05/12/12 8:21 PM ET
D-backs show their support for Coyotes
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
The Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings will face each other in Game 1 of NHL's Western Conference finals on Sunday in Arizona. It's a tradition in Phoenix to "white out" the competition and show solidarity among fans with white T-shirts or white pom-poms at hockey games.
"We certainly want to lend our support and celebrate their accomplishments," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We won't be able to wear them tomorrow because we won't have [batting practice], but we'll do it today."
Gibson is a big hockey fan. His sons are involved with the sport and have skated with the Coyotes. Phoenix team captain Shane Doan has been a great role model to Gibson's children, the manager said.
"It's a good game and it's great competition," Gibson said. "It's certainly a test of wills. This should be an interesting series because they are two really different teams."
Drew slides for first time since injury
PHOENIX -- Injured D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew cleared a major hurdle on his road to recovery on Saturday when he slid for the first time since breaking his ankle in a game last July.
Drew slid six times on a mat and three more times on the field. He said he felt fine afterward.
"It felt normal so that's a good thing," he said. "Things have been going really good. I have had not had a really major setback and that's a good thing."
Drew, who played six innings Thursday in an extended spring training game, said he is looking forward to playing in consecutive games and sliding in a game. He wants "to build up innings."
"It's a big step," Drew said. "It's been a long road, but hopefully, I'll be out there pretty soon."
Drew's sense of humor has remained intact.
"His first slide into the mat, he was jerking me around and he slid headfirst," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He knew we were all out there to see him. Then he slid five or six times. You are looking for acceleration. You can tell mentally that he was prepared to do it."
The wit and wisdom of Gibson's Friday night
PHOENIX -- Welcome to a day in the life of D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.
Following Friday's 5-1 victory against Giants, Gibson enjoyed some downtime, had a few laughs with comedian Lewis Black at a gathering, then spent 15 minutes on the phone with former manager Tony La Russa, not long after the Cardinals retired his number during a pregame ceremony in St. Louis.
Black and friends were texting with La Russa when they decided it would be a good idea to get the two baseball minds on the phone together.
"We just got to talking that it's really about the second half the season, which he would certainly have a fresh memory doing it," Gibson said. "You don't want to totally disintegrate in the first half, you want to be like the Dodgers. We're not, but at the same time, we keep pushing, keep trying to get better and play better baseball. You start winning one-run games and be more consistent with pitching and fundamentals. You try to build momentum into the season. You do not want to get too far behind."
It was a busy day for La Russa. His number No. 10 became the 12th number to be retired by the Cardinals and is now displayed on the brick wall in right-center field at Busch Stadium with the other 11 numbers honored. La Russa, who won 1,408 games with St. Louis and led them to two World Series titles, ranks third all-time among managers with 2,728 wins.
"He's feeling good," Gibson said. "Tony set a high standard for himself. We competed again each other for a long time. He said he is going to stop by at some point. He's traveling around and he'll stop by. Anything he has to share is always interesting. ... He's a good baseball man, good mind and a good friend."
Black, who Gibson said has been a Dodgers fan since they were in Brooklyn, is in town for a fund-raising event.
"It was a pretty good day for us," Gibson said. "We had a good game [Friday], went and chilled out and got some comedy and humor in me and then some wisdom."
Chris Young, who is on the disabled list after jamming his right shoulder against the outfield wall on April 17, had a double and two walks in six at-bats during an extended spring training game Saturday. He hopes to join the team sometime during the next road trip to Los Angeles, Colorado and Kansas City.
"It's coming along. It gets better every day," Young said. "I'll just keep pushing and we'll see where I am at. I don't expect [the discomfort] to be completely gone. I just have to strengthen it up to where I can be productive with it and don't have to hold back with anything."
Young also played in an extended spring training game Thursday.
"The hitting and the running is a lot better," he said. "The throwing? If I had to rank them all, the throwing would be in last-place right now."
D-backs right-hander Daniel Hudson, who faced hitters Friday for the first time since going on the disabled list on April 21 with a right shoulder impingement, said he felt fine Saturday.
Hudson will throw a bullpen session on Monday, and pitch Wednesday in an extended spring training game.
"I'm just trying to stay positive and take it one step at a time," he said.
Around 150 fans participated in the Second Annual D-backs Tweet-up at Chase Field. Team president Derrick Hall and third baseman Ryan Roberts were among the special guests.
"It's another opportunity to interact with fans using social networking and get players involved," Hall said. "We can also reach out to those who are not here."