Tuesday, May 31, 2011

D-backs put in work during live bunting practice

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/31/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson promised the team would get back to basics.

That the team, despite a seven-game winning streak and 15 victories in its last 17 tries, would work on fundamentals upon returning to Chase Field.

On Tuesday, the pitchers did just that, as the team called on a pair of Minor League pitchers to throw four innings of live bunting practice.

"It's something we want to continue to get better at," Gibson said. "We work on it virtually every day off of a coach, but it's not [as] comfortable against those Minor Leaguers."

The pitchers worked on situational bunting, from sacrifices to squeezes, with men on base and without.

During the drill, rookie starting pitcher Josh Collmenter was hit on the hand from a left-handed Minor League reliever, but Gibson said it was nothing serious.

"It's a risk you take," Gibson said. "You have to get into it; you're in a game, you have to get your rear end into it, you have to get turned around and get your chin behind the bat and simulate it.

"Because we need to execute those situations. Obviously, calling a squeeze, I have to be confident they can do it and they have to feel confident in themselves."

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