Rhythm key for D-backs reserves

Rhythm key for D-backs reserves

PHOENIX -- It may have seemed superfluous for D-backs skipper A.J. Hinch to pinch-hit reserves Tony Abreu and Augue Ojeda late in Tuesday's 9-3 loss to the visiting New York Yankees. The team was, of course, down by seven runs at the time.

"When we're down like that, I wanted to make sure Abreu got an at-bat and I wanted to make sure Augie got an at-bat," Hinch said after the loss. "It was more about getting our bench guys a look in case they're needed tomorrow."

Which was greatly appreciated in the reserves wing of the clubhouse. Abreu and Ojeda, who back up starting infielders Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds, also believe one plate appearance in one given night could make for a more productive game another night.

"Guys on the bench that don't play much -- any time they get an opportunity to get an at-bat -- we're more than happy to have it, to see some live pitches, because it's a lot different than in the [batting] cage," said Ojeda, who struck out looking on Tuesday and has just 31 at-bats spread over 27 games this season. "It helps the timing. Baseball is all about timing. The more at-bats you get on a consistent basis, the [more] you're going to be successful."

Abreu, meanwhile, said that even the smallest sample size -- a solitary opportunity off the pine, in this case -- is enough for him to watch his tendencies, both positive and negative, on video afterward.

Rusty Ryal, who completes Hinch's most-likely-to-pinch-hit triumvirate, disagrees almost completely.

"Pinch-hitting is one of those things -- for me, it's more of a fist-fight," said Ryal, who batted for pitcher Dan Haren on Tuesday but was retired on a flyout, with Arizona down, 3-2, in the seventh. "You're just in there to survive an AB and hope something positive comes out of it. ... As far as getting in a rhythm, there's no shot. If anyone says they get in a rhythm off [of] one at-bat ... they've got a special gift."