PHOENIX -- There are several important statistics that D-backs team president and CEO Derrick Hall will never be happy with, and they have don't have anything to do with baseball.According to an assessment of data compiled by the Valley of the Sun United Way and the Association of Arizona Food Banks, 82,000 households in Maricopa County are "food insecure" and chronically hungry. Fifty percent of those households have children and 20 percent house senior citizens. To combat the problem, Hall and second baseman Aaron Hill have teamed up with the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Ending Hunger Advisory committee and other community leaders to promote the UNITE to End Hunger initiative, a four-year plan to end hunger in the county and promote a systematic change. "We believe that with the right partnerships and right leadership that we can end hunger in our community, but it's going to take a community-wide effort," said Merl Waschler, president and CEO of Valley of the Sun United Way. "That's what this campaign is about." On Monday, Hall urged fans to take the Pledge to End Hunger at vsuw.org. The D-backs, through the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, will donate one dollar, up to $100,000, for every pledge taken to help end hunger. "All we are asking is for you to take the pledge to say you want to unite to end hunger and be a part of our initiative," Hall said. "We are not asking for money or donations -- although, it would be nice and eventually we do need some of that to accomplish what we need to accomplish -- but we are looking for community-minded folks to say, 'Enough is enough,' and step up to the plate and be a voice and be on this team." The first goal is to end chronic hunger in the 33 percent of the households that will be affected by 2016. The initiative also strives to improve access to out-of-school-time meals for children, improve distribution of meals for seniors, and provide nutritional programs and information for pregnant women. "Personally, this is so meaningful because I can't imagine or think about children going without food," Hill said. "It's something that I am very passionate about and I want to be involved with, and not just as a voice. My wife and I are very excited to do whatever we can. Kids should not have to go hungry. It will be fun to see how far we can go with it."
D-backs sport Majors' youngest rotation
PHOENIX -- The youth movement has officially arrived in Arizona.With an average age of 24, the D-backs' current rotation is the youngest in the Major Leagues, based on the probable pitchers for the next five days, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Monday's starter, Tyler Skaggs, is 21, and he's followed in the rotation by Wade Miley (25), Patrick Corbin (23), Ian Kennedy (27) and Trevor Cahill (24). "To me, that's the rotation we would like to have in place for years to come, although we might have gotten to them sooner because of injuries and trades that were able to make," D-backs president Derrick Hall said. "Hopefully, one day we can resemble the rotation the Braves had in the early '90s when they were very young, yet they were together for so many years and had so many pennants together. Are we going to be the Braves? I think everybody aspires to be, but who knows?" The Houston Astros have the second youngest rotation with an average age of 25, followed by Baltimore (25.8) and Washington (26). "This organization has a lot of confidence in the younger guys, and it's about getting guys out, no matter how old you are," Miley said. "It's good to know they trust in you. They give you the opportunity and not wait around. If they feel like a guy is ready, they are not afraid to bring him up."
Lindstrom joins D-backs for Monday's opener
PHOENIX -- Arriving at Chase Field just in time for pregame workouts, D-backs reliever Matt Lindstrom was in an Arizona uniform for the first Monday, a day after being traded from Baltimore in exchange for Joe Saunders."I'm excited to move on and to get going with this new team," Lindstrom said. "I have some friends on this team. I've faced these guys before and I knew they had a good mix of young players in this clubhouse. I'm just looking to fit in." Lindstrom, who posted a 2.72 ERA in 36 1/3 innings with the Orioles this season, is playing for the fifth organization in his five-year career, but the 32-year-old Idaho native is hoping to stick in Arizona. "We all know when you're in the bullpen it can be volatile sometimes, also I keep reminding myself this team wanted me, they are filling needs," he said. "I'm just looking forward to meshing with the guys in the bullpen and contributing anyway I can." Lindstrom played last season with the Rockies, an experience he thinks will help him in his return to the National League West. "It'll serve me well," he said. "I want to get my work in and do what I can. I've pitched in these parks before, not going out there surprised with the different venues. I know there are a couple hitters' parks and a couple pitchers' parks. I like it out here better anyways." Even though he has only recorded two saves since 2010, Lindstrom has 45 in his career and has filled multiple roles in the bullpen. "I have some closing experience, I like throwing in the setup role, too, but it doesn't matter to me," he said. "I know it's cliche, but I just want to help the team win. Hopefully I can provide a little shot in the arm. I know from last year in Colorado what these guys did. It was very impressive and I think we can get back to that."
Towers, Hall still focused on playoff spot
PHOENIX -- The D-backs entered Monday seven games behind the first-place Giants and five games behind the Dodgers in the National League West and 6 1/2 games off the Wild Card pace with three teams between them and a playoff berth, but the club's brass is refusing to give up hope with more than a month left in the season."We're not waiving the white flag," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "We have a lot of games in the division, hopefully we can get hot. Until we're officially eliminated, we'll keep playing. But we're going to have to start winning series." Of the team's 34 remaining games, only six will be played outside of the division. With so many chances to win head-to-head matchups against clubs they are trailing, the D-backs are hoping they can replicate what the Cardinals did last season, when St. Louis trailed in the Wild Card by 10 1/2 games on Aug. 25 only to storm back to win the World Series. "The amazing thing is that we are in a better position now than the Cardinals were in last year," D-backs president Derrick Hall said. "Granted, there are two teams that we have to overcome, and they are both playing very well and we haven't played as well as I think we could have or should have of late, but we could still have a run in us. Being seven games down with 34 to go, anything is possible, and I think we are still in it, be it the Wild Card or the division. I'm optimistic." Part of the disappointment of the D-backs' 64-64 record this season is how well they played and how many people they surprised last year. But according to Towers, the club's 2011 playoff run may have been more of a flash in the pan. "I don't know if it's as much we're underachieving this year as we overachieved last year and this is who we are," Towers said. "I felt on paper we were better, I don't think the division is that much stronger. We probably overachieved last year, but we wanted to sustain what we did."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.