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D-backs pitchers struggling with the bat


DENVER -- There are managers who want nothing more from their pitches at the plate than that they avoid injury. There are managers who want their pitchers focused on nothing but bunting. And then there's D-backs skipper Kirk Gibson.

Gibson emphatically asserted that he "definitely" sets the expectation that his pitchers will be productive at the plate. So far, however, his pitchers are 0-for-27 on the season.

"I try not to get too frustrated with anything that doesn't go right," Gibson said. "You can't let whatever goes wrong take you off the direction that you want to go. They get frustrated, I try to keep them upbeat. You got to move on, 'cause the game's still moving, you know? If you're a good player, you're a good player. Because you don't get a bunt down, you don't get a hit, it doesn't make you a bad player. You can't get in your own head and have it adversely affect your abilities."

Arizona pitchers have put five bunts down successfully.

"We did take batting practices with the pitchers in New York to try to keep them going," Gibson said. "We've been OK on our sac bunts with the pitchers. The hitting part hasn't shown good there."

A key opportunity to deliver a hit came in the fifth frame on Friday, when the D-backs got two hits and a walk, all with two outs, to load the bases for Ian Kennedy.

"Ian had a good at-bat when we had the bases loaded there," Gibson said. "He just hit a ground ball right to [shortstop Troy Tulowitzki]. Ian's swung the bat pretty good this year. He hasn't had a lot to show for it. But yesterday he got a lot of breaking balls his first at-bat. When he came up with the bases loaded, not a bad at-bat."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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