Snyder to see ample time behind dish
Backstop to share catching duties with youngster Montero
PHOENIX -- Chris Snyder has a unique way of describing how an injured back hampered him in 2009.
"A doctor told me if I was a car I would have had three flat tires," said the D-backs catcher, who eventually had surgery in September. "Nobody wants to drive a car with three flat tires."
And how is he feeling now?
"The tires are inflated up to 32 psi and ready to roll," he said.
While he was on the disabled list last year, Miguel Montero played so well both offensively and defensively that he wound up as the starter with Snyder relegated to the bench.
Snyder said he was told that he will get his first start of the year behind the plate in Wednesday's series finale against the Padres. Ian Kennedy will be making his first start in an Arizona uniform in that game.
"It'll be just like always," Snyder said. "I will put my focus on making sure I'm prepared, the pitcher is prepared, that they have confidence in me, that I have confidence in me and we both have confidence in the game plan."
While Montero is clearly the starter, manager A.J. Hinch went out of his way throughout the spring to say that both will play.
"We have two Major League catchers," Hinch said. "I'm not going to bury Snydes."
Drew had help with inside-the-park homer
PHOENIX -- Just before the D-backs players raced around the Tucson Electric Park bases on a spring morning last month practicing running out inside-the-park home runs, bench coach Kirk Gibson described a scenario in which it might come in handy.
Gibson asked them to imagine what it would be like to hit an inside-the-park homer to win a World Series game.
"They'd replay it forever," Gibson told them.
Gibson knows all about replaying walk-off homers. The one he hit for the Dodgers off Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series seemingly is shown as often as any highlight in history.
During Monday's opener, Stephen Drew put the practice to use when he legged out an inside-the-park homer in the sixth inning of the D-backs 6-3 win over the Padres.
"I guess you could say it helped," Drew said. "I mean I had done it once before so I knew what it would be like."
Webb yet to resume throwing
PHOENIX -- Brandon Webb is still not yet playing catch after receiving a cortisone injection last Wednesday.
The right-hander, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery performed last August, has not thrown a bullpen session since early March.
"We're still going through the exercise and strengthening parts of his program," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "We didn't really circle a date to play catch. He's not missing a date or anything like that."
There is no timetable for when Webb will get back on the mound or play catch.
Hinch was asked if Webb will accompany the team on its upcoming road trip to Los Angeles and San Diego next week.
"Maybe, it depends on where he's at," Hinch said. "If he's not doing anything, we'll probably leave him back to do his rehab. But if he's starting to do some things where being around our trainer is important, we'll take him with us."
Bullpen roles not yet clearly defined
PHOENIX -- Here are two things you can count on when it comes to the D-backs bullpen: Chad Qualls will close and Juan Gutierrez will be the primary eighth-inning pitcher.
As for the seventh inning, well then it is a little less clear.
"I'm not interested in labeling the seventh inning," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have a number of pitchers that are going to be able to pitch in those roles. I'm more concerned about defining guys that are going to pitch in close games whatever innings those are."
Right-handers Aaron Heilman, Bob Howry along with lefty Jordan Norberto are among those that could be called on to see action in the seventh.
Hinch discussed roles with each of his relievers, but tried to stay away from pinpointing innings.
"I went to each and every one of them to make sure they know what my thoughts are," he said. "Sometimes when you label an inning it can play games with a guy's mind when you do use him or don't use him. I want all of my guys to be ready."
Depending on matchups, Hinch might even use Gutierrez in the seventh if need be, and he showed last year that he's not against using his closer for an inning-plus save if he feels it's the best way to go.
Ideally, Hinch would love to get Norberto into his first big league game in a less than critical situation, but if there's one thing the lefty showed this spring it's that he has no fear.
"I would love for us to be up 10-0 and get him a nice inning to get the nerves out of the way," Hinch said. "I'm comfortable with Norberto with any lead. I say 10-0 only because it would ease the pressure off of him. He could pitch in a one-run game today and I would have no problem with that."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.