Outlook: Kubel trade homers for average in 2012

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's been a rough go of it at the plate this spring for D-backs outfielder Jason Kubel.

After going 0-for-3 on Thursday, Kubel's average dipped to .182. Over his last six games, he is 0-for-13.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson thinks that a sore left knee that kept Kubel out of action for a bit has contributed to his problems at the plate.

"I think he just may have favored that a little bit," Gibson said. "Kind of drifting on it and not putting a lot of pressure on it. He's very mechanical right now, thinking about his weight and where his hands go and swing path, so he's got a little too much on his mind."

Spring Training numbers for a player with Kubel's track record are not important to Gibson.

"I just want him to be healthy and feeling good," Gibson said. "I'm not worried about the other at all. I know he'll hit."

Figueroa back with D-backs after memorable Classic

Figueroa on advancing in the World Baseball Classic

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nelson Figueroa returned to the D-backs on Thursday after pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

"I'm trying to relearn the signs again and the pickoff plays and everything else," Figueroa said. "It's a little bit of a shock to the system to go from playing games and flying across the country and playing in big league parks to being back in Spring Training, getting up early in the morning. But this is where I want to be and I'm thankful for the opportunity the D-backs have given me. I hope I can continue the success I had in the Classic."

Figueroa pitched two games in the Classic, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA as Puerto Rico advanced to the final, in which it was defeated by the Dominican Republic.

"It was unbelievable," Figueroa said of the experience. "Getting to the championship game was everything we dreamed it would be."

Figueroa was invited to camp as a non-roster player with the idea that he would provide some veteran depth at Triple-A Reno. That still seems to be the plan, but the D-backs would like to get a longer look at him.

With starters now going six innings, it can be hard to find action for Figueroa, but the D-backs don't want starter Trevor Cahill to face the Giants next week so close to the start of the regular season. Instead, they may have Cahill throw in a "B" game, which would open up a spot for Figueroa.

"We're going to try and move our pitching around a little bit and see if we can get him some innings," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

Snake bites

• D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy pitched five innings against the Indians on Thursday before throwing eight to 10 pitches in the bullpen after that.

For Kennedy, it wasn't about throwing more pitches as much as it was about simulating getting up for a sixth inning.

• Outfielder Cody Ross (calf) hit in a camp game but did not run the bases. Ross has begun running on a treadmill with a harness that allows him to run on a reduced percentage of his body weight.

• First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has put in some extra work defensively at first base since failing to pick a couple of throws out of the dirt a little more than a week ago.

"He was kind of critical with his defense about 10 days ago," Gibson said. "I do think when Goldy plays more, his defense gets better, and he's going to play a lot down the stretch."

• Former D-backs prospect Trevor Bauer was optioned to Triple-A by the Indians on Thursday. Bauer was dealt to Cleveland in an offseason deal that also involved the Reds and brought Didi Gregorius and Tony Sipp to Arizona.