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Keeping players fresh no easy task for Gibson

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson is looking to keep his players healthy and rested as the team takes on a daunting schedule of 33 games in 34 days.

"I give some guys some days off when I can," Gibson said. "I just try and stay ahead of it. You don't want them to get tired in a stretch like this. But it's not going to matter. It's a tough stretch, period."

Arizona has only one scheduled off day during that 34-game stretch. Gibson has the tall task of trying to manage his bullpen and keep his relievers fresh despite playing nearly every day.

"Trying to look after those guys, it's kind of hard when you got a chance to win a game," Gibson said. "It's pretty obvious who I want to go to."

Many times the person Gibson wants to go to is Brad Ziegler, who has been one of the D-backs' most effective relievers this season. In 29 games -- the most of any Arizona pitcher -- he has a 2.30 ERA. He struck out three in two scoreless innings and picked up his first win of the season in a 7-5 victory against the Padres on Monday.

Gibson said Ziegler would be available for one hitter at most. but probably wouldn't pitch Tuesday.

The run of games started with road series against the Cardinals and Mets before the D-backs came home for their current three-game set against the Padres.

Arizona will need to keep up its recent trend of winning home games as 18 of its next 27 games are at Chase Field.

The D-backs were 5-3 in their last eight home games entering Tuesday, but before that, they were 2-15.

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for
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