"Outstanding," manager Bob Melvin said of Hernandez, who allowed one run on three hits over three innings. Hernandez threw 52 pitches, which is more than most starters throw their first time out, but he likes a heavy workload early in the spring to help strengthen his arm.
Veteran pitchers like Hernandez typically use Spring Training to get their work in, and if they post good numbers, it's just a bonus.
"He made some pitches when he had to," Melvin said. "For a guy like him, it's more about work, but it looked like he competed pretty hard when he had to today."
Hernandez said he was pleased with his curveball, but the right-hander is still working on perfecting his two-seam sinking fastball.
"It was a little weird because it feels different when you face a hitter," Hernandez said of his first outing. "But I felt really good. I left a couple of pitches up and tried to work on my sinker. I'll try to work more with the sinker next time and try to get it 100 percent because it's very important for me. For me, it's a way to get my body ready and get all the pieces ready for the season and try to keep my arm strong."
So far, so good.
Shuffling: Melvin will experiment throughout the spring with the leadoff spot in the lineup. One day after Eric Byrnes hit there, Alberto Callaspo was in the spot Friday.
"We know that probably our best two [candidates] for the leadoff spot are sitting on the bench in [Jeff] DaVanon and Callaspo," Melvin said of the pair who figure to get their share of at-bats, but not as full-time starters. "O'Dawg [Orlando Hudson] could do it, [Stephen] Drew could do it, [Chris] Young could do it, Byrnes obviously shows that he could be a serious candidate for us."
Melvin was pleased with how the Callaspo-Drew combo worked at the top of the order on Friday. Callaspo was 2-for-3, while Drew went 2-for-2.
Familiar face: The D-backs soon will get their first look at Russ Ortiz since they released the right-hander last June.
Ortiz, who is trying to win a spot in San Francisco's rotation, is slated to follow Barry Zito to the mound when the Giants visit the D-backs on Monday afternoon.
Ortiz threw three shutout innings and struck out three in his first outing of the spring against the Cubs on Thursday. Arizona signed Ortiz to a four-year, $33 million contract prior to the 2005 season and will pay him $7.5 million this year, minus the $380,000 he'll make from the Giants, and $8.5 million next year.
Switching up: Byrnes, who figures to be the everyday left fielder, was in Friday's starting lineup as the center fielder, while Dave Krynzel, a natural center fielder, was in left.
"It's more for Byrnes, because if Young doesn't play, Byrnes will be in center field," Melvin said.
Speaking of changes: Right-hander Jose Valverde has had his throwing schedule tweaked again. Valverde has missed a couple of days after his wife gave birth to the couple's first child on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
Valverde will throw on the side on Saturday, then head back to the Valley to be with his family before returning on Sunday.
Don't forget them: Many have assumed that Scott Hairston is a safe bet to be the final position player kept, but don't overlook Robby Hammock, Brian Barden and Krynzel.
Barden was 2-for-3 with a two-run, opposite-field homer on Friday, while Krynzel was 1-for-2 and would have had a second hit if not for a diving stop by White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi.
"You're very very comfortable with him in the game defensively," Melvin said of Barden. "And he has made significant strides offensively and a guy that's in position to fight for a spot on this team, as well."
Melvin also praised Krynzel's approach at the plate.
Award winner: Outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez was recently named Winter Player of the Year by Baseball America after he hit .319 and was second in the Venezuelan Winter League with nine homers.
Ouch: Infielder Augie Ojeda was given Friday off after getting spiked on a play at second base on Thursday. Ojeda, who suffered cuts on both sides of his knee, is expected to be available on Saturday.
"He could play today, but it's pretty sore," Melvin said.
Callaspo "tweaked" his groin the other day, according to Melvin, which is why he did not play on Thursday and was removed early from Friday's game.
Wearing (out) the Sox: With Friday's win, the D-backs have now beaten the White Sox eight straight times.
Up next: The D-backs and White Sox wrap up their three-game set on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. MT at Tucson Electric Park. Doug Davis will start for the D-backs, who are also set to throw D.J. Carrasco, Brandon Medders, Jeff Bajenaru and Bill Murphy. The White Sox will counter with Gavin Floyd, Matt Thornton, Mike MacDougal, Eduardo Sierra, Ryan Bukvich and Boone Logan.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less