04/01/07 12:44 AM ET
Notes: Hammock back in the bigs
Catcher named to Opening Day roster after fighting injury
By Jason Grey / Special to MLB.com
This is one of them.
Manager Bob Melvin informed catcher Robby Hammock that he had completed his long road back by making the D-backs' Opening Day roster.
"At a time when you have some difficult conversations with some people [to tell them they haven't made it], that conversation was the one I enjoyed the most," said Melvin.
"It feels very overwhelming, very emotional," said Hammock, who paused for a moment to maintain his composure. "A couple of years ago, I was sitting at home watching TV, wondering if I'd ever throw again."
Hammock was a regular catcher for the club in 2004, and was behind the plate for Randy Johnson's perfect game on May 18. By mid-July he was on the disabled list with a left knee problem that eventually required surgery and caused him to miss most of the rest of the year.
In January 2005 the team removed him from the roster. In February he underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and many thought his career might be over.
"I told myself I was going to keep going until they took the uniform off me," said the 29-year-old.
Hammock played in just three games in '05 as he rehabbed the shoulder, but returned to play in 103 contests for Triple-A Tucson last season, hitting .293 with 20 homers before appearing in one Major League game at the end of the year.
"For a guy like him that was once a 'golden boy' in this organization and then getting injured and getting taken off of the roster, it's more difficult to get back there the second time around," said Melvin. "I tip my hat to him. That conversation was particularly gratifying."
"It makes me think of all the people who helped me get here," said Hammock, "the doctors, the physical therapists, the coaches who all stuck with me while I tried to turn things around, and the organization. I appreciate what people have done for me."
Three placed on DL: The D-backs placed pitcher Randy Johnson and outfielders Carlos Quentin and Jeff DaVanon on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.
Quentin, who has a shoulder injury, was backdated to March 23. He could be available April 7.
Melvin said that if all goes according to plan, Johnson would pitch in extended spring in Tucson on April 3, make a start at the A level on April 8, then a Triple-A start on April 13. This would put his return to the Major Leagues at around April 18.
There is no timetable for DaVanon, who has an ankle injury.
Other moves: The only roster spots that were in question going into Saturday were the final two hitting spots. Hammock received one of those, and Melvin announced that third baseman Brian Barden would get the last one over newly acquired outfielder Jeff Salazar.
"[Barden] made significant strides last year and had a lot of guys in this organization in his corner," said Melvin. "He might have had as good a spring as anyone in camp."
Barden hit .393 with nine extra-base hits in 56 at-bats this month after hitting .298 with 16 homers at Tucson last season.
Although Salazar had a nice initial game for his new club on Friday, reaching base three times and driving in four, Melvin said "it's difficult to come in here like that after other guys have been here six weeks with us."
Homecoming: Pitcher J.D. Durbin, who was claimed off waivers from the Twins on Thursday, couldn't be happier to be back in the Valley of the Sun.
"It's a great feeling coming home," said the 25-year-old Durbin, who is from Scottsdale. "I've wanted to play with the Diamondbacks since high school."
Durbin can throw in the mid-90s with a good breaking ball, but has fought various arm injuries over the last four seasons.
"Physically, I feel great right now," he said. "I'm ready to go full bore. I'm still fighting my command, because with all the injury stuff the last few years, I haven't had a chance to get comfortable, but I think I'll get there."
Durbin made his D-backs debut on Saturday, allowing a run in his inning of work.
First look: Newly acquired Yusmeiro Petit also made his debut in his new uniform on Saturday, striking out seven and allowing just one run in five innings of work with his fastball/slider combination.
"I wanted to make a good impression," said Petit, who will open the season at Triple-A after being acquired from Florida for Jorge Julio on Monday. "The team told me I will have an opportunity in the future."
Jason Grey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.