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How Bloomquist is helping the D-backs

Updated: August 14, 2011, 11:04 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Earlier in his career, Willie Bloomquist ran the gauntlet of preparation before games, moving from position to position during batting practice, working at third base, shortstop, second, in left field and in center, like a kid going from house to house on Halloween.

But he is 33 years old now, and through his experience he has learned to conserve his energy. "It's kind of evolved," he said the other day, chuckling at the memory of his younger self.

Bloomquist now tries to think along with his manager, and anticipate how he might be used on a given day, depending on the lineup and the possible matchups late in the game. On the night Stephen Drew wrecked his ankle with a slide home, nobody had to tell Bloomquist -- who had been Drew's primary backup in his role as utilityman -- that his playing time at shortstop was about to increase dramatically. "I knew I'd be in the first wave of guys coming in behind him," said Bloomquist. "We didn't go out and sign anybody."

Oh, sure, a couple of coaches mentioned to Bloomquist the next day that he would probably be the Diamondbacks' shortstop in the days ahead. But Bloomquist isn't thinking about it that way, isn't changing his approach. "For me, I'm literally taking it one day at a time," he said. "I can't get too far ahead of myself."

He has played seven positions in his career, for four different teams, and yet now, in his 10th year in the big leagues, Bloomquist is the regular shortstop for a team contending for the postseason (the Diamondbacks lead the NL West by two games).

Keep in mind that he played one game at shortstop in all of 2010. He played 38 games at shortstop in 2009 for the Royals, the most he's played at the position in any season in the majors. On Saturday, he played shortstop for the 33rd time this year, and batted leadoff.

"He's a grinder," said Arizona GM Kevin Towers the day after Drew was hurt. "He's always going to be prepared to play."

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