One of the offseason's biggest deals again will come front and center when the D-backs open a three-game series against the Braves on Friday night at Turner Field.
In January, the clubs pulled off a trade that sent outfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson to Atlanta for pitcher Randall Delgado, infielder Martin Prado and three Minor Leaguers. In May, Upton returned to Phoenix and went 4-for-5 in a series-opening victory before the D-backs took the final two games.
This series will be the teams' final meeting of the year, barring a postseason clash. Considering Atlanta and Arizona both sit in first place, that's hardly out of the question.
The D-backs' trip gives both Prado and Delgado the chance for a homecoming.
Prado signed with the Braves out of Venezuela in 2001, debuted in the Majors with them in '06 and played 683 games for them through last season. Delgado, who will start on Friday against his good friend Julio Teheran, signed with the club out of Panama in '06 and debuted in '11.
This will be the 23-year-old right-hander's first appearance against the Braves and his fourth in the Majors this season. Delgado posted a 5.91 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Reno, pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, and is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA with the D-backs. In 14 innings, he has given up 18 hits, walked one and struck out 13.
Delgado served up two home runs -- and three runs total -- in the first inning on Sunday against the Reds. But he made it through five innings, holding Cincinnati to only one more run.
"I had two bad pitches, two mistakes, so after that I just tried to concentrate and keep the game close," Delgado said. "That's what I was trying to focus on. That's important for me to do, because we keep fighting. You can't think about the first inning after it; you have to keep going."
While the Braves had to part with Delgado to get Upton, they were able to hold on to Teheran, whose success has prompted a debate about whether the D-backs should have acquired him instead.
Since a brief slow start, the 22-year-old right-hander has posted a 2.45 ERA over his past 11 outings, notching nine quality starts and a 59-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 73 1/3 innings. He dropped to 5-4 on Wednesday, but held the Brewers to two runs in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five without a walk.
Teheran did pitch in the last series against the D-backs, giving up two runs on seven hits in six innings on May 14.
D-backs: Prado back in Atlanta
Prado's first season away from Atlanta hasn't always gone smoothly. After hitting .301 last season and .295 overall with the Braves, the 29-year-old stands at .241 in his first season with Arizona. Prado did enjoy a solid three games against the Braves at Chase Field, going 4-for-9 with a double, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
During that series, Prado talked about his difficulty in coming to terms with his trade.
"It took me about a month just to figure out what was going on," Prado said. "I was like, 'Why did all of this happen?' I did all that I could. I was looking forward to playing one more year in Atlanta. I guess they had different plans and different directions. I wasn't part of those plans."
• One of the Minor Leaguers the D-backs picked up in the trade was right-hander Zeke Spruill, a 23-year-old who made his big league debut out of the Arizona bullpen last Friday. The Braves' second-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft has tossed three scoreless innings in three appearances thus far.
Braves: A different Upton
Justin Upton was on fire the last time he met his former team. The two-time All-Star went 5-for-10 with a double, a home run and four walks in the series, raising his OPS to 1.032.
But Upton is a much different place now. In 34 games since that first series, he is hitting .195 with two homers, 13 RBIs and 43 strikeouts, dropping his OPS to .804.
• Johnson, on the other hand, has not slumped with the bat. In his last 34 games, starting with the series in Phoenix, he is at .336 with nine doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs.
• The Braves went 2-3 on their trip to Milwaukee and Kansas City before Thursday's off-day.
• The D-backs started their current 10-game trip by dropping two of three in Washington, though they won Thursday's series finale, 3-2, in 11 innings.