4/30/2013 1:51 A.M. ET
Parra making most of opportunity to start
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Just a couple of months removed from when the D-backs pegged him their fourth outfielder at the beginning of camp, Gerardo Parra was riding a career-high 13-game hitting streak and finally enjoying himself knowing his name will appear in the lineup just about every day.
"I'm just very happy. I don't think anything of the past, just play hard every day no matter what happens," Parra said before Monday's series opener vs. the Giants, which saw his hitting streak end in an 0-for-5 night. "I've worked hard for the opportunity and I want to play for today."
Last season following a Gold Glove campaign in 2011, Parra started just 90 games for the D-backs. This year, the 25-year-old has appeared in all 26 games for the club, starting 24 of them.
The D-backs entered Spring Training with Adam Eaton as their assumed leadoff man, but an elbow injury to the center fielder thrust Parra into the role, one he's thriving in. In 18 starts at the top of the order so far in 2013, Parra is batting .321 with nine doubles and 16 runs.
"He's been great for us," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's been big. We put Parra up there to do the job and he's done that. He has matured as a person and a player."
Hudson, Eaton make progress in rehab work
PHOENIX -- Right-hander Daniel Hudson (Tommy John surgery) threw two innings of live batting practice and outfielder Adam Eaton (elbow) threw at a distance of 90 feet Monday as the D-backs are cautiously optimistic that each player is on track for a timely return.
In the case of Hudson, who is on the 60-day disabled list and hasn't pitched in the Majors since June 26 of last year, the D-backs expect the right-hander to be back shortly before the All-Star break in July.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson watched Hudson throw around 55 pitches Monday morning at the club's Spring Training facility in Scottsdale and came away impressed.
"He looked good," Gibson said. "He was overthrowing in the first inning but he came back in the second and had much better location. Overall it was good."
Moving forward, Hudson will begin throwing on a regular five-day cycle with a bullpen session in between each outing.
"I think he's ready in his mind to progress into games and compete," Gibson said. "We'll see how it goes now that he's getting into more innings and competing in games; he might get sore. We'll try to get him into what he would be doing if he were with us."
As for Eaton, who suffered an elbow sprain in Spring Training, he'll go out on a Minor League rehab assignment beginning sometime at the start of May with the hopes of being ready to rejoin the D-backs at the end of the month.
At first, Eaton will only serve as a designated hitter in the Minors, then around May 15-20, he'll begin building up innings in the outfield. Gibson said he could be activated around that time or the club could wait a little longer depending on the team's current situation.
"It could be that early if there is a need, but our preference would be to let him continue to play," Gibson said.
D-backs would have no issue with gay players
PHOENIX -- In the aftermath of NBA player Jason Collins coming out Monday as the first gay male athlete in a major American team sport, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was asked before the club's game against the Giants what his reaction would be if a player of his came out.
"I would have no reaction to it at all," said Gibson, a 17-year MLB veteran as a player. "I would want to know if he could play tomorrow, how his arm is feeling or if he can swing the bat. That's where my focus would go."
Gibson's response was one of many given by D-backs on Monday, but they all shared a similar theme in that they were happy for Collins.
"I think it's awesome he had the courage to do that and I hope it leads the way for more people to be comfortable to do the same," D-backs right-hander Brandon McCarthy said. "There shouldn't be a fear surrounded around it. I just hope he can resume his life as normal as possible after this."
Said D-backs catcher Miguel Montero, "It's his life and he's free to do whatever he wants. I just worry about me. It's his decision; you can't say much about it. If he's happy, I'm happy."
Like Gibson, D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said if he had a teammate that came out, he wouldn't treat him or act any differently.
"It wouldn't change the way I think of another teammate or player or coach or front office or whoever," Goldschmidt said. "Everyone makes their own decisions and has their own way of life and I'm open to whatever everyone wants to do."
With Collins becoming a free agent in the offseason, McCarthy also expressed his desire for a team to sign him for next season.
"I hope today doesn't affect that," McCarthy said. "I hope it's one of those things where one person does it and it helps everyone else behind him. There will still be individual issues, but I hope this starts something."
Nieves says Cahill needs to stay calm
PHOENIX -- Even though Trevor Cahill picked up his first win of the season his last time out Thursday against the Rockies, the D-backs right-hander admitted he still wasn't pitching up to his own expectations.
Cahill allowed just one unearned run in that game but exited early after five innings because of a high pitch count (105). Inefficiency has been an issue in each of the 25-year-old's last two starts, walking a combined seven batters.
Throughout his recent struggles with command, Cahill hasn't been able to put an exact finger on what's wrong, but D-backs catcher Wil Nieves, who caught the right-hander's last two outings, has a theory: Cahill is trying to do too much.
"It's funny because in the bullpen he's nasty. I would love for him, and I know it's hard, but I would love for him to act like he's throwing in the bullpen when he's out there," Nieves said. "The ball moves so much when he's in there, but when he gets in the game sometimes he tries to do too much and it backfires. That's when he gets in trouble. When he stays nice and calm, he's nasty."
Cahill's next assignment will be against the Giants on Tuesday and Nieves hopes the ground-ball right-hander pitches to contact more. Through Cahill's first five starts in 2013, his ground-ball percentage is down from 61.2 percent in 2012 to 54.9 percent now.
"When you have a sinker like that, you want contact because 90 percent of the time it's going to be a ground ball," Nieves said. "When you do that, you can easily go seven or eight innings each time you're out there. He reminds me of Chien-Ming Wang and he was so successful pitching to contact, so that's what I keep telling him to do."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.