Goldschmidt's rare day off opens door for Wheeler

Goldschmidt's rare day off opens door for Wheeler

Goldschmidt's rare day off opens door for Wheeler
PHOENIX -- Over the weekend, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson applauded Paul Goldschmidt's durability and said he had no plans to rest his first baseman at the moment.

What a difference a few days and a tough right-hander can make.

Facing Reds National League Cy Young Award candidate Johnny Cueto on Tuesday, Gibson gave Goldschmidt his first day off in 34 games, replacing him with left-handed batter Ryan Wheeler in the lineup.

"He needs a little break, give him a little mental break as well, he could still contribute in some capacity as well," Gibson said. "I've got all my lefties in the lineup."

Even though his name wasn't penciled in, Goldschmidt still prepped Tuesday like he would be starting.

"He'll be prepared for sure, he tries to prepare for himself and his teammates," Gibson said. "You see a lot of conversations between him and his teammates during the games. He'll certainly be aware of where he might be asked to swing the bat within the game."

The decision to rest Goldschmidt gave Wheeler a chance to showcase his abilities at a new position. He had previously only appeared at third base in the Majors, but made 32 starts at first for Triple-A Reno earlier this year.

"I've got some time over there, not too much here, but I've always felt good there," Wheeler said. "I take ground balls there once every four days. Obviously not the majority of the time, but I should be fine over there tonight."

Wheeler entered Tuesday without a hit in his last four games but has put together quality at-bats, which has given him confidence even though the results aren't coming.

"It's frustrating, obviously. You can do everything you want to do and still make outs," he said. "I know it's part of it and I feel like I've done a pretty good job of not pressing. I'll get some cheap ones here, pretty soon, or at least that's what you hope for."