Day 1: Feb. 19
Greetings everyone. Today was technically the day pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report, but they didn’t actually have to show up at Salt River Fields and with this being a Sunday, all but a few stayed home.
Things start in earnest Monday and I just wanted to give you an idea of what you can expect from the blog this year.
For starters, there will be actual posts. I know, I know my posting frequency was not good last year in large part because so much of my notes content winds up on the site before games anyway.
So with that in mind, I’m going to change things up a little bit and try something different. Each day I’ll try to do a daily wrap up of what happened, maybe a tidbit or two or three that didn’t get into one of my stories and some information for the next day. In the mornings, I’ll try to get some links posted for you from the coverage of the day before and of course some photos.
My intention is that this blog will be a good place for you to go a couple of times a day to keep tabs on all things D-backs. You can also follow me on Twitter at @SteveGilbertMLB for updates and random thoughts/photos throughout the day.
I’m also always open to suggestions for what you want to see here, because after all this exists for you. So hit me with any thoughts you have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a recap of the first day such as it was…
— A handful of pitchers worked out at Salt River Fields, among them Takashi Saito, Mike Zagurski and Joe Martinez.
— Kirk Gibson took question from the media for around a half hour.
— That’s it. Told you it wasn’t an action-packed day.
WHAT WE LEARNED:
— D-backs camp should be every bit as intense as last year.
You’ll remember that one of the reasons cited for the team’s dismal Spring Training record in 2011 was the fact that they were beat by the time the games rolled around in the afternoon.
Gibson is far less worried about the spring record than he is about getting the team tougher mentally and physically so while he might let up a little bit in terms of the time spent, it won’t be by much and he’s certainly not going to worry about what the record might be.
— Pickoffs and holding runners are going to be a big point of emphasis again.
Varying their hold times makes pitchers uncomfortable and forces them to focus on something other than throwing a pitch. But last year’s emphasis on this did pay off as the D-backs were a much harder team to run on so look for it to continue this year.
— Stephen Drew will take grounders Monday.
This will be his first time doing so since his surgery and as with everything that involves Drew this year, it will be watched closely.
— Gibson has not talked to Gerardo Parra about the acquisition of Jason Kubel.
This one still perplexes me. Parra had a very good year at the plate, won a Gold Glove and winds up losing his starting job. Gibson has yet to explain things to Parra, but said Sunday that he is certain Parra will have a great attitude this spring.
One other note on Parra is that Gibson mentioned he would like to see him become better in center field. He’s obviously very good at the corners, but the organization feels he could improve in center, which will be important since he figures to get more playing time there than last year.
— Gibson is loathe to talk about roster spots this early.
Yes, it sure looks like the 25-man roster is virtually set heading into camp, but Gibson will do his best to downplay that throughout camp and drum up competition.
He pointed out Monday that last heading into last spring, Paul Goldschmidt, Josh Collmenter and Bryan Shaw were not talked about as being key contributors for 2011. They all opened the staff’s eyes during camp and voila there they were during the season.
“There are Goldys, Shaws and Collmenters in our locker room,” Gibson said. “Who are they? That’s one of the things that Spring Training is all about.”
WHAT’S COMING UP:
— The workout will be shorter than usual Monday and it won’t get started until around 1 p.m. as the team undergoes physicals in the morning. Below is a picture of the full schedule just as the players see it each day.
— For those of you who have asked, yes, workouts are open to the public. They are free as is parking before games get underway.
You can park in the Desert Parking Lot and walk to any of the fields. The best vantage point for the covered batting cages and the pitching mounds — where the bullpen sessions happen — can be accessed by walking up the ramp behind them.
Generally workouts start around 9:15 or so with some stretching, but of course that can vary from day to day. I will try and keep you posted each day on what to expect for the coming day.
That’s all for today. Remember…
13 days until spring opener
47 days until Opening Day vs. Giants