SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rather than throw against the A's on Sunday, D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy threw four innings against Minor Leaguers from the Giants in a back-field "B" game.
Kennedy has worked this spring on getting more comfortable with his curveball early in camp, because last season he felt it did not come around until later in the season.
With that in mind, and because it was a "B" game, he threw the curveball far more often than usual. When he would normally throw a change, he instead went with the curve.
"I felt pretty comfortable with it, nice and easy with it, and I'm getting it over for strikes," Kennedy said. "I'm really happy with how it's going."
In a "B" game, the rules can be manipulated when needed. For instance, with Kennedy being economical with his pitches, his work in innings two, three and four were extended by one batter each. So technically, he recorded 15 outs.
Kennedy was so efficient in retiring the first 10 batters he faced in the first three innings that he realized to start the fourth that he might want to pitch out of the stretch even without a runner on just to make sure he got some reps that way.
Kennedy fanned four and allowed just one hit.
Putz practices slider against Giants
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- J.J. Putz is working on bringing a slider back to his repertoire, but the D-backs' closer wanted to make it clear that the pitch would not have the disastrous impact his dalliance last spring with the cut fastball did.
Putz blamed last spring's focus on throwing the cutter to his poor mechanics early in the season, which led to struggles on the mound.
"It is not a cutter," Putz said. "It is not a cutter. I know that hurt my mechanics big time."
The slider is not an entirely new pitch for Putz, just one he has not really thrown for a while.
"It was a big pitch for me in '06 and '07, and after my surgery I didn't really throw it a whole lot," said Putz, who had surgery in 2009. "I started messing around with it a little last year and kind of made it a priority this year."
Putz worked in a "B" game against the Giants on Sunday morning so he could focus on throwing the slider more. He wound up throwing seven in his inning of work.
"Most of them had the good break and tilt we were looking for," Putz said. "The first two weren't that great."
Goldschmidt finds time to prepare for future
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In an effort to make himself more versatile, D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been taking some balls in the outfield during batting practice.
"I try to work on it a little and talk to some people," Goldschmidt said of the outfield. "During BP, I just try to get into either left or right and kind of run down balls. I talked to [center fielder Adam] Eaton about the footwork he has and just little things like that."
The D-backs have no plans of moving Goldschmidt from first base, and the idea to take balls in the outfield was his own.
That is no surprise to those who know him, because Goldschmidt likes to plan ahead. This was the same guy who had an internship in finance set up for Fall 2011 before he got called up to the big leagues that August and was busy with the NL Division Series in October.
Oh, and he's also taking courses at the University of Phoenix to fulfill his degree.
"I know it's probably a few years away," Goldschmidt said of the possibility of having to play outfield in a pinch. "But it would be nice to do a little bit now, and then when it's 2015 and an emergency comes up, I'm ready. I guess something could happen this year, but with the roster we have, I don't know. More so for next year or two years down the road in case they need something, it's not like I'm starting from scratch; I will at least have done something."
Goldschmidt takes pride in his defense at first, and he continues to take all his usual reps there, fitting the outfield work in occasionally during BP.
"The main thing is, I don't want it to take anything away from first base," he said.