09/20/12 3:55 PM ET
Weary starters wary of too much time off
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
Over the last two weeks, however, it has been a completely different story.
Entering Thursday, the D-backs have had four days off over the previous 14 days, giving their pitchers multiple extra days rest in between starts.
But while they've enjoyed recuperating their arm strength, the pitchers said too much rest can be counterproductive.
"We'll take them, but they are so bunched together and sometimes it feels like you haven't pitched in forever," D-backs ace Ian Kennedy said. "You just feel kind of sluggish. As you get your blood flowing, you start feeling normal again, but all the off days get us out of rhythm sometimes."
Even though they might not like all the extra rest, the D-backs starters have flourished over this stretch on the mound, tallying six quality starts in the last seven games and boasting a combined 2.65 ERA.
"I believe that it has helped them, but it conflicts with one side of their brain," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Those guys like to pitch every fifth day because they like to pitch. It's part of their routine, they want to throw as many innings as they can. It's more fun being on the hill, let's face it."
Moving forward, the D-backs play every day the remainder of the regular season, so the pitchers will go back to throwing every fifth day.
"My body isn't used to that now, I'll probably do a little less in between starts," D-backs right-hander Trevor Cahill said. "It kind of throws off your rhythm. It's hard to switch back and forth."
Montero working overtime behind plate for D-backs
PHOENIX -- While the majority of Major League catchers receive at least one day off per week, Miguel Montero continues to be a workhorse down the final stretch of the regular season.
The D-backs catcher has started 18 consecutive games behind the plate, including Thursday's series finale against the Padres. And if the 29-year-old has it his way, he'd play the remainder of club's 2012 contests, as well.
"There's no time to be tired or fatigued, it's time to push it," Montero said. "We're in our last lap right now, we only have 14 games left, just have to leave it all out there."
His streak of 18 straight starts by a catcher is a franchise record. The previous high was shared by Damian Miller and Kelly Stinnett with 11.
Montero hasn't struggled with the heavy workload. He has reached base safely in 17 straight games and needs just one RBI to match his career high (86 in 2011).
"I'm just trying to make things happen," Montero said. "We have to keep doing it, we have to bring it every day."
In addition to getting on base the traditional way, Montero has also worked his way on by practicing patience. In his last six games before Thursday, Montero had reached nine times either by walks or being hit by a pitch.
D-backs hopeful Bloomquist will return
PHOENIX -- Even though the D-backs only have 14 regular season games remaining entering Thursday, the club is still hoping to get back veteran infielder Willie Bloomquist at some point.
Hampered by a stiff back, the 34-year-old hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 3 and hasn't started since Aug. 8.
Bloomquist is starting to improve, however, and the D-backs might begin pushing him into more serious workouts to test the injury.
"He's been feeling much better," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're looking at starting to give him some more intensive activity."
Gibson added that on a pain scale from 1-to-10, Bloomquist put himself at a 1.
On the season, the infielder is batting a career-high .302.
It is possible Bloomquist won't need much rehabbing before he gets back on the field. The last time he pinch-hit for the D-backs on Sept. 3, he simply was feeling good before the game.
In his one at-bat, Bloomquist collected a hit, an RBI and scored a run.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.