Diamondbacks Nab Holmberg In Search For Pitching

PHOENIX—Old friends and teammates shook hands and shared jokes afterward, but game faces were firmly in place when lefthander David Holmberg made his first two starts for Rookie-level Missoula in early August.

His opponent? His former team, Great Falls.

Holmberg, acquired by the Diamondbacks in the deadline deal that also brought Daniel Hudson from the White Sox for Edwin Jackson, gave up three earned runs in five innings in the first meeting before shutting out his ex-teammates with six strikeouts in six innings in the return match.

"It was a little different," Holmberg admitted. "It had its advantages and disadvantages. I knew a little about them. They knew a little about me. Everything went the way it was supposed to."

Holmberg, a second-round pick in 2009, has settled in nicely with the Diamondbacks, going 1-3, 4.03 with 34 strikeouts in 29 innings over five starts. The Diamondbacks identified young, projectable pitching as an area of need, and the acquisition of Holmberg and lefthanders Tyler Skaggs and Pat Corbin gives them a boost.

"Our goal was to increase our depth in pitching. We've introduced a lot of lefthanders in the mix, all of whom are middle-of-the-rotation or better prospects," Arizona interim general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

"It's a fresh start," Holmberg said. "It was a little shocking. It's definitely a good thing the D-backs wanted me."

Holmberg, 19, has tweaked his repertoire since joining Missoula, adding a slider to his fastball/curve/changeup mix. He threw the slider at Port Charlotte (Fla.) High but dropped it when he turned pro to concentrate on throwing just one breaking ball.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Holmberg touches 90 mph with his fastball, and thus understands that commanding the fastball and using his offspeed stuff effectively is his ticket. He has only 14 walks in 69 innings in the Pioneer League this season.

"You want to get ahead. You have many more options when you pitch ahead," Holmberg said.

Snake Bites

• Arizona throttled back on lefthander Tyler Skaggs' workload in August as he completed his first full season in the low Class A Midwest League.

• Short-season Yakima earned its first playoff berth since 2000 thanks in large part to second baseman Mike Freeman and shortstop Zach Walters, who were batting .339 and .312 in early September.