PHOENIX -- How Livan Hernandez will impact the Diamondbacks on the field will play out over the next two months, but the acquisition of the veteran right-hander has already had a positive effect in the clubhouse. After last week's trade deadline came and went without the Diamondbacks making a deal while all of their opponents in the National League West did, there was some quiet grumbling among the players. Monday, they sang the praises of the front office. "He knows how to pitch and he's a big-game pitcher, and that's just what we need down the stretch," catcher Johnny Estrada said. "If we can get Webby [Brandon Webb] back out there and get [Miguel Batista] going and then with Livan, we're definitely going to have a shot at this thing."
Said third baseman Chad Tracy, "We needed another arm and I think it's a good acquisition. The guy has proved he can pitch in big ballgames and win big ballgames coming down the stretch. I think he's going to be a big pickup for us. "It lets us know that they [the front office] want to win right now and obviously we want to win right now. It gives us some confidence." Webb has never played with Hernandez, but he talked with a couple of others who had and is looking forward to what Hernandez could bring to the rotation. "I'm excited to have him," Webb said. "He's a guy who's definitely going to throw a lot of innings for us. He's a competitor who doesn't like to come out of games, from what I hear. It shows that the Diamondbacks aren't giving up and that we're trying to win this year." The D-Backs entered play Monday tied for second place with the Dodgers, just two games in back of the Padres. "He won a World Series and he's got a lot of games under his belt, so he ain't no rookie and he ain't no pushover," second baseman Orlando Hudson said. "He knows exactly what he's doing out there on that bump." Counsell closer: Despite specualation that Craig Counsell (fractured rib) could be out until mid-September, it looks like the veteran infielder is on track to be back before the end of August. "I don't know if [he's swinging] today or tomorrow but we're pretty close," D-Backs manager Bob Melvin said Monday. "There's an outside shot that maybe at the end of this homestand, maybe a little bit into the road trip, [he'll start his rehab assignment]. He's chomping at the bit to get out there." Scouting the field: The D-Backs will begin interviewing candidates to replace scouting director Mike Rizzo in the next 10 days. Rizzo left the Diamondbacks last month to become vice president and assistant general manager of the Nationals. Still waiting: Webb, who has had some pain in his elbow, played catch Monday and will throw a bullpen session Tuesday. The team will then determine whether he will start Friday or Saturday or whether he will need to be pushed back further. "I feel fine," Webb said. "I'm sure I'll be OK." More time needed: Outfielder Jeff DaVanon, who rolled his ankle while sliding into second base Saturday, was better but still not playable Monday. "Still maybe a day, two, three, we'll see," Melvin said. "But considerably better [Monday] than he was [Sunday]." Melvin said that if needed in an emergency, DaVanon could play as soon as Tuesday. Double your pleasure: Veteran outfielder Luis Gonzalez tied Lou Gehrig on Sunday when he smacked his 534th career double in the sixth inning. Over the past two weeks, Gonzalez has passed Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Dave Parker, Frank Robinson, Al Oliver and Cap Anson. Next up for Gonzalez is Al Simmons with 539. Still rolling: Triple-A Tucson staged a monster rally Sunday, scoring nine runs in the eighth inning to beat Oklahoma, 11-8. The win boosted the Sidewinders' record to 74-40, 13 games ahead of Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League's Pacific Division. Up next: The D-Backs and Giants continue their three-game series Tuesday night at Chase Field with Juan Cruz facing off against Jamey Wright.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.