09/22/12 8:56 PM ET
Johnson likely in mix at third base for 2013
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
"He's been a little bit streaky," D-backs GM Kevin Towers said of Johnson. "But when he's hot, he's hot."
In his first 11 games with the D-backs, Johnson hit .333 with five home runs.
Over his next 15 games he hit .103 with no homers.
And in his last 13 games entering Saturday night's contest with the Rockies, Johnson was hitting .408 with a pair of home runs.
"He's performed very, very well," Towers said. "He's hit for power. He's got a nice arm over there and he's made most of the defensive plays. To have that kind of power bat that deep in the lineup. Not many clubs in the National League are that deep and have someone hitting in the seven-hole that's got a chance to pretty much hit the ball out of any part of the ballpark."
Johnson is eligible for salary arbitration in the offseason and Towers said that whatever Johnson figures to make in the process won't be hindrance to bringing him back.
It also sounds like next year's starting third baseman will come from the group of Johnson, Ryan Wheeler and Matt Davidson, who played for Double-A Mobile this year and will participate in this year's Arizona Fall League.
"I think defense still probably needs to improve a little bit, but for a young kid he nailed it fairly well at Double-A and [has a] great power bat," Towers said. "Reminds me a little bit of [Phil] Nevin, body type, his approach, everything. He's somebody we don't think is that far away."
Kubel trying to rediscover swing down stretch
DENVER -- D-backs outfielder Jason Kubel entered Saturday night's game with the Rockies mired in an 0-for-23 slump and has seen his playing time reduced recently thanks to the presence of rookie Adam Eaton.
Kubel was arguably the team's best offensive performer through July, but he hit just .159 in August and so far in September he's hitting .140.
"Just trying to give everybody playing a little bit so he sat out a little," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He struggled in August and really this month has been hot and cold. Ever since Eaton's been here, I've wanted to play Eaton every day and put him at the top of the order and it's just trimmed people's time out. He's in there tonight, we know what he's capable of doing and we'd like to see him finish strong. We'll keep rotating probably."
Kubel snapped the hitless streak in his first at-bat Saturday night, driving in a run on a single to center off Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin.
Kubel is careful not to complain about a lack of playing time given his struggles, but he also feels like he has hit into some tough luck.
"It's getting better," Kubel said of his approach at the plate. "It's just timing. You're not going to fix that by not playing. It's tough, but like I said there will be times where it will come back and click, just a better feeling. That's just the way it's going right now. We've got a lot of guys here so that's just the way it is."
Shortstop Willie Bloomquist did not accompany the team to Colorado. Bloomquist, who has been battling a stiff back for a month, continues to make progress, but the earliest he is likely to play would be when the team returns home next weekend.
Saturday was the 20th straight game started by D-backs catcher Miguel Montero.
"I don't know, we'll see," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said when asked if Montero would get Sunday off. "Possible. He's playing great. He's just incredibly energetic, loves the game and he does it the right way. That sets a good example for everybody. They see it, they hear it. He's swinging a very good bat right now, against everybody. Lefties, righties, it doesn't matter. So it's hard to take him out, but I'll keep an eye on it. I don't want to hurt him, that's for sure."
Outfielder Gerardo Parra jammed his right hand sliding into home plate in Friday night's game. He had an X-ray taken Saturday, the results of which were not known before the game.
With a double in the first inning Saturday, outfielder Justin Upton extended his hitting streak to nine games.
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.