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03/08/11 5:41 PM EST

Gibson says D-backs need to strengthen 'D'

Club tied with the Cubs for most errors in spring season

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Kirk Gibson realizes there is still more than three weeks left to play in Spring Training, but the D-backs manager has had enough of his club's struggles on defense.

"We had four errors [Monday], five errors?" Gibson said. "That's unacceptable."

It was five errors if you combine the two split-squad games -- bringing the spring total to 18. That ties the Cubs for the most in the Majors.

"We'll be fine, but right now I'm just saying it's unacceptable," Gibson said.

With an expected reduction in offense due to the loss of third baseman Mark Reynolds and first baseman Adam LaRoche, defense and pitching have been points of emphasis during camp.

"Our team is going to have to pitch and defend," Gibson said. "That's going to be our key."

Pitching-wise they've been fine, but the defense has left plenty to be desired.

"Part of it is the Spring Training fields," Gibson said. "Like [Monday in Surprise] the places that have a hard home plate, that's a joke. We softened ours up. Still other teams have handled it just fine. We have not played good defensively."

As he has done with the pitchers, Gibson has asked more out of the defenders than has been done in the past.

"Defense, you've got to work at it," Gibson said. "You don't just go out there and stand in a hula hoop and say, 'OK hit it to me.'"

Is it possible that the changes Gibson is asking his defenders to make is giving them too much to think about and therefore effecting their play?

"I don't really care," Gibson said. "They've got to deal with it. We will pick the ball up better, trust me. We'll try everything in our power between now and Opening Day to make everybody play up to their abilities."

How will they go about doing that?

"We'll continue to hit fungoes," Gibson said. "There's various reasons [for the struggles], let's just leave it at that. We'll address it, we'll clean it up. They're better than that. I know it and they know it too."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.