5/9/2013 2:05 A.M. ET
Cancer survivor named D-backs' honorary bat girl
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The D-backs will have a special honorary bat girl for Sunday afternoon's game against the Phillies at Chase Field.
Tracie Stratton will fill that role after winning the 2013 Honorary Bat Girl Contest that recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.
One winner was selected for each team and honorary bat girls will take part in pregame activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony and will receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game.
Stratton, 36, was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. The single mother of three boys ages 12, 16 and 18 has battled the disease since then. The cancer spread to her spine and brain, and although doctors thought she would not make it past four weeks last September she is still fighting.
A loyal D-backs fan, Stratton's strong will to live is born of her desire to see her boys grow into men.
The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day.
In four years, over 4,000 testimonials have been submitted and more than 10 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by its charitable partners Stand Up to Cancer, a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This initiative has set out to raise awareness about the breast cancer cause and funds to support life saving breast cancer research.
With Putz on DL, D-backs turn to Bell to close
LOS ANGELES -- Heath Bell may be the D-backs' new closer, but the closing role is nothing new to Bell.
The D-backs placed closer J.J. Putz on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow Wednesday, and manager Kirk Gibson said Bell would get the first shot as closer with setup man David Hernandez remaining as the team's primary eighth-inning option.
Gibson's decision paid off Wednesday night, as Bell worked around a leadoff double before closing the D-backs' 3-2 win over the Dodgers for his third save of the season.
"I just think Heath's got more experience at closer right now, and if we move Heath and David right now we're really moving the whole bullpen," Gibson said. "It just seems like it's less disruptive."
It is not known yet how long Putz is expected to be out.
Bell was the Padres' primary closer from 2009-11 and started 2012 as the Marlins' closer before losing that spot. The right-hander has saved 155 games in his career.
"It's something like riding a bike," said Bell, who is 2-0 with a 4.40 ERA 14 1/3 innings this season. "I've done it for the last four years."
After tremendous success in San Diego, Bell struggled during his season with the Marlins. After making some mechanical adjustments this year he feels like he has corrected his issues.
"I feel like I'm back to where I was back in San Diego," Bell said. "And I've got to give mad props to these guys for helping me get back there. I got back there a few weeks ago and I feel like the pitcher of old and I feel like I can go out there and give it all I have and rack up saves or rack up holds whatever they need."
• D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said second baseman Aaron Hill saw the doctor Tuesday and will be in his hand split for another week. Hill suffered a fracture in his left hand and has been on the disabled list since April 15.
He will undergo another scan next week, at which point if the bone has healed enough he could begin hand-strengthening exercises.
• Right-hander Daniel Hudson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw a simulated game Saturday and is scheduled to throw another one in five days.
The team still hopes to have Hudson back around the All-Star break.
• The news was not as good for shortstop Willie Bloomquist.
Gibson said Bloomquist recently suffered a "little" setback in his rehab from a strained oblique muscle and was shut down for a couple of days. Bloomquist did resume hitting Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We just kind of slowed him down a little bit," Gibson said. "It's not like he totally reinjured it, it just wasn't as good as it needed to be to start playing in 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.