10/02/12 9:13 PM ET
Cardinals trade footballs for ceremonial fastballs
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett were the NFL players in attendance. Peterson visited the D-backs earlier this season and took batting practice along with Larry Fitzgerald.
Along with the Cardinals players, UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson also threw out a first pitch a couple of months ahead of defending his title on Dec. 8.
The NFL visits came as a special surprise for D-backs pitchers who frequently sport their favorite football players' jerseys and play catch in the outfield as a way of conditioning.
Young reflects on challenging season of injuries
PHOENIX -- For as promising as the 2012 season began for D-backs center fielder Chris Young, it has finished almost as disappointing.
In his first 11 games to start the year, Young hit .410 with five homers and 13 RBIs, leading his club to a 7-4 record out of the gate.
But on April 17 against the Pirates, the 29-year-old crashed into the wall in left-center while making a stellar catch and hurt his shoulder, derailing all the momentum he had built up.
The injury kept him out of the lineup for about a month, and the impact lasted the rest of the season for both him and the team.
"I probably rushed back and never really found what I had," Young said. "It's been frustrating, just because I've never been through it before. The injuries bother me more than performance. Just being away from the team is hard. You don't travel on the road and you don't get to be with your guys. This was my first time going through a lot of that."
In D-backs manager Kirk Gibson's eyes, when Young came back, he tried to start where he left off, which wasn't a realistic or smart approach.
"It still really affected his performance," Gibson said. "When he came back, he was trying to get back to where he was when he got hurt. It's almost unfair. It's a trap. He's had a crazy year, it started out so good then he hurt himself making an incredible play. That's how it is, he's full go. And if he's hurt, he won't tell you."
After batting below .235 in June, July and August, Young performed well in September again, but once he finally started to feel like himself again, a right quad injury all but ended his season.
"That came at a very inopportune time for us," Gibson aid. "But when you play hard, that's when you get banged up."
With the D-backs eliminated from the postseason last weekend, Gibson was able to look back on the disappointing year his club has had. One of the things that stuck out the most was Young's injury. If he had not gotten hurt in April, the manager believed the D-backs would have kept rolling, instead of falling out of contention.
"I wish he never would have gotten hurt," Gibson said. "I think it would have been a completely different season for us."
Now as 2012 comes to an end, there is uncertainty and rumors about the D-backs' outfield moving forward. Young, as well as his best friend on the team, Justin Upton, have had their names come up in trade talks. But regardless of what's going on around him, Young won't pay attention to anything until it is set in stone.
"I won't think about it too much unless something does happen," Young said. "But it would be weird to look to my left and not see Justin. He's my bro. Every day he's been out there with me, but if it happens, I'll just have to make that adjustment."
Goldschmidt approaching rare 20-20 season
PHOENIX -- As a rookie last season, D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt swiped only four bases. But with two games remaining in his sophomore campaign entering Tuesday against the Rockies, the 25-year-old needed just two more steals to become the sixth player in franchise history to reach the 20 home run, 20 stolen base mark in a single season.
Goldschmidt missed three games last week with a sore back, but in his first game back on Monday, he hit his 20th home run of the year in the ninth inning to the tie the score at 3-3.
In his first three at-bats of the night, he struck out swinging each time.
"My first few at-bats were rough," Goldschmidt said. "But that's baseball though, got to keep battling."
Goldschmidt was back in the lineup on Tuesday, batting fifth and playing first.
Serving as Bob Melvin's bench coach in Arizona for two and a half seasons, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson sent Melvin, now the Athletics' manager, a text congratulating him on his team clinching a postseason berth on Monday.
"I told him I was proud of him," Gibson said. "Wish we were there to try to match up with him. He's done a great job, obviously. I know how Bob is, he's taught me a lot. Hopefully he can tell me some things when we get together in the offseason. "
After the D-backs' season ends Wednesday, Gibson is planning to head home to Michigan over the weekend and might catch some playoff baseball while he's there, but he'll be watching the Tigers, not the A's.
Inducing a double play in the ninth inning on Monday, D-backs reliever Brad Ziegler has rolled up 21 this season, matching the most by a reliever since the Orioles' Doug Sisk in 1988.
Ziegler has appeared in 76 games in 2012, boasting a 2.53 ERA in 67 2/3 innings. That means the 32-year-old has forced a double play just less than once per three innings pitched.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.