PHOENIX -- With his start in right field vs. the Rockies on Sunday, D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra surpassed his previous career high in games played, making his 142nd appearance this year. Serving mostly as an everyday player, Parra has experienced plenty of highs at the plate in 2013 -- translating into a career-best 5.5 WAR -- but for the 26-year-old to take the next step in his maturation, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson would like to see development in one particular aspect of his game.
"Against lefties, he wasn't very good this year, that's something he'll have to improve upon," Gibson said. "We've had some conversations about that in how we can get him to the next level. I see a lot of room for improvement."
Facing right-handers, Parra entered Sunday with a slash line of .294/.342/.472. Against southpaws, however, his numbers were drastically lower at .206/.288/.236. Gibson said that while he has seen the outfielder make strides in his approach vs. lefties this year, he needs to continue making adjustments to improve.
"He's getting better; he's got a bit to learn, though," Gibson said. "I think there is a lot left in his tank there. ... He's just kind of right on the edge there."
Despite his struggles vs. lefties, Parra has been in the lineup against them quite often this year, as he has accumulated a career-high 165 at-bats opposite southpaws. That is, in large part, due to his Gold Glove-caliber defense in the outfield that makes him so indispensable.
"When you take him out, you're taking him out of right field," Gibson said. "He is dominating out there, he is a stopper. Think about how many times he has done it. He influences the game in a different way. Don't just look at it as he doesn't hit lefties well. The way he plays defense, it's hard to take him out of there."
Langwell impressing Gibson since joining D-backs
PHOENIX -- Although Matt Langwell has only appeared in three games since being acquired from the Indians in August as part of the Jason Kubel deal, the early results have been about as good as possible for the right-hander, who retired the first eight batters he faced, including three on strikeouts, before allowing a hit in Sunday's series finale.
Langwell entered in the seventh and tossed two-thirds of an inning, allowing just the one hit, in the D-backs' 8-2 win over Colorado.
The 27-year-old utilizes an arsenal of four pitches, but it's his fastball that has caught the eye of D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. Despite only throwing it around 88-92 mph, the way Langwell releases the pitch makes it look even faster to the batter.
"He's sneaky," Gibson said. "He spots the ball well and it gets on you pretty quick, too. He throws it where he wants to as well, that's important. He's been throwing the ball good for us."
That ability to trick a hitter's eye has led to a high strikeout rate this year for Langwell as he has recorded 61 K's in 2013 in 68 combined innings between the Minors and big leagues.
"I hide the ball a little longer than most guys, so that's where sneaky fast comes in," Langwell said. "For whatever reason, it's just a little more deceptive than a lot of other guys'."
As for starting off his stint with the D-backs on a good note, Langwell realizes the importance of a strong showing in September heading into the offseason.
"It's nice to get out there and get a couple opportunities to pitch and help the team out," he said. "It's even better to start out with a couple zeros."
• A day removed from J.J. Putz (dislocated pinky) having presumably his final throwing session before coming off the disabled list, the D-backs were noncommittal Sunday about when the veteran right-hander would be ready to return.
"I don't know," Gibson said. "Hopefully, he'll be activated shortly here."
• With Patrick Corbin slated to start Tuesday's game vs. the Dodgers, Gibson reiterated his stance Sunday that he wants the southpaw to finish the season without any limitations.
"He's had no sore arm and no sore elbow, so I think that I'm inclined to let him go, but I'm not going to say he won't miss a start either," Gibson said. "We'll see how far he goes this game, then see how he feels in his bullpen [session]."
• Longtime Rockies great Todd Helton announced Saturday night that he would retire from baseball following the conclusion of this season.
"He has been a great guy in the game for so long, just a class individual," Gibson said. "Hopefully he'll still be around in some capacity. It's kind of sad, because you latch onto guys you like and you don't want to see them go. ... But at the same time, you have to look back and celebrate what they've done."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.