PHOENIX -- This weekend's Interleague series between the D-backs and Athletics features two teams not exactly familiar with each other. The club's managers, however, are another story entirely.Serving as Bob Melvin's bench coach in Arizona from 2007-09, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson credits the current Oakland skipper for teaching him many of the responsibilities of managing a baseball team. "I respect him tremendously, as much as you can respect somebody," Gibson said. "He's taught me a lot, obviously, and we're very close friends. Always have been, always will be." Teammates with the Tigers in 1985, Gibson and Melvin's relationship began in Detroit but flourished as the two led the D-backs to the National League West crown in 2007. "He's kind of like he was as a player, very smart, very heady and very consistent in his approach and determination," Gibson said. "He wears a lot on the inside, and you'd never know it. It's always hard to look at Bob Melvin and see what he's feeling." The most important lesson Melvin taught Gibson was about his emotions and how to deal with them when times are tough. "He was always very in control of his emotions," Gibson said. "You can't get frustrated and be emotional. You have to continue to steer the ship; you can't let go of the wheel."
Cahill, Parker ready for fateful matchup
Courtesy of D-backs associate reporter Tyler Emerick
PHOENIX -- As the centerpieces of the offseason trade between the D-backs and the Athletics, all eyes will be on Trevor Cahill and Jarrod Parker when they meet Saturday at Chase Field."It's cool how it worked out," Parker said. "This is what everyone wants to see, right?" Even though onlookers will view the game as a way to help determine who got the better end of the deal, the people around the matchup are attempting to downplay the magnitude of one start. "It's pretty much the same," Cahill said. "Just trying to pitch normal and not think about it too much." "I think everyone looks forward to it, but we probably don't get caught up in it as much as the fans who have maybe rooted for both," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "But there's definitely some intrigue to it." After struggling in Spring Training against the D-backs, walking seven batters in 3 2/3 innings, Parker rolls into the anticipated matchup coming off the best performance of his young career in his last start. The righty had a no-hitter through seven innings and ended up holding the Rangers to one hit over eight innings. "I feel a lot more comfortable now than I did then. It was Spring Training, and this time it counts," Parker said. "I feel like I know myself a little better, and I know the guys around me better. Kurt [Suzuki, catcher] and I have developed a good relationship, and I trust everything he says." Cahill also is pitching well, he tossed a shutout against the Padres in his last start. The 24-year-old who spent three seasons with Oakland is excited to see old friends more than anything. "I went to dinner last night with [Brandon McCarthy]," he said. "My fiance is hanging out with some other Oakland families. I'm sure I'll see them around, too."
Upton returns after three-day break
PHOENIX -- After not placing outfielder Justin Upton in the lineup for three of the past five games, including Tuesday and Wednesday before Thursday's off-day, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson batted Upton third and put him in right field against the Athletics on Friday."He's had a couple days off. Hopefully he's refreshed and ready to go," Gibson said. "We won two games without him, won a series, now we have another series to win." The All-Star's abbreviated benching picked up steam on Tuesday when D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick went on Xtra Sports 910 and called Upton an enigma and not the player the club expects of him. Gibson never went as far as Kendrick's criticisms, but admitted he thought Upton was pressing. "I was pretty clear with why I did it. I was trying to help him, help him get relaxed and back on track," Gibson said. "He looks good to me today, refreshed and recharged." Since May 27, Upton is just 4-for-28 with one RBI.
In his first rehab game with Triple-A Reno in Tucson on Thursday, injured D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew went 1-for-4 and reached on an error. He played nine innings and is expected to play again Saturday. Before Friday's series opener with Oakland, the D-backs reinstated first baseman Lyle Overbay from the Paternity List. The team had already optioned A.J. Pollock back to Reno on Thursday. Overbay's wife gave birth to their daughter, Audrey Lynn, on Tuesday.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com . This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.