Hill's grab saves D-backs at least one run
All-Star Game First Vote candidate also collects 35th extra-base hit
PHOENIX -- D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill didn't drive in any runs on Monday, but the National League All-Star Game Final Vote candidate certainly saved at least one.
In the third inning with two outs, Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal hit a sharp grounder to the right side with runners on first and second, but Hill made a sliding stop to his left and threw out the runner to end the threat.
Hill also hit his NL second baseman-leading 35th extra base hit of the season with a double in the sixth inning. The double extended his home hitting streak to 17 games, tied for the fifth-longest in team history.
The 30-year-old is now batting an even .300 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs.
Hill, a candidate in the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Firestone, is competing against Michael Bourn (Braves), David Freese (Cardinals), Bryce Harper (Nationals) and Chipper Jones (Braves) for the final spot on the NL roster.
The D-backs will wear t-shirts to support Hill on Tuesday during batting practice with the All-Star logo and the second baseman's Twitter hashtag, #FinHillVote, printed on them.
Bauer bracing for Chase Field debut
PHOENIX -- Don't get him wrong, D-backs pitcher Trevor Bauer is more than excited about making his home debut on Tuesday at Chase Field, but the 21-year-old wouldn't mind fast-forwarding to when the storyline isn't about him anymore.
"It's more people talking about the pitcher first, but after a couple starts, it wears off and it's more about the team," Bauer said. "It'll be nice when that goes away, so then the attention goes away and gets to where it should be, and that's on the team."
Bauer made his Major League debut last Thursday against the Braves, tossing four innings and allowing two runs before being lifted early, in part because of a minor groin injury. The right-hander said that is no longer bothering him.
"I dealt with it all season, it's nagged," he said. "I thought I had gotten rid of it, then it kind of popped up again. I don't feel it at all today."
The other reasons Bauer left the game early was due to his having pitched briefly three days earlier and the high temperatures in Atlanta during his outing.
"When I looked down the bench, he was very disappointed in himself, but we talked to him about it, there was no disappointment for us," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He busted his tail, it was just time to get him out of the game. He's got great stuff, we know that, we just have to get him to apply it correctly.
"He's very competitive. I feel good about the way he'll figure things out."
Even though he didn't pitch as far into the game as he would have liked, Bauer came away from his first start encouraged with the experience.
"It was good to get my feet wet, I'd never played in a stadium that big with that many people," Bauer said. "I wasn't out there a whole lot, I didn't get a chance to learn a whole lot, but I'll be more comfortable with the energy and the routine this time."
The D-backs' top prospect will likely again be on a pitch count when he takes the mound on Tuesday, but if it was up to him, that number would be extremely high.
"Hopefully it's 250 pitches," Bauer joked. "Probably not realistic, but Nolan Ryan threw 244 pitches in a complete game 16-inning win. Most in MLB history. It hurt him so much, he quit pitching 15 years later."
Blum comes off DL; McDonald goes on
PHOENIX -- The D-backs activated infielder Geoff Blum from the 60-day disabled list and placed infielder John McDonald on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 25, with a strained left oblique.
Blum only had 11 at-bats to start the season before going on the DL on April 18 with a strained left oblique. In 12 rehab games for Triple-A Reno, the 39-year-old hit .237 with three doubles, a homer and eight RBIs. In eight games with the D-backs this season, Blum was 1-for-11 with an RBI.
Blum joined the team in Phoenix on Monday and despite not being in the starting lineup, was available against the Padres.
"If the game calls for it, he'll pinch-hit for sure," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We've been short with McDonald out, that puts a strain on what you can do to create a matchup. With Blum and a full-roster, we can plan ahead."
McDonald was originally in the D-backs' lineup on Saturday in Milwaukee, but was scratched beforehand. Because he hasn't played in more than a week, the 37-year-old could only miss another week's worth of games if all goes well in his rehab.
"He came to me on Saturday and said he couldn't play," Gibson said. "It had been bothering him."
McDonald was batting .267 with seven doubles, four homers and 12 RBI in 33 games this season.
Saunders to throw simulated game
PHOENIX -- Currently on the disabled list with a shoulder injury retroactive to June 17, D-backs pitcher Joe Saunders will throw a simulated game Tuesday at Chase Field in hopes of skipping a potential rehab assignment and moving directly back into the rotation.
"I feel like I'm good enough to come back, but it's up to [the team]," Saunders said. "I want to get back on the bump before the All-Star break, but they're waiting to see how I come out of it."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson is a bit more cautious about predicting when Saunders could potentially return to the mound.
"We'll talk about it and see how he throws, let's not get ahead of ourselves," Gibson said. "We'll always be conservative, we're looking long-term. Guys want to get back in, but I'm more cautious, I want to make sure he's fully recovered."
Saunders would likely replace Josh Collmenter in the rotation, but as of now, Collmenter is scheduled to make his third start in two weeks on Friday against the Dodgers.
But Gibson hasn't decided for certain who will make that start, or what to do with Collmenter once Saunders is healthy. Since May 5, Collmenter has allowed five earned runs in 32 2/3 innings.
"He's done masterful at a job," Gibson said. "Overall we'll look at what's best for the team. We'll consider it all."
D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on July 9 in Anaheim. Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform the surgery.
Hudson was with the club on Monday and will continue to be with the team throughout the season when the D-backs are home.
Gibson said relief pitcher Takashi Saito had another setback during his last bullpen session. The 42-year-old reported that his shoulder hurt after throwing.
D-backs outfielder Jason Kubel, who was not in the lineup Monday, was available to pinch-hit after fouling a ball off himself over the weekend. Gibson said the day off was planned.
The autographed Justin Bieber card that was put up for auction by the D-backs ended with a winning bid of $2,760.00. J.J. Putz, Brad Ziegler, Craig Breslow, Kirk Gibson and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation will also donate $2,500 each of their own money to Pastime For Patriots and the Strike 3 Foundation.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.