Roberts settling in with increased time

Roberts settling in with increased time

PITTSBURGH -- The trade of second baseman Felipe Lopez left the D-backs with a hole.

It also gave Ryan Roberts an opportunity.

Roberts has gotten the bulk of the playing time since the trade, and the more he plays at second base, the more comfortable he gets. It's the same at the plate, where the more consistent at-bats he gets, the better his numbers.

Regular playing time at this level is something the 28-year-old had not previously gotten. In fact, coming into this year he had played in a combined 18 games in the big leagues.

"It's great," Roberts said. "To actually have a manager say, 'You're going to get a lot of playing time,' is a first for me, and it's pretty awesome, man. There's a lot of good players in the big leagues that could do well if they got to play every day. It's just about getting the chance. It took a long time, but the chips finally fell in my favor to where I get a chance to play a lot."

Since the trade, which coincided with Roberts' promotion from Triple-A Reno where he spent two weeks, he had hit .348 with a 1.107 OPS (on-base plus slugging) that included four doubles and four homers entering Wednesday.

Defensively, Roberts has also shown improvement.

"You never feel 100 percent comfortable anywhere until you start playing there every day," Roberts said. "The more and more I get to play at second and take balls there and learn the angles I need to take there, all that kind of stuff factors in to being better."

Pitching matchup
ARI: RHP Max Scherzer (6-6, 3.80 ERA)
Scherzer had a disastrous fourth inning against the Mets on Saturday night, and it prevented him from getting a win. Following his best start of the year, the right-hander held the Mets scoreless through the first three innings. But in the fourth, he wound up allowing five hits and four runs. Even more damaging to his chances for a win was the fact that he threw a whopping 38 pitches in the inning, which caused manager A.J. Hinch to take him out. In his start before that, Scherzer tossed seven scoreless innings allowing five hits and no walks while striking out eight.

PIT: RHP Kevin Hart (3-1, 2.60 ERA)
Hart, who was one of the acquisitions in the Pirates' trade with the Cubs on July 30, makes his Pittsburgh debut. It will be the fifth game and first start of his career at PNC Park, where he is 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA. Hart hasn't faced Arizona this season, but the right-hander has won his last three starts overall, giving up six runs in 17 innings.

Tidbits
Tom Gordon tossed a scoreless inning Tuesday night for Reno, but he did walk a batter. The D-backs would like to see him throw more strikes during his rehab from a left hamstring problem. Hinch said Gordon is scheduled for another two-to-three rehab appearances before his assignment expires during the club's upcoming homestand. ... Eric Byrnes (left hand) hit off the tee for the first time since having surgery. The outfielder said he expects to take soft-toss when the club is in Washington this weekend.

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On radio
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Up next
• Friday: Diamondbacks (Jon Garland, 6-10, 4.26) at Nationals (Collin Balester, 1-1, 3.68), 4:05 p.m. MST
• Saturday: Diamondbacks (Dan Haren, 11-6, 2.38) at Nationals (Garrett Mock, 0-4, 6.75), 4:05 p.m. MST
• Sunday: Diamondbacks (Yusmeiro Petit, 2-5, 5.81) at Nationals (J.D. Martin, 0-2, 7.16), 10:35 a.m. MST

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