Notes: Tracy takes big step
Third baseman takes batting practice, expects return soon
PHILADELPHIA -- Chad Tracy took a big step toward getting back into the Diamondbacks' lineup on Tuesday, but it will likely be at least a week before he sees action on the field.The D-backs' third baseman, on the disabled list with a sore rib cage, took batting practice on Tuesday from hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, and said it went "really good." He didn't take a set amount of swings, saying only that it was a lot. Manager Bob Melvin doesn't yet know what will happen to the D-backs' lineup when Tracy returns, but signs point to some sort of shakeup. Mark Reynolds is hitting .435 with 13 RBIs since being called up to fill Tracy's spot 13 games ago. But Tracy said he isn't sweating his place on the field. "I've been doing this long enough to know that I'm a very productive player," Tracy said. "I expect to be productive the rest of the year." Tracy's next step will be to throw across the diamond on Wednesday as well as on the team's day off on Thursday. He said he would throw and hit during the team's upcoming road trip to New York. No deal yet: The D-backs insist they are still working hard to get right-hander Max Scherzer signed, but as Wednesday's deadline approaches there remains no deal in place.
Scherzer, who was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player draft, is represented by agent Scott Boras. The University of Missouri product is the only first-round pick yet to sign.
General manager Josh Byrnes is handling the negotiations for the D-backs.
"Josh [Bynres] and Scott [Boras] continue to talk," team president Derrick Hall said. "But it's unpredictable right now whether there will be a resolution."
The D-backs have until 9 p.m. MST on Wednesday to get a deal done or Scherzer will go back into this year's draft pool. The club is no stranger to last-minute deals with Boras as they reached an agreement with another of his clients, shortstop Stephen Drew, literally moments before a May 31, 2005 deadline.
Brown traded: Dee Brown, a left-fielder for the Tuscon Sidewinders, was traded Tuesday to Oakland for cash or a player to be named later, D-backs spokesman Mike McNally said. Brown is likely headed for Sacremento, the Athletics' Triple-A affiliate. The 29-year-old was batting .282 over 41 games with the Sidewinders this season.
Jackson past slow start: Conor Jackson had a forgettable moment Monday, as a ground ball and would-be third out escaped through his legs and into right field to extend Philadelphia's ninth-inning rally.Not much else is getting by Jackson these days, though, at least not at the plate. The first baseman is 16-for-29 over his last eight games, with seven RBIs. He's struck out just twice over that span. He made his latest contribution with a three-hit, four-RBI performance on Monday against the Phillies during which he homered, doubled and singled. Along with his miscue on the field, Jackson seems to have put a slow start behind him. He raised his average from .232 on May 17 to .277 following Monday's game. "I knew it was going to come," Jackson said. "It's all confidence. It's one of those things where you got to get out there and you got to feel [hot]. It's just the way it is. It's not arrogance, it's just getting in a groove." Family ties: Melvin dropped in on the Philadelphia Eagles mini-camp Tuesday to visit with his cousin, Tom Melvin, who coaches the team's tight ends. Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles home, is a short walk across the street from the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park. The D-backs manager took in the workouts for the team's rookies and second-year players on his first ever stop-in at his cousin's "office." "He was never really an athlete growing up," said the baseball-minded Melvin of his cousin. "He kind of got bigger as he went along." A contrast in styles: One has a laughable streak going at the plate, the other treats each plate appearance with seriousness. D-backs pitcher Doug Davis hasn't had a hit since July 4, 2006 -- the National League's longest hitless streak. He extended that mark by going 0-for-3 Monday. Micah Owings is coming off a Minor-League year during which he hit a combined .382 (21-for-55) for Triple-A Tuscon and Double-A Tennessee. He is just 2-for-14 with two RBIs and a sac bunt with the D-backs this season, and is not laughing when he returns to the dugout without a hit. "He gets upset," Melvin said. Next up: Randy Johnson is expected to take the mound on Wednesday after missing his last scheduled start due to tendinitis in his left forearm. Johnson threw a 50-pitch bullpen session on Monday and said on Tuesday his arm was fine. Melvin said Johnson could approach 100 pitches during his start on Wednesday.
In his past two starts, Johnson has looked like his old self. He held the Rockies to just a bunt single over six innings with nine strikeouts, and followed that up with 10 punchouts in seven innings against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
Stephen Fastenau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Steve Gilbert contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.