Heilman off to a great start

Heilman off to a great start

LOS ANGELES -- After Aaron Heilman scuffled in his first couple of Spring Training outings, there was some concern about the right-hander, who was acquired in a trade with the Cubs early last offseason.

The veteran Heilman was not one of those worried, though, he'd been through enough springs to know better.

"You never want to look bad out there," he said. "But you also know the first couple of times, you're working on stuff. You're trying to get your rhythm together, trying to get your timing down, working on getting a feel for your pitches. You don't have to be ready for the season on Feb. 17."

Heilman's preparation has paid early dividends. In three appearances, he has yet to allow a baserunner and D-backs manager A.J. Hinch seems to have slotted him in right behind closer Chad Qualls and eighth-inning man Juan Gutierrez.

Heilman was one of the best setup men in baseball when he was with the Mets in 2006 and '07. His '08 and '09 seasons were a different story as he compiled ERAs of 5.21 and 4.11. The D-backs liked his stuff, though, and that's why they made the push to acquire him.

"We feel like we're going to get a guy that's returning to form and can help us in important innings and he's shown that in the first week of the season," Hinch said.