05/10/10 11:20 PM ET
Hinch maintains faith in D-backs' bullpen
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
The bullpen needs to start producing, though, and soon.
"I believe in the guys, they're going to get better," Hinch said. "They can't continue this performance just out of skills alone. It's a drain on everyone. They just need to get outs when they're called upon."
That's something they haven't done. Coming into Monday's action, Arizona relievers ranked last in the Majors with a 6.95 ERA and had allowed the most homers (20).
There doesn't appear to be much help ready to step in down on the farm, but should some of them be nervous about losing their jobs?
"Nervous?" Hinch said. "Sure. I think guys are always fighting for their jobs at this level, but I'd rather they focus on getting the outs. That will alleviate a lot of the stress and pressure. It's been ugly. It hasn't been a comfortable entrance into the season for them."
Hinch was then asked if he would give them a vote of confidence.
"The confidence is continuing to give them the ball," Hinch said. "They're all going through this at the same time. A vote of confidence for me is they're still on this team and they're still going to be relied on to get important outs. They need to make some adjustments. The walks have been particularly frustrating."
Until changes are made, Hinch will continue to do what he can to find the right combination.
"We just need to find solutions," he said. "I'm really more interested in solutions and trying to find ways to get these guys back on track. I'm surprised. My standards haven't changed in what expect out of the bullpen. I'd like them to pitch to their capabilities, which should be good enough."
Injured Montero starts taking swings
PHOENIX -- Miguel Montero generally does not enjoy hitting off a batting tee.
But when you're on the disabled list and aching to get back in the action, well, you take what you can get.
"I hate the tee, but I'm excited to do it," Montero said last Friday.
Montero has been out of action since tearing the meniscus in his right knee on April 11 against the Pirates. He needed surgery to have it repaired and is still a little ways from being able to rejoin his teammates on the field.
On Monday, Montero added some soft toss to his list of activity in addition to the tee work. He also jogged on the special anti-gravity treadmill that uses air pressure to reduce the amount of body weight that is placed on the machine.
"I'm feeling really good," Montero said. "No pain."
D-backs' offense looking to turn page
PHOENIX -- The D-backs' bullpen got plenty of attention for its poor performance, but the offense deserves its share of the blame for the three-game sweep at the hands of the Brewers this past weekend.
"It feels like we're carrying a little baggage with us from game to game right now and that's not a good way to play," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "Maybe it's my psychology background or my belief system, but there's really nothing that happened yesterday that has to be chewed up and spit out again today."
During the Milwaukee series, the D-backs hit .196, struck out 29 times and were outscored, 26-6. Brewers lefties Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson took advantage of the aggressiveness of the Arizona hitters.
"They struck us out a lot," Hinch said. "They find a way to put some tension into our at-bats. I really feel like our series against them was more about us trying to do a lot and trying to hit the ball 500 feet rather than give what the pitcher gives you. They had two pitchers out of the three that feed off of that. We did a poor job of executing, and more than that, a poor job of adjusting."
Trying to find a way to have his team not dwell on the past is a balancing act for Hinch.
"We're a unique team in that I feel like we are at our best when we don't take anything too lightly, but we don't take anything too seriously," he said. "When our offense is clicking we're tough to get through."
And when they're not, they are vulnerable, as evidenced last weekend.
D-backs, Brito agree to terms for second time
PHOENIX -- It looks like outfielder Socrates Brito will be part of the D-backs organization after all.
The D-backs have agreed to terms with Brito for the second time this year, though there is still some paperwork that must be completed before the signing becomes official.
Brito was initially signed by the D-backs during Spring Training for $190,000, but Arizona voided his contract two weeks ago when he tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance.
"We reached an agreement with Socrates prior to any testing," assistant general manager Peter Woodfork said on the day the D-backs voided the contract. "When we were notified of his entry testing results, we immediately voided that agreement. The Diamondbacks obviously agree with Major League Baseball's strict drug policy. We will attempt to renegotiate new contract terms, but our first priority is to help the player understand the potential harm, policies and repercussions that surround such behavior."
Brito received a 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and it will take effect when his deal with the D-backs becomes official.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.