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03/18/11 8:01 PM ET

Nady staring at crucial two weeks with D-backs

Veteran stuck in roster crunch with Allen, Parra swinging hot bats

PEORIA, Ariz. -- These next two weeks could be crucial ones for Xavier Nady.

The D-backs left fielder/first baseman finds himself in a battle for a roster spot after a slow start to the spring.

"He's going to start getting a lot more [work]," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, acknowledging the importance of the latter days of Spring Training. "I think he just needs to play consistently."

Nady, who was signed as a free agent, is coming off the second Tommy John surgery of his career. Throwing was an issue for him, especially early in camp.

Gibson maintained that Nady's throwing would come around, and the veteran has proven his manager correct. Nady took pregame warmups in left field Thursday despite the fact that he was scheduled to play first base in the game.

"He threw infield [Thursday] with an attitude," Gibson said. "He really did. It was like, 'Wow' he let it go."

Nady's second Tommy John surgery came on July 8, 2009, and he admitted earlier this spring that the biggest obstacle he had to overcome was not physical.

"It was just going to take time to get over the mental hurdle," Nady said. "[On Thursday] it felt good, and I was able to go out there and do it without any hesitation."

Despite the exertion, Nady did not have any problems with the elbow when he woke up Friday.

"I'm excited I'm taking some steps forward," he said. "I'm just going to keep working at throwing, and obviously working on hitting, and be ready for April 1."

That's the date the D-backs open the season against the Rockies at Coors Field, and whether Nady is in the starting lineup for that game could depend in large part on whether his bat comes around over the next two weeks.

Nady singled and stole a base in Friday's 8-5 win over the Mariners -- starting in left field -- raising his average to .200 (8-for-40) with one homer and two RBIs. Meanwhile, Brandon Allen has been swinging a good bat and Gerardo Parra, who came to camp in great shape, has raked offensively and has his Cactus League average at .366.

"I'm going to try to get him some consecutive at-bats probably in the next week or so," Gibson said, referring to playing Nady more often and deeper into games. "He's going to get some extra hitting [Saturday]. He's been a slow starter in spring, in many of them, so we're going to try and get him going. He's been down working with [hitting coach Don Baylor] a lot as well about some things that he's been doing that you can't do. Just a little technical issue he needs to clean up."

"That's good," Nady said. "I've got a lot going on in my swing, and sometimes it's mechanical, sometimes it's mental. It will give me some time to piece it together and kind of carry it over into the season. It's a constant grind, and you've got to keep working on it. That's why we're here. Obviously, it's an important two weeks, but I'll keep working hard and find something going into the season.

"I know it hasn't come easy, but there's a lot of time left, and I'm going to keep grinding away to get better. No matter how comfortable you are at the plate, it's always a work in progress for me. I know everyone has been supportive here, and I'll find it in these next 10 days."

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.