D-backs brass confident despite struggles

D-backs brass confident despite struggles

PHOENIX -- Derrick Hall is aware of how much his team has struggled this year, but the D-backs' president and CEO said he remains confident that it will turn around.

"I'm not satisfied with the results, but we still have faith in this team," Hall said. "We believe it's a much better team than it was last year. We've obviously had some games get away from us that our bullpen was not able to close out, but it's a much more exciting team with a powerful offense. The starting pitching has been fantastic, in my opinion, and has kept us in a lot of games."

The D-backs entered Friday in last place in the National League West with an 18-24 mark and a bullpen that ranks dead last in the Majors.

Recently, there have been some positive signs. The team has won three of its past four, and the bullpen has pitched a little better.

"Every bullpen goes through a down time," Hall said. "Unfortunately, every member of that bullpen at the same time had difficulty, but I have faith in the arms that are down there."

D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes was as patient as he could be with the relievers, but over the past 10 days he began making changes -- removing Bob Howry and Blaine Boyer from the roster and replacing them with Carlos Rosa and Saul Rivera.

"Josh has been working around the clock," Hall said. "Believe me, he has called every team, he's called every free agent, he's looked under every rock possible and he will continue to. He's a very hard worker. He's certainly not satisfied in the results, but I have confidence in him and his staff, and he has confidence in the team he's going to put on the field."

Trying to find bullpen help has been a challenge with plenty of other teams battling their own relief issues, though not as severe as Arizona's.

"Obviously, we continue to explore alternatives," said Byrnes, who inked veteran journeyman Luis Ayala this week. "Virtually every team has had those games. We've just had them too often."

Byrnes knows the fan base is not pleased with the results so far, and neither is he. No one has taken the struggles any harder than he has.

"I get plenty frustrated," he said. "Not depression or feeling defeated by it. We've got to figure out a way to get better, and it's my job to make the club better. What's frustrating is our position players have played well, we've scored runs and caught the ball better and our starters have done a good job. With the exception of last homestand, we should have won every series.

"You don't want to pile on the [relievers] -- they're part of the team and they're capable of pitching better, but that's reality. Again, we're frustrated, but we're determined to make it better, too."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.