Hale delivers message to D-backs' hitters

Hale delivers message to D-backs' hitters

DENVER -- It wasn't a team meeting, but rather the daily hitter's meeting, in which D-backs manager Chip Hale decided to deliver a message to his struggling offense Monday.

"I just told them, flat-out, what we expect, how good we think they are and how good we are going to be," Hale said.

The D-backs were shut out in two of the three games while being swept by the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine this past weekend, and after Sunday's contest, Hale said he felt like his hitters were pressing at the plate.

Hitting coach Turner Ward and his assistant, Mark Grace, encouraged their charges to relax a bit at the plate. Something they both know is easier to say than do, especially when the team as a whole is struggling.

"Just knowing that every time they get in a big situation, just remember: 'You are one of the best baseball players in the world,'" Grace said about what was said during the meeting. "There's not a higher level than the Major Leagues. You are one of the best baseball players in the world, and you wouldn't be here if you weren't. Trust it. Trust it and know it. And know that the guy on the mound, his job is much more difficult. He's got to throw you strikes. And when he does, make him pay dearly. That's the bottom line. That's where we're at. That's the message."

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.