08/08/12 7:55 PM ET
Upton puts in extra time after Tuesday's game
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Upton, along with teammates Chris Young and Aaron Hill, took to the visitor's batting cage at PNC Park at 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday to take some hacks.
Though some who have not spent time around Upton might question his work ethic, putting in extra time and taking his work seriously is nothing new for him. In fact, if anything, he is too hard on himself at times, which is why manager Kirk Gibson was pleased to see that the late-night session was not overly serious.
"[He] just went in there and hit some and had a good time, which is good," Gibson said. "They just went in there and had fun, they went in there and mashed. Just uninhibited [and not] stressing out about it."
With Ziegler on, two outs almost assured
PITTSBURGH -- Reliever Brad Ziegler got a hitter to ground into a double play on Tuesday night.
And in other news, the sun rose in the East.
The right-hander, a ground-ball machine, leads the Majors when it comes to inducing double plays, with 13.
With runners on first and second and one out in the seventh inning and the D-backs trailing, 4-3, manager Kirk Gibson brought in Ziegler to face Michael McKenry, and the result was an inning-ending double play.
"He's been doing it a ton," Gibson said. "We kind of save him down there for when we get in trouble."
Ziegler, who throws sidearm, does not have overpowering stuff, so he focuses on throwing strikes and keeping the ball down.
"Ideally, I want to attack those guys, and I'm trying to get bad contact," Ziegler said. "I pitch to contact most of the time. If I get a chance to strike a guy out, I'll go for it, but I hardly ever start an at-bat thinking, 'I want to strike this guy out.' I'm hoping they hit it on the ground, and hopefully at that point it's at somebody.
"I can't control whether it goes through the hole, but I can hopefully have an idea, or at least attempt to control, how hard they hit it, so even if it is in a hole, maybe we can get over and at least knock it down and keep them to a single and then get a double play with the next guy."
Ziegler, who spent his entire career in the American League before coming to the D-backs just before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2011, says that his goal is to throw a maximum of 10 or 12 pitches per inning.
"A lot of guys will take pitches on me just because they haven't seen me before," he said. "In a lot of ways, I'm still new to the National League, so I'm facing some guys for the first time. Those guys, I really have to attack them, otherwise I can get myself behind in the count real quick."
Catcher Henry Blanco underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. The surgery was performed by Dr. Don Sheridan in Phoenix at the Orthopedic Surgery Center of Arizona. The club did not provide a timetable for Blanco's return.
Stephen Strasburg will make his first start at Chase Field on Friday, when the D-backs open a three-game series against the Nationals. Trevor Cahill will start for Arizona.
Second baseman Aaron Hill was out of the lineup on Wednesday for the second time in less than a week. Manager Kirk Gibson wants to give Hill multiple days off to keep him strong during this long stretch of games.
"Just one day off and then another 25 in a row doesn't really help you," Gibson said. "[I have to] just give him more than one day off in a week."
Look for recently added catcher Wil Nieves to get the start behind the plate in Thursday's series finale in place of Miguel Montero.
"Miggy wants to catch every day, but I'm not going to let that happen," Gibson said.