8/2/2013 8:02 P.M. ET
Towers still believes in 25-man roster
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Not long ago, manager Kirk Gibson said he was hoping to have a more set starting lineup as the season wore on, but he is still searching for the right combination to settle on.
"I think what's made it difficult for him, we are a versatile team, but the problem is we have so many guys that are having down years," general manager Kevin Towers said. "It's hard for him to have a set lineup when he's trying to find that guy with a hot hand, and there aren't many guys with hot hands right now. He's at a point where he's trying to look at historically who has been good second-half finishers, who has numbers against pitchers -- maybe even if it was a year ago -- to try to put a lineup together. I don't blame Gibby at all for having to change it around a lot. We just don't have a lot of guys swinging the bat."
While the D-backs have had their share of stumbles in the rotation and in the bullpen, it's the offense that Towers said was most to blame for the team falling behind the Dodgers in the National League West.
Towers was asked if Triple-A shortstop Chris Owings, who is the organization's No. 4 prospect, might be called up to help provide an offensive spark, and he said probably not until the Triple-A season ended.
"I still believe in the guys that we have here," Towers said. "It's just the waiting and how much longer do you wait? It becomes frustrating, because guys will have down years, but it seems that almost the majority of our [players] have regressed. And it's not like they're old players. They're in the prime of their career."
The D-backs have reshaped their roster since Towers took over at the end of the 2010 season.
While that version of the D-backs featured lots of home runs, but lots of strikeouts, Towers has tried to remodel the offense to reduce the strikeouts and increase the activity on the bases.
"I knew we probably wouldn't be a club that would homer a lot," Towers said. "But I expected us to apply pressure, high on-base, moving runners, moving the line. We had a lot of guys who if you looked at them historically, that's the kind of hitters they were. But it's four months we've struggled now."
D-backs players play tourist at Fenway Park
BOSTON -- With the D-backs making a rare trip to Fenway Park, some of the players took advantage of the opportunity to play tourist.
Left-handers Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin took pictures up in the seats above the Green Monster before batting practice while others went into the wall itself to check it out.
Outfielder A.J. Pollock was raised in Connecticut and was a Red Sox fan as a kid.
"I grew up watching this team and it was probably my favorite place to go watch a game," Pollock said of Fenway.
Pollock, who was Arizona's leadoff hitter Friday, took batting practice at Fenway while he was playing in the Cape Cod Summer League.
"I'm going to be pretty excited," Pollock said of the first at-bat. "A little more adrenaline, but at the same time, it's still just a game and we've got to go and get things rolling here. It will last for a couple of minutes and then it's just a normal game."
Corbin, meanwhile, grew up a Yankees fan in upstate New York. Friday was the first time he had gotten to see Fenway in person. Corbin will start Saturday's game against Jake Peavy.
"It's just neat the history and everything here," Corbin said. "Probably a place I always wanted to come, but never had the opportunity. Now I've got the chance to pitch here."
Even manager Kirk Gibson, who has seen plenty in his years around the game, takes time to reflect when he comes to Fenway, which opened in 1912.
"Just think of the guys that have sat in this room," Gibson said from behind the visiting manager's desk. "The lockers, they're virtually the same. There's just been great players, great tradition, history and some great ballgames played here."
• D-backs catcher Miguel Montero, who was placed on the disabled list Thursday with lingering back issues, was scheduled to see Dr. Chris Yeung, the team's spine specialist, in Phoenix on Friday.
Towers said the team was hoping to learn whether anti-inflammatory medication or an epidural shot would be better treatments.
"We're not going to bring him back if he's not ready to be 100 percent," Gibson said. "That's why we put him on [the disabled list] and we'll have to wait until it's fully gone."
• The D-backs have not announced who will start for them in next week's two-game series against the Rays on Tuesday and Wednesday. The team is off on Monday, so it could skip a starter if it wanted.
Zeke Spruill was called up from Triple-A Reno to start Thursday against the Rangers, but the team has not decided whether he will get another start or be sent back down.
Brandon McCarthy is slated to come off the disabled list to start Sunday, while Trevor Cahill is supposed to make another injury rehab start Monday for Reno.
"Just day to day," Towers said of the rotation. "We have an off-day where you can kind of change things. Cahill is throwing again on Monday. We'll see how he does. We don't have to make a decision right off the bat. How McCarthy looks on Sunday, too. Where we're at, we have so many new pieces coming in, I hate to commit right away."
• Recently demoted left-hander Tyler Skaggs is not throwing as hard as he did a couple years ago, but Towers said that was a matter of mechanics not health.
"You wouldn't be able to throw the curveball with the torque that he has if his arm was bothering him," Towers said. "I think it's mechanical. We tried to look at delivery. He's more upright and not getting out over his front leg. He was kind of crouched when he was in the Futures Game a couple years ago and now he's more straight up and down."
Better fastball command is something the D-backs would like to see from Skaggs.
"He relies too much now on his secondary stuff," Towers said. "He has a great breaking ball and change-up, but in order to be effective up here, he has to have much more confidence in his fastball and be able to use his fastball more."
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.