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Notes: Club brass endorses Melvin

Notes: Club brass endorses Melvin

PITTSBURGH -- They won't have a vote when the baseball writers cast their ballots for Manager of the Year in the National League, but D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick and CEO Jeff Moorad do have an opinion on how their manager, Bob Melvin, has performed this year.

"I think the one word for the job he's done is 'remarkable,'" Kendrick said.

"Bob Melvin has been everything we've asked for and more," Moorad said. "In my view, he's a no-brainer choice for Manager of the Year in the National League. He's certainly earned it."

Melvin appears to be the front-runner for the award, given the fact he's got the D-backs in first place in the NL West with six games to play despite the fact they have been outscored.

The chasm between veterans and young players in the Dodgers clubhouse, which recently boiled over in public, also provides a contrast to how Melvin has integrated the organization's top young players into the mix over the past two seasons.

"It's a tough act to blend veterans with young players and get the best from all of them," Kendrick said. "And Bob has seemed to, almost in a Houdini-like way, been able to make the decisions of who to play and when to play them, and I think he deserves great credit for the way he's handled it."

The fact that Kendrick and Moorad feel strongly about Melvin is not surprising, given the harmony that has existed in the front office over the past couple of years.

"I look at the success that we've had so far this year as an organizational accomplishment," Melvin said. "Ownership, our baseball department, scouting, player development, the whole thing, everyone is on the same page. I've gotten support from ownership on down. That's important and something I'm very thankful for."

Micah and Edgar, maybe: Melvin refused to look past the series with the Pirates, but he did say it looked like Micah Owings would start Friday in Colorado, which would mean Edgar Gonzalez would go Saturday.

"That's how we're looking at it right now," Melvin said. "The three days right here are what we're more focused on right now."

Initially it looked like Gonzalez would start Friday and Owings on Saturday, but Gonzalez suffered a blood blister in his start, and the club might want to give it an extra day to heal.

"We'll see how it responds here in a couple of days," Melvin said.

It's not you, it's me: Tony Clark started for the second straight game at first base in place of Conor Jackson.

While Melvin has settled into an everyday lineup at most spots, he continues to juggle Clark and Jackson at first, along with Jeff Salazar and Justin Upton in right.

Melvin has told Upton and Jackson that if they're out of the lineup, it's not a statement on their abilities.

"It means that each and every game means that much more now. And if there's a little bit we think a small percentage leaning the other way, I might be apt to do it," Melvin said. "As difficult as it is, these guys are great about it."

It's along the same lines of what Melvin told Upton about sometimes replacing him in late innings for defensive purposes.

"It doesn't mean I don't have confidence in him," Melvin said. "It means at the time if I think we're a little bit better out there [with someone else] and closing in on the end of the game, then I might do it."

Bring us home a crown: When the D-backs players and staff walked to their busses at Chase Field on Thursday to go to Sky Harbor Airport, they were greeted by the entire Arizona front office waving signs and cheering.

"There are no greater fans than this hard-working group that puts countless hours and emotion into the team," team president Derrick Hall said. "The players seemed appreciative, and we always look for opportunities to interact. We are a family after all, players and front office alike."

Extra spot: It's not often you see a pitcher taking extra batting practice, but Owings joined a few of the hitters Tuesday afternoon in taking his cuts.

Apparently Owings volunteered to shag, and when it turned out they had an open spot, he was allowed to take some cuts.

Of course, Owings is not your typical pitcher when it comes to hitting. A two-way player in college, Owings has hit .291 this year with four home runs and a slugging percentage of .618.

Moving up: Dave Hansen, who drew rave reviews for his work as hitting coach at Double-A Mobile this past season, was named the organization's hitting coordinator Tuesday.

Up next: The D-backs continue their series with the Pirates on Wednesday night with Livan Hernandez (11-10, 4.85 ERA) taking on Matt Morris (9-11, 5.02).

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

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