ANAHEIM -- It seems hard to imagine now, after he's spent 15 years in the big leagues as a catcher, but Henry Blanco was a third baseman in the Dodgers organization in 1995.With Blanco's path to the big leagues blocked by Paul Konerko and Adrian Beltre, Mike Scioscia, who was then the Dodgers' catching coordinator, suggested a shift behind the plate. Scioscia then took the project on himself. "He taught me basically everything that I know about catching," Blanco said. "He was a good teacher. Very smart guy, easy to talk to and to get ideas from about what you want to do." Blanco has carved out a long career for himself as a backup catcher, playing for nine teams, but not the Angels, who Scioscia took over as manager in 2000. Still, the pair occasionally talk, like Friday when they crossed paths with the D-backs in town to battle the Angels. Scioscia had a question for his protege. "He asked me if I had any idea what I would have done if I hadn't come up as a catcher," Blanco said with a smile. "I told him I wasn't thinking about it. Thanks to him, everything worked out fine."
Gibson remembers dad on Father's Day
ANAHEIM -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was filled with thoughts of his late father, Robert, on Sunday.Yes, partly because it was Father's Day, but also because Gibson thinks about him every day. "I think about my dad all the time," Gibson said. "Sometimes you guys get frustrated with me, but you can thank my dad for that. He was just a very strong-minded guy, a very determined, dedicated guy, liked challenges, competition and just didn't really give into things.
"You know sometimes it hurts, but you have to keep moving in the right direction, the direction you want to move in. You can't be altered, you can't be deterred from what your prize and it's determined by yourself."Gibson's dad always wanted him to play baseball rather than football, and he was heavily involved in his son's athletic endeavors. "I enjoyed it, though there were some good battles," Gibson said. "My kids knew their grandpa and the moments that they had with him were very special. Of course we wish that not only my dad, but others who have lost their fathers, that they could still be here. But their legacy lives in spirit and mind and body and soul forever."
Gibby 'optimistic' Drew will return soon
ANAHEIM -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson wore a smile on Sunday morning when he talked about injured shortstop Stephen Drew."I'm optimistic that he's getting closer," Gibson said. Drew was injured while sliding into home plate on July 20. He suffered a spiral fracture of his right ankle and damage to three ligaments. The rehab process has been an arduous one, and Drew recently received criticism from Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick, who suggested Drew was more focused on offseason free agency than playing this year. On Saturday, though, Drew played in his third consecutive full games for Triple-A Reno, the first time he has played in three straight games since the injury. "I don't think it was easy for him; I really don't," Gibson said. "I think it was really tough. I think he pushed through it. That's my sense." Gibson spoke with Reno manager Brett Butler and has read the reports on Drew. "He's just making really good plays in the hole, up the middle, just looks like Stephen," Gibson said. There is still no timetable for Drew's return. "I want to have a nice long talk with him and see what he's feeling," Gibson said.