MLB notes: Slow start could see D-Backs make changes

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson (23) is on the hot seat early in the season. (Joe...

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson (23) is on the hot seat early in the season. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

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, Last Updated: 10:23 PM ET

Mired in the National League West basement and the worst team in baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson are now addressing their job security if the team's fortunes don't turn around soon.

"That's a question you need to ask them," Towers told the Arizona Republic, referring to CEO Derrick Hall and Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick. "I know they're frustrated. I've talked to Derrick, Ken and they're (frustrated) -- rightfully so. They should be."

Towers and Gibson were given contract extensions prior to the season, but may be fighting to keep their jobs.

"This organization has committed a lot of money," Towers said. "That's what's even more disturbing. You've got a payroll that exceeds $100 million and we're off to one of the worst starts in franchise history. That's tough to swallow when you're an owner and you care and you've invested in a product and the product isn't performing."

The Diamondbacks have spent a franchise record $110 million this season on player payroll with little to show. Sporting a dismal 6-18 record following a 7-5 win over the Cubs, the team has struggled with their starting pitching and haven't swung the bat well in key situations.

"I'm sure they've grown impatient and I don't blame them," Towers continued. "This is a business. I don't think they dislike Gibby or myself. They're good people. They've been great to us. But Gibby and I are smart enough to know that this is what you get paid to do. You get paid to hopefully go out and win ballgames. But I think we're all accountable. Everybody. It's players. It's us. It's coaches. We all should be wearing this right now and finding a way to turn this around."

Gibson, for the most part, comes to the ballpark upbeat and is not too concerned about his job security.

"I don't worry about that part," Gibson said. "We try to analyze what we can do (better) and we just prepare and try to get the guys to prepare and have a positive day and a good game.

"Some of the things that get frustrating are when you specifically address a situation and shortly thereafter we don't execute it. That's the most frustrating part about it."

JOHNSON NEEDS TOMMY JOHN SURGERY

San Diego Padres right-hander Josh Johnson will undergo his second Tommy John surgery on Thursday, the team announced.

Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure. Johnson also had Tommy John surgery in 2007.

In 16 starts and 81 1/3 innings for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, Johnson went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA. He did manage to throw 191 1/3 innings with the Miami Marlins in 2012, but was limited to only 60 1/3 innings in 2011.

The Padres signed Johnson to a one-year, $8 million contract during the offseason. Because he will make fewer than seven starts in 2014, the team gets a $4 million club option for 2015.

Johnson, 30, was examined by Andrews on Tuesday. The visit was prompted by the Padres' concern that Johnson had not shown improvement since he was diagnosed with a strained flexor in his right forearm in March.

"He was arguably pitching as well as anybody that we had in spring training," said Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch. "It's a big loss that he unfortunately never got off the ground, other than a few spring training starts. We all feel badly for JJ that he'll miss the rest of the year and leak into next year, too."

The recovery timetable for pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery is typically between 12 and 18 months.

RED SOX DEMOTE STRUGGLING NAVA

Boston Red Sox struggling outfielder Daniel Nava was demoted to triple-A Pawtucket Wednesday.

Nava, 31, is batting .149 with two doubles, two home runs, three RBIs, six walks and seven runs scored in 17 games for the Red Sox this season. He had 17 strikeouts.

Nava hit .303 with 12 homers and 66 RBIs in 134 games last season.

In 299 career major league games over parts of four seasons with the Red Sox (2010, 2012-14), the switch-hitter has a .265 batting average with 66 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 128 RBIs and 113 walks.

With Shane Victorino likely to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday and Boston's bullpen in need of an extra pitcher for Wednesday night's game against the New York Yankees, Nava's roster spot was the one utilized.

Right-hander Alex Wilson, who spent time with the Red Sox last year before suffering arm problems, was recalled from Pawtucket. The Red Sox will likely send Wilson back to the minors on Thursday to open a spot for Victorino, who has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain.

"That's never a fun conversation," manager John Farrell said about Nava in an interview on Boston radio station WEEI on Wednesday. "I think he was certainly disappointed by the news he was going to be optioned back. He was a big part of this offence last year, particularly as a left-handed hitter. But we've got to get him back on track. The at bats and the consistency of the at bats are not there right now. There's the need for a little bit more of a consistent two-strike approach. And he's got to get back to get reps as a right-handed hitter."

A'S REJECT COLISEUM OFFER

The Oakland Athletics are mulling their options after rejecting a 10-year lease offer Tuesday night to continue playing at O.co Coliseum from the Oakland Coliseum Authority.

The Athletics, who share the stadium with the NFL's Oakland Raiders, had to deal with flooding and sewage leaks last season, among other issues.

The Authority issued a statement about making the offer, and the team reponded.

"The A's received the Oakland-Alameda County Authority's proposal (Tuesday) afternoon," the team said in a statement. "While the proposal was for 10 years, it did not address all of our issues. Consequently, we cannot accept the terms of the offer. We have tried to negotiate in good faith for the past several months. As the Authority knows, it is still our preference not to negotiate this agreement through the media."

The lease between the A's and O.co Coliseum is set to expire at the end of the 2015 season.

OLDEST EX-PLAYER DIES AT 102

Conrado Marrero, at 102 the oldest former Major League Baseball player and a patriarch of Cuban baseball known for his quick wit and goofy pitching delivery, died on Wednesday at his home in Havana, his grandson said.

Marrero, who played for the Washington Senators, was two days short of his 103rd birthday. He had been in declining health for weeks, was unresponsive for some time on Wednesday and stopped breathing in the early afternoon, said the grandson, Rogelio Marrero.

After an outstanding career in Cuba in the 1930s and 1940s, Marrero debuted in the Major Leagues with Washington in 1950, four days before his 39th birthday. He quickly became a wisecracking cult hero, with an elaborate windup, thick Cuban accent and ever-present cigar.

Smart and funny, he lacked a decent fastball and got Major League hitters out by changing speeds and hitting spots with his slider, a relatively rare pitch in those days. He was highly regarded in Cuba for choosing to stay in the country after the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power.

Though mostly bedridden since breaking his hip in 2011, Marrero kept chewing on cigars until his final days.

"He still takes his cigars and red wine, and if I brought him women he'd take that, too," Rogelio Marrero said in March. "Those were always his great vices."

The oldest living former major leaguer is now Mike Sandlock, 98, who played for the Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates between 1942 and 1953.


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