Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
43 days until Opening Day
8 days until first Spring Training game
Greetings from Salt River Fields where the D-backs will be on field practicing from 9:30-11:50 a.m. this morning and signing autographs as they start to filter off the field around 11:20 a.m.
The work, though, gets started long before 9:30 here. Manager Kirk Gibson has been known to get here as early as 5 a.m. and his coaches are not that far behind him. I showed up around 7 today and there were players who had been here for a while already and gotten in their morning warm up workout.
Something I noticed a couple of days ago was Miguel Montero walking around with a little tray of food. It looked like one of those frozen dinners.
Finally had to ask him about it today and it turns out he is working at improving his eating so he has meals specially prepared and shipped to him. As he headed in to heat up his breakfast he allowed me to snap a quick picture (see the bottom of this post).
Doesn’t look like a lot of food for a guy Miggy’s size, but what I know about nutrition you could fit in a thimble.
In case you missed this story yesterday, you might want to take a peek at Kelly Johnson’s quotes about last season. Sounds like the second baseman was pretty unhappy with the mood in the clubhouse and the team’s mental approach last year.
Seems to speak to the reason the organization felt the culture in the clubhouse had to be changed this year.
44 days until Opening Day
9 days until first Spring Training game
OK, so when I said this blog was going to be updated daily, I didn’t anticipate having a computer virus that knocked me offline for a number of hours last night.
With that in mind, here is a bonus morning post from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick…
Forgot to post these photos from Monday. It appears that Barry Enright is getting quite a bit of support from his Chandler neighbors. Enright got into his car early Monday to head to the first pitcher/catcher workouts and was surprised to see these signs up in his ***-de-sac.
“It really meant a lot to me that they would do that,” Enright said of his neighbors. “It’s a great block, I have fun playing with the kids, just really good people and that they would do this for me really means a lot.”
The agent for Clay Zavada says he expects the D-backs left-hander to be back in camp Tuesday or Wednesday.
Zavada did not show up for the club’s physical exams Sunday night and was not in attendance at the club’s first pitcher and catcher workout Monday.
Zavada’s agent, Barry Meister, said that Zavada experienced some discomfort in his shoulder and that was the reason for his absence.
“He just needed a couple of days to figure out what was going on with his shoulder,” Meister said.
Meister said that Zavada was going to see either the team’s training staff or team physician Michael Lee about his shoulder Tuesday and that he had talked to manager Kirk Gibson about his situation.
46 days until Opening Day in Denver
11 days until first Spring Training game
Another beautiful day for baseball at Salt River Fields with temperatures again around 80 degrees and bright blue skies.
We’ve been told that players will be signing autographs each day around 11:50 a.m. local time. The club has gone out of its way to make sure fans are able to get up close with the players on the pathways between the fields. I also noticed today that the main stadium was open for fans to walk around and take a look at.
Turns out GM Kevin Towers misspoke Sunday when he said Zach Duke would be late to camp because his wife was due to give birth to the couple’s first child any day now.
Duke’s wife Kristin gave birth last Wednesday so Duke was there and threw a bullpen Monday.
You have to feel for him leaving his 3-day-old child behind to get on a plane for Arizona, but that’s sometimes what ballplayers have to go through as part of the job. For now, he will have to make do with Skype, something he says he’s been doing three times a day to see his baby Madison.
Clay Zavada’s absence from camp seemed to catch everyone by surprise. Still not exactly sure what’s going on there. Towers said he had heard something about Zavada maybe not wanting to go “through this again” whatever that means.
When I talked to Zavada a couple of weeks ago he sounded pretty excited about the season so I’m not sure what’s going on, but it’s something I’ll continue to follow and keep you updated.
Seemed like there might be some progress on the Kelly Johnson front. The two sides have until Wednesday’s salary-arbitration hearing to reach a settlement.
Johnson’s agent is now in town and the dialogue has picked up between the two sides.
“Dialogue is better than no dialogue and over the last 48 hours we’ve had a lot more dialogue than we’ve had in the last two weeks so I look at that as a good sign,” Towers said.
Catcher Miguel Montero made some interesting comments about the culture change in the clubhouse with the influx of veterans and Kirk Gibson taking over for A.J. Hinch as manager.
“The last two years we’ve been losing 90 games, and it seems like nothing happened,” said Montero. “I don’t think that is going to happen again. If we lose again, everybody is going to know that we lost a game. I think that’s what it means. And I like that idea, because I hate to lose. Period.”
That’s all for today. I’ll be back at it bright and early Tuesday. Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter @dbackswriter.
D-backs GM Kevin Towers said this morning there is nothing new to report on the Kelly Johnson arbitration front, though dialogue is expected to pick up in the next 24 hours as Johnson’s agent is now in Phoenix.
The two sides will go to a hearing Wednesday if a settlement cannot be reached.
The D-backs filed an arbitration offer of $4.7 million while Johnson’s side filed at $6.5 million. The second baseman made $2.35 million last season.
47 days until Opening Day in Denver
12 days until first Spring Training game
Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for pitchers and catchers to begin reporting to Salt River Fields with temperatures reaching 80 degrees under sunny skies.
It was a relatively quiet day. It’s called a report day, but technically the pitchers and catchers only have to check in by phone and besides most of the team, including the position players, have been working out at the facility for a while now.
Here are two bits of news to come out of the day:
DUKE TO BE LATE: Pitcher Zach Duke, who was acquired from the Pirates in November, may wind up being a couple of days late as his wife is set to give birth.
