Kirk Gibson

D-Backs players stand up for manager Kirk Gibson, GM Kevin Towers

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Following Tuesday’s loss to the Cubs, the Diamondbacks fell to 5-18, worst in baseball. They had lost 10 of their previous 11 games and had the worst run differential in baseball, by far, at -62.

They are now on a three-game winning streak, but still have a .663 OPS which ranks in the bottom-third of the National League. Their 6.49 rotation ERA is by far the worst, and the 21 errors they’ve committed ties for the third-worst in the league.

Knowing that, it’s not surprising that the D-Backs players stood up for manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers as they faced increased scrutiny with the awful start. Via Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona:

“The kind of start we got off to, I don’t know if you can explain it other than we have just played horribly,”  veteran third baseman Eric Chavez said. “It’s completely on the players. We take full responsibility for our lack of production on the field. We have to get it done in here, in this clubhouse.”

[…]

“I think sometimes there is too much blame that goes in other directions. You have to look at the players, because they are the ones who are playing,” Chavez said. “The numbers don’t lie. Whatever categories we are falling into has nothing to do with ‘Gibby’ or anybody. If somebody wants to pass that on” and blame someone else, “there is going to be some issues with that, because you have to look at yourself as a player.”

Chavez wasn’t the only one to speak up. Catcher Miguel Montero said that blame shouldn’t be cast on Gibson and Towers because “they don’t play the game for us”. Second baseman Aaron Hill said he and his teammates shouldn’t be pressing as much. Although their players came to their defense, Towers’ and Gibson’s seats should continue to be hot for the duration of the season. Non-player personnel are always the first to go when a team doesn’t live up to expectations.

Diamondbacks name Dan Haren as pitching strategist

PHOENIX - APRIL 05:  Starting pitcher Dan Haren #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Diego Padres during the Opening Day major league baseball game at Chase Field on April 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 6-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday afternoon that former major leaguer Dan Haren has been named the organization’s new pitching strategist. The role will include working with the front office, the major league coaching staff, and the analytics department.

Haren, 36, ended his 13-year playing career after the 2015 season. He finished with a 153-131 record and a 3.75 ERA across 2,419 2/3 innings.

Since retiring, Haren has been one of the more enjoyable players to follow on Twitter. He promised to teach his disciples how to tweet as part of his new responsibilities.

Pablo Sandoval is in the best shape of his life

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For a guy who won a World Series MVP Award and has been to a couple of All-Star Games, it’s amazing how many stories have been written about Pablo Sandoval‘s off-the-field exploits compared to his on-the-field exploits. Specifically, stories about his conditioning. Or lack of conditioning. Of him getting into shape, falling out of shape and getting back into shape again. It’s been this way since he emerged as an everyday player in 2009.

And it continues anew:

There is no claim here that Sandoval is, in fact, in The Best Shape of His Life. However, longtime BSOHL fans know that the claim is not about the magic words being used. The idea is that, in the offseason, players with something to prove will routinely make an effort to create the impression that they are a new man. Often it is from claiming that one is in The Best Shape of His Life. Often it comes from surrogates talking about how many pounds of fat one has lost or pounds of pure muscle one has added. Sometimes — as here — it comes in the form of showing post-workout photos.

Whatever the purpose of the photo, Sandoval is certainly looking good compared to where he was last spring:

FORT MYERS, - MARCH 14: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox makes the throw to first on the ground ball from Jason Rogers (not in photo) of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning of the Spring Training Game on March 14, 2016 at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South, Florida. The Pirates defeated the Red Sox 3-1. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Or at the end of the 2015 season:

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 31: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox warms up prior to the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on August 31, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won the game 4-3. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Even if this is part of a plan to get Sandoval some good press heading into the 2017 season, I’m happy to see that he appears to be recovered from shoulder surgery and appears to be taking good care of himself and is thinking about his baseball futrue.

Either way, expect the Panda Weight Watch to continue at Red Sox spring training come February.