D-backs on Team USA discuss Classic advance

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- David Hernandez, Willie Bloomquist and Heath Bell returned to the D-backs on Sunday after playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Bloomquist, who only got two at-bats during his time away, talked his way into Arizona's starting lineup Sunday. Hernandez and Bell are expected to pitch Monday or Tuesday.

Despite the fact that the two pitchers only got into two games apiece, they both said they are on target for Opening Day.

"Now I have two weeks of Spring Training to get ready for the season and get as much work in as possible," said Bell, who made three appearances for the D-backs before leaving for the Classic. "I tried to stay sharp, throwing touch and feels and bullpens, and got in the game twice. I tried to stay in the best shape as possible, but it was more like the season or the playoffs."

Said Hernandez, "I don't feel like I'm behind. I just feel like I just have to throw on back-to-back days and I'll be ready. Being put into a game situation with that kind of pressure and magnitude makes you feel like you're ready. Just coming back to Spring Training is a big letdown. I don't feel like I'm behind."

Hernandez also said it felt like a playoff atmosphere, which he experienced in 2011 when the D-backs fell to the Brewers in five games in the National League Division Series. Team USA advanced past the first round, but was eliminated by Puerto Rico.

"It's something I'd definitely do again, in a heartbeat," Hernandez said of his decision to participate. "It was different. The loss was worse than I think losing Game 5 in Milwaukee. Because losing Game 5 you felt like you let down the Diamondbacks fans, but losing in that felt like you let down the whole country. Other than that, it was just an amazing feeling, just fun."

Skaggs might be pressing to impress D-backs

Skaggs works three strong innings in relief

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The line in the box score did not look pretty, but D-backs left-hander Tyler Skaggs thought he threw the ball better than that.

Skaggs allowed five runs (two earned) on three hits and walked four in 2 2/3 innings against the Padres on Saturday.

All of the runs, as well as the walks, came in his final inning of work.

"I thought I actually threw the ball really well [Saturday]," Skaggs said. "Without that last inning, it's actually a really good outing. A very, very good outing."

It has been a struggle for Skaggs this spring as he has been outpitched thus far by Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado as the trio battle for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

"It's very frustrating to see the two guys you're battling with succeed and you want to succeed," Skaggs said.

Manager Kirk Gibson said he thinks Skaggs has been pressing too much.

"Seems like he's overthinking things," Gibson said. "He's very mechanical. Somehow we need to get him back to where he's just pitching. He came out throwing the ball decent [Saturday]. Last inning, though, he just totally lost it. He just had a lot on his mind."

Said Skaggs, "I wouldn't say I'm putting too much pressure on myself. You're going to think that you want to do well, that's just human nature, and you want to win a spot, that's also human nature. I'm just not having the results that I want."

Snake bites

• Aaron Hill continued his torrid spring by going 3-for-3 Sunday, hitting a double and a homer and driving four runs to raise his average to .452.

"You're still trying to work out the little things," Hill said. "Yeah, I feel good, but there are days where you just feel a little inconsistent."

Hill was jokingly asked if he was disappointed manager Kirk Gibson didn't leave him in the game to try and get a triple for the cycle. Last season he had a pair of cycles.

"There's plenty of at-bats during the season," Hill said.

• Trevor Cahill was impressive in allowing one hit in five scoreless innings.

"Trevor threw the ball very well," Gibson said. "The best he's thrown it this spring. I thought the last inning was his best inning."

While overall pleased with his outing, Cahill was kicking himself for the two walks he allowed.

"I think the biggest thing I've been working on is not walking anybody," Cahill said. "I kind of let a couple of at-bats go, but other than that, I feel like I was getting ahead a lot better than I was the last couple outings."