STL@ARI: Kennedy strikes out eight over seven innings

NEW YORK -- Ian Kennedy left for Denver ahead of his teammates, with his commercial flight scheduled to leave before Thursday's night game with the Yankees started.

The D-backs have a night game in Denver on Friday and are likely to arrive in the Mile High city sometime in the wee hours of the morning. So with Kennedy starting, the team wanted to make sure he got a good night's sleep.

"Hope it works," manager Kirk Gibson said. "The altitude has some effect on some guys. Maybe he gets a better night sleep. I tend not to sleep my first night there. We'll get in late, it's going to be cold there and stuff."

Flying the next day's pitcher ahead of the team if there's a late game is a common practice on some teams, but it's not something the D-backs have done under Gibson. Maybe that changes if Kennedy pitches well Friday.

"Usually we don't do that," Gibson said. "It will be on a case-by-case basis. I told Ian there's a lot of pressure on him."

Overbay enjoying his time with Yankees

NYY@CLE: Overbay pounds his first Yankees' home run

NEW YORK -- Former D-backs first baseman Lyle Overbay does not know how long his time with the Yankees will last, but he plans on enjoying it.

Overbay, who played with the D-backs for the final two months of the 2011 season and the first four months of the '12 season, was signed by the Yankees as a free agent toward the end of Spring Training.

The Yankees needed some help at first base after losing Mark Teixeira to injury.

Teixeira is hoping to return at the beginning of May, but a more realistic timetable is probably mid-May.

"Not a lot of people get to do that, so I want to just soak it all in," Overbay said of wearing the Yankees pinstripes.

Overbay was hitting .279 with one home run and six RBIs heading into Thursday's game. The Yankees are the sixth team Overbay has played with in his career.

"When I was looking over here when I was on the other teams, and I was a little jealous, because, I mean, it's the New York Yankees," Overbay said. "There's so much history. They've got so many championships and everything. Now you look at those guys over on the other side where they've got that look too where they're a little jealous. And I'm like, yeah. You can kind of stand a little higher. It's an honor to be able to put the pinstripes on and be a part of it."

Snake bites

• The D-backs have had three off-days so far this season, and Gibson has elected to keep his pitchers in rotation rather than skipping his fifth starter and keeping everyone on regular rest.

Gibson figures the extra rest for the starters will come in handy as the season wears on and days off become scarce.

"It certainly doesn't hurt to have extra time," Gibson said. "At some point we're going to get into it and guys are going to be taxed."

• A point of emphasis for Gibson this spring has been for the players not to try and do too much on defense and make a spectacular play that could find up leading to a throwing error. Take the routine out and minimize the damage is what he's preached, and he has been pleased with the results.

"We haven't tried to make a play that really isn't there," Gibson said.

• The D-backs have had some significant injuries so far this year, and Gibson was asked if he was worried about them impacting the team.

"I don't worry about it, they are," Gibson said. "We've lost a lot of impact guys. That's just the reality of it. We've gotten much younger. We're asking people to do stuff that maybe we didn't envision them having to do."

• Shortstop Didi Gregorius, acquired from the Reds in a three-team deal this winter, made his D-backs debut Thursday night.

"He's got pull power," Gibson said. "He's pretty aggressive at the plate, but he battles. He sees the righties really well. He said he doesn't see lefties as well and we told him to make a little adjustment, open up a little bit and get your eyes squared to the pitcher, and it's helped him a lot."