1 Arizona Diamondbacks The best pitching combo in baseball is in shape for the long haul of another title run

March 31, 2003

Tang Soo Do is a 2,000-year-old Korean martial art that was
originally intended as a way for the common people to protect
themselves against the sword of the samurai. Its early
practitioners could not have foreseen that one day a burly
36yearold American pitcher would take up the discipline to
protect himself against a different threat--the ravages of
athletic old age.

But one of the newest students of Tang Soo Do, righthander Curt
Schilling, could be found this spring at Tucson Electric Park,
practicing his front kicks and hammer fists along with his
sliders and split-fingered fastballs. The Diamondbacks, whose
postseason hopes rest, as usual, on the pitching arms of
Schilling and his fellow aging ace, 39-year-old lefthander Randy
Johnson, have to be heartened by the knowledge that both pitchers
are being creative in their efforts to make sure that this isn't
the year that they finally begin to slip.

In addition to his new interest in the martial arts, during the
off-season Schilling took up Pilates and adopted a healthier
diet--including more fruit and less red meat--which is why the
bit of belly that used to hang over his belt is gone. He reported
to camp weighing 227 pounds, about 15 pounds lighter than last
season, prompting some of his teammates to joke that he's
preparing for a second career as a male model. But Schilling is
less concerned with his body's form than with its function. "It's
something I guess I've gotten by with, being in less than
tremendous physical condition in the past, and I didn't want to
push it," he says. "I wanted to change some of my habits to keep
my body from breaking down, instead of waiting until after the
fact."

Schilling's conditioning role model is the remarkable Johnson,
who has averaged 20 wins and 354 strikeouts in his four Cy Young
Award--winning seasons with the Diamondbacks. (He also won the
award in 1995, when he was with the Mariners.) "The way I see it,
I'm heading into the portion of my career that Randy just
finished," Schilling says. "He just got done with a four-year run
that would compare with anybody's, ever. Why not imitate the
best? I'm trying to pick his brain on a lot of different topics."

Johnson, meanwhile, is trying to stay ahead of the curve himself.
He plans to have thermal testing done on his shoulder during the
season to help determine the optimum time to throw between
starts, and he has hired a chiropractor to help him maintain his
shoulder strength throughout the season. "You have to always
strive to do things that some people might say are kind of risky,
to do things that other people aren't doing," Johnson says. "As I
get older, I want to maintain what I've had in the past, if not
get better. I still don't think I've had my best year."

Arizona would settle for a repeat of last season from Johnson,
who had a 24-5 record with a league-leading 2.32 ERA, and
Schilling (23-7, 3.23). In the club's annual quest to put
together a back of the rotation that can take some of the burden
off their pair of aces, the Diamondbacks acquired righthander
Elmer Dessens, whose 3.03 ERA with the Reds was the sixth best in
the National League last season. The biggest concern about
Dessens is his stamina; he averaged fewer than six innings a
start in 2002. Righthander Byung-Hyun Kim, the team's closer for
the past two seasons, may earn a spot in the rotation as well, as
long as Matt Mantei, nearly two years removed from elbow surgery,
can reclaim his spot in the bullpen.

At the plate Arizona may be a bit short on power, especially if
Craig Counsell beats out Matt Williams for the third base job.
For that reason the team is counting on a return to health for
two of its biggest run producers, outfielders Luis Gonzalez and
Danny Bautista, both of whom had their 2002 seasons cut short by
shoulder injuries. They may be joined in the batting order by
highly regarded first baseman Lyle Overbay, a gap hitter who
batted .343, .342, .352 and .343 in four minor league seasons. He
may force 15-year veteran Mark Grace to the bench.

As usual, the Diamondbacks have a strong enough supporting cast
to win the division as long as Johnson and Schilling are still
good for 40 to 50 wins combined. And thanks largely to their
diligence in conditioning, there's every reason to think that
they are. Anyone who thinks otherwise had better not tell
Schilling. The man knows Tang Soo Do. --Phil Taylor

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER AGING WELL Thanks to a diet and martial arts, Schilling, 36, is lighter and fitter yet still overpowering. COLOR PHOTO: BRIAN BAHR/GETTY IMAGES OVERBAY

IN FACT

Randy Johnson led the big leagues in strikeouts for the fifth
straight year in 2002, tying the record set from 1903 through
1907 by Rube Waddell of the Philadelphia A's.

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Diamondbacks

"This team is the division favorite because of the two guys at the
top of the rotation, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.... Moving
Byung-Hyun Kim into a starting role worries me. He won't be as
effective as he was throwing for just one inning, when he could
deceive hitters from that weird angle. Now he has to go through
the lineup multiple times. But overall, the rotation is better
than in years past. Elmer Dessens, an outstanding pickup, is more
consistent than the No. 3 starters they've had. John Patterson
may have a big year.... Matt Mantei is throwing with velocity,
but with no touch or feel. He's had elbow problems and now is
bothered by a finger. Bret Prinz could close if Mantei goes down.
One of the best situational lefties out there is Mike Myers....
Arizona will be fine with Chad Moeller and Rod Barajas behind the
plate.... The team would like to see Lyle Overbay take over at
first base. He will hit 15 to 20 home runs. Mark Grace's best
years are behind him. They need Craig Counsell at third instead
of Matt Williams, who has regressed defensively.... Luis Gonzalez
is showing minimal effects of his shoulder injury. He'll never
hit 50 homers again, more like 20 to 25, which is fine for this
lineup."

THE LINEUP
projected roster with 2002 statistics

BATTING ORDER

SS Womack
CF Finley
2B Spivey
LF Gonzalez
RF Bautista
3B Williams
1B Overbay
C Moeller

TONY WOMACK

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

L-R 127 .271 5 57 29

STEVE FINLEY

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

L 49 .287 25 89 16

JUNIOR SPIVEY

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

R 60 .301 16 78 11

LUIS GONZALEZ

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

L-R 32 .288 28 103 9

DANNY BAUTISTA

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

R 153 .325 6 23 4

MATT WILLIAMS

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

R 160 .260 12 40 3

LYLE OVERBAY* (R)

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

L 165 .343 19 109 0

CHAD MOELLER

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

R 241 .286 2 16 0

BENCH

CRAIG COUNSELL

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

L-R 181 .282 2 51 7

MARK GRACE

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

L 277 .252 7 48 2

ROTATION

PITCHER PVR W L IPS WHIP ERA

LH Randy Johnson 1 24 5 7.4 1.03 2.32
RH Curt Schilling 2 23 7 7.4 0.97 3.23
RH Elmer Dessens [#] 90 7 8 5.9 1.25 3.03
RH John Patterson 98 2 0 5.5 1.11 3.23
RH Byung-Hyun Kim 100 8 3 -- 1.07 2.04

BULLPEN

PITCHER PVR W L S WHIP ERA

RH Matt Mantei 60 2 2 0 1.50 4.72
RH Miguel Batista 163 8 9 0 1.31 4.29
LH Mike Myers 192 4 3 4 1.51 4.38

[#] New acquisition
(R) Rookie
B-T: Bats-throws
IPS: Innings pitched per start
WHIP: Walks plus hits per inning pitched
*Triple A stats
PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page
157)

2002 RECORD

98-64
first in NL West

MANAGER

Bob Brenly
third season with Arizona

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)