PHOENIX -- The last time the Dodgers acquired a player with the last name Ramirez for a playoff push, things did not turn out that well for the Arizona Diamondbacks.Manny Ramirez came in and helped the Dodgers overtake the D-backs in the race for the 2008 National League West title. This year, the Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins to provide what they hope will be an offensive boost as they try to overtake the Giants and stay ahead of the D-backs in the race. "I was surprised Hanley got traded, but it just means that this division is going to get stronger offensively," D-backs ace Ian Kennedy said. "It should make it a fun race all the way down to the end." Whether Ramirez proves to be a difference-maker remains to be seen. "Manny went off and Manny literally carried the team," said D-backs outfielder Chris Young, who was a member of the '08 club. "Will Hanley do that? I don't know. Only time will tell how it pays out for them. We're just going to keep doing what we're doing, keep trucking along. It doesn't change anything over here as far as our mentality. Hanley's a great player, I'm not taking anything away from him at all, but you can't let that affect the way you feel yourself as a team." Last year, the D-backs were locked in a battle with the Giants, who acquired outfielder Carlos Beltran before the Trade Deadline. The move did not pay dividends, as the D-backs easily outdistanced San Francisco for the division title. This is the time of year where players keep an eye not just on what other teams in their division are doing, but also what their own front office is able to do. "I feel like it's going to be a three-team race," Kennedy said. "I imagine the Giants will get a player like they got Beltran last year. I'm curious to see what we do."
D-backs shut down top prospect Bauer
PHOENIX -- The D-backs will shut down prospect Trevor Bauer for one or two starts to give the right-hander a break.Bauer was drafted third overall last year by the D-backs and made a rapid rise through the Minor Leagues, culminating in a June 28 callup to the Majors. In four starts for the D-backs, he compiled a 6.06 ERA and was sent back to Triple-A Reno last week. "I don't think that when we saw him here the ball was coming out of his arm the same way it was in Spring Training," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's quite different where he was a year ago and where he's at today and the requirements to consistently be able to throw every fifth day. It's a learning process." Bauer allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings in his first start back with Reno. D-backs director of player development Mike Bell said Bauer is not injured, but the team wants to give him a breather as he deals with his first full year in professional baseball. "It's something we've done with first-year guys," Bell said. "We just want to give him a chance to slow things down, regroup and finish up strong."
Early sked has D-backs facing AL East in '13
PHOENIX -- The D-backs will open the 2013 season at home against the Cardinals, according to a baseball source.Teams have been given tentative schedules for next season and changes are still possible. As it stands now, the D-backs will face the American League East in Interleague Play and will also have a home-and-home series with the Rangers. The D-backs are scheduled to travel to New York, Boston, Texas and Tampa. Meanwhile, the Rangers, Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays are scheduled to visit Chase Field.
D-backs' Williams to manage AFL's Rafters
PHOENIX -- D-backs third-base coach Matt Williams will manage the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League this year.Williams, who has been on the D-backs' coaching staff since 2010, served a pair of stints as interim manager during the '07 season. During the regular season, he filled in for Double-A Mobile manager Brett Butler, who fell ill, and later that year managed the Scottsdale Scorpions in the AFL while Chip Hale finished up his duties as third-base coach for the D-backs in the playoffs. A former All-Star player, Williams aspires to manage in the big leagues. "I've been thinking about that for a long time, but you need to be prepared," he said. "This will give me an opportunity to experience some of that and further prepare myself in case that opportunity ever arises." D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has been supportive of Williams' career goal. "It's great," Gibson said of Williams managing in the Fall League. "We've talked about that since the first day that I've been on the job. He's a good baseball man and I would encourage him to pursue that. We have conversations about it like how would you get there? Fall ball will be great, it will great for the kids. He's very talented at what he does and he's put his time in, and that's one of the things he needs to do." Gibson did have one request of Williams, as the Rafters play at Salt River Fields, where the D-backs hold Spring Training. "He'll have to make sure to keep my office clean," Gibson said.