SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Typically during Spring Training games at an American League club's ballpark, a designated hitter is used, while at National League parks, the pitchers hit.There is no hard-and-fast rule, though, and it is up to the home team to decide. The D-backs so far this spring have elected to use a designated hitter to help ease their pitchers back into action. "Right now, the pitchers are focusing on them getting comfortable on the mound [and] their fielding," Gibson said. "I don't want them to be hitting too much because their pitching is the most important thing, and I don't want them to get too sore. We want to expose them to it gradually." As of right now, the D-backs plan to go back to having their pitchers hit at home after March 18. There is one exception to that and it's Trevor Cahill. Cahill has spent his entire career in the AL with the A's and has just 10 at-bats in three years. Cahill is slated to start Wednesday at home against the Indians. "I'd like him to start getting up to the plate," Gibson said.
Kennedy makes most of limited work
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It wasn't the way you would have drawn it up, but D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy got most of his work in Sunday.The D-backs Opening Day starter went just 1 1/3 innings in his initial outing of the spring after a swarm of bees forced a 41-minute delay in the top of the second inning against the Giants. Kennedy wound up throwing 29 pitches -- his limit would have been 35. "I felt OK," Kennedy said. "Threw a lot of fastballs, tried to get my command. I threw maybe two or three breaking balls, a couple of changeups, but for the most part a lot of fastballs. You try and get your work in, for me trying to get my command back and feel for a game." Kennedy had thrown to batting practice to hitters just once this spring, while most of his pitching mates had two such sessions. That made him a little jumpy on balls off the bat. "When the ball gets hit, it's been a couple months since I've had that so it takes a little bit," he said. "Even the outs you seem to flinch a little bit." Kennedy allowed three hits and one run while striking out one.
Putz's Cactus League debut set for Friday
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz will make his spring debut Friday against the Mariners in Peoria, Ariz.Putz has preferred to do less throwing in games and more on back fields or in bullpens during Spring Training, believing that's the best way for him to work on his pitches and sequences. Putz threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday and plans to throw one more before getting into Friday's game. "That's the way he wanted to do it and we agreed," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "This gives him a chance to work on different sequences. He's trying to perfect it so he can take it into games. He's getting after it on the back mound." Putz saved 45 games for the D-backs in 2011.
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.