Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’
Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Salvatore
It’s a gorgeous day in Scottsdale as the D-backs are set to take on the defending champion San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium at 1:00 pm today.
I’ll try to bring some live blog details throughout the afternoon, including some quotes from Kirk Gibson’s pre-game press conference. This game is being broadcast on Sports 620 KTAR, so tune in on your radio in your car or office or wherever you may be this afternoon.
Here is today’s lineup:
1. Willie Bloomquist – 2B
2. Melvin Mora – 3B
3. Justin Upton – RF
4. Miguel Montero – C
5. Xavier Nady – LF
6. Brandon Allen – 1B
7. Wily Mo Peña – DH
8. Tony Abreu – SS
9. Cole Gillespie – CF
Starting pitcher – Joe Saunders
Also expected to pitch – Wade Miley, Kam Mickolio and David Hernandez.
I’m actually excited to see all three of those pitchers. Miley has been impressive in bullpen sessions this spring and he was fantastic at Double-A last season, and Hernandez and Mickolio were the right-handed relievers acquired from Baltimore this offseason.
– Pre-game press conference with Kirk Gibson:
On players dealing with nagging injuries:
“(Joe) Paterson, we shut him down for one day, but he threw a bullpen today and knock on wood, everybody is healthy. Chris Owings (oblique injury) took groundballs today. Tomorrow he’ll start throwing a little bit and do some light swinging.
“(Paterson had) a neck kink. Look at the way he throws, he jerks his neck around and it kind of gets sore. He said he’s had that before. Instead of having him try to favor something, we just shut him down and let him get back on track. And now he’s fine.”
On the lineup:
“These guys are going to move all around. I did talk to Don (Baylor) today to see how he felt about some things.”
On Melvin Mora:
Mora can hit anywhere. He can hit first or second, he could hit eighth and he wouldn’t care. We were out for early work out, and we went out and guys were bunting, Zavada and Jaime were loosening up on Field one, and I went out to the batting cage and there’s Mora with (Minor Leaguers Mike) Freeman and (Matt) Davidson, putting balls on the tee for them. That’s just how he is. he’s a true pro, a guy who just likes to play. There is no ego there at all. Mora could hit anywhere.
On using the DH in a National League game:
Just today and Sunday. The pitchers have hit a lot this spring. They’ve done a lot of bunting, a lot of slashing. They’ve hit a lot and for the first time through the games, it’s a time for Joe (Saunders) to focus on pitching. I wanted to get some of the guys hitting, like Wily Mo. We’ll do it against Sunday and that will be it.
– Great first inning for the D-backs, with Willie Bloomquist, Melvin Mora, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero all hitting singles to get up 2-0, and Brandon Allen coming through with a sacrifice fly to right to give them a 3-0 lead.
Joe Saunders followed up with a good, efficient 1-2-3 first inning concluding with a strikeout of Miguel Tejada.
All in all, it’s exactly what you want to see from the D-backs this spring – quality at bats and good, efficient pitching.
– There’s a hit-and-run for the D-backs here in the second inning, with Gillespie running to second and Bloomquist at the plate, and a grounder to third moves Gillespie up. I would imagine we’ll see a good amount of that stuff this spring, it’s exactly the reason they signed high-contact guys like Bloomquist and Mora.
– The updates aren’t as fast and furious as I’d hoped — wireless internet has been a little sketchy at Scottsdale Stadium, I think the fact that there are far more writers than seats has caused some strain on the system.
Wade Miley looked very good in his first inning of relief, with a hitless inning, one walk, one strikeout. He’s back for a second inning now.
Xavier Nady went deep with an opposite field home run. If you’re familiar with the set up of Scottsdale Stadium, the ball went out right about where the outfield berm meets the Giants bullpen in right-center field. Nady is an important guy to watch this spring.
– David Hernandez is in to pitch for the D-backs, with the Giants leading 7-4. He is among the pitchers I’m most interested in seeing this spring. There is a good chance he can be a back-of-the-bullpen guy for the team this year. We now J.J. Putz is settled in as the team’s closer, but the 7 and 8 inning roles are really up for grabs. Hernandez, Gutierrez and Heilman are the guys who have some experience in those roles, and they’re the guys most likely to claim them this year.
Hernandez has good stuff, and his numbers in relief for Baltimore – a 3.16 ERA with a .236 opponents batting average in 37 innings – were pretty good and 15 of his 33 appearances were against the big bats of Boston, New York, Tampa Bay and Toronto.
– It’s all over here, D-backs fall to the Giants 7-6. We’ll be out at Salt River Fields tomorrow for the opening of the new ballpark against the Colorado Rockies in front of a sell-out crowd. Should be exciting!
Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
In just three days, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies will play in the first ever game at Salt River Fields.
The D-backs announced today that the opening game is sold out, with a full house expected to be in attendance.
It is sure to be an exciting environment come Saturday afternoon for not only the fans, but the players and coaches as well.
