Ziegler feels ready for Cactus action after Minors outing

Ziegler feels ready for Cactus action after Minors outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It may have been a Minor League game, but it was a big deal for reliever Brad Ziegler, who on Wednesday made his first appearance in a game since undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee last September.

Ziegler had trouble sleeping on Tuesday night in anticipation of Wednesday's game.

"It just felt really good just to get the first pitch out of the way," Ziegler said.

Ziegler struck out the first two batters he faced, but the best part of his outing probably came when the third batter hit a grounder to first base and he was forced to cover the bag.

Accelerating off the mound and decelerating at the base were two of the bigger tests of Ziegler's knee, and he passed. Of course, he was a little slow getting over there, but that was not because of health.

"It was mostly just the reaction," he said. "It wasn't because of my knee, it was because it was the first time I was facing hitters and saw the ball hit that way, so it just took a little bit to get the reaction back to get over there."

The next test will be when he has to field a bunt. He is hopeful that the next time he takes the mound it will be in a Cactus League game, but he is leaving that decision up to the medical and coaching staffs.

"I feel like I'm ready, but I don't want to rush it, either," he said. "Bottom line is, I feel like I'm going to be ready for Opening Day, so we [don't want to do] anything to jeopardize that."

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.