PHOENIX -- Though the D-backs have not played as well as expected through the first three months of the season, management nonetheless expects the team to be playing in October.
"I think they should," GM Kevin Towers said of making the playoffs. "I think if we don't, I'd say we underachieved as a club."
Arizona won 94 games and the National League West in 2011, and there were high expectations coming into 2012. Heading into Friday's series opener against the Cubs, the D-backs were one game under .500 in third place, 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers.
"I think this club is better than last year's club, and I think the league is down from last year," Towers said. "We've got more depth in a lot of different areas. When we're clicking on all cylinders I think we can compete with anybody in the National League. For me, I can't quite figure it out. It's like, 'Here we go,' and then, 'Boom,' our wheels will spin for a game or two. Hopefully, we find that traction and go off on a nice little drive."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he agreed with his GM's assessment when it comes to the playoffs.
"We expect to," Gibson said of making the postseason. "That's what we push towards. I know some don't believe us. That's fine. It's just a matter of what our resolve is. There's going to frustrating things that happen, and we have a lot of games to go -- a ton to go. We're not even halfway through, and you just have to remain on task, on target. You have to power through the doubt, first of all, about yourself and your team. It's all around us. Trust me I know it is."
Bauer checks in to meet with club officials
PHOENIX -- In Phoenix to look at some real estate during Triple-A Reno's off-day on Monday, D-backs top prospect Trevor Bauer stopped by Chase Field and met with club officials.
Bauer met with some baseball operations members and spent time with senior vice president of communications Josh Rawitch to talk about ways to deal with the tremendous amount of attention the right-hander has received since being the No. 3 overall pick in last year's Draft.
D-backs GM Kevin Towers said in no way was Bauer being reprimanded for anything, and he added that the meeting was at the suggestion of Bauer's agent Joel Wolfe.
"To give him a little bit of preparation from someone who is in the PR business," Towers said. "Sometimes less is better than more. You probably don't want to let your opponents know kind of your thought process in how you pitch. Just go out there every fifth day and your performance will speak for itself."
Bauer, who is 4-0 with a 2.79 ERA in seven starts for Reno, has risen quickly through the D-backs system. His immense talent and pregame preparation program have led to him getting plenty of attention.
"Trevor's talent and the unique way in which he does his work makes him a natural story for a lot of media members," Rawitch said. "And we were fortunate to have time to chat with him about how to handle those demands. He's a very bright guy, and I'm glad we were able to make the most of his time here in Phoenix."
Towers emphasized that he was not trying to curtail Bauer's personality or script his sessions with reporters.
"We didn't tell him what he could say and not say," Towers said. "We want [our players] to be their own selves, but just a guy that we know when that point comes and he is up here, he's going to get hit in a lot of different areas and the less distractions for you every fifth day, the better."
Drew on track for Wednesday return
PHOENIX -- Stephen Drew will likely return to the D-backs on Wednesday in Atlanta.
After playing in three straight games for the second time during his Minor League rehab stint, Drew was transferred from Triple-A Reno to Double-A Mobile on Friday.
Drew is scheduled to play for the BayBears on Sunday and Monday, and if all goes well, he will rejoin his teammates Wednesday in time for the second game of a three-game set with the Braves.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he was not sure exactly how many days in a row Drew would initially be able to play.
"I don't have an answer for you at this time," Gibson said. "I don't know that I can sit there and say that he'll be available one day, two days, three days in a row. He may play a day and get really sore the next day, so I can't give you a concrete answer. We'll get him involved when we think he can help the team win, at the same time make sure we keep his ankle in [good] condition, give good consideration to that."
Drew suffered a season-ending ankle fracture last July 20 sliding into home. Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald have done a nice job at short in his absence, and Gibson has had the pair taking grounders at third base over the last week.
When Drew returns, it's possible that one way to get Bloomquist or McDonald in the lineup would be to play them at third.
"It's possible," Gibson said. "Obviously, the rotation will be a little different. I don't think we've figured out exactly how that rotation will be. We have a lot of flexibility there."
Broadcaster Sutton given time off
PHOENIX -- D-backs television play-by-play man Daron Sutton was not in the booth for Friday's opener against the Cubs at Chase Field.
The club declined to say why Sutton was not working the game and Sutton did not immediately respond to a voice mail seeking comment.
"We've made a change in the broadcast-talent lineup," team spokesperson Josh Rawitch said. "Daron will be taking some time off."
Rawitch declined to say how long Sutton would be away.
Greg Schulte, the team's radio voice since 1998, filled in on TV for Sutton on Friday. Jeff Munn took the radio play-by-play reins for Schulte.
Gibson joins players in Bieber card auction
PHOENIX -- Kirk Gibson has caught Bieber Fever.
OK, that might be a bit of a stretch, as it's doubtful the D-backs manager has even heard one of Justin Bieber's songs, but Gibson is joining his player's efforts to raise money for charity.
D-backs closer J.J. Putz discovered a signed Bieber trading card in a pack he opened last weekend, and he agreed to auction the card off to benefit the charities of fellow relievers Craig Breslow and Brad Ziegler.
The D-backs' organization has agreed to donate a matching amount up to $2,500, as have Putz, Ziegler and Breslow.
Gibson told the players Friday that he too would match up to $2,500.
"Just to support my guys," Gibson said. "I certainly want to give back, No. 1. I think it's awesome, the life that [the card auction] has taken on, and it's important to those guys and they're very dedicated with their charities. The least I can do is be on board with those guys, support them in their causes."
As of the start of Friday night's game, the leading bid was just over $2,500.