HOUSTON -- Jason Kubel said his stiff neck felt much better on Saturday after he missed Friday's game with the condition, but manager Kirk Gibson decided to keep his regular left fielder out of the starting lineup.
Kubel's neck tightened up after he fell asleep sitting up on the D-backs' flight from St. Louis early Friday morning. Gibson said he hopes Kubel can be back in the lineup on Sunday.
"I just made the decision," Gibson said. "I know he feels a lot better today."
Kubel took batting practice and said he would be available off the bench for Saturday's game.
"I'm hoping it keeps progressing like it did last night," Kubel said.
The 30-year-old entered Saturday's game batting .164 in his last 18 games. His 25 home runs ranked third among National League outfielders.
Infielder John McDonald tried some throwing with his sore elbow on Saturday. He hasn't played since Sunday. He was set to start on Thursday in St. Louis, but the elbow bothered him before the first pitch. Gibson replaced McDonald at shortstop with Jake Elmore moments before submitting the lineup card.
The team still doesn't know if McDonald's injury will require a stint on the disabled list. With a doubleheader coming up on Wednesday in Phoenix, the D-backs may need to make a decision on McDonald soon.
"We have five games in four days," Gibson said. "It's not where you want to be short."