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Missing leaders, D-backs move on

D-backs move on

PHOENIX -- At the beginning of the season, there were two players in the D-backs' starting lineup that were touted as the team's veteran leaders -- Eric Byrnes and Orlando Hudson.

Now both of them have been lost -- probably for the remainder of the season.

Byrnes strained his hamstring on June 30 and has been out ever since, with his return to the D-backs in 2008 highly unlikely. On Saturday, the D-backs lost the other half of the veteran duo, Hudson, when he dislocated a bone in his wrist and was forced to have season-ending surgery the same night.

The D-backs were able to go on without Hudson last season by leaning on utility infielder Augie Ojeda, as they will have to do again.

"Our thoughts were with Orlando [Saturday] night," said D-backs manager Bob Melvin. "He's been a big part of our team, not only on the field, but in the clubhouse. As soon as he can, he's going to get back here and on the bench, and give us moral support like he did last year.

"Based on what we saw last year, we have a piece that can go out there that we feel confident in, in Augie, and that's what we expect again."

Melvin expected the team would not look outside the organization or call up another infielder from its farm system, especially since the D-backs traded their top infield prospect, Emilio Bonifacio, to the Nationals last month for reliever Jon Rauch.

Melvin called Ojeda "our guy" for the rest of the season. Playing at every infield position but first base this year, Ojeda has hit .258 in 132 at-bats. Chris Burke is also expected to get occasional starts against left-handers.

Last season, the team's motto was "Anybody, Anytime." After all the injuries in 2008, Melvin said the team may have to print those T-shirts again.

"Going into the season, [Byrnes and Hudson] were our two leaders, our two main guys, the guys that kind of set the tone for the younger group that we have," Melvin said. "We don't have either of them right now. You just have to move forward. You hope the added experience that everyone's had this season would suggest that you get by with some injuries.

"Those are two key ingredients, but there's nothing we can do about that right now."

Pitching matchup
ARI: LHP Randy Johnson (9-8, 4.24 ERA)
Johnson was outstanding in his last outing against the Pirates. Johnson held Pittsburgh to just two runs over 7 1/3 innings and did not walk a batter while fanning seven. He lost to Jeff Karstens, who carried a perfect game through 7 2/3 innings before winding up with a two-hit shutout. The loss snapped Johnson's five-start winning streak and left him stranded at 293 career wins.

COL: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (8-10, 3.86 ERA)
Jimenez dominated in July, going 5-1 with a 1.74 ERA, but against the Nationals on Thursday, he reverted back to the mistakes that plagued him earlier this season. He threw with plenty of velocity against Washington but couldn't find the plate, walking a season-high six batters in five innings. He also gave up six runs, the most he'd surrendered since May 27. Jimenez said the problem was with his mechanics -- his left shoulder got too far ahead of the rest of his body when he went through his motion.

Tidbits
Jamie D'Antona got his first big league start in Sunday's game against the Braves, playing at first base. Bench coach Kirk Gibson gave D'Antona a hard time because D'Antona didn't even look at the lineup card in the clubhouse before the game, just assuming he was out of the lineup. It took D'Antona 30 minutes to realize he was starting. ... Part of the reason D'Antona started at first was because Tony Clark is a little banged up after fouling a ball off his foot, bruising a few of his toes. "He really struggled to get to first base," Melvin said, adding that the foul ball was affecting his ability to move around. Clark was available to pinch-hit Sunday. ... When Mark Reynolds struck out in the eighth inning Sunday, he set a new franchise high with 146 strikeouts on the season. ... The D-backs will get left-handed reliever Doug Slaten back for the upcoming road trip against the Rockies and Astros. Slaten has been on the disabled list with a strained right knee. He just completed his three rehab appearances and is ready to be activated. ... Outfielder Justin Upton will start his rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Tucson.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN

On radio
• KTAR 620, KSUN 1400 (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Diamondbacks (Yusmeiro Petit, 1-3, 3.12) at Rockies (Jeff Francis, 3-8, 5.81), 6:05 p.m. MST
• Thursday: Diamondbacks (Doug Davis, 4-7, 4.75) at Rockies (Aaron Cook, 14-8, 3.87), 12:05 p.m. MST
• Friday: Diamondbacks (Dan Haren, 12-6, 3.00) at Astros (TBD), 5:05 p.m. MST

Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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