Here’s the latest from the Diamondbacks, who are clinging to a half-game lead over the Rockies in the NL West…
- Clay Buchholz didn’t want to sign a minor league contract last offseason, though the righty tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila that the experience ended up being “a restart” for him, leading to his eventual revival with the D’Backs. “I swallowed my pride and did that [pitch in the minors] for a little bit. It was for the best, because it helped me get to where I’m at now,” Buchholz said. “It feels good to be able to go out there and throw without anything going on, mentally or physically.” Buchholz initially signed a minors deal with the Royals but was released before pitching for the big league team, only to sign another minor league contract with Arizona and emerge as a big piece of the Diamondbacks’ rotation. In 73 innings for the D’Backs this season, Buchholz has a 2.47 ERA, 3.81 K/BB rate, and a 7.5 K/9.
- Rookie catcher Michael Perez has made a strong first impression with the Rays after being traded from Arizona to Tampa as part of the Matt Andriese deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The seeds of the trade were planted in the offseason when Rays scouts became impressed by Perez while examining the Diamondbacks’ system in preparation for the three-team deal that sent Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona and Brandon Drury to the Yankees. “We were fortunate he was in a position where he was blocked by three catchers there in the big leagues….In a lot of organizations he may have had more of an opportunity than he had at the time in Arizona,” Rays pro scouting director Kevin Ibach said.
- Excellent glovework has been an underrated part of Arizona’s success this year, as Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan notes that the Diamondbacks have the best overall defense of any team in baseball. D’Backs pitchers and catchers rank first in the league in combined UZR and Defensive Runs Saved, while their infielders and catchers are also near the top of the list.