Diamondbacks' Parker Continues To Progress

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.As if his first spring training appearance since having Tommy John surgery wasn't enough, Jarrod Parker found himself facing Rockies all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in a pressure situation on Feb. 28.

Parker, the Diamondbacks' top prospect, managed both situations, pitching a scoreless fifth inning by getting Tulowitzki to fly out to short right field on a fastball with two outs and the bases loaded. It is a matchup that could be one of the best in the National League West for the rest of the decade.

"To battle a little bit was fun," said Parker, whose fastball was clocked in the 94-95 mph range. "The adrenaline was pumping. I was excited going against the Rockies, facing a pretty good lineup out there. I'm not where I want to be, but that's what spring training is for. I'm preparing as much as I can for this coming season."

The fact that Parker can look forward to a regular season is a load off his mind. Parker missed the entire 2010 season after having Tommy John surgery in November 2009, the result of injuring his elbow during a midseason start with Double-A Mobile. The ninth player taken in the 2007 draft, Parker opted to first rest and rehab the arm, but when there was no progress, surgery was performed. He returned to make three appearances in the Diamondbacks' instructional league program last fall, including one at Chase Field.

"I think I was a little bit more excited in instructs, because it was my first time on the mound," said Parker, who followed his initial spring appearance with two scoreless innings March 3 against the Padres.

Parker, 22, is all but certain to start the season in the high minors as the Diamondbacks—while believing he is completely healthy—do not want to rush him back into competition. The team also has talked about identifying a long reliever this spring, but Parker is not a candidate for that role.

"He's got a golden arm, for sure. He needs to pitch," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.

Snake Bites

• Righthander Matt Gorgen was scheduled for Tommy John surgery the second week of March. Gorgen, 24, reported feeling tightness in his right forearm after his lone Cactus League appearance and an MRI confirmed elbow ligament damage.

• The Diamondbacks signed righthanders Rafael Rodriguez and Brian Sweeney to minor league deals after outrighting them off the 40-man roster.