PHOENIX -- Paul Goldschmidt went hitless in back-to-back starts just three times through the season's first four months, which made his recent slump of five straight games and seven of eight without a hit so alarming.

Well, it was alarming for Diamondbacks fans.

There were no buzzers going off in the D-backs clubhouse and especially not in Goldschmidt's head during a 3-for-27 setback. Perhaps Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa described it best.

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"Even Sinatra had to clear his throat now and then," La Russa told manager Chip Hale.

Goldschmidt appeared to do just that Sunday, when he re-announced his presence with a pair of doubles and then a single in his first three at-bats against the Reds to regain the lead for the National League batting title.

"I had some pitches to hit and I missed. That's the game," Goldschmidt said of the slump. "I had some pitches to hit (Sunday) and I hit them.

"Everyone has days or even weeks, months where you don't play well. You just go out there and try to play well the next time. I think every individual in here expects more of themselves than anyone else. We have high expectations of ourselves but also understand there's a lot of failure in this game. You're not going to come through every time."

Goldschmidt in recent days worked with hitting coaches Turner Ward and Mark Grace on some mechanical issues and busted out in the series finale against the Reds.

"I saw the ball come off his bat a lot better. That's what I could see," Hale said of any noticeable difference.

Goldschmidt is hitting .337 as the D-backs begin a three-game series against the Phillies, two points ahead of the Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. Goldschmidt and Harper, not coincidentally, were named the top two hitters in the NL in Baseball America's annual Best Tools survey of the game's manager.

"Between at-bats sometimes he'll go in the cage and do a little work to refine what he feels," Hale said. "This guy is a classic student of the game."

Also in the survey, Goldschmidt came in second to Joey Votto in best strike-zone judgment, third in the best base runner category behind speedsters Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton, and was named the best defensive first baseman.


* Catcher Gerald Laird (back) on Monday started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno after he played with the Arizona League Diamondbacks last week.

* Infielder Phil Gosselin (thumb), obtained from the Braves in the trade that sent Bronson Arroyo and Touki Toussaint to Atlanta, started a rehab assignment with the AZL D-backs.

* Reliever Randall Delgado (ankle) will pitch Wednesday at Salt River Fields and could be activated at some point on the team's upcoming, 10-game road trip.

* At some point during upcoming stretch of 21 games in 20 days, the D-backs will use a spot starter to give the five-man rotation an extra day off. Hale mentioned Josh Collmenter as a possibility, as well as a pitcher from the minors.

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