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05/27/12 3:30 PM ET

Zagurski finding a niche in D-backs 'pen

PHOENIX -- More than a month removed from his April 24 callup from Triple-A Reno, D-backs relief pitcher Mike Zagurski is finally starting to settle into a permanent role with the club.

The left-hander struggled in his first two appearances for the D-backs, surrendering four earned runs over a combined 2 1/3 innings. But since then, over 8 2/3 innings, he's allowed just two runs on six hits while striking out nine.

"I've thrown the ball better lately. I didn't do that early," Zagurski said. "I still have a ways to go. I've done an OK job, certainly not as well as I'd like to. It's kind of a combination of throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count and giving them quality innings."

Zagurski, who was out of Minor League options, cleared waivers out of Spring Training despite only giving up three runs in 10 1/3 innings.

He had a productive start to the season in Reno, so when Joe Paterson served up 11 runs in his first 2 2/3 innings of the year, Zagurski got the first crack at filling the position in the D-backs' bullpen.

"Dating back to Spring Training, when I was sent down and I cleared waivers, I was pretty much their property," he said. "But I felt like they called me up pretty quick, which means they considered me first. Once I got called back up, I took it as I was the guy they were looking for. I'm going to do as well as I can, and hopefully it'll work out."

On most occasions, Zagurski has come into games when the D-backs were trailing by multiple runs. In fact, in all but one of his 10 appearances, the team has lost.

"He's filled his role well," Gibson said. "We gave him quite a bit of activity, and his arm holds up well. He gets ready quick, left him in there against righties, he's been good. He fits in the bullpen well."

Zagurski hopes by pitching well when the game is not on the line, he'll be looked at down the road in tighter situations.

"Hopefully I can continue to pitch well and get into some more important roles," he said. "Come into some bigger situations where we need to get an out and be that guy. I hope I'm going in the right direction.

"When I first got here there were five main guys in the bullpen, and I didn't do a great job of taking the load away from those guys," he said. "At the worst case, I have to eat a couple innings here and there to give those guys days off. That's the job I'm at right now, and hopefully it'll evolve into something more important."

Gibson wants Parra to harness aggressiveness

PHOENIX -- The D-backs are used to taking the good with the bad from outfielder Gerardo Parra, but that's not to say the club still isn't trying to limit the mistakes that hinder his growth.

Parra tied a career-best with four hits in Saturday's 8-5 win against the Brewers, but he was picked off in the second inning with a runner on third and one out.

"That's part of what you get with him," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "You don't want to make mistakes like that, and certainly it's something you try to address."

Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke caught Parra running on his first move. The next batter, Aaron Hill, ended the scoring threat with a groundout, stranding the runner on third.

"There's an advantage to not going," Gibson said. "You can influence pitch selection and add pressure to the guy throwing over to first thinking you're going to go. There's a whole other part to the game. Certainly some pitchers are uncomfortable with that, and you've got to understand that. You've got to learn. Last night, we had enough pressure on Greinke. We had him going. There's no reason to take off on a timing move. That was part of the overaggressiveness."

While the D-backs want to help Parra better evaluate situations on the basepaths, they don't want to take away his aggressive nature completely.

"He's developing as a player. It's part of what goes along with it," Gibson said. "The other way is to be very passive on the bases. It's a fine line. That's not something we're interested in doing. We don't want to mistakes like that, don't get me wrong. We shouldn't make those mistakes."

Roberts' playing time hasn't suffered

PHOENIX -- After the D-backs called up Josh Bell on Monday from Triple-A Reno, Ryan Robert's role on the team moving forward was left up in the air.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson originally hinted Bell would become the everyday third baseman, but Roberts has started five consecutive games, three at third and two at base.

"When we came back from the last road trip, I sat down with [third base coach] Matt Williams and [Roberts]," Gibson said. "We talked to him about being a baseball player and who we thought he was. We tried to get him back on track. He responded to it."

What exactly did he respond to?

"I wanted him to be more understanding of where he is in the lineup and his offensive approach," Gibson said. "If I ask him to bunt, bunt the ball. Stay on the ball more, up the middle more. We kind of think a middle approach is better because it gives him more length in his swing. He tries to do too much sometimes. He cares. If he has a short swing, it's in and out of the zone. And then, defensively, just preparing every day a certain way, make sure he gets in the weight room, just went over some things. It's been very good."

In his first 10 plate appearances since Bell joined the team, Roberts had a single, double, homer, sac bunt, sac fly, walk and RBI groundout. He's hitless so far against the Brewers, however, going 0-for-7 in the first two games of the series. He batted seventh and played third on Sunday.

"Rhino is a dirtbag baseball player, and I say that in a very complimentary way," Gibson said. "He can do a lot. He's versatile, both offensively and defensively. He brings a lot for this team. I've asked him to do some things in preparation, he's done them. He deserves to play."

Worth noting

• Before making his first start in more than a month, Daniel Hudson was reinstated from the disabled list Sunday and catcher Konrad Schmidt was optioned back to Triple-A Reno.

Schmidt started Saturday and delivered a RBI groundout in the third inning against the Brewers, his first RBI in the Majors.

• A day after signing a five-year contract extension with the D-backs, catcher Miguel Montero was not in the lineup on Sunday. He's been out since he strained his left groin on Monday against the Dodgers but is expected to be back in the lineup Monday in San Francisco.

"That's a good hangover, huh?" Gibson said of Montero's big day Saturday. "He should be [smiling]."

• D-backs outfielder Justin Upton was in the back with a pitch Saturday after three Brewers were plunked on Friday.

"I think it's incredible, have you seen anyone else get spinned in the whole league? I'm not sure I should comment any further," Gibson said with a smile. "It hurts when you get hit in the spine. He got hit pretty solid."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerEmerick. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.