After several days of practice, the D-backs are eager to compete in a game.
“I remember what it was like as a player,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “You get up there without the turtle around you, it feels way different without the batting cage. You’re a pitcher and there’s no screen there, that’s different. The fans will be there. It will pump them up.
Salt River Fields figures to not only to be packed on Saturday, but all season long. The D-backs announced that 120,000 tickets have been sold for their 17 home games.
Following Saturday’s opener, the D-backs will take on the defending world champion San Francisco Giants on Sunday and the Rockies again on Monday afternoon.
Sweeney fighting for job in bullpen
Brian Sweeney is one of the several relievers fighting for a job in the D-backs bullpen this spring. Sweeney is a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, but is familiar with the challenges of fighting for a roster spot.
“It’s something I’m used to,” Sweeney said. “Every year of my career, it’s always been a competition. You want the team to succeed, and hopefully you can be a piece of that puzzle to help the team succeed. It’s something I’ve been doing for awhile. I do embrace it.”
Sweeney has spent parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues with both the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners. Last season, Sweeney notched a 3.16 ERA in 37 innings for the Mariners.
While camp is only in its second week, Sweeney is pleased with what he’s seen so far.
“I really like the atmosphere of camp right now,” Sweeney said. “The management the team, everybody’s working hard. With the great meeting this morning with the Seals and everything, it’s been a good start.”
Navy Seals visit D-backs
Before Wednesday morning workouts began, the D-backs received a visit from US Navy Seals.
The visiting members spoke to the entire team on a variety of topics including mental toughness.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Sweeney said. “To see what they go through and to relate it to our journey as well, it gets you really in the right mindset. What they have to go through compared to what we have to go through it’s not really the same thing, but in order to compete at what they’re doing you need to be elite. To be elite as a baseball player, you have to have that same kind of mindset. To hear them speak that way, it’s pretty cool.”
D-backs hit the links
After tomorrow’s workout, D-backs players and coaches are hitting the fairways and greens in a team golf outing.
Gibson estimated that more than 40 people are attending the event. Before the golfing begins, the team will hold a workout in the morning.
“It’ll be shorter, and then we’re going to go play golf at one o’clock,” Gibson said. “Shorter hitting, do a fundamental segment, a situational segment, kind of a lighter day. Kind of a recovery day, and we’ll get after it on Friday.”
On Friday, the busy Spring Training game schedule kicks off for the D-backs when they face off against the Giants. Thursday’s golf event provides the team with a chance to relax before games begin.
“We’re trying to do something together, and spend some time together before we get after it,” Gibson said.
KTAR Broadcasting from SRF
D-backs radio partner KTAR has been broadcasting their shows all day at Salt River Fields this week. They’ve had several D-backs on air, with many more to come:
Wednesday images from D-backs photographer Jordan Megenhardt:http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649
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:
Photography: Jon Willey
By Greg Dillard
In a short ceremony on Friday, officials from both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies along with leaders of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Community dedicated Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
The event featured several key speakers including President Diane Enos who thanked the many contributors, and welcomed everyone to the complex.
D-backs Managing Partner Ken Kendrick also took the podium and proclaimed, “It’s a great day to be a Diamondback.”
Kendrick was just one of the speakers who stressed the importance of the relationship between the two teams and the Community.
“They’ve been great partners throughout,” Kendrick said. “It’s a great point of pride to them that Major League Baseball has come to their community, and we have a facility like this on their land. They’re exceptionally happy to have us, and we’re very proud to be their partner.”
D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall followed Kendrick and spoke of his outstanding relationship with late Rockies President Keli McGregor.
Prior to the grand opening, the Keli McGregor Reflection Trail was dedicated. The trail is located outside of the main stadium and behind home plate, and is in honor of the late Rockies President who passed away in 2010.
It was an emotional time for members of the D-backs and Rockies organization, and for McGregor’s wife Lori, who represented her husband.
Hall remains proud of what he and McGregor envisioned for the Spring Training complex.
“It means a lot to me that Keli and I dreamt it together, designed it together, and it’s terribly sad that he can’t be here today to see the end result,” Hall said. “I know he’s here in spirit. He would’ve been so proud. I’m proud of him. I’m proud of our friendship, and I’m proud of what we accomplished together.”
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is a one of a kind facility equipped with the largest video board in the Cactus League, 12 practice fields, and an elaborate stadium.
Hall is confident that fans will be impressed when they attend games.
“Not only that it’s the most beautiful facility by far,” Hall said, “but I think the location. The location sets us aside. It’s got breathtaking views, it’s completely surrounded panoramic views every where you look. It is by far the most superior complex, and that was our goal from the beginning.”
The action at Salt River Fields will begin to pick up next week when pitchers and catchers hold their first workout on Monday. The first game of the Spring Training season will come on Saturday, Feb. 26 between the D-backs and Rockies.
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.