SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Josh Booty threw his first bullpen session in D-backs camp Saturday morning under the watchful eyes of pitching coach Charles Nagy and former big leaguer Tom Candiotti.
Booty joined the D-backs as a non-roster invitee Friday after winning MLB Network's "The Next Knuckler" competition.
"To have Tom Candiotti and Nagy both looking over my shoulder and working with me, that's invaluable to me," Booty said. "At this point, I'm just trying to get better and better and better. I feel like my arm strength is coming back, because when we did the show I had only thrown a couple of times before it and I didn't really have my strength."
Booty has been working playing long toss and trying to perfect his mechanics. Manager Kirk Gibson also had him working on his pickoff move Friday.
Getting a feel for the knuckleball, which he didn't really throw until being a participant in the show is a work in progress.
"I probably throw half of them right and then another half are out of the strike zone, so I have to really hone them in," he said. "A lot of it is just getting comfortable with the grip. I've changed it a little bit since the show."
Skaggs uses bad throw as learning experience
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The throws that left-hander Tyler Skaggs made to the plate Saturday were pretty good ones.
The one he threw to second, not so much.
A throwing error by the D-backs starter led to a pair of first-inning runs by the Rockies and made his outing -- four earned runs in 1 2/3 innings -- look worse than it was.
"He came out and threw strikes and that's what we asked him to do," manager Kirk Gibson said after his club's 11-2 loss. "He threw the ball well. He made trouble for himself. The game management stuff is part of what he has to understand and what the team has to understand as well."
Skaggs is battling for the No. 5 spot in the rotation with Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado. He wound up throwing 41 pitches, more than the team had wanted for his first outing.
"Your adrenaline is pumping the whole game, but I really wanted to turn a double play right there and I thought we had it, and I just threw the ball high, rushed my throw a little bit," Skaggs said. "I didn't have the greatest grip. It's my fault, I threw it away and if this was a real game, it definitely would have cost us the game. So I definitely have to work on it."
Skaggs' stuff looked sharp, particularly his curveball.
"I felt good," Skaggs said. "I threw the ball really well. Not a lot of hard hit balls. I was throwing strikes, unlike my first start last Spring training. It felt really good going out there and finally facing hitters in a live game."
Bell escapes jam in D-backs debut
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was just a Spring Training game, but Heath Bell wanted to make a good impression on his new D-backs teammates Saturday.
"It was really nice to go out there and pitch and kind of show the Diamondbacks what I can do," Bell said. "It was really nice to get out there."
The D-backs traded for Bell after he suffered through a disastrous season with the Marlins.
After allowing back-to-back singles to start the third inning, Bell got Wilin Rosario to ground into a double play and then fanned Tyler Colvin to end the inning.
"Yeah, definitely a lot of nerves," Bell said after the D-backs' 11-2 loss. "I want to go out there and put up an eggshell the first one out."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has made pitching out of jams a point of emphasis early in camp, so Bell's Houdini act was a welcome sight.
"He managed that inning very good," Gibson said. "He gets a couple of guys on, nice executed pitch breaking down and away and gets the double play and gets out of the inning. That's what we're looking for."
• The front four of the expected D-backs starting rotation -- Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Wade Miley -- will not pitch in games until Wednesday, when McCarthy goes.
By pitching them then rather than to open Cactus League play, the D-backs are keeping them to the typical six spring starts instead of seven. Spring Training is a week longer this year because of the World Baseball Classic.
• Outfielder A.J. Pollock was scratched from Saturday's starting lineup with tightness in an abdominal muscle. Pollock said he sustained a similar injury last spring and it kept him out of action for a couple of days.
Adam Eaton started in Pollock's place.
• Corbin will start Sunday against the Rockies. Charles Brewers, Warner Madrigal, Garrett Mock and Bo Schultz are also slated to see action.