PHOENIX -- Once the D-backs finish their homestand on Sunday, they'll head on the road to face two American League teams in Texas and Anaheim.D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, who is already known for mixing up his lineup regularly, will have more than a few options while his club is equipped with a designated hitter for the six games. "It could be anybody on the bench," he said. "I was thinking about that on the way in. I haven't figured it out yet." Last season, the D-backs used Willy Mo Pena as their primary DH while in AL ballparks. In nine such games, he hit three homers, drove in four and scored four times. Despite a plethora of options this season, Gibson didn't rule out one guy getting the majority of the starts. "It could be like that," he said. "It's possible." The other factors Gibson is contemplating revolve around health and pitching matchups.
Goldschmidt leaving early struggles behind
PHOENIX -- At the end of April, D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt's batting average stood at .193. After experiencing success when he was called up in August last season, pitchers were discovering new ways to attack Goldschmidt and finding holes in his bat.The only choice the 24-year-old had in his first full Major League season was to adjust right back. Now, entering Sunday on a career-best 16-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the National League, Goldschmidt is becoming one of the hardest outs in the D-backs' lineup. "I was worried about him coming into this year. I thought teams would adjust to him," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He felt the pressure just to come and be successful. He had to battle through and re-find himself. He had to work through a bad streak, and that's good for him." Since May 28, Goldschmidt is hitting at a .447 clip with five homers and eight RBIs. "I've felt good the past couple weeks, past month," he said. "You just try to keep that feeling, stay relaxed and get good pitches to hit." Even when he was struggling, Goldschmidt never lost faith in his game. Gibson said he witnessed his first baseman express frustration frequently but that he was always working to tweak his approach and find a way out of the cold stretch. "You just stay positive, that happens to everyone throughout the season, probably multiple times," Goldschmidt said. "You swing at the right pitches, but it doesn't work out. The only thing you can do is stay positive and keep going." Having gone through a period that tested his character, Gibson believes Goldschmidt is a stronger baseball player now experiencing both success and failure. "He's much calmer at the plate. He's good," Gibson said. "He's stayed to his plan. He never changes. He gets frustrated occasionally, but he's not missing pitches anymore."
D-backs preparing for Drew's return
PHOENIX -- A day after injured D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew batted 2-for-5 with a home run in a Triple-A game in Tucson, manager Kirk Gibson started to plan for the 29-year-old's return."Today was the first day I started thinking about it a little bit, I generally think things through a few times," Gibson said. "I had a conversation today on the way in about it. There are many different scenarios. You have to see how often he can play and how he's moving around." In the short term, Drew will stay with Triple-A Reno when they travel to Colorado for another series. He will likely play again Monday. "It's a matter how long he can play, what level and at what intensity," Gibson said. "Just have to keep playing." More than just success at the plate (3-for-9 with two RBIs and two runs scored in two games), Gibson has been getting good reports on Drew's defense as well. "I know he's made some exceptional plays already," Gibson said. "We know he can swing the bat. He's Stephen Drew; he's a very good ballplayer." When Drew finally does make it back with the big league club, Gibson will face the challenge of fitting him in along with Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald, who have both performed well in Drew's absence. "I don't know how that affects the other guys. It's going to be interesting to see how I keep everyone involved," Gibson said. "I'm going to rotate everybody. We try to keep everyone involved. We have a good club with a lot of good players. The guys on the bench are darn good players and good guys in the clubhouse."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com . This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.