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06/12/11 1:37 PM ET

Vasquez anxious to return from suspension

MIAMI -- As the rest of his teammates readied for Sunday's game, D-backs reliever Esmerling Vasquez started to get back into his street clothes.

Vasquez is serving the second day of a two-game suspension for his part in a beanball incident with the Phillies that happened last weekend.

"It's hard, because I want to do my job today," Vasquez said. "It's hard when you're here and you see the team play and you can't help."

Vasquez's original suspension was for three games, but it was reduced to two after he appealed.

"I was surprised when I first saw the suspension," Vasquez said.

The D-backs cannot replace Vasquez in the bullpen, and are therefore a pitcher short until Monday.

Heilman showing steady progress

MIAMI -- It has only been two scoreless outings, but when you've been struggling like D-backs reliever Aaron Heilman has, you take progress where you can.

Heilman tossed a scoreless inning Saturday night against the Marlins, which came on the heels of Wednesday's scoreless frame in Pittsburgh.

If that doesn't seem impressive, consider that in his previous six outings, he had a 14.29 ERA in 5 2/3 innings.

"I feel better," Heilman said. "Working on a few things to make sure I'm getting myself in a good position to go out there and keep my pitches down in the zone and have some movement on them. Hopefully I just keep taking small little steps and go out there each game and get a little bit better and get back to where I feel like I should be and going out there and being a contributor to this team. It's frustrating and it's tough when you don't feel like you've contributed like you should."

Heilman has made some mechanical adjustments as the team tries to get him to throw at more of a downhill angle after getting under the ball during his struggles.

"It's always difficult when you start making changes and you're never quite sure what the effects are going to have and how long it's going to take before you're really able to assimilate that into your game and be successful at it," Heilman said. "It's going to be a work in progress, but I definitely see some signs that my ball is starting to move a little bit more like it should."

Worth noting

D-backs reliever Sam Demel, who is on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, had trouble getting loose for his first bullpen session last week and was shut down for a few days. "He just didn't loosen up, so we immediately shut him down," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're not going to push him through. We're going to take our time and make sure he's good. He's come back from that, and ever since then, it's been good." Demel is scheduled to attempt another bullpen session Tuesday. ... Infielder Geoff Blum, who is on the DL following knee surgery, has begun taking batting practice on a regular basis. The team expects him to begin doing more agility work when it returns home next week.

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.