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Up next: Diamondbacks

By MARC TOPKIN
Published June 18, 2004

SCOUTING REPORT: The Diamondbacks have a pretty good team - on the disabled list.

With a major league-high 11 players sidelined, the D'backs don't really have the team they expected on the field, and with a reduced payroll reducing their depth, they have struggled to compensate.

The D'backs were a club record-worst 9-20 in May and went into play Thursday 8-6 in June. Among the missing are slugger Richie Sexson, closer Matt Mantei, catcher Brent Mayne, pitcher Shane Reynolds and veteran infielders Roberto Alomar and Carlos Baerga.

The D'backs still have some big-name players, none bigger than Randy Johnson, scheduled to start tonight. They also have Tampa native Luis Gonzalez and Steve Finley.

But the roster is loaded with unfamiliar names such as Tim Olson, Chad Tracy, Doug DeVore, Juan Brito, Andy Green, Stephen Randolph and Mike Koplove. Seventeen current D'backs have less than three years' big-league experience, and seven weren't even on the 40-man roster at the start of the season.

The D'backs rank near the bottom of the National League in average and on-base percentage but do score a fair amount of runs, averaging 4.5. Their pitching staff is 28th in the majors with a 5.08 ERA.

The D'backs have struggled against left-handers, going 6-16, and the Devil Rays will throw two, John Halama tonight and Mark Hendrickson on Sunday.

CONNECTIONS: Gonzalez played at Jefferson High with current Devil Ray Tino Martinez. ... Pitcher Andrew Good plans to settle in the bay area; his parents live in Clearwater. ... Pitching coach Chuck Kniffin graduated from the University of Tampa. ... Olson played at Florida in 2000.

SEASON SERIES: This is the first meeting.

[Last modified June 18, 2004, 01:13:22]

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