in 1988. Originally affiliated with the Chicago White Sox and bearing the name of the parent club, the team was renamed in 1994. The name "Silver Hawks" was chosen to as an homage to the Studebaker Silver Hawk, which was once manufactured in South Bend. In 1997 the team switched affiliations to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Their most notable players are Brandon Webb and Justin Upton, who was the #1 overall draft pick in 2005.

The team's home park is Coveleski Stadium, built in 1987 and named for Stan Coveleski, the Hall of Fame pitcher who once resided in South Bend. The franchise attendance record of 258,424 was set in 1994.

Despite playing through rumors of sale and relocation in the near future to Marion, Illinois, the Silver Hawks managed a championship season in 2005, beating the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers three games to two to win the 2005 Midwest League Championship. The team also won league titles in 1989 and 1993.

Former Indiana Governor (and former South Bend Mayor) Joe Kernan recently bought the team, thus keeping the team in South Bend.

The team has one mascot, Swoop. Professional wrestler Brian Costello often MCs various contests between innings.

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List of Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day starting pitchers

Randy Johnson, the Opening Day starter from 1999 to 2004

The Arizona Diamondbacks are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Phoenix, Arizona. They play in the National League West division. The Diamondbacks have used four different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 11 seasons. The four starters have a combined Opening Day record of four wins, five losses (4–5), and two no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.

Randy Johnson holds the Diamondbacks' record for most Opening Day starts with six, and has an Opening Day record of 3–3. The only other Diamondbacks pitcher to start more than one opening game is Brandon Webb. Andy Benes and Javier Vázquez have started one Opening Day each. Webb has the best winning percentage as the Opening Day starting pitcher with a record of 1–0 (and two no decisions). Benes and Vázquez are tied for the worst Opening Day record, both at 0–1. Webb is Arizona's only pitcher with a no decision on Opening Day (Webb has two), and Johnson is the only pitcher to have won two or more opening games.

Overall, the Diamondbacks have a record of 2–4 at Chase Field on Opening Day, compared to a 2–1 record at away games. The Diamondbacks went on to play in the National League Division Series (NLDS) playoff games in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2007. Randy Johnson was the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1999, 2001, and 2002, and Brandon Webb was the starter in 2007. Webb and Johnson have a combined Opening Day record of 4–3.

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Starting pitcher

Chris Young warms up in the bullpen before a game at Wrigley Field.

In baseball or softball, a starting pitcher (also referred to as the starter) is the pitcher who delivers the first pitch to the first batter of a game. A pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher.

Under ideal circumstances, a manager of a baseball team would prefer a starting pitcher to pitch as many innings as possible in a game. Most regular starting pitchers pitch for at least five innings on a regular basis, and if a pitcher is unable to do so, there is a high probability that he will, in the future, be relegated to duty in the bullpen. In modern baseball, a starting pitcher is rarely expected to pitch for more than seven or eight innings, at which point, responsibility for the game is passed to specialist pitchers, — set-up pitchers and closers.

Often, a starting pitcher is subject to a pitch count, meaning the manager will remove him from the game once he has thrown a specific number of pitches. The most common pitch count for a modern pitcher is in the neighborhood of one hundred. Pitch counts are especially common for starting pitchers who are recovering from injury. In the early decades of baseball, it was not uncommon for a starting pitcher to pitch three hundred innings or more, over the course of a season. In addition, there are accounts of starting pitchers pitching on consecutive days, or even in both games of a doubleheader. It is believed that these feats were only possible because pitchers in the early years of the game, unlike modern starters, rarely threw the ball with maximum effort.

A starting pitcher must complete five innings of work in order to qualify for a "win" in a game he starts. Under NCAA baseball rules, which govern intercollegiate baseball, a starting pitcher who pitches fewer than five innings can still earn a win if he pitches for a certain amount of time that is determined before the start of the game. It is possible to be credited with a loss despite pitching fewer than five innings. A starter who works six or more innings while giving up three or fewer runs is said to have achieved a "quality start".

A starting pitcher in professional baseball usually rests three or four days after pitching a game, before pitching another. Therefore, most professional baseball teams have four or five starting pitchers on their rosters. These pitchers, and the sequence in which they pitch, is known as the rotation. In modern baseball, a five-man rotation is most common.

Starting pitchers usually have at least three effective pitches to choose from — a fastball; a breaking pitch, such as a curveball, screwball, or slider; and a change-up.

Well-known starting pitchers who are in the Baseball Hall of Fame include Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, and Nolan Ryan.

Well-known starting pitchers who are currently active in major-league baseball (MLB) include John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, Johan Santana, Brandon Webb and Pedro Martínez, and such rising stars as Jeremy Guthrie, Scott Kazmir, John Maine, John Lackey, Chris Carpenter, Josh Beckett, Jake Peavy, CC Sabathia, Dontrelle Willis, Cole Hamels, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Chien-Ming Wang, Barry Zito, Roy Halladay, Aaron Harang, Carlos Zambrano, Fausto Carmona, Ben Sheets, Kip Wells, Andrew Miller, Joe Blanton, Mark Buehrle, Rich Harden, Roy Oswalt, and Félix Hernández.

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Source : Wikipedia