Notes: Callaspo earning time on field
Infielder tries his hand in outfield in effort to get bat in lineup
TUCSON, Ariz. -- As the spring has moved along, it's become increasingly clear that Alberto Callaspo is going to play. Someway, somehow, manager Bob Melvin is going to find a way to get him in the lineup regularly.
Callaspo is a middle infielder by trade, but has also played some third. On Saturday, Melvin started him in left field for the first time this year during a morning B game against the White Sox.
"You'll see him out there a couple of more times, too," Melvin said. "He's a great athlete, could probably play anywhere on the field. And the way he swings the bat, he just gives us another option. With having all right-handed hitting outfielders right now, he just gives another option if we want to get him out there and get another left-handed bat in there."
The switch-hitting Callaspo leads the D-backs in hitting with a .438 mark this spring. This comes on the heels of a 2006 season in which led the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in hits despite spending a few weeks in the big leagues.
The D-backs acquired Callaspo last spring from the Angels in exchange for pitcher Jason Bulger, and while overshadowed by young players like Carlos Quentin, Chris Young, Conor Jackson and Stephen Drew, Callaspo continues to push for his share of attention.
"I've often said this camp that when we talk about the Quentin and Jacksons and Drews and Youngs, this guy kind of gets left out," Melvin said. "And he shouldn't. He's a heck of a player. That's a heck of a trade we made last year."
Playing Callaspo in the outfield is one way to get him extra at-bats during the season and it might also make sense to start him at third in place of Chad Tracy against some left-handers.
Nippert gets work in: Dustin Nippert followed Randy Johnson to the mound in the B game and gave up three hits, but did not allow a run in two innings of work.
"Good breaking ball, downhill plane on his fastball," Melvin said of the right-hander.
Johnson's next outing: Melvin originally planned to throw Johnson on Thursday in Mesa against the Cubs, but instead will have the Big Unit start the Thursday night game against the Padres at Chase Field.
Familiar face: Robby Hammock, who is battling for one of the final roster spots, caught Johnson on Saturday.
Hammock was also behind the plate on May 18, 2004, in Atlanta, when Johnson tossed a perfect game, and the two have always worked well together.
"To have Robby back there the first time it was nice because we talk a lot in the clubhouse, and it's nice when you can talk out there and [he] can kind of guide you through," Johnson said. "He's always done a pretty good job with me behind home plate."
Getting better: Doug Davis pitched well in his next-to-last start of the spring as he held the White Sox to three runs over five innings.
Davis has struggled a bit this spring and came into Saturday's game with an 11.25 ERA. Though he feels like he's pitched better than that number would have indicated, it was still important for him to have a good showing Saturday, especially since he was working on incorporating a couple of mechanical tweaks.
"Better today," he said. "Everything felt good and I felt like I was throwing strikes and getting ahead."
Up next: The D-backs travel across town to take on the Rockies at Hi Corbett Field at 1:05 p.m. MT on Sunday with Edgar Gonzalez starting against Rodrigo Lopez.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.