PITTSBURGH -- Each day, left fielder Jason Kubel feels as though he's getting his timing back at the plate a little more.

After a sluggish start to the season, Kubel was one of the club's most consistent and hottest hitters. Since July 28, though, he is in a 4-for-34 slump, with just one homer and one RBI.

"I know kind of what it is, it's just hard to fix it," Kubel said. "It's just timing-wise, and that throws everything off for me."

And what happens when his timing is off?

"You don't see [the ball] as well and you tend to rush a little bit, and your hip flies open and it's just one thing after another," he said. "Each day it's gotten a little better and better. Your swing is fine, you work on it all the time, that's not the issue. It's just getting ready for the swing."

After brief shutdown, Bauer returns to hill

PITTSBURGH -- Pitching prospect Trevor Bauer made his first start in 14 days on Monday, tossing six shutout innings for Triple-A Reno.

The organization had decided to shut down Bauer for a couple of weeks in order to give him a breather during his first full professional season.

Bauer made four starts for the D-backs after being called up on June 28 and went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA. After his demotion last month, he made one start before being shut down.

On Monday he allowed just five hits and walked two while striking out five. He threw 80 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Being more efficient with his pitches is something the D-backs have preached to him.

"He came out and tried to throw strikes last night," manager Kirk Gibson said. "You just have to do it. You can't nibble it. Guys aren't going to keep swinging at balls. You have to make quality pitches, you have to have some movement on it and you can't overthrow pitches -- if you do, you're going to get in trouble. You have to learn to trust your stuff."

Bauer's velocity during the outing ranged from 91 mph to 96 mph, faster than what he showed during his time in the big leagues.

Blanco to have surgery on torn ligament in thumb

PITTSBURGH -- The D-backs' fears were confirmed when an MRI performed on catcher Henry Blanco's left thumb showed a torn ligament.

Blanco will undergo surgery, performed by hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan, on Wednesday in Phoenix.

Manager Kirk Gibson said that the team will have a better idea of when Blanco could return after the extent of the damage is determined during surgery. Indications are that he could miss the rest of the regular season.

"I don't know what the exact timetable is, but it will put him toward the end of it, for sure," Gibson said.

The D-backs claimed veteran catcher Wil Nieves off waivers on Monday to take Blanco's place.