SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In addition to monitoring the workload of reliever Takashi Saito, the D-backs plan to take it easy on closer J.J. Putz this spring.Last spring, Putz asked to throw in simulated games on back fields so that he could work on pitches. The plan was to get him into spring games later in March, but his availability for the season opener became dicey when a neck injury set him back and he had to pitch in the team's final exhibition games against teams from the Mexican League in order to be ready. "He probably tried to do some things he shouldn't have done and maybe he overthrew trying to impress us and hurt his neck," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Putz, who was in his first season with Arizona. "He's going to throw in games." Whether those games will be more towards the end of the spring, as Putz had planned on doing last year, remains to be seen. "I haven't laid that out yet," Gibson said. One thing, Gibson said jokingly, will change for sure. "He's going to throw more than he did last time," Gibson said breaking into a smile. "Won't be hard. I threw more than him last year."
Top pick Bauer easing into first camp
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There were not a lot of nerves for D-backs No. 1 pick Trevor Bauer as he threw his first bullpen session of the spring Tuesday.On-the-field stuff is a comfort zone for the right-hander, selected third overall in last year's Draft. As for everything else that goes into being in a big league training camp for the first time, well that's a different story. "Once you get on the field, it's baseball at any level, it's fun," he said. "The clubhouse stuff, the schedule, trying to figure out what Spring Training is like, it's my first one, so that whole thing is nerve wracking for sure." Bauer learned his first lesson Monday when he was the last pitcher to arrive for the workout. "I didn't know what time guys were getting here," he said. "I was told there was a meeting at 1 p.m. and get here a little earlier and be dressed for the meeting. Showed up at 12:30, got dressed and was ready for the meeting 20 minutes early, but apparently that was a little bit late. So I got here a couple of hours early today." Working hard has never been a problem for Bauer, who was known in college for his unique and intense training regimen. In fact, he's been throwing for almost three months already. "Ball felt good coming out of my hand," he said of Tuesday's session. "Thought my stuff was OK, inconsistent mechanically, and obviously that leads to location problems. I'm pretty much ready to go, I've just got to figure out how to locate the ball again."
Skaggs turns heads with stuff, high standards
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As Tyler Skaggs, one of the D-backs' top pitching prospects, threw his first bullpen of the spring, one of the position players walked by and gave a one word description.Nasty. Skaggs, who was acquired from the Angels in the Dan Haren deal in 2010 is on the cusp of the big leagues, though with the offseason addition of Trevor Cahill and the return of Joe Saunders, the immediate future for the left-hander appears to be the Minor Leagues. "It's up to the organization," Skaggs said. "I'm just going to pitch how I usually pitch and hope for the best. It's a great opportunity to kind of open up some eyes and really show what I'm all about." Skaggs seemed to struggle a little with command of his curveball, which is certainly not unusual for the first few bullpen sessions of the spring. "I talked to Skaggs after. He was kind of not happy he threw two bad pitches," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "I've talked to the guys about what they hold onto. It's like, 'Wait a minute, you threw eight minutes, you threw two bad pitches, what are we going to focus on?'
"That's something I'll be on all spring. I want to make sure we lock onto the good. It's going to make us more confident and we'll be more open-minded to develop."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.