8/16/2013 7:02 P.M. ET
Gibson hopes return of Cahill bolsters rotation
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson is hoping that Saturday is the start of something for his starting rotation.
Trevor Cahill makes his return to the mound after being on the disabled list since July 1 with a right hip contusion.
The starting rotation was expected to be a strength for the D-backs this year, but injuries and some ineffectiveness have kept its composition in flux.
"He's got good stuff. We need him to throw the ball good and be consistent and go deeper in games for us, and to have our rotation kind of solidified," Gibson said. "That's what we're hoping will happen, because we've had a lot of guys come in and out, and it's what you have to do, but it makes it tough as well."
During his time on the shelf, Cahill also worked at making some mechanical adjustments. Just before going on the DL, Cahill had trouble repeating his delivery and maintaining a consistent arm slot.
One of the biggest improvements Cahill hopes he's made is throwing to his glove side -- in to left-handed hitters and away to righties -- consistently.
"I looked at a lot of video," Cahill said. "It's tough to throw my sinker to the glove side."
To help him do that, Cahill focused on throwing his four-seam fastball to that side of the plate and then switched to the two-seam sinker after getting comfortable.
Dirt a key part of Prado's walk-off celebration
PITTSBURGH -- For the D-backs, it was quite a three-game series against the Orioles, with all three games ending in walk-off fashion.
And in each instance, Martin Prado was right in the middle of the celebration -- first dumping water and then putting dirt in the hair and down the neck of the player who picked up the game-winning hit.
"I don't understand the dirt-bath thing," D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill said after getting one following his game-winning single on Wednesday. "I really don't."
Turns out the water-and-dirt celebration is something that Prado brought with him from his days with the Atlanta Braves.
"You need something at the moment," Prado explained. "So we don't have shaving cream at that moment. So what do we have on a daily basis? Water and dirt and gum. We've got seeds, but you've got to open the bags, so no."
It turns out the first player that Prado got with the water-and-dirt treatment was former Braves legend Chipper Jones.
"He didn't like that," Prado said.
Of course that didn't deter Prado from continuing to do it to Jones and others.
"Here I feel like there's a few guys that don't like it," Prado said with a smile. "And I'm hoping every time they hit a walk-off homer I can get them with a lot of dirt."
"If it means winning a ballgame, I'll take it every time," Hill said.
Gibson, Putz weigh in on expanded replay
PITTSBURGH -- The D-backs are taking a wait-and-see approach on the proposal in front of Major League owners regarding the expanded use of instant replay for the 2014 season.
"In the end, I think it'll be fine," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They might have to adjust it. Baseball has been pretty staunch about the way it's done things. This will be a little different for them. I'm sure they'll evaluate after a year and see how it went."
According to the proposal, managers will be able to challenge one play in the first six innings of a game and two more from the seventh through the end of the game.
Arizona reliever J.J. Putz, on the other hand, likes the way things are right now.
"I kind of like baseball being pure with the human aspect and the human error of the game," Putz said. "I think the umpires sometimes get undue criticism. There's countless plays every game throughout the year and they may miss probably less than one percent of them. That's pretty good. It seems like the only ones that anybody ever brings up replay with are the ones that are at the end of the game, where they think that's the deciding factor of a ballgame. But there could be a play in the first or second inning that could have directly affected the outcome of the game."
Gibson, too, said that umpires are criticized more than they should be.
"I've always said the umpires do a good job in my book," Gibson said. "They miss some calls. But it is a game of failure. I'd be interested to hear what the umpires say, if they want to do it or not. It's like anything else. People have been bellyaching about it for a while, so they're going to give in to it a little bit. If it doesn't work out, we'll change."
• The D-backs this year have employed defensive shifts more often than in the past after seeing other teams do so the last couple of seasons.
"Last year, we talked quite a bit about it," Gibson said. "Why do people shift? What do they see that we don't see? We're looking at the same spray charts? We're trying to study it more and more and try to understand. We get all these charts. Even these umpires charts. What do they mean? What do the spray charts mean? I think we've been much better at defensive alignments. Our infield shifts, our outfield alignment has been moving around a lot more."
• The D-backs promoted their top two picks from this year's First-Year Player Draft, right-handers Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair, from Class A Hillsboro to Class A South Bend.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the D-backs are the first team in nine years to sweep a series of three or more games against a team with a winning record (at the end of the series) despite trailing in the seventh inning or later in each game.
• The D-backs lead the Majors with 26 wins in their last at-bat. The next-closest teams are the Royals and Red Sox with 19 apiece.
• The D-backs are second in the National League in comeback wins (35). The Braves lead with 38.
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.