<
>

Arizona 8, Texas 1 (6 innings)

3/31/2004

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Casey Daigle's biggest claim to fame at the
start of spring training was his engagement to star softball
pitcher Jennie Finch.

Now he's close to winning the No. 5 spot in the Arizona
Diamondbacks' rotation.

The 6-foot-5, 23-year-old right-hander allowed a run on two hits
through six innings and hit a massive two-run homer Wednesday in
the Diamondbacks' rain-shortened 8-1 victory over the Texas
Rangers.

"I went out there and knew I had something to prove," Daigle
said. "It was my last start of the spring so I wanted to leave a
good impression in everybody's mind. I was up for this game."

With a big league roster spot possibly in the balance, Daigle
was calm and controlled.

"Under the circumstances and knowing what he's pitching for, I
thought he was extremely poised and just continued to do what he's
been doing all spring," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.

Richie Sexson went 2-for-2 with a two-run double and Alex
Cintron had a three-run double as Arizona wrapped up its Tucson
spring training. Matt Kata was 3-for-3 to improve his spring
batting average to .481.

Daigle has not had a winning record in four minor league seasons
and led the Texas League in earned runs and hits allowed with
Double-A El Paso last season.

But he pitched his way into contention for the big club this
spring.

"It's been a dream come true, I guess," he said. "I came into
camp and I just wanted to come in here and get my work done and try
to make the Triple-A team. And I'm where I am now, I mean, things
are great. I thank God every night for it, because this was a lot
more than I expected."

With Finch in the stands on a cell phone relaying Daigle's
efforts to his parents, he held the Rangers without a hit through
four innings before Kevin Mench led off the fifth with a double,
then scored on Einar Diaz's one-out single.

Daigle, who struck out five and walked three, put the
Diamondbacks up 2-0 with a two-out home run in the second that
traveled at least 420 feet to left-center.

Rangers starter Ricardo Rodriguez gave up eight runs, four
earned, on nine hits in four innings. He struck out none and walked
three.

"He was up a lot today and paid the price for it," Texas
manager Buck Showalter said. "We're still going to look at all his
work. He's coming off an injury and made a lot of progress. We've
talked about Triple-A, but nothing is decided."

Just as the rain came in the seventh, Arizona left-hander Randy
Choate slipped covering first base, caught himself with his left
hand, and had to leave with a blood blister under his thumbnail.

The Rangers played their final spring game in Arizona. They play
at San Francisco on Thursday, then have games against Colorado in
Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday.

The Diamondbacks play the Cubs on Thursday in Mesa in Randy
Johnson's final start before Tuesday's season opener. The Cubs and
Arizona play at Bank One Ballpark on Friday and Saturday.

Game notes
The Rangers declined to add LHP Glendon Rusch to their
major league roster, so he asked for and was granted his release.
Rusch hopes to catch on somewhere, and his agent, Tommy Tanzer,
said he had already spoken with a couple of teams.