PHOENIX -- Third baseman Melvin Mora, who has been slowed by a sore left ankle, could make his first start in almost two weeks in the series finale against the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon.
Mora participated in full baseball activities before Tuesday's game and said he's ready to play when needed. In Mora's absence, Ryan Roberts made his ninth consecutive start at third base Tuesday. He is making the most of his opportunity to play on a regular basis, hitting .321 for the season.
"It's always going to hurt a little bit, but not to where I can't play anymore," Mora said. "It used to hurt when I went side-to-side or forward, but it's better now. I don't know anything and I don't want to know anything about the disabled list."
Mora, who is hitting .273 in 12 games this season, has not started a game since April 16. His last two appearances, including Sunday against the Mets, were as a pinch-hitter.
"I told him I wanted him to get a real hard workout and do all the activities that he is going to be required to do in a game," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "If he comes out of it not sore then he will probably start [Wednesday]. I don't want to put him in a game in a starting capacity and have him come out after three or four innings."
Mora can't wait to get back on the field.
"I could have played [Monday]," he said."This is the first time this has happened to me. I've never even had a wrap on my ankle in 20 years of baseball."
Gibson to join NL staff at All-Star Game
PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was selected to play in the All-Star Game twice during his playing career and declined the invitation both times.
He is the only player in Major League Baseball history to win a league Most Valuable Player Award -- he won it in 1988 -- and never appear in an All-Star Game.
He'll get the chance to make up for lost time when he makes his first appearance in the Midsummer Classic on July 12 at Chase Field as a member of the National League's coaching staff. The manager would not say why he chose not to participate in the games when selected in 1985 and 1988.
"It's bigger than it was and I personally now realize the importance of it," Gibson said. "I had the opportunity to go to two and declined as a player. I know it was a mistake. I'm going to go as a coach this year, so I'll get to experience it."
Gibson might have a few familiar faces join him. The ballot for the 82nd All-Star Game was released on Tuesday and includes D-backs outfielders Justin Upton, Chris Young and Gerardo Parra. Also listed on the ballot are infielders Melvin Mora, Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson and Juan Miranda along with catcher Miguel Montero.
"Overall, it's a great event and it's great for the fans," Gibson said. "It's great for baseball and it promotes the game properly. I think Major League Baseball, the players and everybody does a great job with it."
Aaron Heilman, who is on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his shoulder, threw a bullpen session Tuesday and will throw again Thursday. He could face batters Sunday. "I watched him today and his arm was nice and free," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He was throwing good and getting the ball out in front. If he continues to go that way and get all of his pitches where he wants to get them, he will go faster."
Zach Duke (broken hand) also threw a bullpen session. He is also making progress but might not be ready until the end of May.
Infielder Geoff Blum, who's been on the disabled list retroactive to March 22 with right knee inflammation, had successful surgery on the knee Tuesday. Gibson estimates Blum could be ready to return to action in six weeks. "I think it was fairly encouraging what they saw," Gibson said. "They didn't see bone on bone. There is still cartilage there. From the report I had, that was pretty encouraging."
D-backs closer J.J. Putz and his wife, Kelsey, welcomed their fourth child to the world Tuesday afternoon. Their daughter, Addison Elizabeth Putz, was born at 3:47 p.m.