06/23/2003 11:32 AM ET
Notes: Koplove goes to DL
Bottalico arrives from Triple-A Tucson
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks have changed their luck on the field lately, winning five straight games and closing to within six games of the National League West's top spot.
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Arizona's luck with regard to injuries, though, hasn't changed a bit.
Setup man Mike Koplove was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, retroactive to June 18, with recurring pain in the back of his right shoulder. The right-hander becomes the 14th Arizona player to go on the DL. It's the 17th time the Diamondbacks have used the DL this year.
Koplove, who is 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 31 games this year, was also on the DL from May 28 to June 12 with a similar ailment.
"It's been kind of the same thing since April," Koplove said. "It's disappointing, it's aggravating, but what are you going to do?"
The Diamondbacks will shut down Koplove completely for a few days before embarking on a program to strengthen his shoulder.
"We thought it would be in his best interest to get him strong before he tried to throw through it, because that could lead to other things," D-Backs head athletic trainer Paul Lessard said.
To replace Koplove, the Diamondbacks purchased the contract of reliever Ricky Bottalico from Triple-A Tucson.
The veteran right-hander was signed by Arizona to a minor league contract during the offseason was unable to pitch during Spring Training as he was still recovering from shoulder surgery.
"This is a guy who's been out there in the fire before," Brenly said of Bottalico, who has pitched parts of nine seasons in the big leagues. "He's not going to get rattled, he's not going to get shook if we put him in a tight situation."
After Spring Training, Bottalico went to extended spring where he worked to strengthen his shoulder before joining Triple-A Tucson.
"I think you're down there more to get your confidence back," said Bottalico, who has 114 big league saves. "My main concern was just pitching pain-free. Whether you know it or not, you start becoming the person you were on the mound. It was pretty gradual. I started to get myself back together. After Spring Training I didn't really feel comfortable about anything."
Schilling throws: Injured starter Curt Schilling played catch Monday for the first time since going on the disabled list May 31 with two fractures in his right hand.
"As well as I expected," Lessard said when asked how the throwing session went. "He's stiff and sore, but he's been in a sling for a long time. I think he was a little upset because he thought he'd be a little farther along then he is."
The next step will be to get Schilling's hand strong with a full range of motion.
"It wasn't going to be strong coming out of the sling," said Lessard.
Speaking of firsts: Injured infielder Craig Counsell played catch, hit off the batting tee and took ground balls for the first time Monday.
Counsell has been on the DL since May 7 when he tore a ligament in his thumb, which required surgery.
"Good, everything felt good," Counsell said. "As good as I would have hoped. I didn't have any pain. I just have to build some arm strength back up."
Counsell will spend the rest of the week repeating what he did Monday in an effort to build up strength.
One more first: Injured third baseman Shea Hillenbrand took regular batting practice Monday and said his strained left oblique felt fine.
The last time Hillenbrand took batting practice was in June 17 and it was after that session that the club decided to place him on the DL. Since then he has been limited to playing soft toss.
"It went really well," Hillenbrand said. "No discomfort or anything. Just a matter of getting my strength back up."
Hillenbrand is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday, but it's not known whether the club feels he's quite ready.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.