DENVER -- Juan Miranda's ailing right hand felt better Wednesday, but the D-backs first baseman was out of the lineup once again.

Miranda has not played since being struck in the hand by a pitch during Sunday's win over the Twins.

"I feel like I'll be ready to play [Thursday]," Miranda said. "It was a little bit sore, but right now it feels much better."

"I think he's getting pretty close," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said, that he was hopeful that the team has avoided having to place Miranda on the disabled list.

The injury could not have come at a worse time for Miranda. The D-backs had just designated Russell Branyan to give Miranda more playing time and he was riding a 9-for-18 hot streak.

"He was swinging the bat good, but it's part of the game, you have to deal with it," Gibson said.

Xavier Nady once again got the start at first in Miranda's place on Wednesday.

Gutierrez placed on DL; Kroenke recalled

DENVER -- The much-improved D-backs' bullpen suffered its second injury in as many days, as Juan Gutierrez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with pain in his right shoulder.

Fellow right-hander Sam Demel was played on the DL on Tuesday with right shoulder tendinitis.

Gutierrez was forced to leave the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader with the Rockies after facing two batters. He returned to Phoenix on Wednesday and had an MRI taken, the results of which were not immediately available.

Gutierrez missed time last year with a shoulder issue that the club was able to solve through a strengthening program, and that is something D-backs manager Kirk Gibson is hopeful will be the case again this year.

Lefty Zach Kroenke was recalled from Triple-A Reno to take Gutierrez's spot on the roster. Kroenke started eight games for Reno this year and was 4-0 with a 5.64 ERA.

Given that he's been starting in the Minors, Gibson said he planned to use Kroenke in a long role.

"It's the same old, same old," said Kroenke, who was 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in three games (one start) for the D-backs in 2010. "You've got to go out and keep the ball down, change speeds and get some outs. The more rollovers I can get, the more I'll take. As long as I keep them on their toes and on their heels and all over the place, I'll be happy."

Saunders feels good day after collision

DENVER -- When he went to bed Tuesday night, Joe Saunders was a little concerned about how he might feel in the morning.

However, the D-backs left-hander woke up feeling good one day after a nasty collision at home plate with the Rockies' Dexter Fowler.

"Just normal day after a start soreness," Saunders said. "My neck feels fine, my face feels fine."

Saunders and Fowler collided when Saunders covered the plate after a pitch got by catcher Miguel Montero. The play left Saunders groggy and he had to be reminded of the details of the play by watching a television replay following the game.

"It's kind of weird looking at the replay and reliving it in real time," he said. "I was just trying to block him from the plate, it was like two trains coming together at the same time. Well with me more like a caboose. It was just one of those baseball instinct things."

That Saunders put his body at risk like that to make the play impressed his teammates.

"It was the big play of the game," Montero said. "That was a big out for us and a great play by him. When I saw him lying there after I was like, 'oh jeez you'd better get up because we don't have enough arms in the bullpen right now.'"

Saunders, who picked up his first win of the year in the game, has pitched better of late.

"If he keeps pitching like that he's going to win a lot more games," Montero said.