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D-backs committed to keeping Montero fresh

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PHOENIX -- Despite his competitive inclinations, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson rested catcher Miguel Montero, who was subbed in the starting lineup by Tuffy Gosewisch for Thursday afternoon's day game after a night game against the Giants at Chase Field.

Montero missed more than a month last year with back problems after Gibson played him incessantly during the first half of the season. At the same time, the Giants rested catcher Buster Posey, starting backup Hector Sanchez.

"It's kind of hard to do because [Montero's] our guy," Gibson said before the closer of the four-game Opening Series. "But we said we were going to do it and it should go a long way for him. You could always bring him off the bench."

Gibson said he expected to start Montero in all three games of this weekend's series against the Rockies in Denver, beginning Friday with their home opener at Coors Field.

Montero played in 116 games last year after 140 in 2011 and 141 in 2012. He batted .230 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs, a big dip from his 88 RBIs in 2012. The D-backs are trying to find a way this year of keeping the 30-year-old Montero both healthy and productive.

"Anybody can get beaten down, but catching is a very demanding job," Gibson said. "I think that he's not getting younger, he's getting older. He wants to catch a lot of innings. It's kind of a fine line because when you catch more you get better at it, you get a better feel for what [a pitcher] should throw. Like this would be his fourth game against the Giants. So he's got a real good idea of what their hitters are doing, how to get them out.

"But at the same time, all that playing can contribute to him breaking down. He went through a streak before last year of catching more innings than any catcher in the game. We just know he can't keep that pace up. We made an investment in him as an organization and you want to preserve that."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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