D-backs unsure when Bloomquist will return
Speedy utility man eligible to come off disabled list Saturday
PHOENIX -- D-backs utility player Willie Bloomquist is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, but the club has not decided when he will return to the field.
Bloomquist, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring retroactive to April 22, ran the bases before Tuesday's game against the Rockies. He will face live pitching against the rehabbing Aaron Heilman and Zach Duke this week, and he said he does not feel the need to go on a rehab assignment before being activated.
"I am definitely feeling better," Bloomquist said. "Every day so far has been a step in the right direction. It's tough knowing that you can't contribute in any way, or even be ready to contribute. It's difficult, but unfortunately, it's part of the game."
Bloomquist hit .306 with 11 runs scored, four doubles, a home run and seven RBIs in 14 games for the D-backs. He opened the year with a 10-game hitting streak, which tied a franchise record to begin a season. He hit safely in 12 of his 14 games overall.
"When you have an injury like that, you really have to be mentally clear," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "There's a way you get to that, because nobody's going to go out there and run all-out. You kind of build up to it, and today was a good test for him. He had his spikes on and he was on the infield running first to third."
Gibson is not sure if Bloomquist will be ready by Saturday.
"I want to make sure he comes back and be who he was, who he is and who he has been for us," Gibson said.
Arizona to continue utilizing first-base trio
PHOENIX -- The D-backs will continue to use the combination of Juan Miranda, Xavier Nady and Russell Branyan at first base.
Miranda and Branyan have each made 10 starts at first base. Nady, who leads the trio with a .290 batting average, made his eighth start of the season Tuesday against the Rockies. Branyon is hitting .261 and Miranda is at .214.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he wants all of his players to be ready to play when called upon, and he expects them to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. He doesn't want to hear his players use the lack of regular playing time as an excuse for poor performances.
"It's tough. I understand, too," Gibson said. "Thing about it is, you work hard, keep your mouth shut and you wait for your turn. Things have a way of happening. People get hurt. People get moved. You get up and you get on a roll and you earn some time. At this point, we are not there yet."
D-backs begin 14-game stretch vs. NL West
PHOENIX -- The D-backs' matchup against the Rockies on Tuesday marked the first of 14 consecutive games against the National League West.
Following the series against the Rockies, the club will travel to San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles before finishing the stretch with a two-game series against the Padres at Chase Field.
"We'll just take every series as it goes," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "We'll try to win the series. It will be tough, but we've played pretty good ball and realized that we can hang in there one way or the other.
"I'd like to see that day when we start winning all these series for the most part, as opposed to winning one. I feel if we keep pushing, our days will come."
The D-backs won two of their first five games against the division this season. The club went 27-45 against the NL West last season and 30-42 against the division in 2009.
"That's where we are at," Gibson said. "You go out and try to win every night, regardless of who it is. Whatever you get yourself into, good or bad, you deal with it."
D-backs starter Ian Kennedy has been moved up in the rotation and will now pitch Thursday against the Rockies in the series finale, instead of Friday in San Diego. The D-backs have two scheduled days off in the first two weeks of May, and Gibson said he wants to keep Kennedy pitching every five days. Armando Galarraga, who was scheduled to pitch Thursday, will pitch Friday, followed by Daniel Hudson and Joe Saunders.
Gibson is not surprised by his team's offensive output this season. Arizona is tied with Milwaukee and Atlanta for third in the National League with 31 home runs. The club has hit 19 at Chase Field.
"We felt we would be able to score some runs. This is a good offensive ballpark," Gibson said. "We wanted to not just be a team that relied on the home run, and we've done a better job of that."
Heilman (tendinitis in right shoulder) will throw one inning in an extended spring training game Wednesday. Duke (broken hand) will throw a bullpen session on Friday and is on track to throw in an extended spring training game on Monday. Ideally, the club would like Duke to start pitching every five days.