Youth Gets an Opportunity

It’s the beginning of the end, the last three-game series of the season. It seems like an out-of-body experience. The Diamondbacks last home game was nearly a week ago. After that game the fans all said good-bye and watched as Chase Field went dark for the next several months at least from a baseball perspective.

After a three-game series where the Diamondbacks were swept by the division leading San Francisco Giants they have made their way to Los Angeles to end the season at Dodger Stadium.

Tonight was to be the final game of the season for rookie Daniel Hudson. Hudson who came over at the trade deadline as one of the components in the Edwin Jackson deal has been stellar since his Diamondbacks debut.

Plans changed when Hudson suffered an injury to his middle finger of his pitching hand. In a precautionary measure the Diamondbacks shut the right-hander down and replaced him in the rotation with Zach Kroenke.

Kroenke was a Rule 5 draftee during the 2009 Winter Meetings. He was drafted from the New York Yankees and allowed an opportunity to make the club out of Spring Training. Things didn’t work out and the Diamondbacks offered him back to the Yankees.

The teams worked out a deal and Kroenke went to the Diamondbacks minor league system. He had a decent season in Reno and earned a September call-up. Since being called up he has worked out of the bullpen but had just two appearances.

Kroenke had been a predominately a starter in the minors and was given a chance to show he could pitch to major league hitters. His start went fairly well. He threw five innings allowing two hits and one run, a home run. He walked two and struck out one throwing 71 pitches.

The Diamondbacks scored seven runs in the game against the Dodgers to give the rookie his first big league win. Tonight was not just about Kroenke though. Catcher Konrad Schmidt likewise got his first major league start.

Schmidt who had played in Double-A Mobile was behind the plate. He played well going 1-4 at the plate. The hit was his first as a major leaguer. Both Kroenke and Schmidt were not just making their first respective starts; they were also auditioning.

New Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers was seated behind the plate observing the team as part of his assessment of the roster before the season ends. It will remain to be seen whether either player made a favorable impression on Towers. But for tonight they both have memories that will stay with them for their entire lives.

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