JOHNSON HEARING SET FOR WEDNESDAY: Second baseman Kelly Johnson’s arbitration hearing is set for Wednesday, GM Kevin Towers told us.
“We’ve certainly been preparing for the case as well as I’m sure they are,” Towers said. “I’ve said all along our hope is to avoid a hearing. I think being able to settle would be better for both sides, you know he wants to focus on the season. I think today we’ll probably have some dialogue.”
There was a lot of talk today from both Towers and manager Kirk Gibson about restoring an identity for the D-backs and that’s something I’m sure I will be writing about more this spring. Towers was asked what happened to the D-backs identity from 2007 when the team won 90 games and went to the NL Championship Series. His answer I think is very telling in how his philosophy differs from former GM Josh Byrnes.
“They had a great bullpen in ’07,” Towers said referring to Tony Pena, Brandon Lyon and Jose Valverde. “They had several weapons coming out of the bullpen. I thought right then and there if they keep this bullpen together they could be very tough because they had very strong nucleus of young players.”
And then he moved on to talk about that team as a whole.
“They started facing adversity for the first time as a group and there really wasn’t a lot of veteran leadership around to maybe help those guys in how you deal with it and it just became kind of a domino effect and then there was probably some self doubt,” Towers said.
That’s why Towers believed that building the bullpen was so important this offseason as well as also adding some veterans to the bench. He will be mocked by some in the sabermetric community for that philosophy and it does go against the current thinking in baseball so it will be interesting to see how it all works out this year.
Another thing you hear a lot of from those in the organization is the different atmosphere that Towers has created. Whereas in the past there was a feeling that the baseball operations department was separate from the rest of the front office that is no longer the case.
During the organizational meetings that were held last week, there was quite a bit of talk about how united everyone was. That to me seemed to be an indication that it was not previously like that.
“If there was a disconnect I don’t think it’s there anymore,” Towers said. “I think Wednesday when people left to go back to their homes I feel they were unified, ready for battle and their focus is on this season.”
That’s all for today. I’ll be back at it bright and early Monday. Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter @dbackswriter.
A.J. Hinch stopped short of saying that Rodrigo Lopez had locked up a spot in the rotation, but it sure seems like the right-hander did just that with 5 1/3 shutout innings against the Brewers on Sunday.
“Very good,” Hinch said of Lopez’s performance. “That’s as good as he’s looked all spring and he’s had a good spring. He executed his pitches.”
So what else does he have to do to make the team?
“He’s doing all he can to make this team,” Hinch said. “Just keep pitching. We’re in no rush to judgment here ,but I’m happy with how he’s thrown the ball this spring.”
“I want to stay with the team,” Lopez said. “I think I can help them. I’ve just got to stay focused.”
It is not surprising that Hinch did not just come out and say Lopez was the guy considering that the other two pitchers competing for the spot — Billy Buckner and Kevin Mulvey — both are slated to pitch Monday night against the Padres in Peoria.
So what would they need to do tomorrow night to change how things stand right now?
“I don’t know,” Hinch said. “They need to pitch well. Lopey’s done a nice job of putting pressure on those guys and staking his claim on why he should potentially make the team. It’s good see. It’s good to see him come out and do well. It’s good for our team, it’s good for him and it creates a competitive situation.”
Has he put himself in a pretty good spot?
“Lopey’s put himself in a great spot,” Hinch said. “Each time out he’s executed his pitches. I’m happy with the way he’s thrown.”
After starting off the spring on the right foot, Buckner has allowed 13 runs in his last 5 2/3 innings and has an 11.66 ERA this spring.
Mulvey, who last pitched in a Minor League game last Tuesday, has a 3.68 ERA in three Cactus League games.
MAYBE THREE: Hinch on Saturday announced that Ian Kennedy had made the team, but did not say whether the right-hander will start the third or fourth game of the season.
“I’m not ready to back myself into the decision yet,” Hinch said.
One of the factors that works in Kennedy’s favor is the third spot in the rotation will get some extra off days during the month of April. That is the spot they had initially targeted for Brandon Webb for that reason.
SPEAKING OF WEBB: Nothing much new on the Brandon Webb front. The team is now having him throw from flat ground in “sets”, in a way simulating innings. That’s what the right-hander did Sunday morning.
“It went well,” D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. “We incorporated a little higher intensity, a little higher volume. We did sets. I don’t think it simulates innings. The ball is a little better. It’s not game ready or anything like that, but he looks a little stronger for longer periods of time and that’s a good sign.”
After the sets, Webb threw between five and seven balls off the mound, starting behind the rubber and stepping in front of the rubber and throwing.
“It was a little unexpected, but he felt good enough to do it,” Hinch said. “Really all that does is change the angle of the throw and where his land foot is. It gives him something different in his program that isn’t so monotonous and boring.”
Hinch is well aware that the next week or so is going to be tough for Webb, who will begin the season on the disabled list.
“The first part of the season will punch him in the gut too because he’s not ready,” Hinch said. “It’s difficult mentally and physically to watch the rest of your teammates getting ready for Opening Day. We’re trying to alter his program to try and continue to push him forward.”
HEALTH MATTERS: Other than Webb, the D-backs right now do not have anyone else set to start the season on the DL.
“We’re a healthy team and that’s a good sign,” Hinch said. “I’m very pleased with the life that we have in our bodies. We’ve gotten over the lull of the middle part of Spring Training and I see plenty of energy and readiness.”