8/9/2013 10:00 P.M. ET
Gregorius not letting slump affect his defense
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Although he was just 2-for-29 at the plate since July 24 entering Friday, D-backs shortstop Didi Gregorius hasn't let the offensive slump carry over to his defense. The 23-year-old has remained a steady force at shortstop, delivering arguably his best game of the season in the field on Wednesday.
One play in particular stood out from the rest. In the fourth inning with a man on and nobody out, the shortstop began one of the best double plays of the year, ranging to his right and diving to snag a grounder in the hole before throwing side-armed while stretched out to second base. That was just one of a franchise-record six double plays Gregorius helped turn that night.
"For me, it's two different things, you don't need to carry everything with you all the time," Gregorius said. "It'd be the same if I made an error -- it wouldn't affect my next at-bat. You just have to play the game the way you play the game. Nobody is perfect."
That's not to say his bat isn't coming around though. Gregorius hit a couple balls hard into the outfield gaps Wednesday, but the Tampa Bay outfielders were able to run them down. The hard luck doesn't discourage Gregorius, though, as long as he knows his swing is where it needs to be.
"It's part of the game -- they have a scouting report on me for a reason, so it's not really frustrating," he said. "I just try to make contact every time I go out there and hit it hard."
Montero progressing, begins baseball activities
PHOENIX -- Returning to the field after a period of doctor prescribed inactivity to rest his ailing back, D-backs catcher Miguel Montero threw the ball Friday and could take some light swings this weekend barring any setbacks.
"It went good, man," Montero said. "I felt fine."
On the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 29, Montero had stayed away from baseball activities before Friday to give the inflammation in his lower back strain a chance to subside. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Montero will likely visit the team doctor again before moving forward with his rehab.
"You have to start back into things at a reasonable pace, you want to keep it going in the right direction," Gibson said. "You have to err on the side of caution because you don't want to push him too hard and he regresses.
D-backs respond after mathlete's motivational speech
PHOENIX -- Coming home following a 2-4 road trip earlier this week, the D-backs received a visit from a motivational speaker of sorts in the clubhouse on Tuesday, math whiz Scott Flansburg.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson invited the self-proclaimed "mathlete" to speak to his players and show off his unique talent of solving complex number problems in his head. The purpose of the team meeting was twofold: to take the club's mind off the daily grind of baseball and to show the importance of starting with a clean mindset to begin each game.
"That blew my mind, and all my teammates," Martin Prado said. "He said no matter what you have done in the past, you always have to start from zero. That was huge for us."
Added Adam Eaton: "Anywhere you look in this clubhouse you think baseball, so to take a step back and think of something else, it helps."
Tuesday wasn't the first time Gibson has brought in Flansburg to the D-backs' clubhouse. He also visited back in 2010, after which the club scored 10 runs in a victory over the Marlins. Arizona also won Tuesday, defeating the Rays 6-1.
"He's totally off the wall and what he does is amazing," Gibson said. "I think it kind of surprised them that that was the type of meeting we were having, but it was great. I think the guys loved it."
• Gibson said Trevor Cahill will make his third rehab start for Triple-A Reno on Sunday.
• The D-backs have used the same lineup three games in a row for just the second time all season this week. The other instance came from May 15-18.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.