PHOENIX -- Although he did it occasionally in the Minors, before Miguel Montero went down with a back injury on July 23, D-backs catcher Wil Nieves hadn't started consecutive games in the Majors since 2010, when he was the backup for Ivan Rodriguez in Washington.
So to say the past two weeks have been an adjustment for the veteran 35-year-old would be a bit of an understatement. In the 14 games since Montero was initially injured, Nieves has started 11 times, including Wednesday night against the Rays.
The sudden increase in playing time has been a challenge for the career backup, but it's also something he has been preparing for all year.
"I work hard even when I'm not playing, so I readied myself for it if something like this ever happened," Nieves said. "It all goes back to the work you put in in the offseason, Spring Training and during the season."
It's hard to argue with his results so far. Before this stretch, Nieves was batting .357 in limited action. Now, in the last 42 at-bats entering Wednesday, the backstop has managed to keep up that stellar pace, hitting .381.
"I knew I could do it, I've been behind someone my whole career, but I always knew that if something happened, I could do it on a daily basis," he said. "It's just about getting good habits so that whenever I'm in the game, it's muscle memory. I don't think about mechanics, I think about seeing the ball and hitting it. That's what happens when you practice the right way."
As for how his body is holding up, Nieves said that while he sometimes feels the effects of catching so many games in a row, the discomfort never lasts long.
"I feel good, I feel awesome," he said. "After the game or maybe the next day I feel a little bit tired, but as soon as the game starts, the adrenaline kicks in and all the pain goes away. I love playing this game and every time I'm in the lineup, I give it 100 percent."
Gibson sticks with same lineup against Rays
PHOENIX -- For the first time since July 5-6, a span of 24 games, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson penciled in the same lineup for consecutive games on Wednesday.
When asked if he'll be giving certain players more consistent playing time moving forward, the skipper maintained that he'd still like to keep everyone involved. The D-backs have used 96 different batting orders this season in 113 games.
"There are so many things that go into whether or not you play somebody, I just left it the same today," Gibson said. "All in all though, everybody plays. We're in the middle of August and everybody has the chance to do good for the team."
While Gibson didn't want to look too deep into how he constructs his lineups, D-backs third baseman Eric Chavez voiced his desire to keep the batting order more constant.
"We have a deep bench and a lot of good players, but I think it's that time of the year where we have to start running guys out there regularly," he said. "Hopefully we can run out a consistent lineup and guys can get comfortable."
Cody Ross, who entered Wednesday batting .451 with three long balls and eight RBIs over his last eight games, understands the tough balancing act Gibson has to deal with, but he also said being in the lineup every day recently has helped his performance.
"Obviously, anybody will tell you that getting consistent at-bats, going out there every day, you're going to put up better numbers," he said. "But we have five [outfielders] that are everyday players and it's tough for Gibby to get us all in there. He's been doing the best he can."
• D-backs manager Kirk Gibson announced his club's rotation for this weekend's series against the Mets. Patrick Corbin will go Friday, followed by Brandon McCarthy on Saturday and Zeke Spruill on Sunday. Gibson initially considered pushing back Spruill until Tuesday against the Orioles, but ultimately opted against it.
• An X-ray on Cliff Pennington's left foot came back negative and the shortstop is available to play when needed. The veteran hasn't been in the lineup since Saturday in Boston when he was hit on the side of his foot by a Craig Breslow pitch in the eighth inning.
• Trevor Cahill threw a bullpen session at Chase Field on Wednesday and will likely make a third Minor League rehab start on Saturday.
• There is no timetable for Miguel Montero to resume baseball activities, according to Gibson.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.