Ryal spells LaRoche at first again

Ryal spells LaRoche at first again

PHOENIX -- Adam LaRoche was absent from Arizona's starting lineup for the second straight game, but not for a lack of trying.

"It was my decision, not his," interim skipper Kirk Gibson said. "He came in here and begged me."

LaRoche, who is suffering from back stiffness, but was able to hit in the batting cages during Saturday's game and was available off the bench on Sunday, was again replaced by reserve Rusty Ryal. LaRoche is sitting on a seven-game hitting streak.

"Although we know Adam is our regular starting first baseman, Ryal, that's part of his job, so let's give him an opportunity do it," Gibson said.

And he's done it well of late. Over his last nine straight starts entering Sunday -- he batted seventh -- Ryal was hitting .367 (11-for-30).

"As far as rhythm goes, it's not going to happen if you're not playing everyday; your mentality just has to be, relax and just take what they give you," summed up Ryal. "I'll have a job in Triple-A [if I don't]. Great if you do, damned if you don't."