2/18/2014 5:05 P.M. ET
D-backs to mix it up by playing simulated games
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs will do their best to simulate game conditions for their pitchers Wednesday and Thursday.
Rather than live batting practice, where pitchers with an "L" screen in front of them throw for a prescribed amount of time to hitters with a batting cage around the plate, the D-backs will mix it up a bit.
One pitcher will throw 15 pitches without a screen to hitters without the batting cage and then sit down to simulate the end of an inning. Another will take the mound and throw 15 pitches before the first pitcher goes back out.
Arizona coaches will call out situations so the pitcher and fielders can react accordingly.
"When we get through the sim games we'll take a look and see if we're going to play any kind of an intra-squad game next week," manager Kirk Gibson said.
How those two days go also will play a role in determining how the team will prepare a pitcher for the start of Cactus League play the following Wednesday.
"On a case-by-case situation we'll decide if it would be better for this guy to have a bullpen, or two bullpens to work on some things, or to put him in a regular game situation," Gibson said. "Some of the guys that maybe won't get into the games for a while we might put a little [intra-squad] game together."
Players take aim at Gibson (in paintball)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs had fun, and got in a little exercise and team building while playing paintball Monday, but they also accomplished their most important goal.
"I don't think anybody hurt themselves, which I think is the key," pitcher Trevor Cahill said.
Other than a few scrapes and some welts, no one seemed the worse for wear, not even outfielder Cody Ross, who sheepishly admitted that he did more running with his surgically repaired right hip than he had planned on.
Reliever J.J. Putz and third baseman Eric Chavez served as team captains and the three games each wound up as draws.
Manager Kirk Gibson led the charge in the first game, quickly staking out a prime position. It didn't last long.
"I had a great spot and I saw about four guys and they were dead ducks," Gibson said. "I shot my gun, it was a new gun, but it didn't shoot. So as soon as they heard me I got shot immediately."
• Addison Reed, J.J. Putz, Brad Ziegler and David Hernandez have all been mentioned as possible closers, but it seems like the competition is likely to come down to Reed and Putz.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has said he doesn't want any of them to try to impress early in camp. Tuesday, he was asked whether Ziegler's ability to get out of jams with the double-play ball made him more valuable in a setup role coming in with men on base rather than as a closer.
"He moved to the closer's role last year because we had a need," Gibson said. "So if we don't have that need this year he probably won't be there."
• It has been almost two weeks since pitchers and catchers reported and nearly a week since full-squad workouts began, and the D-backs have so far stayed away from the injury bug.
"It's been great," Gibson said. "We have nothing. We had a couple of foul balls hit off guys' legs, which is to be expected, but really nothing at this point at all. This is as good as it's been. Hopefully, it continues to be that way. I'd like to think that having the extra time has allowed us to take a little different pace, maybe a little more time for them to recover."
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.