4/6/2013 9:49 P.M. ET
D-backs catchers changing up signs in Milwaukee
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The D-backs don't want to come right out and say the Brewers are stealing signs at Miller Park, but they are taking some extra precautions just in case.
Typically a catcher will flash only one set of signs for his pitcher until there is a runner on second, who is able to look in and see them. To combat that, catchers will flash multiple sets of signs.
Here at Miller Park, though, the D-backs on Friday were using multiple sets even with no one on base. Turns out they've been doing that here since the 2011 National League Division Series.
"It was just a bad experience in the playoffs two years ago," Arizona catcher Miguel Montero said. "Ian [Kennedy] and [Daniel Hudson] made such great pitches and they just laid off them like they knew it was coming. So it was just like, huh, it made you think about it. If I'm hitting and I see that pitch and I don't know it was coming, there's 95 percent chance I'm swinging because it's too close to take and it's such a great pitcher's pitch."
When closer J.J. Putz came into the game in the ninth inning Friday, Montero was using only one sign, but that quickly changed during Jonathan Lucroy's at-bat.
"Last night when J.J. [in a] 1-2 count, he threw a splitter and we were using just one sign and Lucroy, it was a nasty split and he just spit on it like he knew it was coming," Montero said. "I was like, hmmm, so I went out there and we changed the sign and the next pitch, it was worse, and he swung at it. It's a little shady. I don't think we're the only team that does that here."
Montero, though, reiterated that he did not know for sure that the Brewers were somehow stealing signs, but that he was taking no chances.
"Just a precaution," Montero said. "Even if they don't do it, and I'm not saying that they do it."
Gibson confident calling for Bell out of bullpen
MILWAUKEE -- D-backs reliever Heath Bell has not pitched since giving up three runs in one-third of an inning Tuesday, but manager Kirk Gibson said he won't hesitate to put the veteran right-hander back out there.
"We're going to get Heath on track," Gibson said. "This guy's had a ton of success in the big leagues, you don't think he's ever been through this before? He's got a ton of confidence. Nobody likes to go through it, but he's not going to run from it."
Bell was hugely successful during his time in San Diego, but struggled in 2012 after signing a big free-agent deal with the Marlins.
Gibson and his staff carefully watched video from Bell's outing to see if maybe he was tipping his pitches, but they did not see any indications of that.
In addition, they liked the velocity they saw from him as he hit 95 mph with his fastball.
"That's when you know it's minor," Gibson said. "When I went back and looked at the film I saw balls down the middle of the plate, I saw him miss his location, so I know if he gets it there, it's a different story."
Prado sets tone with selfless play
MILWAUKEE -- When they acquired Martin Prado from the Braves in January, the D-backs talked about his reputation as an unselfish player.
Now that they've seen him up close, they are even more impressed.
"For me it's the selflessness that he shows," manager Kirk Gibson said. "I don't know that I've seen anybody have such an influence. We've all done it in our career, it's just really strong, it's a strong message."
Gibson pointed to the way that with no one out Prado grounded out to the right side of the infield in order to move Gerardo Parra over from second to third in the sixth inning of Friday's game.
Studies of the run-expectancy percentage have shown that there is a slightly better chance for a team to score if there's a runner at third with one out than a runner at second with no one out.
While there is an argument to be made that you want one of your better hitters like Prado trying to drive the ball in a situation like that, Gibson said that Prado was sending a message to his teammates.
"In the end there's going to come a time when we need to get that guy over, so it's important that we establish that if we've got to do it, we do it," Gibson said. "I think overall you're trying to establish an atmosphere of us and counting on each other. I think it's been a huge emphasis early in the season so far."
Gibson also said that there will be times that with pitchers expecting Prado to try and hit to the right side they will come in with a pitch and he will surprise them by turning on it and pulling it down the line.
• The D-backs received Ender Inciarte back from the Phillies after the outfielder had been selected by Philadelphia in last December's Rule 5 Draft.
Inciarte made the Phillies' Opening Day roster but was designated for assignment following the Phillies' first game when the team claimed Ezequiel Carrera off waivers.
By rule, a player selected in the Rule 5 Draft must spend the following season on the team's 25-man roster or be offered back to the organization he came from for half the $50,000 it cost to select him.
The D-backs and Phillies briefly discussed a trade that would have kept Inciarte with the Phillies, but the two teams could not find a match.
• The D-backs claimed right-hander Will Harris off waivers from the A's, who waived him Saturday after claiming him from the Rockies on Wednesday.
Harris was 1-1 with an 8.15 ERA in 20 appearances with Colorado in 2012. He will be assigned to Triple-A Reno.
"He's always had really good strikeout-to-walk ratios, which we like," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "Trying to create a little more depth at the Triple-A level, especially bullpen depth. Not to knock any of the guys we had in camp, but just giving us some other options if there's an injury up here."
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.