7/25/2013 8:57 P.M. ET
Putz provides encouragement to Hernandez
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Sitting alone in the dugout Wednesday after allowing the game-winning run to score in the D-backs' 7-6 loss to the Cubs, David Hernandez received much-needed consolation from J.J. Putz, who recognized the vacant expression on his teammate's face and walked over to talk to him.
"I've had plenty of stretches in my career worse than the one he's on," Putz said. "So I told him not to give up, he's got way too much baseball left in him to worry about this stretch."
Hernandez has already blown five saves and taken six losses this season while his ERA (4.76) is currently more than two runs from where it finished last season (2.50).
"When you're going through a rough time, you feel like you're alone," Putz said. "You feel like you have nowhere to go and nowhere to turn to. So it's nice to know there are teammates there for you. We're are always here for him."
Earlier in his career when he was with Seattle, Putz got the same type of support from former big leaguer Eddie Guardado, and it's stuck with him ever since.
"I remember I had back-to-back games where I gave up grand slams," Putz said. "I was lost, I didn't know what I could do, but he talked me through it."
For Hernandez, he appreciated the encouragement in his time of need.
"He's just a great teammate," Hernandez said. "I've seen him go through struggles and he told me you just have to keep working."
Parra receives Heart and Hustle Award
PHOENIX -- For anyone that has watched Gerardo Parra roam the D-backs' outfield this season, it's easy to see the all-out effort the 26-year-old displays on a nightly basis.
So it came as no surprise Thursday when Parra was selected as the D-backs' recipient of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's Heart and Hustle Award.
Chosen by a panel of alumni players, the award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and tradition of the game. One player from each Major League team is chosen, then as the season draws to a close, fans, alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners, which will be announced November 19 at the 14th Annual MLBPAA Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City.
The most memorable example of Parra's steadfast determination this year came when he tried to make a running catch against the Mets on July 1, but crashed into the outfield wall and walked away from the incident bruised and bloodied.
Despite clearly being shook up by the collision, Parra fought tooth and nail to stay in the game before D-backs manager Kirk Gibson eventually pulled him.
"It was like he got in a car accident," Gibson later said. "He sacrificed himself."
Parra wasn't happy with his manager's decision, but that only speaks further to the insatiable drive that has made him a mainstay in the D-backs' lineup in 2013.
"The point is to play every day," said Parra, who's batting .277 with 53 runs this season. "I don't like a day off. I don't like anything like that."
Montero listed as day to day but feeling good
PHOENIX -- For the third consecutive game Wednesday, D-backs catcher Miguel Montero was out of the lineup as an MRI revealed inflammation in his back. The injury isn't considered serious at this point and the club is listing him as day to day.
"They just want to take it a little bit slow," Montero said. "I'm not concerned because I feel good, I've played with a lot more pain than what this is."
Montero hurt his back during Tuesday's game while taking swings in the cages in preparation for a potential pinch-hitting scenario. The 30-year-old didn't take batting practice Thursday, but he expects to return to normal baseball activities on Friday.
"It's nothing serious, I feel good. I want to go out and hit," he said. "Yesterday, I came in and said I felt good to play and today is even better than yesterday. They just want to take it slow, but I'm good to go."
In the meantime, while Montero's back heals, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he isn't sure if the catcher will be available to pinch-hit for the club. In Wednesday's 12-inning game, Patrick Corbin took a pinch-hit at-bat with Montero still available off the bench.
"I was advised that it probably was smart that we don't use him in the game," Gibson said. "It's possible he could catch, he's still an option in an emergency. As far as the hitting goes, I don't know if that's an option, but it could be."
In recent days, Gibson has said that when Montero does return to the lineup, he plans to give Montero more consistent rest throughout the remainder of the season. Montero, who leads the Majors in innings caught with 778, didn't think his heavy workload led to the injury.
"I prepare to play many games and I've proven that I can do it the last couple years," he said. "Just because this happened, it doesn't mean that I'm tired. I haven't gotten on base much, so it can't be that."
• Double-A Mobile right-hander Eric Smith was suspended 50 games on Thursday for violating MLB substance abuse policy. Smith, drafted by the D-backs in the second round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, has a 7.11 ERA for Mobile in 38 innings this season.
• After the D-backs' series against the Padres this weekend, the club will have three days off in a span of 10 days. That, along with Brandon McCarthy nearing the end of his Minor League rehab stint, gives the D-backs a window to potentially skip Ian Kennedy the next couple turns in the rotation. The right-hander hasn't won since June 1 and his 5.22 ERA ranks second worst in the National League among qualified starters.
"I haven't had a conversation about it yet," Gibson said. "Nothing is in stone. There are a lot of things that aren't settled yet."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.