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05/31/12 2:36 AM ET

Drew nearing heavier action in rehab

SAN FRANCISCO -- Stephen Drew played in an extended spring game Wednesday and could step up his rehab efforts soon.

Drew will take Thursday as a recovery day and the plan is then for him to play nine innings in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. That would mark a big step in Drew's recovery as he has yet to play back-to-back nine-inning games.

Drew is recovering from last year's season-ending ankle injury that he suffered while sliding into home plate July 20.

The D-backs had been hopeful that Drew could start a rehab assignment 10 days ago, but lingering soreness prevented that from happening.

Stiff neck keeps Putz out of action

SAN FRANCISCO -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz was unavailable for Wednesday night's game against the Giants after waking up with a stiff neck.

"He had it early in the year," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We just have to try to calm it down before it gets too severe."

Putz received treatment on the neck before the game and in the early innings. In the fourth inning when he tried to play catch, he was unable to get it loosened up, so he let Gibson know he was unavailable.

"I just slept wrong and it hasn't let go," Putz said.

Putz added that he thought if the D-backs had a game Thursday he would be able to pitch, but given that they have the day off, he said there's little doubt in his mind he will be ready to go Friday in San Diego.

Setup man David Hernandez got the final four outs Wednesday to pick up his first save of the year.

Kubel off for birth of child; Pollock up

SAN FRANCISCO -- Outfielder Jason Kubel left the D-backs on Wednesday to be with his wife, Blake, for the birth of the couple's second child.

Kubel flew home to Phoenix early Wednesday and arrived at the hospital 10 minutes before Heidi Evelyn was born at 11:56 a.m. MST.

The D-backs placed Kubel on the paternity list and recalled outfielder A.J. Pollock to take his spot on the roster. Pollock arrived just before batting practice Wednesday.

Manager Kirk Gibson said that Kubel might rejoin the club as soon as Friday in San Diego, but that by league rules he must be back Saturday.

This is Pollock's second stint in the big leagues this year. He was with the D-backs from April 18 until May 18 while fellow outfielder Chris Young was on the disabled list. In 48 at-bats, Pollock hit .229.

Pollock was headed to the ballpark in Reno, Nev., for a day game when he got the call to come to the big leagues. He was told to make a U-turn, go back to his apartment, pack some clothes and head to San Francisco.

Having already spent a month in the big leagues, Pollock said that getting the callup this time was not as overwhelming as the first time since he now felt comfortable with the guys in the clubhouse and was familiar with the team's routine.

"It's more of a comfortable fired-up," Pollock said. "It's definitely a different feeling. I'm ready for whatever happens."

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.