8/20/2014 7:03 P.M. ET
D-backs' Stites has put good advice to work
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- A pair of adjustments -- one mechanical, one mental -- appear to have been just what D-backs rookie reliever Matt Stites needed.
The 24-year-old, who was acquired in July 2013 via a trade with the Padres, made his big league debut June 19. After some initial success, he began to struggle and his ERA climbed to 6.59 after he was roughed up by the Tigers on July 23.
Stites then got a couple of pieces of advice, one from pitching coach Mike Harkey and another from catcher Miguel Montero.
Harkey suggested that Stites move from the first-base side to the third-base side of the pitching rubber.
Montero told him to stop trying to be too fine with his pitches and to trust his stuff.
"He's more aggressive," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Believes in his stuff and understands the importance of where you throw it and when you throw it. I think right now, he's real confident. He's got a lot more life on his fastball. He's letting it go again. His velocity is back up and his slider is much better."
In his last nine games enetering play Wednesday, Stites had a 1.13 ERA in eight innings of work.
• Injured D-backs right-hander Daniel Hudson threw a scoreless inning Tuesday night for the D-backs' entry in the Arizona League.
Hudson, who is attempting to come back from two Tommy John surgeries, has allowed just one run in four innings over four appearances in the Arizona League.
The D-backs are hoping to get him some appearances out of the bullpen in September.
"He threw great," Gibson said. "I got a good report on him. His velocity was up last night. He's feeling much more comfortable."
• Chase Anderson, Cliff Pennington, Xavier Paul and Jordan Pacheco visited patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Wednesday morning.
• Outfielder A.J. Pollock, who is trying to return from a fractured right hand, is starting to progress again. Pollock suffered a setback when he was hit by a pitch on the hand while in the Arizona League.
"He's getting closer," Gibson said. "I haven't got a first date on when he's going to start playing again. He's close to getting in games again."
• Outfielder Cody Ross (left calf strain) is still not able to run using his full body weight. Ross is currently using an anti-gravity treadmill that allows a person to offload some of their body weight.
"He got set back when he tried to push it, and I don't think he's that close to playing yet," Gibson said. "But he's doing all the activities that he can."
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.