SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There was a larger than usual crowd, highlighted by D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, around the batting cage as top pitching prospects Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs faced hitters Sunday.
Gibson said that while watching them he was thinking back to the first time he faced pitchers in a live batting-practice session in big league camp years ago.
"We all know they've got golden arms," Gibson said. "I think it was more important that they got that out of the way and they can begin to feel comfortable."
Outfielder Cole Gillespie drew the assignment of having to face both Bauer and Skaggs.
"It's always fun [on the] first day of live BP, let alone get a couple of guys like that," Gillespie said with a twinge of sarcasm before smiling. "It was fun. They definitely have good stuff."
It was the third time the pair had thrown this spring and Bauer said he felt like each of his sessions had been better. Facing hitters for the first time, though, presented a few challenges.
"Being in the bullpen when you don't have hitters in there, you can focus on your mechanics and kind of feel what your body is doing and get a good feel for it because you're not really worried about where the ball is going," he said. "Then you start worrying about where the ball is going to throw strikes to hitters and then the mechanics kind of feel weird and you don't really have a feel for what your body's doing. So it just takes awhile to get those two things linked up into one so you can feel your body and what it's doing and also have a sense where the ball is going."
Breslow takes it easy with calf stiffness
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs have remained relatively injury free this spring, as the only player limited has been shortstop Stephen Drew, who is still recovering from last year's ankle surgery.
Left-hander Craig Breslow, though, played catch with strength and conditioning coach Nate Shaw on Sunday rather than throw to hitters.
"He had a little stiff calf so we don't want him to get on the mound and favor something and hurt his arm," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
Head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw recommended that Breslow not throw off the mound while the training staff worked the stiffness out of the calf.
"You know when you go on the mound the first time, it's going to be different," Gibson said referring to facing hitters for the first time. "A little extra effort, you're going to overthrow a little bit, put pressure on yourself, so we didn't think he was ready for that today."
Hitters get acclimated with live BP
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Sunday was the first day that D-backs pitchers faced hitters during batting practice, and with the pitchers having been in camp for a week now, they clearly had the advantage.
This was just the second official workout of the spring for the position players, who are typically behind pitchers at this stage anyway.
"For me it was more about tracking and seeing some pitches and some offspeed pitches for the first time," outfielder Cole Gillespie said.
Sunday's plan will be repeated over the next three days as each of the two groups of pitchers will get to face hitters twice.
"It was fun to see some hitters in the box," right-hander Trevor Bauer said. "We're getting closer to games, which is the fun part."
The D-backs open their Cactus League schedule Saturday when they play a pair of split-squad games. They will play at Salt River Fields against the Rockies as well as travel to Scottsdale Stadium to take on the Giants.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said the D-backs will not play an intrasquad game this week.
"No scrimmage," Gibson said. "We'll just play the games. I think we can get ready without it and it's something as a player that I didn't really enjoy it too much. We have a lot of other stuff we want to do and as you prioritize, I'm not going to do it."
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.