05/14/12 10:27 PM ET
D-backs hope LA trip offers another spark
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
A year ago Monday, Arizona was 15-22 and had lost five consecutive games by one run when it faced Chad Billingsley at Dodger Stadium.
The D-backs managed just one hit in that game but wound up winning, 1-0, as Josh Collmenter picked up the win in his first Major League start.
"At the time when it's going on you're not really paying attention to it," Collmenter said. "Especially since it was my first start, I was just focusing on getting outs and see how long I could go. At the end, I looked up and was like, wow, we only had one hit."
The D-backs could certainly use a boost right about now. They are 15-20 and had dropped nine of their previous 11 games.
"Who knows if it's today or tomorrow or whatever, but we're going to continue to push through it, battle through it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "In the end we'll get it together, we'll play better baseball, we'll get into sync as a team and we'll have a good time."
The D-backs apparently had some fun Sunday night after arriving in Los Angeles. Gibson said a number of players and staff met up after dinner.
"We rallied together for a nightcap and had some good conversations," he said.
Upton determined to play through struggles
LOS ANGELES -- Last May 28, D-backs outfielder Justin Upton was struggling with a .241 batting average when manager Kirk Gibson gave him a day off to recharge mentally.
Upton responded by going on a tear after that and finished with a .289 average to go along with 31 homers and 88 RBIs.
So far, 2012 has been a rough one for Upton, who had to battle through an injured thumb during most of the first month of the season.
Upton entered play Monday night with a .225 batting average and Gibson was asked before the game if he was close to giving Upton a mental day off again.
"I asked him today," Gibson said. "He wants to play. He's very determined. He just hasn't been able to find his swing path. On and off, but not consistently. He's worked so hard he's probably got a little too much on his mind right now."
Having too much on his mind could be one of the factors in his struggles.
"It's probably not as natural for him right now because he's trying to make certain adjustments," Gibson said of Upton's swing. "You're pulling off the ball, so maybe you close up, and the reality of it is it makes you pull off even more. It's just a vicious cycle sometimes."
Drew could start rehab in Minors on Sunday
LOS ANGELES -- Depending on how the next few days go, D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew could start an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno on Sunday.
Drew is scheduled to play nine innings in an extended spring game Tuesday and again Thursday. In between, the team will put him through an intense session of drills on Wednesday.
"If that's all good, he'll go to Reno Saturday night and play on Sunday," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
Drew suffered a gruesome season-ending right ankle injury July 20 last year when he slid into home against the Brewers and had his spikes caught in the dirt.
The D-backs have studiously avoided putting a timetable on Drew's return. Gibson was asked if the team was getting closer to seeing a date for his return.
"I don't know that we're seeing the end to it," Gibson said. "We're getting closer. We can't put a date on it. He's going to play nine innings. You can't really predict how he's going to come out of that."
Gibson declines offer to catch Orel's first pitch
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are honoring legend Orel Hershiser on Tuesday night.
The team will be giving away bobbleheads in the likeness of the former Dodgers right-hander, and he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Hershiser apparently asked D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, who was a teammate of Hershiser's on the 1988 World Series-winning Dodgers, to catch the pitch.
Gibson, who hit the game-winning homer in Game 1 of the World Series, said he politely declined.
"I'm a Diamondback," Gibson said. "I'm the manager of the team. I respect Orel tremendously. He knows that. It's not disrespect towards him. If I was out of baseball I would have done it, but I'm in baseball and I've got different colors on tonight and tomorrow."
The Dodgers will honor Gibson on July 31 with a Gibson bobblehead giveaway. The D-backs are scheduled to be in Los Angeles to play the Dodgers that night.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.