5/17/2013 7:40 P.M. ET
Bell takes in Reds-Marlins contest from stands
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
MIAMI -- For those wondering what kind of reception D-backs closer Heath Bell would receive in his return to Marlins Park, the answer was none.
That's because no one knew he was here.
How is that possible?
"I came to the game Thursday as a fan," Bell said prior to Friday's series opener with the Marlins.
A baseball fan at heart, Bell said he enjoys taking in a game if there's an off-day on the road and the other team happens to be playing.
The D-backs arrived in Miami in the wee hours Thursday morning and Bell took a cab to Marlins Park, bought a ticket at the window and sat and watched the Marlins battle the Reds. After struggling mightily with the Marlins last year, Bell was heavily booed when he would come in to pitch and he expects a similar reception this weekend, but Thursday he sat among the fans in peace.
Why go to a baseball game on your day off?
"Why not go to the game?" Bell said. "Just bought a ticket and stayed low key. I didn't wear a hat. I think with a hat, people would have recognized me more. We always watch games, but it's just different to watch the game in the stands. Watching a game from the stands is just completely different from what we usually do. It's almost like you want to go play, but you can't. You have to wait a day."
The first time Bell went to Fenway Park was as a fan in 2006, the day before his team, the Mets, was slated to play the Red Sox. The Mets had an off-day and the Red Sox were playing a makeup game, so Bell got a couple of tickets from the bellman at the hotel and sat near "Pesky's Pole" down the right-field line.
"It was fun," Bell said. "A nice experience to have."
Hudson feels good after extended spring outing
MIAMI -- Right-hander Daniel Hudson threw four innings in an extended spring training game Friday, the first time he has faced non-D-backs hitters since undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer.
Hudson allowed five hits and two runs while striking out one and getting nine ground-ball outs against Minor Leaguers from the Angels' organization.
"It went well," Hudson said. "Nothing out of the ordinary. I got a bunch of ground balls and I got out of the heat as quick as I could. Obviously, I'd thrown a couple of [simulated] games and a live [batting practice], so I've been facing hitters, but once you get out there against someone in a different colored uniform, different adrenaline and emotions start kicking in. Felt like I was getting a lot closer, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little bit brighter now."
Hudson, who threw 53 pitches, may be a bit ahead of the original timetable for his recovery, which had him returning to action around the All-Star break. Instead, it's possible he could be back in late June or early July, but right now he is just taking it step by step and is not putting a time frame on anything.
Hudson threw all three of his pitches and said his command was not as sharp as he would like. Radar guns had him throwing around 91-93 mph.
"It's a good sign," Hudson said of the velocity. "That's pretty much where I used to throw before I got hurt. Hopefully, maybe I can add a couple of ticks, I'm sure it'll come, just like the command, once I get my arm strength built up."
Hudson will throw a bullpen session Monday and then five innings in a camp game Thursday. Nothing has been determined beyond Thursday.
"We're just kind of taking it one start at a time, rather than saying going out at a certain time and I'm going to throw this many pitches," Hudson said. "I'm just going to take it one day at a time and see how I bounce back and go from there."
Fresh-faced Marlins present challenges
MIAMI -- This season figured to be a rebuilding year for the Marlins with a lot of young players receiving regular playing time.
Injuries to Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison have made their lineup even more anonymous and that presents the D-backs with some added challenges in this weekend's series.
"We don't know them as well, haven't had as much information on exactly how to play them, how to pitch them. It's a little more challenging," manager Kirk Gibson said. "You have to make quicker adjustments, kind of read their swings early."
Additionally, the Marlins have a first-year manager in Mike Redmond, so Gibson does not have a real good feel for how Redmond runs a game or his tendencies.
The part of the Marlins' game that the D-backs are most familiar with, Gibson said, is bullpen usage. The rest will have to be learned over the next couple of days.
"I just think these guys play hard," Gibson said. "They're young, Giancarlo's out, Morrison is out, but they play hard, they work hard and our advance report says that. We know we have to get after them."
• Outfielder Jason Kubel has been nursing a sore left quad and was held out of the lineup once again on Friday.
"We've been trying to get it to resolve," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He can run, but I don't think he was moving too good when he was running the bases. It's kind of finicky. Some days it's OK, some days it's not. He hasn't really had resolution on it."
Kubel initially injured the quad in early April and spent two weeks on the disabled list last month as a result.
"When I came back from the DL, it was completely gone, it wasn't there and I had no limitations," Kubel said. "But I think a week into it, I dove for a ball and it kind of came back."
• Outfielder Adam Eaton started in center for Class A Visalia on Friday, the first time he has played in the field since injuring his throwing elbow this spring. Eaton had been serving as the designated hitter.
• Heading into Friday's game, eight of the past nine D-backs games had been decided by two runs or less and the team went 6-2 in those contests.
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.