08/25/12 8:32 PM ET
After Dodgers' trade, D-backs focus on themselves
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
"It's nothing we can control here, I know what kind of team we have and if we play up to our abilities like I know we can, we can beat anybody," D-backs outfielder Jason Kubel said. "We can still do that, we just haven't done it consistently. It doesn't matter what team they have."
The D-backs are especially knowledgeable about Gonzalez, who spent five seasons in the National League West with the Padres from 2006-10. In 90 career games against Arizona, Gonzalez boasts a .288 average with 20 homers and 58 RBIs.
"He's a great player, we know him well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He certainly creates challenges within himself and the lineup. They've added a lot. Those guys are all good players, it'll be tough."
No matter what the Dodgers add offensively, Gibson still appears to be confident about his club's future, which will be built on young arms like Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs, Wade Miley and Trevor Bauer, among others.
"I think in general, pitching is the most important thing you can have," he said. "If that goes well then you have a good shot. Good pitching will shut down good hitting when it counts. And if not shut down, at least maintain it to keep you in the game."
Kubel gaining confidence at plate after hard hits
PHOENIX -- Even though he is mired with a .171 batting average in August entering Saturday, D-backs outfielder Jason Kubel came away from his 0-for-4 night at the plate Friday feeling more confident after striking multiple pitches on the sweet spot.
Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, who collected a combined 49 RBIs in June and July, the quality at-bats and swings ended up producing nothing as the Padres set up an infield shift that played Kubel perfectly up the middle and to the right side.
"I'm just happy I hit a couple balls hard again, I felt better," Kubel said. "The shift is there for a reason, that's where I hit my liners and groundballs. It's part of it, but I'm happy I felt better at the plate and hit some balls hard."
Kubel, who totaled 15 multi-hit games in June and July, is 3-for-19 over his last five games. But despite not producing the hits he is used to this season, Kubel won't be adjusting his approach at the plate. Instead he will continue to work his way out his slump, not minding the way the opposing defense plays him.
"I hope to put in the air and get it over the infield's head," Kubel said. "You don't want to try to hit a groundball to third because that will throw you off and change everything. They do the shift because that's your strength, so why do you want to get away from that and change your swing and approach? It's not going to happen every time, that's just how it worked out last night."
Bloomquist cautious about back in rehab outings
PHOENIX -- On paper, D-backs infielder Willie Bloomquist's rehab game in the Arizona League on Thursday went fairly well, as the veteran collected a triple and drove in three runs.
But at some point during the game, his back began acting up again, forcing an early exit. Bloomquist, 34, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 11, retroactive to Aug. 9, because of a strained lower back.
"It was one of those things where it started, it wasn't feeling how I expected it to feel," Bloomquist said. "It was feeling great the last week. I was taking groundballs and stuff but when I got into a game, it wasn't feeling how it needed to feel."
Bloomquist initially thought about pushing through the discomfort, but decided against it to be more cautious and take more time.
"Instead of playing, I had to be smart about it and not blow out in a rookie ball game," he said. "I didn't want to go back to square one. The best thing to do was to stay off it and take a couple days to get back at it."
Back at Chase Field on Saturday, Bloomquist went through some light baseball activity and his nagging back began to improve again.
"He feels better today, we'll see how he feels tomorrow, maybe he'll get back at it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "There is no time table, we'll just play it by ear. We'll work him out and see if he feels okay and if that goes good we'll do a little more activity. Hopefully we can get over the top."
After battling tightness in his left hamstring since leaving Tuesday's game early, D-backs outfielder Justin Upton was back in the lineup Saturday against the Padres, batting fifth.
"After yesterday we didn't know what to expect but he went out and ran after the game and felt good," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He feels good today too, so he should be recharged and ready to go."
Saturday was also Upton's 25th birthday. The outfielder is in his fifth Major League season.
"He's still a youngster," Gibson said. "He's still pretty young, but he was really, really young when he came up."
D-backs pitcher Josh Collmenter tossed three scoreless innings with four strikeouts in a rehab appearance in the Arizona League on Friday.
The right-hander has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 10 with ulcers.
"He threw great, lots of strikes, he feels good today," Gibson said. "He's got one more. Probably Tuesday. We'll see how he comes out of the next one."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.