PEORIA, Ariz. -- After watching his team stumble through the first six games of the Cactus League, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has decided to make some changes.
Gibson is concerned that the tiring morning work he's had his players do has left them with little energy for the afternoon games. The result was sloppy play and a 1-4-1 record before their win Friday.
Following Thursday's off-day, the D-backs played with more energy in Friday's victory over the Mariners.
The team had much the same problem last season, as they played uneven during the spring. However, the emphasis on fundamentals wound up paying off when it counted, as the D-backs went on to win 94 games and the National League West.
Because of how far they've come, though, Gibson said he now feels comfortable focusing more on developing a pregame routine rather than strictly fundamentals. With that in mind, the club will do fewer team fundamental drills in the morning for the remainder of the month.
"I don't know, but I'm hoping that it kind of freshens us up a little bit and gives us a little more energy on the field," Gibson said.
Execution, not results, the key for Bauer
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The development of Trevor Bauer continued Friday, as the D-backs' right-hander allowed two runs on four hits in three innings of work against the Mariners.
It was Bauer's second start of the spring, and whereas last time he set down all six Rockies hitters he faced, this time he got a chance to pitch out of the stretch.
"I really don't pay attention to the results, I pay attention to how I execute my pitches, and you're never going to execute at 100 percent efficiency," Bauer said. "I think I executed a little bit better last time and a little bit worse today, but that's to be expected, especially this being my second time facing hitters. I'm not too worried about it. It was good to be out there and learn, and I'll get better next time."
The D-backs have little doubt about that. They selected Bauer with the No. 3 overall pick in last year's Draft, and while he's a long shot to break with the team for Opening Day, it seems all but certain he'll see time in the Majors this year.
Mariners leadoff hitter Chone Figgins found out just how good Bauer's curveball was when he took a 2-2 hook for a ball, only to get caught looking when Bauer surprised him by following it up with another one.
"It was a good pitch, he threw it for a strike, and if he can do that he's going to have success," catcher Miguel Montero said of the curve. "He's got some great stuff. He locates good and he made good quality pitches."
Bauer certainly discovered the way to manager Kirk Gibson's heart when he took a hard grounder off the back of his calf in the third inning and quickly waved off the training staff. He retired the next hitter to end the frame.
"He got hit, tried to act tough, which I like," Gibson said with a mischievous grin. "He threw good, he made some mistakes, left some balls over the plate."
Bauer's answer when asked whether he would be disappointed if he's not on the Opening Day roster, would likely also make Gibson happy.
"I try not to have any expectations," Bauer said. "The organization will decide what's best for them to win a World Series, and if I fit into it, great. If not, great, I'm going to keep trying to get better as a pitcher."
Friday was just one more step.
D-backs taking things slowly with Putz
PEORIA, Ariz. -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz saw his first Cactus League action Friday against the Mariners.
The D-backs are taking things slowly with Putz this spring in terms of getting him into games -- he was the last pitcher to see action. It's not that Putz is injured, just that as a closer he does not feel like he is best served by making too many game appearances.
Instead, Putz gets his work in by throwing extended bullpen sessions, working on pitch sequences. This spring he is working on incorporating a cut fastball into his repertoire.
On Friday, Putz allowed a pair of hits and one run, which came on a homer by Carlos Peguero.
"It felt good," Putz said of his outing. "I warmed up pretty quickly, felt good warming up. Went out there and pretty much accomplished everything I wanted to and got out of there with a good feel."
When telling reporters a couple of weeks ago about his cutter, Putz said he was going to throw it even if it winds up being hit for a homer. It was a cutter that Peguero hit out, but Putz continued to throw the pitch. In fact, he didn't throw his signature splitter and only threw around a pair of two-seam fastballs. The rest were all cutters.
"It's a work in progress," Putz said. "Anytime you're not on top of it, driving it down into the zone and you get on the side of the ball a little bit, it tends to spin a little bit and basically stay on a tee for those guys."
Whether Putz's next outing is in a game or a bullpen session will be determined in the next couple of days after he sits down with manager Kirk Gibson and pitching coach Charles Nagy.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.