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With Gibson on crutches, D-Backs look to improve

AP - Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks are shaking off the effects of a long journey to Australia and two losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers, using the next five days to try to shore up problem areas.

Manager Kirk Gibson hobbled into his pre-game news conference on crutches Wednesday after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Gibson was not in the dugout for Wednesday's game against the Chicago Cubs but expected to be back for a split squad game against Cleveland on Thursday.

''I was hurting bad,'' Gibson said. ''When we came back we set up an MRI for the day we got back and the surgery for the next day. I wanted to get it done. I'd never make it through the season that way.''

The manager revealed that right-hander Brandon McCarthy will start the team's home opener Monday against the San Francisco Giants. After a difficult 2013 season, McCarthy is having a strong spring. Going into his start on Wednesday, he was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

Left-hander Wade Miley, the starter in Arizona's 3-1 loss to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in the season opener, will go in the second game next Tuesday, followed by right-hander Trevor Cahill in the third game. Gibson said the final two spots in the rotation are undecided.

He said he's waiting to see how right-hander Bronson Arroyo progresses from back issues. He was optimistic Arroyo would at least be ready for the Colorado game. With the team's top pitcher, left-hander Patrick Corbin, out for the season after undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery, the fifth spot is between right-hander Randall Delgado and top prospect Archie Bradley. The Diamondbacks may opt to leave the hard-throwing Bradley in the minors a bit longer before bringing him up later in the season.

The team returned from Australia on Sunday, had the day off Monday and worked out on Tuesday. Arizona lost the opener in Australia 3-1, then was beaten in the second game 7-5.

''It was a great trip,'' Gibson said. ''The results weren't what we wanted them to be and we know we've got to be ready to play against the Giants. They're a good ball club.''

The manager said the team simply didn't play well. Of the opener, he said, ''Miley was good, Kershaw was better.''

In the second game, Cahill was rocked early and the Diamondbacks' comeback fell short.

''Obviously the results weren't what we were working for,'' catcher Miguel Montero said. ''I'd say it was a wake-up call maybe. Sometimes that's a good thing to happen. We've got another week to work on things that didn't work out right over there.''

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