PEORIA, Ariz. -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has been patient so far with the way his team has played this spring, but that could change if they don't start improving.
"We haven't played very well," Gibson said. "We just haven't had good at-bats, I'll just leave it at that. The other teams have out executed us: pitching, hitting, everything. So we certainly have room for improvement."
There is temptation to overlook the struggles because, after all, the team similarly struggled last spring and they wound up winning 94 games and the National League West.
That line of reasoning only goes so far with Gibson, though.
"I don't rely on that," Gibson said. "We know that if we don't play well in the spring it doesn't mean anything, yet to me we do want to play good, period. You always want to play good. People are coming out to see us play good, we want to play well."
The last few days, Gibson has backed off some of the morning fundamental work with the theory that it would leave the team fresher for the games in the afternoon. The team has won two of three games since, but Gibson is not ready to say that's the reason.
"It seems like our bats are a little slow right now," Gibson said. "I don't think it's a physical thing, I think it's a mentality thing. We just have to put better at-bats together. We'll get there. We know we can hit. We know we can pitch. We know we can play. It's a process."
Serious Hudson not complacent after good start
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Spring Training or not, Daniel Hudson takes these outings seriously.
Even Hudson, though, had to be at least somewhat pleased with the way he threw Sunday afternoon against the Padres.
"I can always get better," Hudson said. "There's no reason why I can't get better with everything. You can't really be complacent in this game, even though it's Spring Training."
Maybe so, but it's hard to improve on the three hitless innings and three strikeouts he compiled while throwing 30 pitches, 21 for strikes. It was a better result than his first start this spring, when he allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in two innings.
"Better command of the inside part of the plate," Hudson said. "I was getting it in there pretty good. Not necessarily for strikes, but close enough to where I was making them aware that I was hitting that spot today. Better overall command of everything."
Hudson is working on incorporating a slower breaking ball into his repertoire to go with his fastball, slider and change.
Despite only throwing 30 pitches, Hudson did not go to the bullpen afterwards to throw extra pitches. Instead, he will go through a harder bullpen session before his next start in five days.
Pitching coach Nagy likes hurlers' outings so far
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The overall ERAs have not necessarily been pretty for the D-backs, but pitching coach Charles Nagy has liked what he's seen from his hurlers so far this spring.
For example, closer J.J. Putz allowed a home run in his first spring appearance, but it came on a cut fastball, a pitch that Putz is trying to add to his arsenal this year. So in that outing, Putz threw almost all cutters.
"J.J threw it real well the other day," Nagy said. "Just kind of got under one and it got hit for a home run."
One of the organization's top prospects, left-hander Tyler Skaggs, struggled in his first spring appearance, allowing four walks in two-thirds of a inning. Yet there is no concern about his future.
"He was rushing a little bit, [he was] a little amped up," Nagy said. "Hopefully the next time out he'll be fine. He threw a good side session [Saturday]."
Speaking of the young pitchers, Nagy has been impressed with Patrick Corbin, who pitched at Double-A Mobile last year.
"Corbin's been throwing the ball really good," Nagy said. "I like the way he goes about his business. He's an athlete, he's a good kid. He's not in awe or anything, he just going out there trying to make his pitches."
Nagy is still getting familiar with Trevor Cahill, who the D-backs acquired in a deal with the A's in December.
"I'm impressed with Cahill," Nagy said. "Didn't know much about him, but he's a good kid, a hard worker. He's adapted to everything that goes on here, like controlling the running game."
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.