Campana, Pennington get starts to stay sharp

Campana, Pennington get starts to stay sharp

PHOENIX -- D-backs center fielder Tony Campana and shortstop Cliff Pennington got their first starts of the year Wednesday as manager Kirk Gibson works to keep all his players involved.

With Spring Training just having ended, both Campana and Pennington are coming off having consistent at-bats, something that doesn't happen for bench players during the regular season.

"Timing-wise, I have timing right now, and if you don't play for 10 or 12 days in a row, then it's going to be hard to keep it," Pennington said. "This should be the time of year when the backups or reserves play, they should be pretty close to full go."

Campana won the final spot on the bench because of his versatility in playing all three outfield positions as well as the speed dynamic he brings off the bench in the late innings.

"During spring you get yourself a lot of at-bats and then when the season starts and you're a bench guy, they go away a little bit more, so it's cool to get a start early in the season because you know you've still got your timing still and you've got your rhythm," Campana said. "Eventually that's going to go away a little bit, but you've got to keep it as long as you can."

Campana has perfected a routine over the past year that he thinks helps keep him sharp when he's not playing.

For Pennington it's been a little tougher adjustment because before last season, he played on a regular basis in his career.

"It's still in progress," he said. "I'm working on it. I'm trying different things."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.