March 2011

Matt Williams suffers broken foot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — D-backs third base coach Matt Williams said he has a broken right foot, the result of being hit by a ball during a soft toss drill.

Williams was spotted limping between practice fields Wednesday with a walking boot on his right leg.

The incident occurred he said a couple of days ago. How long it will prevent him from coaching third base is unknown.

This will be Williams first year coaching third base in the Majors.

Gibson talks about rules, roster

28 days until Opening Day

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Kirk Gibson had a lot of really interesting things to say during his media sessions with us Thursday in Peoria that I didn’t have a place for in my stories. Here’s some of what he had to say…

– On whether guys were starting to make a push for spots on the roster: “The book is just starting. I don’t think we’re close to a point where we could even make a good calculated decision.”

– There has been a lot of talk this spring and even over the winter about Gibson’s rules about cell phone use and the banning of pellet guns and the like in the clubhouse.

It seems to be a subject that Gibson is getting tired of revisiting.

“I don’t think I’ve been tough at all,” he said of his rules. “I think I’ve been fair. We just kind of said there are certain things we want to abide by and do. It’s not a big deal, it’s just like business as usual.”

Gibson also has emphasized that the rules were decided on after consultation with managing general partner Ken Kendrick, president/CEO Derrick Hall, GM Kevin Towers and his coaching staff.

“These are not just my rules,” Gibson said. “We sat down as an organization and talked about some important things. We had a lot of conversations, people had input and we sat there and said this is what we’re going to go with. Once the decision was made we moved on.”

It doesn’t sound like guys will be having their cell phones ringing in the clubhouse.

“You’re talking to somebody in the clubhouse, your phone rings and you go get it, I think it’s rude No. 1,” Gibson said. “Other people are having a conversation next to you and phones are going off, I don’t like it. It just gets to be too much for me. When we’re in here it’s pretty much a baseball environment let’s focus on that if you need to make a call just walk outside and make a call.”

– As much as Gibson has refrained from talking about the past, he did let a little slip near the end of his talk about rules and cell phones when he talked about preparing for games differently: “We definitely need to do a better job because the way we did do it sure in the heck didn’t work.”

– Sparky Anderson was obviously a big influence on Gibson and he quoted him when talking about privileges for his players.

“Sparky taught us a long time ago, you start with nothing and you earn everything,” he said.

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Looks like Zach Duke will pitch down in Tucson during Monday’s split squad game with Aaron Heilman working the game against the Royals in Surprise.

Wednesday notes — Heilman could make things interesting

30 days until Opening Day

A couple of random thoughts as I sit in the press box at Scottsdale Stadium waiting for the start of the second game of this split-squad, day-night doubleheader…

– Aaron Heilman could really make the decisions about the backend of the rotation very interesting.

It’s been widely assumed that Zach Duke and Armando Galarraga have the inside track for the final two spots with Barry Enright and Heilman on the outside looking in. That’s simply because of the money owed to Duke and the fact that Enright has Minor League options and Heilman could easily slide back into the bullpen.

But Heilman signed here because he was promised a fair shot at the rotation and if he keeps putting up zeroes (he threw three perfect innings today to run his spring total to five) it is going to be tough to deny him that.

– D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has maintained that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is “in the mix” at first base, but it has been hard to believe that the organization would rush him like that given that he has not played above the Class A level.

Gibson came close to admitting just that today after Goldschmidt pinch-hit and drove in two more runs with a single.

“Probably not,” Gibson said about the likelihood of Goldschmidt making the club out of Spring Training. “But I don’t really look at it that way. I look at it that we’re trying to develop depth as well. We can’t predict what may happen, who might get hurt. If there’s some guys that go back to the Minor Leagues from here we want them to have great confidence, we want them to shore their game up. We want them to know how we want to do it up here, the things that are important to the Diamondbacks and go down there and be leaders. People can move fast.”

Certainly Goldschmidt has opened some eyes with his strong showing thus far.

“From the first day I saw him swing he’s made several adjustments,” Gibson said. “His swing is shorter and he’s staying on the ball. We’ll see if he can do it all spring.”

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D-backs will finally leave the City of Scottsdale for a game Thursday when they travel to Peoria to take on the Padres. I’ll catch up with you there.

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