DETROIT -- Two D-backs relievers are making strides to return from the disabled list.

Sam Demel threw for Triple-A Reno on Thursday, recorded an inning of work and induced three ground-ball outs. He threw 12 pitches, seven for strikes and five for balls.

Juan Gutierrez threw a simulated game on Thursday and is scheduled to throw another simulated game on Sunday. Injured infielder Geoff Blum is expected to hit off him.

"He had a lot of life on his fastball," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Down in the zone, impressive life and excellent body language."

Gibson said Blum will start playing in the rookie level Arizona league next week. He has been limited to simulated games to this point.

Gibson: Tigers are now 'the enemy'

DETROIT -- Some things never change.

"It's not going to be a distraction," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said in a business-like fashion about returning to Detroit. "Because I won't allow it to be.

"I'm the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks and I try to come in with the same even keel and focus every day," he said.

But the 54-year-old has changed in more than one way since he roamed right field as a Tigers fan favorite at Tiger Stadium for 12 seasons in the 1980's and 90's.

  • 131 wins
  • 121 wins

"When you're a player, you're more reactive," he said. "You wear it on your sleeve. But as a manager, you have to be more proactive and stay ahead of things.

"It's different but I'm fiery," he continued. "I get irritated but I don't react the way I did as a player."

Gibson grew up in the Detroit area, played football and baseball at Michigan State and among other postseason accomplishments, hit a World Series-winning home run off Goose Gossage in 1984.

He retired as a Tiger in 1995, worked five seasons as a Tigers broadcaster and joined current D-backs bench coach Alan Trammell in the same capacity when Trammell managed the Tigers between 2003-05.

"I appreciated my time here for sure," Gibson said. "I got to play in Tiger Stadium where I watched games as a little kid. We developed together as an organization, we grew up together and we accomplished a World Championship together. It was a special time and we'll never forget it.

"But now they're the enemy."

Trammell knows his role in Detroit history

DETROIT -- D-backs bench coach Alan Trammell likes to see familiar faces.

"It's always good to be back," he said. "This will always be a special place for me. That will never change."

Trammell was back at Comerica Park on Friday for the start of a three-game set against the franchise he played, managed and won a World Series for.

"I'm always going to be a part of their history, as I should," Trammell said. "I wouldn't want that to change. It's where I played my entire career."

Trammell played 20 seasons at shortstop for the Tigers, accumulating 2,365 hits, six All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves and a World Series Championship in 1984.

He managed the Tigers for three years, from 2003-05, and compiled a 186-300 record.

During that time, the roles with current D-backs manager Kirk Gibson were reversed. Gibson served as Trammell's bench coach during his managing tenure.

"When I get locked in on something, that's all I'm focused on," Trammell said. "I realize that Gibby is the captain of the ship as I was a few years back, but we're a team.

"For us, it's about the team," he continued. "And we'll do whatever it takes."

Collmenter returns home to Michigan

DETROIT -- Josh Collmenter doesn't get nervous.

"That's not me," he said on Friday.

But the D-backs rookie right-hander did admit that starting on Saturday at Comerica Park, against Tigers ace Justin Verlander and in front of hundreds of fans from his hometown of Homer, Mich., is going to be an experience.

"It's going to be different to step out there," Collmenter said. "It even was today just to run out there and be in a park that's familiar to you."

Friday morning, Collmenter made the two-hour trip to his small, southwestern Michigan hometown for Josh Collmenter Day, where the city and 200 people turned out to honor the 25-year-old.

"It was exciting," he said. "There were a lot more people than I expected and the support from Homer has been amazing."

After starring at Homer High School, Collmenter played college baseball at Central Michigan and worked his way up the minor league ranks before debuting with the D-backs earlier this season.

"If you look at every leg of the journey," he said. "Every step of the way, you really appreciate how much it took and what you went through to get here."

A life-long Tigers fan, Collmenter is too young to remember the heydays of D-backs manager Kirk Gibson and bench coach Alan Trammell but knows the opportunity he's been given.

"It's an honor for me to play alongside them every day," he said.

Collmenter expects between 200-1,000 people from Homer will be in attendance on Saturday.