LOS ANGELES -- Each day, D-backs catcher Miguel Montero tells himself it's going to be different.
This game, this at-bat he's not going to swing too hard at the plate.
If only it were that simple.
"I keep telling myself all the time and I keep swinging hard all the time," Montero said. "It's just one of those things."
And it's one of those things that has infected the entire team. The harder they try, the worse they do, and the worse they do, the harder they try.
"When we get runners in scoring position or a situation where we can do some damage and change the game, that's when we probably put a little pressure on ourselves and try to do too much," Montero said. "Trying to hit a five-run homer. It's not going to happen."
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson likes his team attitude and the effort they're giving, but it's a case where less effort could lead to more positive results.
"I think in general our confidence isn't what it has been or what it needs to be," Gibson said. "It's not like we're rolling, let's be honest. It's a vicious game and a vicious cycle at times. A normal at-bat, you go up there you see the situation, you've got a game plan, you see the ball in the zone and you take an aggressive swing at it. What you're seeing with us, you're seeing our minds are occupied and we're not having good at-bats in those situations. What changes that? Some success, a couple hits. We've tried to simplify things from our end."
They've done that by not focusing so much on mechanics with the players so they're not thinking about that when they're up at the plate.
"It's hard for everybody, because everybody wants to contribute," Montero said. "Things haven't worked out the way we want them to so we keep pushing harder and harder. Let's try to do less and things are going to be better. It's easy to say."
But a lot harder to actually do.
Gibson quiet on brushbacks between aces
LOS ANGELES -- One day after D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy and Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw exchanged brushback pitches, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said he was not sure what all the commotion was about.
Gibson was asked Tuesday if he expected the umpires to issue warnings before the game.
"I never thought there was anything occurring," Gibson said with a smile. "Did you think something was going on?"
The D-backs had a beef with Kershaw dating to last year, when he plunked outfielder Gerardo Parra. Monday was the first time Kershaw had faced them since the incident, and it appeared that Kennedy was sticking up for his teammate.
Kershaw was not pleased that the hard feelings had lingered.
"The part of it I don't understand, with all that stuff last year, I know it's old-school baseball for them or Gibby-style, whatever they call it, but I don't understand it," Kershaw said after the game. "The manager there is old school, but old school you let it go. If that's how they want to do it, in my opinion there's no place for it."
Gibson was not going to take the bait Tuesday.
"Seriously we come out and play hard every day and things have happened within the game and I just don't comment on that," Gibson said. "People say things, whatever, I just don't comment on that. We go out and play hard, play within the rules and try to beat people. We haven't been doing that lately. I just hope we play better tonight. That's what my focus is on."
Injured shortstop Stephen Drew went 2-for-4 with a double and played nine innings in an extended spring game Tuesday against the Angels.
It was the first time Drew, who is recovering from a fractured ankle, had played nine innings in his rehab. He is scheduled to have a work day Wednesday and then play nine innings in another extended spring game Thursday.
"You can just tell his gait is less of a limp right now," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said after watching a video of Drew's performance. "He's definitely coming along."
Injured outfielder Chris Young was 1-for-4 with a double while playing for Class A Visalia on Monday night. Young was slated to play again Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Triple-A Reno.
There's an "outside shot," according to Gibson, that Young could return to action before the team completes its road trip Sunday.
Injured starter Daniel Hudson is scheduled to pitch against the A's in an extended spring game Wednesday morning at the A's Minor League complex.
If all goes well, Hudson could join Triple-A Reno for a start next week.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.