Hall gives status report during Web chat
CEO updates fans on Webb, the bullpen and more
During his monthly Web chat with fans, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall answered questions about Brandon Webb's progress, the state of the bullpen, Justin Upton's performance this season, and how the team is responding to manaager A.J. Hinch.
Derrick Hall: Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for joining for the chat. Let's get started.
tkwebsinc: Like most fans I'd love an update on Brandon Webb.
Hall: We hope to have him back soon. He has missed so much time that he will have to take more time in games to fully recover. We expect him to throw a bullpen session this weekend, which is a big step. We need to get him to the point of playing in rehabilitation starts in the Minors soon so that he can rejoin the team without too much time. It is difficult to put dates on these rehabs. We would hope early July.
27future: Are the continuous problems with the bullpen being addressed? And will there be any moves to improve the quality of the bullpen?
Hall: The staff discusses the rotation and bullpen every day. We have had a few injuries and are still feeling the effects of overworking them on the last road trip and most recent homestand. We have the arms to get the job done, but need some rest and to catch some breaks. I can tell you that the baseball staff will always look to improve the club, and bullpen is and area that they will always focus on.
tkwebsinc: Do you think Randy Johnson will be the last pitcher to make it to 300 wins?
Hall: It is a huge accomplishment and obviously the topic of debate these days. I am not sure we will see too many more in the near future. These pitchers on the list had long careers with what seemed to be 20-win seasons year after year after year. It will be exciting to see Randy get there -- as long as it's not against us.
27future: What steps has Justin Upton been taking to improve the quality of his ABs and hits?
Hall: He is showing great patience and confidence. He has benefited from our coaching staff sticking with him and letting him play regularly. He made some adjustments with his hands, and is a real tough out right now. He is fun to watch, and is showing why he is one of the most exciting young players in the game.
djabeck: I heard a rumor that you might be bringing Gonzo (Luis Gonzalez) in the office and might let him finish his career as a D-back. Is this a possibility? He is, and always will be, my favorite player.
Hall: We have made it clear that we want him in our front office when he is finished playing. He has always been an asset to the organization and our community, and we look forward to that day becoming a reality.
oden: Derrick, with Justin Upton having a breakout year, does the team have any plans to start marketing him as its new star? Getting him involved in charities and representing the team publicly can anchor him in the community and help keep him here beyond his current contract.
Hall: He will be a star. We need to be careful putting all of the pressure on him with all of the spotlight. We have focused more on the entire team and the fan experience over the last few years to relieve the young players of any pressure. Becoming a community asset is in the works and will happen independently. It helps that he has the right attitude and wants to be a part of the community.
ousnr44: What would you consider a priority with the troubled parts of our team -- the bullpen or the offense?
Hall: Unfortunately they have both had their ups and downs. When teams are winning, offense and pitching are clicking together. We need both to be consistent to give us a better chance to win. We are one-third of the way through the season with plenty of baseball left. But we cannot wait too long to show more consistent production.
mlb33333: How much faith do the players have in manager A.J. Hinch's baseball knowledge and experience?
Hall: It seems that they have a lot of faith in him. He is communicating well with them and they are responding. A.J. is a great leader and understands the game well. He will be a great manager and the team seems to respect him.
fedex9654: Stephen Drew needs to bat leadoff.
Hall: It is nice to have options. Felipe Lopez is comfortable in the leadoff role and has set the table well this year. Drew is beginning to swing a hotter bat, and can contribute from so many different spots, be it first, third, fourth, etc. When he is hot, he is capable of driving in a lot of runs and we will benefit from him in the middle of the order. But I agree, he has some success at leadoff in the past as well.
Gochargers: Jarrod Parker has been throwing really well for the Double-A team. Will we see him in Triple-A or the Major Leagues this year?
Hall: He is an amazing talent. We definitely do not want to rush him, as he is still learning to pitch at the professional level. He will not likely be up here in the very near future, but as a top prospect, when he does get here, he will be here for a very long time. He should be a household name throughout his career.
azhardball: Are there any additional developments in regards to the D-backs securing a Spring Training location?
Hall: We are still speaking to a few finalists from the Valley, but need to move quickly if we are to leave. Much has to do with the Rockies' decision first. If we are in a position where we feel we have to leave, 2011 is still a possibility, but that window for construction time is closing. We do have some great options here if need be.
theruch: What kind of steps are being taken to promote Upton as an All-Star representative for our D-backs?
Hall: We are pushing it as much as we can internally. We have encouraged fans to vote as much as possible. Fans can vote 25 times online as well. We are looking into having a ballot-stuffing party as well. It was nice to hear Peter Gammons say he is the player who deserves to be there the most without the votes to date.
Hall: The time is up. I appreciate the questions and your time. I also appreciate your continued support and patience for this team. They have shown some strong signs of late that they can break out of this and make a run. Let's hope so -- go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.