Happy Monday morning

After rain the last couple of days it looks like it is shaping up to be a beautiful day here at Salt River Fields.

Morning photo 2-21.JPG

Some leftover items from the soggy weekend:

— It was pretty funny to hear GM Kevin Towers greet newly-signed first baseman Russell Branyan not by his name, but as “Russell the Muscle.”

And while Branyan is big, he looks almost small compared to outfielder Wily Mo Pena.

Pena is listed at 270 pounds, but that might be a little light. A number of the guys were telling me I had to go shake his hand just for the experience of it and wow. Your hand completely disappears in his and his grip is like a vice.

“Unbelievable,” is how one player described him.

— Following Saturday’s first full-squad meeting, D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said several of the new veterans pulled he and Ken Kendrick aside to share a couple of thoughts with them.

“These guys are telling Ken and I, ‘We’re going to make a difference, this is going to different, this is where we wanted to be and there’s a reason for that,'” Hall said.

One of the veterans brought over during the winter was infielder Geoff Blum.

“There’s a lot of us in here that are new so we don’t know what was going on the last two years and that might be a good thing,” Blum said. “From the outside looking in the last couple of years we’ve always noticed they had a ton of talent, but obviously from the comments that are being made, the clubhouse atmosphere had to be changed so we’ll what we can do.”

— The main word around camp this year is competition, but there’s another that’s close behind: Swagger.

“We talked about swagger quite a bit,” Hall said of that first meeting. “We want this [the team’s logo] to mean something. The last couple years this hasn’t meant much and we want it to mean something so we have to reestablish that.”

And then there was manager Kirk Gibson during his press briefing Sunday.

“It was a good day, I like the vibe, I like the swagger,” he said.

Sounds like the goal is to swagger through some competition while changing the culture…

— I asked bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock for some time this morning and he said he couldn’t because he had an Air Force meeting.

Turns out it was actually a pop up drill he does with the team’s catchers. That’s the nickname he has given to it.

What about when he does tag play drills? Those are listed on the schedule as a Marine meeting.

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