PHOENIX -- Memorial Day hits home for D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.

"I grew up in a very traditional household and a very patriotic household," Gibson said. "I think I understand the importance of people who fight for our freedom in the past and to this day."

Gibson's father, Robert, was on the USS Missouri in September 1945 when the U.S. and Japan signed a peace treaty that officially ended World War II.

The D-backs commemorated the holiday by honoring the military and those who died while in military service prior to Monday's game against the Marlins.

Staff Sgt. Denisse Weltha was awarded as the recipient of the Grand Canyon University American Hero Award, Cpl. Jerry Johs was awarded the American Patriot Program's Operation Fields of Green Award and U.S. Army officer Steve Martin threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"I'm very appreciative of it," Gibson said. "They need to be recognized. I know I stand there for the national anthem every day, and look at the flag and support those people that risk their lives for us everyday so we can do what we do.

"I'm humbled by the whole thing, and they're very courageous people."

Demel feeling better while rehabbing shoulder

PHOENIX -- D-backs reliever Sam Demel is progressing in his rehab from shoulder tendinitis that sent him to the 15-day disabled list six days ago.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "But it all depends on the arm."

Demel, a 25-year-old right-hander, has undergone five days of rehab since being shelved, mostly concentrating on soft tissue and rotator cuff work, while keeping his lower body in shape.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said during the last road trip that he expected Demel to be out longer than the minimum stay on the DL.

"He's good, in there working out," Gibson said. "He'll throw a bullpen session around Saturday and we'll go from that point. It will be his first time on the mound and he'll throw on flat ground until then."

Demel said Monday was his second time throwing since the injury, and that he was feeling better.

"It's all about the arm," he said. "Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later."

In 21 appearances this season, Demel has a 1.72 ERA in 15 2/3 innings pitched. He has not allowed an earned run since April 11 against the Cardinals.

Gibson, Trammell certainly on same page

PHOENIX -- The pressure was off D-backs manager Kirk Gibson as he sat in his office in the top of the seventh inning Sunday, a few innings after being ejected by home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

There was one out, Henry Blanco was on first base and pinch-hitter Sean Burroughs was at the plate with the D-backs trailing by a run.

"I was just sitting there playing manager, no pressure on me now," Gibson said. "And thought it was a good time to hit-and-run."

Bench coach Alan Trammell thought the same and put the play in effect.

"That's how scary it is," Gibson said about the communication between him and Trammell.

An inning later, with first baseman Xavier Nady due up with two outs and the tying run on second base, Trammell stuck with the veteran.

"It was a no-brainer," Gibson said. "I wouldn't have even considered taking him out, because part of the way I want to develop this team is that I want everybody to be involved."

Nady doubled, scoring Ryan Roberts and Chris Young, and the D-backs took the lead and claimed a 4-2 victory over the Astros.

"We communicate well," Gibson said. "Things are kind of clicking right now -- the trick is to keep them that way."