PITTSBURGH -- Outfielder Justin Upton, who has seen limited action since suffering a left shoulder strain on Aug. 30, was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight day on Sunday. The soreness in his shoulder also caused him to miss 10 of the previous 13 games.
"We're not going to play him at this point," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're going to make sure that he's strong and right before we throw him back out there and have him get back to where he is or worse."
Upton appeared as a pinch runner in the ninth inning on Friday night and stole a base.
"We'd like him in the lineup," Gibson explained. "I was looking at our record without him, and he's very, very important and influences what goes on. You take him out, and it's a big loss for us. It influences how the other guys in the lineup do. He's played 132 games this year and we want him to play more games than that. It gets more into, how do we keep him healthy? This has happened three years in a row. We've got to do some things differently, and a lot of that is up to him."
Gibson hopes to finish job he's started
PITTSBURGH -- When the Arizona Diamondbacks named Kirk Gibson to replace A.J. Hinch as manager on July 1, he was stuck with an interim tag. His fate will be decided at the conclusion of the team's search for a permanent general manager.
Gibson has guided the D-backs to a 28-42 record since he took over, but he sees some improvement, as the team closes out a disappointing campaign.
"There's nothing happy about being in last place -- that's the way I look at it," Gibson said. "But I feel like we've made some progress in some areas, but it's not even close. That's just the way I think. Having A.J. [Hinch] the first part of the season and then I came in -- and then we were wondering how our roster was going to change, and that was settled and we played very good in August. There's some uncertainty now within the organization that will be all settled, whether it's me or anybody -- the organization will be headed in a different direction.
"We've done some things better. I think the biggest thing -- at least I felt [it was] when I came into this -- was we got down and we got stymied and we got shut down. I think now we do a much better job of stopping big innings and maybe keep grinding more when we're down, but we've got a long way to go. It's going to take a huge commitment by whoever is here next year to want to do things different and change some things."
Gibson makes no secret of the fact that he would like to return and finish the job he has started.
"Of course. Sure, I'd like to be back," Gibson said. "I'll just say this: Every year, when I went to play football at Michigan State, I wanted to win a Rose Bowl. We got put on probation, so it was all about winning the Big Ten, which we did. When I was a baseball player, it was about being a world champion. I still aspire to get back to another world championship. You wouldn't be able to begin to feel what it feels like to do that, to accomplish that ultimate challenge. I want these guys to have that feeling, and I want to get back there."
Enright to remain in rotation
PITTSBURGH -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson does not plan on removing right-hander Barry Enright from the starting rotation, despite his late season slide. Over his past three outings, Enright has surrendered 17 runs in 12 2/3 innings.
Gibson noted that Enright has pitched more innings this year, but doesn't feel that he has to be shut down due to fatigue.
"I talked to him today," Gibson said. "There are certain things that, when you develop, you've got to learn how to deal with. Part of it is probably confidence, and he's not able to execute his pitches like he was earlier in the season.
"We got to find a way to get him through this, and he'll be better for it. The only way we would shut him down is if his shoulder was fatigued. He's tired, but he's not running in the training room and saying, 'I'm hanging.' He's thrown innings before. He's at 179 2/3 [innings pitched] right now, so that's well within 20 percent more [than last season]. He's well within the parameters. He'll be fine; he'll figure it out."
Ryan Church has a .357 average (5-for-14) with two home runs, two doubles, five runs and a .929 OPS in six games, including three starts, heading into Sunday's finale of the D-backs' current 10-game road trip. ... Since Aug. 1, the D-backs' 51 homers lead the National League and are tied with the Rays for the fourth most in the Majors, behind the Blue Jays (71), Red Sox (58) and Yankees (58).
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.