Ziegler could see game action this week

Ziegler could see game action this week

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs reliever Brad Ziegler faced hitters in a live session of batting practice, and after throwing a light bullpen, his next step could be to get into a Cactus League game as soon as this week.

That would seem to put Ziegler on track to be ready for Opening Day.

Ziegler, who is recovering from offseason microfracture surgery on his left knee, also covered first base at nearly full speed, the first time he had done that this spring.

The acceleration and deceleration that comes with covering first is a test for the knee because it is at those two points that it experiences stress.

"I've done some in drills, but they wanted me to do it when I was tired," Ziegler said of covering first base. "After I had thrown 25 pitches and was exhausted, then throw a few more pitches and work on getting over. Because if I can do it at the end of an outing like that, then I can do it at the beginning."

Aside from working on his command, there is also a mental hurdle for Ziegler to clear before Opening Day.

"Mentally I just have to get back into the idea of not being scared of my knee and just trust that everything is ready to go," Ziegler said.

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.