09/23/12 4:15 PM ET
After playing 20 straight, Montero gets day off
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
"We've been pushing him pretty hard," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of his catcher. "I think his legs look like they're getting a little heavy."
Sunday marked the first day the D-backs catcher was out of the starting lineup since Aug. 29, a span of 20 games. True, the team did have four scheduled off days during that stretch, but still it's a pretty remarkable streak for a catcher.
"He wanted to give me a day off a while ago and I didn't want it because I felt good," Montero said of Gibson. "Yesterday after the game he said he wanted to give me a day off and I didn't push to play. It's good, I'll take it. After 20 games or whatever, I guess it's a well-deserved day off."
The workload did not hamper Montero at the plate.
During the 20-game streak Montero hit .385 with a .985 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
"Much more selective, more disciplined with his swing," Gibson said. "The way his body is now with the weight loss and the program he's on, he's just physically and mentally in a better spot than he's ever been in since I've been around here."
Johnson day-to-day as X-rays negative on hand
DENVER -- D-backs third baseman Chris Johnson was forced to leave Sunday's game in the second inning after being hit in the left hand by a pitch from Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis.
Johnson has been swinging a hot bat for the D-backs, hitting .407 in his last 60 plate appearances.
D-backs head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw came out to examine Johnson before walking back to the dugout with him.
X-rays taken of Johnson's hand were negative and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Johnson's availability is day-to-day.
Ryan Wheeler pinch-ran for Johnson and took over at third base.
Nagy continues to emphasize minimizing walks
DENVER -- The cliche that walks will kill you is probably overused in baseball, but the D-backs ability to not give the Rockies free passes certainly paid off in the first two games of their series.
And vice versa.
Arizona hurlers have walked just one batter in the two games while Colorado has issued 15 free passes.
The lone batter the D-backs walked did not come around to score, while eight of the 15 the Rockies walked did manage to score.
Especially with the way the ball has been flying at Coors Field lately, putting people on base is a recipe for disaster.
"Guys have been throwing strikes and going after the hitters," pitching coach Charles Nagy said. "They have aggressive swings. If you walk guys here, bad things happen."
Walks are an anathema to GM Kevin Towers and that's a philosophy Nagy shares. It certainly will be on the list for improvements for next season as the D-backs have allowed the second-most walks in the National League this year.
"Anywhere you walk guys it can come back to haunt you," Nagy said. "You walk the leadoff guy, he virtually always scores. You walk the pitcher and the next thing you know you give up five runs, so it's things like that. Here especially we want to make them earn it, put the ball in play, make them swing the bats."