Saturday, August 6, 2011

Duke learning to adjust to role in bullpen

By Anthony Fenech / | 08/06/11

PHOENIX -- It's a new thing to Zach Duke, the whole pennant race thing.

"It's a lot of fun," Duke said. "Every game means something and that's a different experience for me, so I just have to make sure to prepare myself to give this team everything that I have every day."

After starting the season in the rotation, Duke is now working out of the bullpen and doing a fine job so far.

"It's been pretty good," he said. "I haven't had to pitch on short rest yet, so that test has yet to be taken for me, but it's so far, so good."

In four relief outings, the left-hander has allowed three runs on seven hits in 10 innings. He has a 2-4 record and 5.02 ERA overall on the season.

"There's less time to prepare and you just have to get loose and get out there," he said of the differences between starting and relieving. "You have to trust you'll throw the ball where you want to, and there's a little more adrenaline to it."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Duke has performed well throughout the transition.

"He's throwing good," Gibson said. "It's probably a big adjustment for him to be in that role, but he's thrown the ball better, and he's a veteran guy.

"It's hard to predict what the influence on our team anyone might have at this important part of the season, so I think you just have to have a good attitude, adjust your role on any given day and be prepared to do it when it counts."

Duke said that starter or reliever, his pregame preparation is still the same.

"Now, my job is to get the next couple of guys out, but you still prepare yourself to give everything you've got from the first pitch," he said.

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