Repaired knee not limiting Montero
D-backs catcher hitting over .400 despite injury
PHOENIX -- When Miguel Montero walks out of the home dugout at Chase Field on Wednesday and cleats the dirt in the batter's box, he will be doing so as a .400 hitter. Scratch that -- a .413 hitter.
It's a rare, if not historic, occurrence 72 games through the season. Montero won't mind if you don't dwell on one tiny detail -- he missed 57 of those games with a torn meniscus in his right knee.
"It's good to see that I'm hitting .400," Montero joked. "Still got 40-something at-bats. Long way to go."
Montero didn't start on Tuesday for the first time in nine games as the D-backs played the second of three matchups against the visiting New York Yankees. Chris Snyder assumed Montero's spot behind the plate, and Justin Upton slid into the No. 4 spot in the lineup. Snyder entered play with four hits in 10 career at-bats against Pettitte, the longest record of any D-backs player.
Montero played just four games for Triple-A Reno during his rehabilitation assignment. Since his return on June 12, the catcher had 13 hits in 34 at-bats.
"It kind of surprised me a little bit," Montero said of his success, "because I felt comfortable right away, as soon as I got here."
Upon his comeback to the Majors, Montero said he was only concerned that his knee would hold up. It has. So he sees no reason to remove the brace that he wears underneath his right pant leg -- even if it slows him down on the diamond.
"I'm not fast -- I'm not going to steal 30 bases," Montero said, smiling. "If I steal one, that's good enough."
Kennedy disappointed to miss Yanks
PHOENIX -- Ian Kennedy wanted to pitch against the New York Yankees.
Almost three weeks ago, the right-hander un-pocketed his pocket schedule to see if his turn in the rotation coincided with the Yanks' stay in Phoenix, which began on Monday and will conclude on Wednesday. When Kennedy realized he wouldn't get to face his former team, he wondered if a rainout in Boston or Detroit -- the D-backs' road stops last week -- would push his start back a day. He stopped just short of hoping for a flooded field.
"As we started looking," Kennedy recalled, "I said, 'It looks like I'm going to get the last game in Detroit. Dang it!'
Kennedy yielded three runs over 6 2/3 innings against the Tigers in Sunday's loss but will have to wonder what it would have been like to pitch on Monday, at home and against his former club.
"It's something that would have added to the game," said Kennedy, who was shipped from New York to Arizona in a three-team trade last December that also involved the Tigers. "It's probably good, because I would have been a little too amped up. You never know. Or it could have brought up my game. It's fun now that I just get to enjoy it and watch."
Because Kennedy won't take the mound again until June 26 against the Rays in St. Petersburg -- not a welcomed consolation -- he will be on the dugout's top step on Tuesday night, watching Andy Pettitte, whom he said taught the right-hander about pitching during his brief time in pinstripes. Kennedy also remains close with pitchers Phil Hughes and David Robertson, whom he caught up with at the Yankees' team hotel before Tuesday's game.
The 26-year-old right-hander, who with a 3.60 ERA in 15 starts this season has exceeded expectations in Arizona, said he wouldn't mind sharing his scouting reports on Yankees hitters, many of whom he played with off and on for parts of three seasons. But Dan Haren and Dontrelle Willis -- starting against the Yankees on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively -- hadn't asked yet. Haren entered Tuesday with seven career starts against New York, and Willis has made just one start against the Yanks.
Williams joins D-backs Legends Race
PHOENIX -- One night after tossing the ceremonial first pitch alongside former World Series teammates Luis Gonzalez and Mark Grace, Matt Williams joins Gonzo and Randy Johnson in a class all their own.
The D-backs announced on Tuesday, prior to the second game of their series with the visiting New York Yankees, that Williams -- their former third baseman and current first-base coach -- is the third of four characters who will participate in their upcoming D-backs Legends Race. The name of the fourth racer will be named on the FOX Sports Arizona pregame show on Wednesday.
Williams, a five-time All-Star who played professionally for 17 seasons, arrived in Arizona in time for the franchise's opening season. In six seasons (1998-2003) with the D-backs, Williams made his way into the organization's record book; he ranks third in home runs (99) and RBIs (381).
Similar to the Sausage Race at Miller Park and the Presidents Race at Nationals Park, the D-backs Legends Race presented by Henkel will take place at the end of the fifth inning at all home games, beginning with the July 2 game with the Dodgers.
The race will feature the four D-backs legends -- 10-foot-tall men in uniform with large foam heads that will resemble players who have made a significant contribution to the organization on the field. The characters will run a race that will start close to the right-field foul pole and end at the on-deck circle near the D-backs' dugout.
After the July 2 game, the D-backs mascots will greet fans before games at the main rotunda entrance of Chase Field and pose for photos in the St. Joseph's Hospital Sandlot on the upper level after the race through the end of the game.
For more information about the D-backs Legends Race and an opportunity to win tickets and view the inaugural race in person at Chase Field on July 2, go to dbacks.com/legends.
D-backs set plan for Benson's return
PHOENIX -- Kris Benson is back with the D-backs, but he's not close to pitching for them.
Benson, who has "capsulitis" inflammation in the capsule of his right shoulder, said from the D-backs' clubhouse on Tuesday that he received a second round of cortisone shots on Friday. Next, he will play catch on Saturday before throwing full-fledged bullpen sessions. Ultimately, the right-hander plans to return to Triple-A Reno for more rehabilitation outings.
Benson was placed on the 15-day disabled list almost immediately after straining his shoulder in an April 28 start against the Colorado Rockies. He made four rehab starts for Reno before suffering his latest setback.
"It turns out it was a little more serious than I thought when it first happened," Benson said.
On Tuesday, D-backs manager A.J. Hinch discussed the prognosis of Justin Upton's left elbow, which was struck by a Chad Gaudin fastball on Monday night. "Don't ask if you don't want to know the answer," Hinch said. "He's going to play." ... Hinch on the struggles of former closer Chad Qualls: "Consistency is what's needed. Being able to control his stuff, to have good command, to keep the ball on the ground, to minimize damage -- those are all things he can do when he's going well." ...Former Yankee and current D-backs righty Ian Kennedy said that CC Sabathia, who won't face Arizona this week, is the Yanks' best hitting pitcher. ... Monday's opener of the D-backs' series against the Yankees generated a season-high 5.8 television rating in Phoenix, meaning an average of 104,550 local households tuned in. The previous high, a 5.3, occurred on April 15 for Arizona's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.