Kris Benson Makes Diamondbacks Debut

In a nuance created by the scheduling Gods at Major League Baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks did not need a fifth starter in their pitching rotation until today. This was due to the fact that scheduled off days meant the first four starters could work on regular rest and remain on schedule.

Before Spring Training the goal was for Brandon Webb to be slotted as the fifth starter giving him an extra two weeks to prepare for his first start. Those plans fell by the wayside when Webb suffered a setback in early March.

As a result the Diamondbacks were in the market for a fifth starter. Through all of Spring Training the Diamondbacks auditioned several for the role including Bryan Augenstein, Billy Buckner, and Kevin Mulvey.

Each of these candidates had brief glimpses of dominance followed by long bouts of ineffectiveness. At the midpoint of Spring Training none of these candidates were able to secure the roster spot.

Arizona looked outside the organization and brought in former first overall draft pick Kris Benson as a non-roster invitee. Based upon his outings in Spring Training and Triple-A Reno the Diamondbacks have anointed him as their fifth starter.

In order to make room for him the Diamondbacks optioned right-handed pitcher Esmerling Vasquez to Triple-A Reno. To make room on the 40-man roster the Diamondbacks moved Webb from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.

This move means Webb is not eligible to return before May 25. Given the fact that he has yet to throw off the mound the May date may be optimistic. The time is quickly coming where the Diamondbacks will have to make a longer term decision of how to proceed without Webb.

Hopefully Benson will return to become a dominate pitcher like he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates instead of the pitcher who struggled through injuries in New York, Baltimore, or Texas. That’s a lot of wishful thinking for a team who is struggling the first two weeks of the season.

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