PHOENIX -- Right-hander Aaron Heilman had a positive bullpen session prior to Sunday's game and could be one more sideline exercise away from being activated to rejoin the D-backs' bullpen.Heilman went on the disabled list on April 15 with tendinitis in his right shoulder. "He looked good, was throwing free and easy," manager Kirk Gibson said. "Maybe he'll do another simulated game. But I could tell he's feeling better, stronger. He had good movement on the ball." Heilman has won his only decision and has a misleading 12.15 ERA. He had an effective start to his season, but allowed six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in his last appearance prior to going on the DL. Gibson didn't seem to think Heilman, who last saw action on April 13, would need any rehab outings before rejoining the fray, which would hasten his return. It would also accelerate the roster decision Gibson will have to make to create room for the veteran reliever. The manager shrugged. "You have to make [those decisions]. It's a good problem to have," Gibson said.
Younger Drew has upper hand on J.D.
PHOENIX -- When the D-backs chose 21-year-old Stephen Drew as their first-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft -- the 15th overall selection in the country -- big brother J.D. was already an "old-timer."J.D. Drew, eight years older, was in the middle of his seventh Major League season, one in which he would hit .305 with 31 homers and 93 RBIs for the Atlanta Braves. Well, little Stephen has grown up to become the Drew clan's big stick. He can never be older than J.D., but his numbers have become bigger. J.D. Drew remains a vital Boston cog as the Red Sox's right fielder, but his one home run and five RBIs are dwarfed by Stephen's production as Arizona's cleanup-hitting shortstop. The D-backs' Drew had a pair of homers and 22 RBIs, along with a .321 average, entering Sunday's finale with the Cubs at Chase Field. He also has his manager's respect. "He's been very consistent. He's crushing right-handed pitchers now and making his hits against left-handers count," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "And he's been excellent with runners in scoring position." Drew has made his 26 hits count for 22 RBIs by going 13-for-29 (.464) with runners in scoring position. That has certainly helped his disposition, according to Gibson's read of the intense player. "It kills him when he fails," Gibson said. "He may not show it, but he's very competitive." If there's any sibling rivalry going on here, the score has become very close: Since Stephen first became a regular with Arizona in 2007, he has 275 RBIs to J.D.'s 269.
Although the D-backs bid a relieved 2011 farewell to Alfonso Soriano -- "We're happy to move on to the rest of the year without having to see him," manager Kirk Gibson said of the guy who batted .409 (9-for-22) with five homers in six games against his club -- they may have found their silver bullet against him: David Hernandez fanned him in a clutch situation Sunday for the second straight game. ... Xavier Nady delivered his second hit in five pinch-hit opportunities with an eighth-inning single. ... Daniel Hudson (108 pitches in seven innings on Sunday) is averaging 103 pitches in his first six starts.