Diamondbacks: Still not starting, Parra happy to 'wait my turn'

2013-02-26T00:00:00Z Diamondbacks: Still not starting, Parra happy to 'wait my turn'Bob McManaman The Arizona Republic Arizona Daily Star
February 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

SURPRISE - Gerardo Parra will never forget how he felt when he was presented with his first Rawlings Gold Glove award.

It happened during the Diamondbacks' opening homestand a year ago, and just thinking about it now still moves Parra.

"I remember all my fans standing up and screaming my number," he said. "I kept telling them, 'Thank you,' and it almost made me cry. It did. It really got to me."

It should have. Parra, after all, came off a Gold Glove season only to learn he had lost his regular starting job in left field. Arizona gave it to newcomer Jason Kubel.

Parra didn't complain then and isn't complaining now, even though there are strong indications he will once again open the season as the team's fourth outfielder.

Justin Upton is gone, but the Diamondbacks added veteran outfielder Cody Ross and have big plans for rookie center fielder Adam Eaton, whom they want to quickly develop into a starter and become their leadoff hitter.

For a player known for his feisty aggressiveness, Parra has refused to show any of it when it relates to his own playing time. He's staying quiet and trying to stay patient.

"You've got to be a professional," he said. "I go into every day thinking everything is good, everything is fine. It's baseball and I'll just wait my turn.

"Besides, we don't need any controversy from anybody or somebody talking too much."

Parra can let his play - and catcher Miguel Montero - do his talking for him. Montero, a fellow Venezuelan and Parra's closest friend on the team, said his good buddy is more than good enough.

"He's a starting outfielder for any team if you ask me," Montero said. "And he can't ever doubt that in his mind. He knows he has to stay positive, but he could be a starter wherever he goes."

There are no plans to move him, and Parra doesn't want to go anywhere. When the Diamondbacks added Ross and informed Parra that Eaton would be getting a shot to be the starter in center, neither Parra nor his representatives requested a trade.

But manager Kirk Gibson did pull him aside and told him he would try to find a way to get him at least 500 at-bats this season. That will mean having to split time with Kubel in left, Eaton in center and Ross in right.

"I can't promise anybody how many at-bats they're going to get," Gibson said when asked specifically about Parra.

"Look, we're here to win a World Series, and we'll do what it takes with the people we have to do that.

"I met with 'G' and we had a good talk. He's here to win a World Series as well. He had a great attitude last year. He's got a great attitude now."

Parra, who turns 26 in May, has never had 500 at-bats in the majors. Two years ago during his Gold Glove season, he hit .292 in 445 at-bats. Last year, he hit .273 in 385 at-bats.

"I'm ready for 500," Parra said. "That's a good number for me. I'll be happy with that."

Inside pitch

• New Diamondbacks pitcher Randall Delgado, who was acquired from Atlanta in the Upton trade on Jan. 24, gave up five runs on six hits in the first inning Monday as Arizona lost 16-4 to the Kansas City Royals in Surprise.

"It's going to be hard for me to get that fifth starter's spot," Delgado said. "But ... this is my first game. I just try to keep focus for the next one."

• Right-hander Ian Kennedy, who has won 36 games the past two years, has been selected to start the D-backs opener, April 1 against St. Louis.

Gibson said righty Trevor Cahill, lefty Wade Miley and righty Brandon McCarthy would follow Kennedy in the rotation.

Today

• Who: Athletics at Diamondbacks, 1:10 p.m. and Diamondbacks at Angels, 1:05 p.m.

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