Robertson Cuts Down




PHOENIX—When righthander Connor Robertson arrived in Tucson for his first spring training with the Diamondbacks, he had an arsenal that was well-suited for work as a reliever: a fastball, cut fastball and slider that he was able to spot well.

One tweak and a few months later, the 26-year-old Robertson was in the major leagues.

After watching Robertson throw in spring training, parent Diamondbacks' pitching coach Bryan Price suggested a subtle change in theory. Why not use the cutter inside, to keep righthanded hitters honest?

"You have to get hitters interested in both sides of the plate," Price said after Robertson was added to the major league team the first week of July.

"It's a pitch I've gotten comfortable with," Robertson said. "In the past I always used it against lefthanders but this year I started to throw it both ways. When I can spot it inside, it gives hitters something else to think about."

Robertson, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound righthander the Diamondbacks obtained from the Athletics in the eight-player deal that brought Dan Haren, was working on one of the best minor league seasons of his career before his second stint in the majors.

He was 5-2, 3.86 with one save in 32 relief appearances for the Sidewinders, giving up only 43 hits in 54 innings while holding opponents to a .228 average. He struck out 50 and walked 21.

The numbers were similar to the ones he posted at Double-A in the Athletics organization in 2006, when he was 7-2, 2.80 with six saves and 97 strikeouts in 84 innings.

"I was really excited to get a new chance in a new place," said Robertson, who has been a reliever his entire pro career after the A's selected him in the 31st round of the 2004 draft out of Birmingham-Southern.

SNAKE BITES

• Righthander Dallas Buck pitched five hitless innings for low Class A South Bend before being removed for pitch-count reasons. Buck, the Diamondbacks' third-round pick in 2006, struck out three and walked three in his fifth appearance since returning from midseason 2007 Tommy John surgery.

• Outfielder Gerardo Parra had an impressive performance in Futures Game, going 1-for-2 with a line drive single to left field in an eight-pitch at-bat.