Spring training officially began
Thursday when Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers reported, with
their first workout set for Friday.
On the other side of suburban Phoenix, in Glendale, Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catchers report on Saturday.
Full-squad workouts for both teams begin next week.
Diamondbacks and Dodgers get an early start because they will open the
MLB season with a two-game series in Australia on March 22-23.
The rest of the teams begin workouts next week at their spring training haunts in Arizona and Florida.
reporting date signals the beginning of preparation for a season that
won't end until the World Series eight months from now.
Diamondbacks are coming off consecutive 81-81 seasons and face the
prospect, like the rest of the NL West, of trying to compete with the
cash- and pitching-rich Dodgers.
Arizona wanted to add a veteran starter in the offseason and still may.
person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday that the
Diamondbacks were talking with representatives of Bronson Arroyo with
the possibility of landing the 36-year-old right-hander. The person
asked not to be identified because the talks had not been made public.
The Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles also reportedly have interest in
If no changes are made, the Diamondbacks' rotation is
expected to include left-handers Patrick Corbin and Wade Miley and
right-handers Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy. Young right-hander
Randall Delgado and top minor league prospect Archie Bradley could vie
for the other rotation spot.
Diamondbacks players went through
informal workouts in relatively chilly weather, at least by Arizona
standards, on Thursday. Temperatures were in the low 60s but were
expected to rise to the high 70s over the weekend.
Kirk Gibson is
entering his fourth season as manager and earlier this week got an
extension of his contract, which had been set to expire this year. He
said the early start to spring training will mean a larger gap between
the start of full-squad workouts and the beginning of spring games.
come in on the 11th and our first game's on the 26th," he said. "It
gives us a challenge. We need to get our pitchers ready to be ready to
go on March 22."
After the long trip to Australia, the
Diamondbacks and Dodgers will come back to Arizona to complete spring
training before their stateside regular-season openers.
season's going to be a little longer, " Gibson said, "but if you look at
the other people that have played abroad early, I think there's 10
teams that went and five of them have went to postseason play."
Even though it's an early start to spring training, McCarthy said players are more than ready to get back at it.
the last month is when you start to hit that boredom point," he said.
"You're done with the offseason, you're sick of your loved ones, you
want to get out of your house. Now it turns real and you kind of get
back to work."
The other significant addition to the Diamondbacks
pitching staff is Addison Reed, The 25-year-old right-hander had 69
saves the last two seasons with the Chicago White Sox, 40 last year.
Arizona acquired him from the White Sox for third baseman Matt Davidson.
hasn't been anointed the Arizona closer yet, though, facing competition
from the likes of J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Brad Zeigler.
everybody knows that I want to close. It's the only thing I've ever
wanted to do," Reed said, "but I'm here and whatever they have me do is
what I'll do and I'll be happy to. As long as I'm out there throwing,
I'll be a happy guy."
McCarthy said that a core group of Arizona players plans to take a bigger leadership role in the coming year.
think there's a group of guys here that know exactly what they want,"
he said. "Last year I think we were kind of getting there but we didn't
have that true leadership that really came through. It's the one thing
I've seen just in talking to guys so far, that here's an idea of exactly
what we want and I think we know how to implement that now.
going to see a clubhouse of guys that go out of their way to get things
the way they want it, to set an attitude the way they want it."