SAN DIEGO -- As the days dwindle and the roster expands, playing time has become a precious commodity and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has been careful in how he dispenses it.
With the D-backs out of the playoff picture, Gibson has been trying to get a look at young players like third baseman Matt Davidson and shortstop Chris Owings as decisions are made for next season.
"It's a tough time for everybody, because we're eliminated and there's a lot going through people's minds right now," Gibson said. "You've got to continue to push, be professional, try to win games, but at the same time start preparing yourself to start considering what you're going to do in the offseason when the season's over."
Tuesday night, Gibson started Owings at second. It is just his second appearance at that position since being called up earlier this month and the club is trying to get a feel for how versatile he can be.
"I want to see him play there again and get more experience than just one time," Gibson said. "I think the more he does it, the more comfortable he will be. Give him a chance to make some plays and understand it."
With Owings and fellow rookie Didi Gregorius dividing up the playing time at short, veteran Cliff Pennington has been the odd man out.
Pennington started Monday night's game, just the second game he's started all month, and collected three hits.
"He came out and had a great game," Gibson said of Pennington. "Don't forget about him. He's a pretty good player. He loves to play. He understands what the situation is, so he's professional about it, but the good thing about it is he's always ready. He does a great job of that. He's a great example for everybody."
Arizona breaks modern extra-innings-played record
SAN DIEGO -- After their 12-inning win over the Padres on Tuesday, the D-backs have played 78 extra innings this year, breaking the record since 1920 of 76 set by the 1969 Twins. The Major League record for most extra innings played in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is 82 set by the 1918 Washington Senators.
"It's not exactly the record we wanted," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
"That's a lot, wow," said shortstop Didi Gregorius, who delivered the game-winning triple Tuesday. "We keep playing hard, that's all we can do. If it goes extra, we just keep playing hard."
Closer Brad Ziegler, who retired the Padres in order in the 12th to secure the win, was asked if it felt like the D-backs had played 78 extra innings this year.
"More," he said, laughing.
That's understandable considering the D-backs have played games of 18 innings, two that stretched to 16, one 15-inning and two 14-inning games.
"You prefer to get the job done quicker, but you go as long as you have to go and hang in there and learn how to play in those games," Gibson said.
The D-backs have played a franchise-record of 24 extra-inning games this year and have gone 17-7 in those contests.
A big reason for all the extra-inning games is the 29 blown saves by the Arizona bullpen, which leads the Majors.
"In a lot of ways, a lot of the games that we played extra innings were because of blown saves and you can go back to the beginning of the season and start that," Ziegler said. "But at the same time, it says a lot about our offense, because there were a lot of games we came from behind to get to extra innings, too, and we've won a whole lot of those games. It's hard on the pitching staff and it's fatiguing for everybody, but we fought through it and we've played those games hard."
Towers impressed by Delgado's improvement
SAN DIEGO -- After a rough spring, Randall Delgado has pitched well enough to make him a leading candidate for the D-backs rotation in 2014.
"I think he's only going to get better," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "I think his confidence is probably higher now than it's probably ever been in his career. And I think he feels he fits. He's a good kid with a good head. He's smart. He'll work on the things he needs to to be better. And I think he will be better."
Delgado is 5-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) this year after coming over from Atlanta in January in the trade that sent Justin Upton to the Braves.
One of the things that Delgado will need to figure out how to do in 2014 is cut down on the number of home runs he allows.
Though he's allowed fewer than one hit per inning pitched this year, Delgado has allowed a whopping 22 home runs in 111 1/3 innings.
"It's location," Towers said. "He's got great stuff. They're not missing his mistakes. His weapon is his changeup, and changeups -- as we saw with [Josh] Collmenter in L.A. -- it's the type of pitch that if you leave it up, damage could be had. And his breaking pitch is his third pitch. His homers are going to be getting too much of the plate, an elevated fastball or a changeup that's left up in the zone."
Whereas in the spring he struggled with his command, Delgado has not had any trouble with wildness in the Majors.
"I know when he starts, I'm confident," Towers said. "I like when he starts."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.