Norberto shows some moxie in return

Norberto shows some moxie in return

PHOENIX -- Interim Arizona manager Kirk Gibson wasn't as impressed with the first three outs of Jordan Norberto's initial outing back in the big leagues as he was with one in particular.

Norberto, who replaced Dontrelle Willis on the 25-man roster on Sunday morning, came on to pitch the ninth inning with the D-backs down, 3-1, the same afternoon.

It didn't start well. Pinch-hitters Reed Johnson doubled and Ronnie Belliard grounded out to the right side of the infield to push Johnson to third base. Los Angeles was on the verge of extending its advantage before the D-backs' last at-bats.

"The thing I like most is his composure," Gibson said. "Here he's got a guy on second base, they get him over, we put the pitchout on and he got him. He [nodded] his head and threw it. He's got a guy on third base, he's a young kid; he's got to be thinking, 'God, I'm going to throw a fastball or whatever.' All of a sudden, he looks down there and sees 'pitchout.' So that's good execution."

Gibson was recalling the Norberto-Miguel Montero battery, with the Dodgers' A.J. Ellis squared to bunt, catching Johnson in a rundown between third base and home plate.

"When we were in Spring Training, we were working on [pitchers' fielding practice] and some basestealing stuff -- in the past, he had a hard time with that," Gibson said. "We would [mess] with him and stuff, and he did really good well in Spring Training and he did really well with that situation yesterday.

"He kind of fed off it. He threw the ball pretty good after getting that second out, didn't he?"

Norberto responded by striking Ellis out on a 3-2, 94-mph fastball.