PHOENIX -- It was not like shortstop Stephen Drew needed to have Saturday off, though his shoulder could benefit from it, but with the way Tony Abreu is playing, it's getting harder and harder for D-backs manager A.J. Hinch to keep him out of the starting lineup.
Abreu is hitting .372 with five doubles in 43 at-bats this year while starting games at second, short and third. He has been an asset defensively as well.
The one role Abreu has not excelled at is pinch-hitting. He is 2-for-12 off the bench, which means that when he starts, he is 14-for-31 (.452). The reason, Hinch said, is that Abreu settles into a rhythm when getting four at-bats during a game.
"Tony has gotten off to a good start and has made things happen when he's played," Hinch said. "I find myself having to force him in the lineup even when it's not picture perfect."
Drew said his right shoulder has been a "little stiff" since early in the regular season, and he continues to receive pre- and postgame treatment on it.
"It's not a big deal," Drew said. "I can still play. I'm just trying to get it taken care of. I'll be back in there tomorrow."
Ryal adapting to pinch-hitting role
PHOENIX -- Pinch-hitting is not generally thought of as a role for young players still trying to establish themselves in the big leagues.
Rusty Ryal, though, has proved adept in the role, despite only having 59 Major League at-bats coming into this season.
As a pinch-hitter, Ryal is 5-for-11 this year, and he came into play Saturday with a .417 batting average overall.
"I wouldn't say you are ever comfortable, but you want to be confident," Ryal said. "I think you just want to have confidence that you're going to have a good at-bat and do your job. I think it's just more having a general plan as to what you're going to do with different type of pitchers. Scouting reports are a lot of help, but it's one of those things where there is no telling what's going to occur when you're pinch-hitting."
Initially, D-backs manager A.J. Hinch looked to try to put Ryal in spots where he could have success, such as against left-handed pitchers, but that has evolved quickly.
"More and more, I like him in any matchup," Hinch said. "He causes some concern when he comes up to bat and that's a good reputation to get, and he's producing. That type of bat off the bench is what we had hoped he would be when he made the club."
Righty Benson feeling better
PHOENIX -- Kris Benson began playing catch Friday and the right-hander is hopeful his stay on the disabled list will not be a prolonged one.
Benson had to leave his start April 28 against the Rockies when he felt discomfort in his right shoulder. An MRI showed just a strain and he said he began to feel better as quickly as that night when he flew back to Phoenix.
"It was really just a fluke thing," Benson said. "I'm feeling back to normal. After a few days, it was all good.
Benson said it's possible he could be back up on the mound to throw a bullpen session Thursday.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.