Jarrod Parker looked good throwing a bullpen session on Wednesday at Salt River Fields.
Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
It was business as usual at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Wednesday as pitchers and catchers took part in day three of spring workouts.
Pitchers continued with bullpens, PFP (pitcher’s fielding practice), conditioning and hitting work.
Hitting figures to be a continuous work in progress for the pitching staff as manager Kirk Gibson has expressed his desire for pitchers to be able to handle the bat.
As workouts progress, several players have established a routine and are developing a routine.
“It feels great, obviously to be out here at the great Salt River fields,” pitcher Barry Enright said. “You can’t really complain being at this place, but two bullpens now. Obviously, getting into the conditioning and the thick of things and being with all the guys. It’s good to be back, and it’s definitely a lot less boring than being at home by myself.”
Among the pitchers who participated in workouts today was left-hander Clay Zavada. Zavada missed the first two days of camp for reasons he deemed were a personal matter.
While the southpaw did not throw a bullpen, he was able to play catch and workout.
“It was great,” Zavada said. “It was sunshine, everyone’s in a good mood, working hard. It’s a good group of guys. Staff is awesome. I love it. It’s been real exciting so far first day.”
Zavada said he hopes to throw a bullpen on Friday or Saturday.
While getting Zavada in camp was a priority, so was reaching an agreement with starting second baseman Kelly Johnson.
Johnson agreed to a one-year deal with the D-backs on Tuesday, which allowed him and the organization to avoid an arbitration hearing. Johnson reported to camp Wednesday.
“I don’t know anybody that’s ever been to a hearing so you go off of hearsay on things like that, and nobody has too many good of things to say,” second baseman Kelly Johnson said. “Besides all that, it’s no different than anybody else’s deal free agency or whatever. It’s one of those things that once it’s announced, it’s all good, but after that it’s all about team.”
Now that Johnson is under contract, the infielder has developed a winner’s mentality he hopes the D-backs will hold as team throughout 2011.
“I’ll be honest, I’m sick of the moral victory thing we started doing at the end of the year. I think we started with a really good, positive note going into spring training. Going into the season, I think everybody was very strong. I think we played great baseball in Spring Training. I know spring games don’t mean a lot, but there was just a lot of confidence. I think guys going up to the mound, going up to the plate, I think everybody was confident and positive. I thought we had a really good momentum going into the season.
“It was unfortunate the way some games were lost, but that’s how it works. You still have a chance to go and play in May, June and July. April and May, those months aren’t going to decide your season.”
Johnson is adamant that a moral victory attitude for the D-backs has to be put to an end this season.
“We started looking for those positives, but we’re losing,” Johnson said. “I think that’s got to be done. That’s go to be out the window, it’s got to be more about how are we going to win today. What are the Arizona Diamondbacks going to do today to win the baseball game?”
Here are some shots from D-backs staffer Jordan Megenhardt:
CLAY ZAVADA — Photography: Rick Scuteri
Every year, teams have somewhere between 10-20 non-roster invitees at Spring Training, guys who aren’t on the team’s 40-man roster. It’s always a mix of prospects and veteran players who didn’t sign Major League contracts in the offseason. But every year, there are a handful of potential gems on the non-roster list.
Here’s the D-backs’ list of non-roster players that you’ll be watching in Spring Training (their names are clickable for statistics):
Some thoughts on a few of these guys:
Matt Gorgen — Gorgen was the player Arizona acquired from Tampa Bay in the trade that sent Chad Qualls there late last year. I’m interested in seeing Gorgen pitch and I’m really curious as to why the Rays made him available, especially when the team lost so many relief pitchers to free agency this year. He’s got pretty excellent minor league numbers and according to Jerry DiPoto, as Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro mentioned back in September, Gorgen has good stuff as well. If you’re looking to find an interesting sleeper to emerge out of the non-roster invitee group, Gorgen could definitely be your guy.
Jarrod Parker — Like pretty much everybody else, I’m anxious to see how Parker looks in Spring Training. When last we saw him pitch, he was fresh off throwing some really impressive heat in the 2009 Futures Game, but an elbow injury shut him down for the 2010 season. He gave updates on Twitter throughout the year on his conditioning. When Parker is on, he’s darn-near unhittable but the organization is going to be patient with him after major surgery.
Clay Zavada — Elbow surgery also cost Clay Zavada his 2010 season, so one of the bright spots of the 2009 D-backs is going to work toward getting back in the big leagues this year. You won’t meet many ballplayers that are nicer than Zavada, so I would imagine there are going to be a lot of fans pulling for him to succeed this spring.
Chris Owings — Of the D-backs’ highly picked high school draftees in 2009 (Bobby Borchering, Matt Davidson, Chris Owings), this shortstop out of South Carolina has been the most consistent both at the plate and in the field. A foot injury robbed Owings of about two-thirds of his season last year, but he was playing quite well before he went down. Considering the depth the team added this year with Melvin Mora, Geoff Blum and Willie Bloomquist, there are a lot of infielders in camp. There aren’t that many Spring Training at bats to go around, so Owings’ stay on the big league side might not last very long.
Marc Krauss — Along with teammate Paul Goldschmidt, Marc Krauss absolutely killed the ball in the High-A California League with Visalia last year. Krauss was then one of the few players below Double-A that get a chance to play in the Arizona Fall League. Playing for the 2010 champion Scottsdale Scorpions, Krauss was great, batting .298 with a .404 on-base percentage, with four home runs in 22 games. The guy can really hit, and I’m anxious to see what he can do against some big league pitching.
Wily Mo Pena — I’m mostly just excited to watch Wily Mo Pena take batting practice. He has massive raw power (link: check out this stunning home run he hit at Toronto’s Rogers Centre back in 2007), always has, and hit pretty well in limited duty for the Padres’ Triple-A Affiliate last year.
A.J. Pollock — With really advanced fundamental skills coming out of college, A.J. Pollock looked like he was on the fast track until he hurt his elbow going after a ball in the outfield in Spring Training last year and lost a whole season because of it. He also played in the Fall League and hit quite well for average — batted .313 with six doubles in 16 games — and hopefully his power comes along with health.
Chase Field is already buzzing for FanFest!
The doors opened at 9 a.m. for early arrivals, with D-backs season ticket holders and SUBWAY Value Meals customers entering an hour early.
At 10 a.m., D-backs fans started streaming in, already in great numbers (with photos to come).
Daron Sutton is conducting a Q&A right now on the stage out at center field, and fans are purchasing autograph session tickets at the plaza ticket windows. Also, check out the yard sale for all sorts of D-backs gear, as well as the memorabilia show for bobbleheads, posters, trading cards and more.
D-backs Training Centers personnel are throwing pitches on three fields located in the infield, and FOX Sports Arizona is filming great D-backs fans to air during broadcasts this season.
Sports 620 KTAR is broadcasting live, with Mark Reynolds and new first baseman Adam LaRoche on air right now. I just ran into Matt Williams downstairs, and he’ll be joining the crew soon. Justin Upton, Clay Zavada and Ian Kennedy are all hanging out together in the clubhouse, and all three will be participating in various activities soon.
You can listen to Sports 620 KTAR’s live broadcast here: http://den-a.plr.liquidcompass.net/player/flash/audio_player.php?id=KTARAM&uid=239
I’ll be back with a lot more, including photos, video and audio very soon!