SCOTTSDALE - For veteran players just trying to get ready for the season, results in spring-training games can sometimes matter less than being able to finish the daily crossword puzzle.
But for Diamondbacks reliever Heath Bell, his first appearance with his new team in Saturday's Cactus League opener was anything but trivial.
"Oh, yeah," he said after the game, an 11-2 loss to the Rockies. "After a year you suck? Yeah, definitely a lot of nerves."
Coming off a difficult season with the Miami Marlins - a year he's still reluctant to discuss with reporters - Bell saw Saturday as a chance to make a good first impression.
That's what he ended up doing thanks to a double-play ball and a strikeout. Bell gave up singles to the first two batters he faced but wiggled out of the jam to work a scoreless third inning.
"Coming into an organization and feeling like I had such a bad year, I wanted to show that I'm completely fine," Bell said. "Every great athlete has bad years and they bounce right back. I feel like I'm going to bounce back. I need to keep working hard and not let up."
Since his first appearance as a member of the D-backs during a charity golf outing, Bell has refused to talk in depth about his struggles last season, when he posted a 5.09 ERA with the Marlins and lost his closer's job.
"I'm just trying to pitch the way I know how to pitch," he said. "I think last year I got away from little things. ... This year I'm really focusing on certain things and taking the bull by the horn a little bit more than relying on people.
"If I go out there and rely on myself and I go out there and fall, and I fail, then I've got nobody to blame but myself. If I rely on somebody else, then I've got somebody to blame."
• D-backs top prospect Tyler Skaggs allowed four runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings. Two of the runs were unearned, set by his throwing error. The lefty Skaggs, Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado are competing for the final spot in the rotation.
"(Skaggs) threw strikes ... and had command of the strike zone," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
• Corbin will start against the Rockies today and Delgado will pitch Monday against Kansas City.
• Arizona outfielder A.J. Pollock was a late scratch with abdominal tightness.
• Former D-backs pitcher Miguel Batista, 42, the oldest player in the Rockies' camp, is set to see time today. He is with his 10th major league organization.
• Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki got an RBI in his first at-bat and singled the next time up in his first action since having groin surgery last June.
D-backs box score, Cactus League line scores / B9
Contributing: The Associated Press