PHOENIX -- D-backs third baseman Ryan Roberts took ground balls prior to batting practice on Friday to work on his footwork and throws to first base.
Over the past week, the 31-year-old has struggled with his throws to first. Third-base coach Matt Williams closely watched Roberts and demonstrated technique during the session.
"At times, you start thinking too much," Roberts said. "So you have to go back to the basics of making sure your feet are underneath you and you follow your throw. That means working on footwork and trying to keep your feet underneath you with ground balls."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson noticed the issue was a result of a different arm angle Roberts has been using in his throws to first. Roberts has two errors through 11 starts at third this season, but the club isn't worried about its third baseman.
"He's getting a bad habit in getting his arm down a little bit," Gibson said. "Initially, he wasn't working on his footwork as much, now [Williams] works with him constantly about getting his feet around. It's not a concern, it's something we can correct."
Drew still has stiffness, but ankle improving
PHOENIX -- A day after playing three innings and legging out a double in an extended Spring Training game at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew is feeling optimistic about his recovering right ankle.
"It's feeling better; we'll see. The past five days have been good," Drew said. "Do I feel it? Yeah, but the pain is starting to go down. The stiffness is still there, but I noticed about two weeks ago while getting out of bed it took me 15 minutes to warm my foot up, now it's 3-5 minutes and it feels normal. That's a good thing."
Thursday marked the first time Drew ran out of the box and on the bases during live action. Even though he was only moving at half speed, the shortstop was pleased with how his ankle responded.
"It was good to do it, I needed to see where I was at," Drew said. "I did it at 50 percent all the way there and [my ankle] wasn't an issue. Beforehand, it had bothered me."
Drew came back to Chase Field on Friday and worked out with the D-backs.
"He was just out on the field, he looks very good," Gibson said. "He's getting there, but he's not close enough. We're going to run him again tomorrow."
Upton not ready to test injured thumb
PHOENIX -- D-backs outfielder Justin Upton knows his injured left thumb is getting better, but he isn't ready to test it yet.
After a hand specialist drained fluid from it on Tuesday, Upton hasn't swung the bat with his injured hand since.
"I haven't taken a hack with this hand, it's purely rest and treatment," he said. "It's coming along, it's better than it was a week ago; that's the positive thing."
That's not to say Upton hasn't swung at all. He has taken batting practice with his non-injured hand to try to keep active against live pitching.
"I've gone down to the cage and used the good arm to try to stay fresh and get my work in," he said. "I'm doing everything I can."
On Thursday, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson mentioned that Upton saw Mets third baseman David Wright on TV squeezing silly putty to keep his injured finger loose. Trainers use it to help keep stiffness out when the joints aren't being used.
"It's standard in the training room. The putty is one of those strength things," Upton said. "So, we're at that point now to try to get some flexibility in it."
D-backs reliever Takashi Saito tossed a scoreless inning and allowed a hit in his rehab assignment for Class A Visalia. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he will pitch again Saturday before being reevaluated.
D-backs infielder Cody Ransom is back with the club on Friday after a stay in the hospital Thursday for kidney stones. He is available as a late-inning replacement.