Notes: It's Upton's turn to adjust
Young right fielder knows teams are building book on him
PHOENIX -- When Justin Upton reached the Major Leagues at the beginning of the month, his immense talent led him to immediate success.After coming within a single of becoming the youngest player in Major League history to hit for the cycle in his fourth career start on Aug. 7, Upton talked about hitting well because Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny did not have much film on him. As the rest of baseball has had some time to break Upton down against big league pitching, his numbers have fallen sharply. Upton's gone 2-for-23 with a pair of singles and no RBIs in his past seven games with the D-backs entering Saturday, this after rapping out five extra-base hits and batting .412 in his first 17 at-bats. "They've got more film on me, and I'm sure when the pitchers do their studying of the teams that they're also watching me, and they're making adjustments, and I have to make adjustments, also," said Upton, who turned 20 on Saturday. "I was just a rookie coming up trying to make an impact. I'm playing more and have more ABs for them to figure me out." Manager Bob Melvin said making adjustments is the key to being successful at this level after opponents have time to pick apart your weaknesses. An important at-bat in Melvin's mind that showed Upton's maturity came Sunday in Atlanta, when Upton faced All-Star John Smoltz. After striking out in his first three at-bats and getting down 0-2 in his fourth try, Upton did not flinch on a couple pitches off the plate and ended up scraping out one of his two base hits during this cold stretch. Now he just has to get through what Melvin called his adjustment period. "He's got to try to maintain his confidence, which we believe he will do, and make some adjustments going forward based on how they're pitching him," Melvin said. "He has the ability to make the adjustments. He has the ability to succeed no matter what. I think a lot of times for younger guys, it's confidence more than anything else." New scoreboard in the works: The D-backs plan on building a new scoreboard that would be the biggest in professional sports, according to team president Derrick Hall. The new scoreboard, expected to be ready for next season, would cost between $10 million and $12 million and be 144 feet wide and 55 feet high, surpassing Atlanta's scoreboard by 900 square feet. In order to keep up with the technological times, Hall feels the club needs this high-definition board to replace the current Jumbotron, which has parts so outdated they are not even made anymore, making it "definitely" something the team needs. The new scoreboard will be financed by the Maricopa County Stadium Authority, although the ballclub will help. "They're working closely with us to make sure it is as state of the art as possible, and the way it looks it's going to be huge," Hall said. "It's substantial, but again it improves the overall experience." The new board will have improved quality and size of picture, with the ability to incorporate many elements on the board. There can be one big picture taking up the entire landscape, or five different squares, 10 different squares, game notes, box scores and personal notes on players, options not available with the current board. After recent trips to Atlanta, Florida and San Francisco -- three teams who have more modern boards -- Hall noticed that fans watch the board between pitches and between innings. "When you look at in-game entertainment now, so much of it is focused on the board, where in between innings that's the focus, so why should that not be your signature piece within the ballpark?" Hall asked. Tracy frustrated while rehabbing: After visiting Angels team doctor Lewis Yocum on Friday, the consensus remains that Chad Tracy (tendinitis) needs to keep resting his knee, with Melvin saying the third baseman likely will be inactive for at least the next 10 days to two weeks. "Just keep rehabbing, and if it goes away try to make a comeback and try to help in any way possible," Tracy said. "If not -- regardless what I do is going to be the same. I'm going to keep rehabbing, and if it gets to where I'm able to go out there pain-free and not set it back, start all over again, I'm going to do it." Melvin acknowledged that surgery could be an option at the end of the season, but right now the club and Tracy are in agreement that he should do anything possible to try to come back this season. Tracy said he's very frustrated and disappointed that it has taken so long for his knee to heal, as he has not been able to play every day for the last month.
Cirillo gets the start: Jeff Cirillo made his second start as a D-back and hit sixth in the order Saturday night. With Mark Reynolds struggling and Tracy injured, Melvin has said Cirillo will play a bigger role. His .375 batting average (3-for-8 with a homer) in his career against starter Ted Lilly led to Saturday's decision.Cirillo said he would do, "Whatever's asked of me" as he tries to make the playoffs for the first time in his 14-year Major League career. "It just depends," Melvin said about how he would use his third basemen. "If Mark's hot, obviously he's going to play. If we feel like there's some struggles going on and we need to do something different on a particular day, then Jeff will play." Petit's spot in trouble: When Yusmeiro Petit takes the mound on Sunday, he could be doing so with his job as the fifth starter on the line. Melvin said he will play it by ear how often that spot comes up in September when his club has four off-days and could skip the spot. Combined with two starts from Byung-Hyun Kim, who has since been released, Arizona's fifth starters have compiled a 12.67 ERA in their last five starts. It's also possible the club could take a look at Triple-A lefty Dana Eveland, who has allowed one earned run in 10 innings of his past two starts. Up next: The D-backs finish their three-game series against the Cubs with Petit (2-4, 5.14 ERA) matching up with Jason Marquis (10-7, 4.12) at 1:40 p.m. MST at Chase Field on Sunday.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.