Mailbag: Will Jackson have big year?
Beat reporter Steve Gilbert answers D-backs fans' questions
I say that Conor Jackson is poised to have a big year now that Tony Clark is not looking over his shoulder. What do you think?
-- Bryan C., Phoenix
It wouldn't surprise me at all if Jackson had a very good year, Bryan, but I'm not sure I buy into the theory that it will be because Clark is no longer with the team.
To me, it seems a stretch to think Clark's presence affected Jackson. There's always someone looking to take your job in baseball, so the idea that there won't be any pressure on Jackson this year is incorrect, in my opinion.
Clark was not healthy for most of the 2006 season and Jackson put up pretty similar numbers that year as he did last year when Clark played more. Both year's numbers were good, but I think Jackson and the organization feel there is more potential that has yet to be tapped.
He reported to camp in the best shape he's ever been in thanks to an offseason spent at Athlete's Performance. So everything is set up for him to have a breakout year and the opportunity is there. It's up to Jackson to seize it.
If Miguel Montero's bad finger keeps him from making the Opening Day roster, wouldn't Robby Hammock be a lock to make the team?
-- Bob B., Bullhead City, Ariz.
Yes, Bob, if Montero's broken right index finger keeps him off the Opening Day roster, the D-backs are all but certain to carry Hammock as the backup catcher.
Manager Bob Melvin likes the versatility that Hammock brings to his bench, and also likes the way Hammock calls a game and handles himself behind the plate.
The club is holding out hope that Montero will be ready for the opener, but the longer this finger issue lingers, the harder it will be for that to happen. We should know more in 10 days or so when Montero has the finger re-examined.
If Stephen Drew has a season like last year's and Chad Tracy is healthy, do you think Mark Reynolds will play some short with Tracy at third base?
-- Kyle L., Phoenix
I don't see that happening, Kyle. Though Drew's numbers weren't what he or the club hoped for last year at the plate, I don't know that he had that bad of a year when you look at it and certainly not if you take into account the fact that he played very good defense.
It also remains to be seen if Tracy is able to play third, given his knee issues the past couple of seasons or if he is limited to first base at least initially.
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Is there a chance of viewing D-backs players at Kino Sports Complex conducting practice/warmups prior to the game's start?
-- Brad S., Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Now that games have begun Brad, the D-backs don't go over to the Kino Sports Complex to work out, but you can go over and watch the Minor Leaguers work out each day. Right now they have an early camp going on, and later this week the Minor League pitchers and catchers will begin reporting.
What do you see Max Scherzer's future role being? And when do you see his time being? I see a nasty setup guy kind of like the way [Octavio] Dotel used to be with the Astros and eventually see him as a closer.
-- Dan G., Syracuse, N.Y.
Right now, the plan with Scherzer is to have him begin the season with Triple-A Tucson in the starting rotation. There are those inside and outside the organization that think eventually he'd be best suited to be a closer, but I think at least initially he'll be given a chance to start.
He's certainly impressed the big league staff this spring, not just with his stuff, but also the intense way he goes about his business on the mound.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.