Day 5: Feb. 23
— Stephen Drew took grounders again at shortstop.
— D-backs pitchers threw bullpens and went through drills.
— The last of the position players reported early.
WHAT WE LEARNED:
Look, this is going to be a long process and it still seems like a stretch to say he’s going to be ready by Opening Day, but still everyone, Drew included, appears to be pleasantly surprised by where he’s at in his rehab.
— J.J. Putz leads by example.
— Ian Kennedy is going to start Opening Day for the second year in a row.
OK, truth be told, we don’t know that for sure, though, I did try to get Gibson to commit to it during his media session Thursday. Didn’t have any luck pinning him down.
“He had a pretty good year for us last year,” Gibson said. “We haven’t really talked about that. It’s probably fair to assume he’s a candidate (laughs). We’re not there yet. We haven’t really started setting up the pitching [or] locked in what we’re going to do yet. We’ve got a long spring to get through, but the time will come for that.”
I’d be shocked if anyone other than Kennedy was on the mound April 6 against the Giants.
— The D-backs will continue to temper the enthusiasm that everyone has when it comes to young hurlers like Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs.
“I know they’re young so don’t push them into anything where they’re not prepared to go,” Gibson said. “What we aim to do here is put them in a position to learn a lot, improve a lot and have a better understanding of what it’s going to take for them to be a big leaguer and come up here and stay and contribute and have a huge impact on what we do.
“They’ve all got great attitudes, they’re attentive and they want to learn. There’s a lot to understand and be able to execute throughout a Major League season. We’re happy they’re in our organization.”
— Takashi Saito does not like special treatment.
The D-backs want to go slowly with the veteran, who struggled with injuries last year, but the 42-year-old does not want to slack. Wednesday, the coaches tried to get him to run five laps rather than the 10 the other pitchers in his group were doing. He wound up running 10.
As a way of combating that, the coaches moved Saito’s entire group indoors Thursday for their conditioning and they did a modified low-impact version.
“He does not want to be away from his group,” Gibson said.
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WHAT’S COMING UP:
— The workout should start with stretching around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and run till noonish. More bullpen sessions.
— The position players technically report Friday, though the team announced that all had already done so as of Thursday. The first full-squad workout is not until Saturday.
— Reminder: 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.
That’s all for today. Remember…
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9 days until spring opener
43 days until Opening Day vs. Giants