7/21/2014 9:23 P.M. ET
Former D-back Scherzer returns to Chase Field
By Adam Lichtenstein and Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Brad Ausmus was at Max Scherzer's Major League debut -- in the opposing dugout.
When Scherzer made his first appearance for the D-backs on April 29, 2008, Ausmus was on the Astros' bench.
"He came in in relief and dominated," Ausmus said. "I wasn't playing that day, luckily for him."
Scherzer made the Astros look foolish that day. In 4 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, he didn't give up a hit and struck out seven of the 13 batters he faced.
"I remember seeing Max his first appearance thinking, 'This guy's got an explosive fastball,' which is easy to recognize," Ausmus said. "Obviously, his fastball is a swing-and-miss fastball, which is … actually a commodity at the Major League level. You don't see a lot of swing-and-miss fastballs.
"Most Major League hitters get in a 2-0 count and they know a fastball's coming, they're going to get some portion of the bat to the fastball, generally speaking. Max is one of those few pitchers who, in fastball counts, can throw a fastball and still throw it by people."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was the bench coach for Arizona when Scherzer made his debut, and he recognized the pitcher's potential early on as well.
"He's always had an electric arm and he still has an extra gear on his fastball, but his secondary stuff is so, so much better and he knows how to use it," Gibson said. "He's got a great career ahead of him. I hated to lose him."
Scherzer has played the D-backs before, pitching seven innings of one-run ball against them in Detroit on June 20, 2010. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Scherzer won't face his former team while the Tigers are in Arizona, but he's still had some new experiences at his old home ballpark.
"It's strange coming into the park and coming into this side of the clubhouse. Never done that before," he said. "It's fun to be back."
Although he hasn't played for the D-backs since 2009, Scherzer still has a house in Phoenix -- an added bonus to playing the D-backs on the road.
"I get to sleep in my own bed," Scherzer said. "First time during the season I've ever had that opportunity."
Despite being traded in the three-team deal that sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, Scherzer doesn't hold any grudges toward the D-backs. Since he was dealt to the Tigers, he has blossomed from a prospect into a bona fide Major League ace.
"I don't have that mentality at all," Scherzer said. "I'm so happy to be in Detroit, I don't look back and have regrets or anything. I enjoyed my time in Arizona. They treated me right; they treated me well. … And obviously, business is business. I got traded to Detroit, and I've absolutely loved it here."
Miggy plays third in NL park to make room for V-Mart
PHOENIX -- Slugger Miguel Cabrera will get a small taste of the past during this week's Interleague series in Arizona.
In order to get Victor Martinez, who usually is slotted in at designated hitter, into the lineup, manager Brad Ausmus moved Cabrera to third base on Monday so Martinez could play first.
But Cabrera isn't unfamiliar with the position, as he played third during his time with the Marlins and when the Tigers had Prince Fielder.
With Fielder gone to the Rangers this season, though, Cabrera has moved to first. Entering Monday's game, Cabrera had played only two full games at third base this season -- a total of 19 1/3 innings.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson complimented Cabrera's baseball IQ, which has helped Cabrera move around the field.
"He's got a ton of ability," Gibson said. "He's been in this game for a while, he's got a lot of experience and knowledge."
Despite all the moving around he's done in his career, Ausmus isn't concerned with Cabrera at third. He believes his star hasn't lost a step.
"We put him [at third] in Spring Training because we knew the second week of the season would be in San Diego and L.A.," Ausmus said. "He played … half the game over there, and he looked extremely natural as soon as he got there.
"He played there for years. It's a little bit like riding a bike."
Gibson maintains rooting interest in Tigers
PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson still considers himself a Detroit Tigers fan.
Except, of course, for this week when his team plays host to them.
Gibson, a Michigan native, was drafted by the Tigers and played for them from 1979-1987 and from 1993-95. He served as the team's bench coach from 2003-05.
"I follow the Tigers because I was a Tiger fan growing up as a young boy, [I] still have season tickets there since about 1980," Gibson said. "When we're not in the playoffs and they are, I go to the games. I follow all [manager Brad Ausmus'] stuff on a daily basis so I'm pretty familiar with the way it goes. At the same time, I'd like to beat their butt just like we wanted to beat the Cubs [Sunday]."
Gibson helped the Tigers win the 1984 World Series and is still one of the organization's most popular former players.
"They've been great," Gibson said of the Tigers. "They've treated me great and they've been generous to me. I know Dave [Dombrowski] is an excellent president and GM. I tend to pull for them except today, tomorrow and the next day."
Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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.