Day 1 — well sort of
Today was the start of Spring Training for the D-backs, though most of the players will not arrive at the complex until Sunday. In previous years, the team has done its physicals on the report day, but this year they are going to do them in the morning on Sunday.
A warning to those of you wanting to watch the first workout on Sunday, it will begin around noon rather than the usual 9:00 or 9:30 because of the aforementioned physicals.
So it was a slow day Saturday, with only a few noteworthy items:
— Eric Byrnes was in camp and continuing his work on returning from last year’s hamstring injuries. You can read more of what Byrnes had to say in my story from today, but the main thing is he is determined to grab more playing time.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the spring goes on. Manager Bob Melvin said on Saturday that Byrnes’ presence is a good thing because it creates competition within the 25-man roster for playing time, but it could also make for a sticky situation for him as he tries to find playing time between Conor Jackson, Byrnes and Chad Tracy.
I asked Melvin about the possibility of Byrnes getting playing time in left and Jackson at first against tough left-handed pitchers and he said it was a possibility, but that Tony Clark needs to have regular at-bats in order to stay fresh for his late-game pinch-hitting appearances.
— Tony Pena is in camp, which is certainly a relief for the team — no pun intended of course. The setup man has had visa problems ever since he lied about his name several years ago.
— Speaking of Pena, he gave bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock the nickname “Father Bullpen” on Saturday. Not sure if that has staying power, but I like it.
That’s about it for today. We’ll check back in tomorrow. I am curious as to how you guys think this whole thing with Byrnes will play out. Feel free to post it in the comments section and we’ll follow up.