RI­VAL D-BACKS UP­GRADE LINEUP

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - — Nick Groke, The Den­ver Post

The Na­tional League West, a hub of com­pet­i­tive­ness this sea­son, added a new di­men­sion Tues­day when the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs traded three prospects to the Detroit Tigers for righthanded slug­ger J.D. Martinez. Not only did the D-backs add a po­tent bat, they kept one away from the Rockies.

Martinez, who owns base­ball’s fourth-best OPS (on-base plus slug­ging per­cent­age) at 1.018, adds an­other im­pact bat to a lineup that al­ready ranks sev­enth in the ma­jors in runs.

The Rockies and gen­eral man­ager Jeff Bridich, mean­while, re­main fo­cused on an­other facet of the game.

“Any team or gen­eral man­ager is al­ways look­ing for an op­por­tu­nity to up­grade his club,” Colorado man­ager Bud Black said. “And Jeff and his guys are do­ing every­thing they can to make that hap­pen.”

Black, a for­mer pitcher, smiled and ad­mit­ted he is not shy about be­ing greedy in ask­ing for more pitch­ing. And Bridich on Tues­day said in a ra­dio in­ter­view that he is look­ing for “some kind of as­sis­tance to our bullpen.”

Said Black: “Rest as­sured, our guys are do­ing their due dili­gence. You know what we like? Good play­ers. Pitch­ers in­cluded.”

Free­land to start.

Rookie left­hander Kyle Free­land will start Sun­day against the Pitts­burgh Pi­rates at Coors Field in his first game in the ro­ta­tion since a near-no hit­ter July 9 against the vis­it­ing Chicago White Sox. Af­ter the all-star break, Free­land ap­peared in a three-in­ning re­lief out­ing last week against the Mets at New York.

“My body feels good. My arm feels good. They wanted to give me a lit­tle ex­tra time,” said Free­land, 24. “I got a lit­tle rest. And it will be nice to con­tinue to get a lit­tle rest.”

Skip­ping Free­land’s turn in the ro­ta­tion fol­lows a Rockies pat­tern this year as they try to ex­tend the health and length of four rookie start­ing pitch­ers. An­to­nio Sen­za­tela, 22, on Tues­day re­turned to the ro­ta­tion for his first start since June 22. In the in­terim, he made three re­lief ap­pear­ances and one start in Triple-A. Ger­man Mar­quez, 22, who struck nine in a win Mon­day, started the sea­son in the bullpen. And Jeff Hoff­man, 24, be­gan his year in Triple-A.

Black said Free­land might get an­other breather soon. With Tyler Chat­wood (strained calf ) and Tyler An­der­son (knee surgery) on the dis­abled list, their op­tions are cur­rently limited.

“When we look at them, there might be dif­fer­ent points in the sea­son when an ex­tra days rest or a skipped turn in the ro­ta­tion might be ad­van­ta­geous for any start­ing pitcher,” Black said.

Tapia down.

Rookie out­fielder Raimel Tapia was sent to Triple-A to make room on the ros­ter for Sen­za­tela, a de­ci­sion that was not easy to make, Black said. Tapia was hit­ting .314 in 40 games, in­clud­ing a healthy .369 on-base per­cent­age.

“Tough one,” Black said. “He was in­stru­men­tal in a num­ber of our wins. We like the fact he comes to the park with en­ergy and a smile on his face. He loves to play. He’s about win­ning. I told him, ‘This is part of be­ing a young player on a team with estab­lished vet­eran guys.’ I ex­pect at some point he could re­turn to help us win games.”

Those vet­eran play­ers in­clude Car­los Gon­za­lez, who re­turned to the lineup Tues­day, but was hit­ting .214 in a sea­son-long slump.

Foot­notes.

Util­ity in­fielder Alexi Amarista started at third base in place of Nolan Are­nado, who was given a breather. … Chat­wood played catch Mon­day and ran around the out­field Tues­day while re­cov­er­ing from a strained calf… Chad Bet­tis threw 2M in­nings in his sec­ond re­hab out­ing for Dou­ble-A Hart­ford, giv­ing up three hits and one earned run, with three strike­outs, over 46 pitches. He cruised through two in­nings on 20 pitches be­fore al­low­ing a home run and a dou­ble in the third.

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