MESA, Ariz. -- Kirk Gibson likes losing about as much as most people like going to the dentist -- it can't always be avoided, but you certainly don't want to do it often.

So watching his team go 3-9-1 to start Cactus League play has not been a lot of fun for the D-backs manager, but he's trying to keep it in the proper perspective.

"I do like to win," Gibson said. "I don't care if I'm playing you in cards, I want to win. I'm not going to lie, we'd like to win more games. I can't really explain why we don't play better down here at this point. I do have confidence that we will play well when it counts. I do know we have a very talented team and I'm focused on putting that team together. I'm not going to get frustrated with them. I'm not going to allow myself to do that."

It's worth noting the D-backs were 12-25 last spring and looked bad in the process yet they still went on to win 94 games and the National League West.

"The reality of it is when we put our nine guys out there to go against the other guy's nine guys and we have our bench and bullpen it's a whole different deal," Gibson said referring to the regular season. "Quite honestly, I feel bad for the fans, but we are working hard. It's not like they're screwing off. Maybe we've consumed their minds with too much, I'm not really sure. But we'll be fine, I know that. I'm very, very confident of that."

Kennedy all smiles after strong outing

MESA, Ariz. -- Ian Kennedy had plenty of reasons to smile after his outing against the Cubs on Thursday afternoon.

The D-backs right-hander was finally past the flu-like symptoms that have dogged him for the last week and he got the results he was looking for on the mound.

Kennedy became the first Arizona pitcher to go four innings this spring and he did not allow a run on five hits while walking one and striking out three.

"I felt like there were some times out of the stretch where I was pulling some pitches, but overall I was pretty happy with it," Kennedy said. "It felt like there were some points where they got guys on and I had to really battle through them, but I got through them and got my outs. It's nice to finally get past those two or three inning times and you feel like you're facing guys two or three times in the order, it's much better as a starter to do that."

The biggest thing Kennedy got out of the start was feeling more comfortable with his curveball. In his two prior outings he often used it late in the count when he needed a strike and he didn't really have a good feel for it.

Thursday, he took a different approach.

"There were points where I was starting guys off with curveballs," he said. "I felt like let's just throw it on an 0-0 pitch every once and a while just to get a feel for it. I felt like we did that the first two or three innings and then felt like by the end I was starting to get a better feel for it."

Worth noting

• Joe Saunders, who had to exit his last start in the first inning after being struck by a line drive near his left shin, threw a bullpen session Thursday, and is scheduled to start Saturday against the Rangers in Surprise.

• First baseman Paul Goldschmidt hit his first homer of the spring Wednesday, a grand slam in the seventh inning. Goldschmidt came into the game hitting .174 and manager Kirk Gibson said he planned on sending the slugger to Minor League camp in the near future to get some extra at-bats. "What I look at and what I told him is defense No. 1," Gibson said. "We know he can hit, but for us it's got to be defense first."

• The D-backs' game against the White Sox on Friday at Salt River Fields is officially sold out. Limited tickets remain for Sunday against the A's and Tuesday vs. the Giants.