TUCSON, Ariz. -- The recent rain here may be good for the state of Arizona, but it's playing havoc with the D-backs' pitching schedule. One day after getting in six-plus innings against the Giants before rain forced a cancellation, the D-backs played just three-plus innings against the Royals before the skies opened and the game was called. Thursday's rainout prevented Dana Eveland from getting his scheduled three innings in, while Friday's shortened Livan Hernandez's start and left relievers Brandon Lyon, Bill Murphy and Jorge Julio without any work.
Immediately after Friday's game was called, D-backs coaches huddled in the clubhouse conference room to try to figure out how to find makeup innings for all the pitchers. "You just do the best you can," manager Bob Melvin said. "You're usually set up for a rainout, but not two. I don't know what it's going to look like yet." Fortunately for the D-backs, they have three games scheduled for Saturday. They will play two Cactus League games -- one at home against the White Sox and one in Yuma, Ariz., against the Padres -- and have arranged a 10 a.m. MST "B" game against the White Sox. The "B" game was originally scheduled so that Randy Johnson could see his first game action of the spring, but will likely now be expanded so that other pitchers can get some work in. If all goes well with Johnson's outing Saturday, his first Cactus League action would likely be against the Cubs in Mesa on Thursday. Speaking of pitchers: Eveland will not get another chance to pitch until Tuesday when he starts against the Rockies. The lefty is battling for a spot either in the rotation or the bullpen. Brandon Webb had been scheduled to start that game, but will throw in a Minor League game since he will wind up facing the Rockies in the season opener April 2. Dustin Nippert, who is also competing for a rotation spot, was supposed to pitch in a Minor League game Friday, but that too was washed out. He will try to get some action in a Minor League game Saturday. Next step: It's been a tough spring for Doug Davis numbers-wise with the left-hander having posted an 11.25 ERA in three starts. "I really think I've been throwing the ball better than what the numbers show," he said. Davis will start Saturday against the White Sox and is eager to see if a couple of mechanical tweaks that he's made pay dividends. Also, it's that time of the spring, with the starters throwing more innings, when pitchers change their focus a bit. "I'd like to start setting up hitters," he said. "I haven't really done that the past few. All I've done is go out there and trying to execute my pitches."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.