PHOENIX -- Back home following a strenuous 10-game East Coast road trip, the D-backs received a couple of reinforcements Monday, as Miguel Montero and Eric Chavez were activated from the 15-day disabled list and inserted into the starting lineup against the Padres.
For Montero, Monday marked the catcher's first action since July 28, when a lingering lower back strain forced the D-backs to put him on the shelf. In preparation for his return, the 30-year-old played six rehab games in the Arizona League (Rookie) and most recently caught nine innings on back-to-back days Friday and Saturday.
"It's definitely good to be back. It feels like I've missed a year," Montero said. "My back feels great. I played a couple games, and it feels good. I'm just excited to be back with the team."
As for Chavez, he was on the DL with left knee and right hip discomfort since Aug. 11 (retroactive to Aug. 10). The third baseman appeared in three rehab games in the Arizona League last week.
"Everything feels good, and hopefully I can come in and help the team," Chavez said. "I played a couple games while the team was on the road trip, and at that point, I knew I was ready."
Moving forward, Arizona will be cautious with Montero and Chavez to help prevent future injuries.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Monday that he'll rotate backup catcher Wil Nieves in more frequently for Montero, who only missed nine games all year before hurting his back.
"Wil is going to get some catching time. Miggy won't play every day, like he was," Gibson said. "I have to be smart about that. We'll read his condition and react to it. We don't want to have him in trouble again, health-wise."
The same goes for Chavez, who has been extremely productive when healthy, but has been on the DL twice this season. In 62 games entering Monday, the 35-year-old is batting .299 with nine homers and 40 RBIs.
"I can't play him that much," Gibson said. "With his age, all the injuries and the wear and tear, you just can't play him that much. He'll say he's ready and good to go, but it seems like it always bites us. I'm going to have to be more proactive with that."
D-backs tab prospect Holmberg for spot start
PHOENIX -- Needing a spot starter in place of Trevor Cahill, who worked four innings in Arizona's 18-inning marathon game Saturday against the Phillies, the D-backs will turn to David Holmberg on Tuesday vs. the Padres. The left-hander will be called up from Double-A Mobile to make his Major League debut.
Ranked by MLB.com as the D-backs' No. 5 prospect, Holmberg is 5-7 this year with a 2.66 ERA and 115 strikeouts over 25 starts for Mobile. Arizona named the 22-year-old its Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June after he posted a 3-1 record with a 1.73 ERA in five outings. More recently, Holmberg has been even better. Through his last six starts, he boasts a 1.57 ERA.
"He has been throwing the ball good," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He has the ability to throw any pitch at any time. That's kind of who he is. He's not David Wells yet, but the way he throws, he' got a good curveball, slider, changeup, and he moves his fastball around. He just knows how to pitch. If he can keep the ball in play and let us take care of it, I like our chances."
Asked whether or not Holmberg will stay with the team past Tuesday, Gibson replied, "I don't know yet."
The D-backs acquired Holmberg along with Daniel Hudson in exchange for Edwin Jackson back in 2010 in a trade with the White Sox. He was Chicago's second-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
The D-backs will announce the corresponding move for Holmberg on Tuesday afternoon. The club will also have to make room for him on the 40-man roster, meaning Cody Ross (hip surgery) will likely be moved to the 60-day disabled list.
Gosewisch, Davidson sent down, could return soon
PHOENIX -- As the D-backs got a couple of veteran players back from the disabled list Monday in Eric Chavez and Miguel Montero, a pair of first-time Major Leaguers were sent back to the Minors to make room on the roster. After making their big league debuts earlier this month, Matt Davidson and Tuffy Gosewisch were optioned to Triple-A Reno on Monday.
Davidson, ranked by MLB.com as the D-backs' No. 2 prospect, hit .179 (5-for-28) with two RBIs in 12 games with Arizona, while Gosewisch batted .185 (5-for-27) with one RBI in eight games.
With rosters set to expand from 25 to 40 on Sept. 1, Davidson and Gosewisch could be back with the D-backs sooner rather than later. If and when they get their second callup, both players will return to the Majors armed with the validation that they can compete at the highest level.
"One hundred percent, I know I can play here," Gosewisch said. "I feel like I played well. I felt a lot more comfortable at the plate the last few days, and I felt comfortable catching. I got a lot of good feedback from the pitchers. They said I was doing a good job. That's good to hear, and it reaffirms that I can play in the big leagues."
"It's kind of like I got that first initial hit and felt it out," Davidson said. "Now I know I can compete up here, and I will. I saw how it's done, and it was fun. It makes you want to get back."
Hill held out of starting lineup Monday
PHOENIX -- D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill was out of the lineup Monday for the second consecutive game after leaving Saturday night's contest in Philadelphia in the bottom of the seventh due to mild tightness in his groin.
To fill the void, the D-backs moved Martin Prado to second and started Eric Chavez at third. Hill was available to pinch-hit, however, and the club expects the veteran infielder to return to action Tuesday.
"We're just going to give him another day," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We think that's the smart thing to do. He probably could play today. He was available yesterday and he's available today."
Hill has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball this month, batting .378 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 82 August at-bats.
• After hitting .500 (6-for-12) in four games with the Arizona League (Rookie) D-backs, Willie Bloomquist was sent to Triple-A Reno on Monday to continue his Minor League rehab assignment. The Aces are currently in Tucson for a series with the Padres' affiliate. Bloomquist (broken left hand) has been on the shelf since June 28.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.