Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gibson doing best to keep D-backs fresh

By Anthony Fenech / | 08/10/11

PHOENIX -- The dog days of summer are upon the D-backs, and manager Kirk Gibson is doing his best to make sure his team doesn't fall victim to them.

"We had discussions today and that was one of the topics," he said. "How hard do you push? I think physically we're going to try to trim back our batting practice, extra work and stuff like that."

The team opened a 10-game homestand sluggishly with three losses in four days before outslugging the Astros on Tuesday night. After a weekend series against the Mets, the D-backs head east for 10 games against the Phillies, Braves and Nationals.

"We know we're going to be on this road trip," Gibson said. "We're at home, and maybe we can say, 'Hey, guys, spend some more time at home and relax.'

"When we go on the road, we know it's going to be hot and we know it's going to be a terrible environment in the places we're going to go."

Second baseman Kelly Johnson thinks that keeping his body fresh is the easy part, while staying sharp mentally is another story.

"I think the tougher challenge is mentally, but when you're winning games, as a team, it makes it much easier," Johnson said.

"Last year it was a little bit different mentally than this year, but that's a bigger challenge for us in the dog days than anything."

And Gibson agrees.

"We can do that physically, but the mental part is, 'How hard do you push them mentally and how much can they take?'" Gibson said. "Do you blow stuff out of proportion? In the past, we've had some tougher times and streaks we haven't played well, but we've always bounced back.

"So my guess is we will bounce back."

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