PHOENIX -- Two days ahead of his club facing Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson reflected on his experiences against the unique type of pitchers.During his 17-year career, Gibson faced knuckleballers the likes of Phil Niekro, Tim Wakefield, Charlie Hough and the D-backs' own radio man, Tom Candiotti. "I think I did decent, I know I did good against Candy," Gibson said. "I moved way up in front of the box and scratched the front line off. I put my front foot on the line and was actually stepping across the line." For Gibson, playing in era with multiple knuckleballers made the experience less unusual. But when the D-backs see Dickey on Sunday, they'll be batting against the only pitcher currently in the Majors who throws the floating offering. "It's hard. Back in the day, we had more guys, but he's the only guy," Gibson said. "You have to come up with something different. It's not coming in there at 90 and it's not acting like any ball you've seen. So you have to find a way, it's like slow-pitch softball. You have to let the ball travel and see it. You've got to react deeper in the zone. If you go after it, you have no shot." The D-backs already faced Dickey once this season and didn't have much success, as the 37-year-old tossed eight innings and allowed one run on four hits. Typically knuckleballers are slow to the plate, but in Dickey's case, he combats the slowness of the pitch with multiple techniques. "He's got a lights-out move and he throws the ball much harder," Gibson said. "That's one of the distinctive things about Dickey, most knuckleballers you can run wild against, but he throws three different speeds and the fastball, so he's unique from the guys I faced."
D-backs mindful of Saito's workload
PHOENIX -- Three appearances into his season, D-backs reliever Takashi Saito is performing well at the ripe age of 42, but the club is still working to make sure it doesn't wear him down with too many innings."With Saito, we're worried about his durability because he's older," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's something we've talked to him about." Since coming off the disabled list on Saturday, Saito has tossed three innings and allowed just one hit and one unearned run. Last season with the Brewers, Saito pitched on consecutive days just once. The D-backs are hoping to continue that trend, but the pitcher made it known to Gibson he can pull off double duty if the team needs him. "He said he could do it," Gibson said. "But he's just coming back so I'm trying to stay clear of it right now. But if we get into an extra-inning game and we run out of pitchers, he's going to pitch." On normal rest, Saito's role with the D-backs is equally up in the air. Gibson said the team might use him anywhere between the sixth and ninth innings. "It just depends how he feels," Gibson said.
Bergesen settling in with D-backs
PHOENIX -- Just 10 days ago, the Orioles recalled Brad Bergesen from Triple-A Norfolk and the 26-year-old thought he'd be receiving another shot with the big league club that drafted him in 2004.But after one game, a game in which he didn't even pitch, Baltimore designated Bergesen for assignment, making him available for any team to pick him up off waivers. Bergesen figured he would clear waivers and head back to Norfolk, but by the time the pitcher returned home, he received the news that the D-backs had claimed him. Now in his first week in Arizona, Bergesen is finally beginning to wrap his head around the amount of change he's gone through in such a short period of time. "It's been a whirlwind, to say the least," Bergesen said. "I packed everything up and moved the family out here. I've been getting situated the last few days. When I'm just sitting there at night and my son is asleep, I finally get the peace and quiet to think about everything. It's been crazy, but it's been all good stuff." It's been all good stuff on the field as well. In three innings pitched for the D-backs entering Friday, the right-hander has surrendered no runs on two hits while striking out three. "He's been good so far. He's came in and thrown the ball well for us," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's kind of what the scouting report said, and he feels comfortable here. He seems to bounce back good and fits within how we like to do things. We hope it continues." In the clubhouse, Bergesen is working to fit in with his teammates on a non-baseball level. On days when they have to do conditioning, D-backs pitchers don their favorite NFL jerseys and use Nerf footballs to help facilitate the running drills. Even though Bergesen, a Northern California native, is still waiting to get his hands on a Michael Crabtree San Francisco 49ers jersey, he's still enjoying the fun and relaxed nature of the D-backs' clubhouse. "This group of guys seems great, and they've been very welcoming to me and it's made it that much easier," he said. "I'm going to do anything I can to help here."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.