PHOENIX -- With rehabbing shortstop Stephen Drew continuing to improve while playing for Triple-A Reno, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson began forecasting on Monday ways the 29-year-old could return to the team in the near future.

"I told him a while ago, even if he could come back, play every third day and also be available off the bench, he'd still be an asset to the team," said Gibson, who spoke on the phone with Drew on Monday. "He's getting closer to that."

In six games with Reno, Drew is 7-for-24 with a homer and two RBIs. He played three straight days for the Aces, ending on Saturday, and will get back on the field Tuesday.

"I don't think [when Drew returns] it will be as an everyday guy," Gibson said. "He'll have to be worked in and out of the lineup. We'll watch the whole thing with his recovery. There are going to be limitations if he comes back in the near future."

That means infielders Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald won't see their roles with the club diminish completely. Gibson also left the door open for the duo to play elsewhere in the infield.

"They may have to move around a bit," Gibson said. "They've done better than anyone could've hoped for, it's a credit to them and their professionalism. But at the same time, we'll be happy to get Stephen back."

Kubel gladly returns to regular routine

PHOENIX -- When the D-backs hit the road last week for three-game stops in Arlington and Anaheim, outfielder Jason Kubel didn't play one out of defense, instead filling the designated-hitter role.

Yet, despite only batting, the 30-year-old's body didn't get a break. In fact, the DH position had the opposite effect.

"This last week has been the most sore I've been all year, as weird as it sounds," Kubel said. "You just don't stay loose. It happens every now and then, there are just some sudden movements and sprints here and there that don't feel too good."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson related the phenomenon to what occasionally happens when players come back to the field after a day off.

"Sometimes you come back from an off-day sorer than when you left," Gibson said. "You get out of schedule, your daily routine. When you interrupt you're routine, it interrupts your flow. But they all take care of themselves very well. They know how to replenish their body.

Spending the first seven years of his career in the American League with the Twins, Kubel had gone through extended periods as designated hitter before, but the veteran was more than pleased to see his name penciled in at left field Monday at Chase Field.

"It's nice to get out there and feel more into it and stay loose," Kubel said. "I've gone longer without playing the field, so it'll take care of itself real soon."

Blum clears hurdle in rehab

PHOENIX -- Two games into his rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno, D-backs infielder Geoff Blum is beginning to bat right-handed.

The switch-hitter, currently on the 60-day disabled list, strained his oblique while swinging right-handed during batting practice on April 18, and he had previously only been taking pitches from the left side in his rehab.

"I talked to [Reno manager] Brett Butler. He said the right side is way behind right now," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "The swings are a little long and lengthy, so he's not there yet."

In his first two games with the Aces, Blum is 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

"He's been playing, and he's got to play," Gibson said, "but I don't have a timetable for him."

Worth noting

• Gibson ran the Chase Field steps with his son, Cameron, on Monday. The club selected the younger Gibson in the 38th round of the First-Year Player Draft earlier this month, but Cameron is expected to play at Michigan State instead of signing.

"It wasn't a problem for him," Gibson said of his son working out with him. "He's ready to run another round."

• Returning Monday from a road trip in which the D-backs were shut out three times and held to one run in a third game, Gibson said the pitching the club faced was good, but not as good as the offense made them look.

"I don't give them too much credit," Gibson said. "We respect them all and they did a good job against us, but when you get shut out three times and you score one run another time in six games, I would say you have to put some of that on yourself."