Diamondbacks pitchers, catchers get back to work

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Armed with three new vaunted right-handers and new spring uniforms, even some of the often-banal drills garnered attention Thursday as Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers took the field officially for the first time.

Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, the team’s headline-grabbing off-season additions, drew much of the attention even though they didn’t throw a pitch — both, along with new late-innings reliever Tyler Clippard, will throw their first bullpen session Friday morning.

Whether it was squaring around to bunt, fielding a comebacker or covering first base, Greinke and Miller drew a crowd as they moved from station to station on the back fields at Salt River Fields, grouped with Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray.

"We’re all excited and it’s going to be fun," said Miller, acquired in a trade from the Atlanta Braves.

"It will be good for the competition to have those guys go out there and (then) try to outdo one another," Corbin said.

Corbin, too, got a bit of a kick out of the opening day drills. It had been two years since he last participated in a usual spring training after Tommy John surgery in 2014 forced him to miss all of that season and the first half of last year.

"It’s good to be able to throw with the guys and do drills, something I wasn’t able to do last year," Corbin said. "Everything is good. The elbow feels great. I’m just excited to get back on the bump and face hitters this time of year."

Manager Chip Hale said Corbin won’t face restrictions on pitches or innings this season as long as the left-hander’s arm feels good.

"We talked about having the training wheels on (last year), almost to the point where he was frustrated at times," Hale said. "This year, we’ll let him go."

For Hale, it was good to be back in uniform again — and he knows he’ll be there at least through next season after the team confirmed it picked up a 2017 option on the second-year manager.

"Excellent to be back," Hale said. "A lot of guys have been here but to officially start, address the pitchers and catcher and get them out there doing these drills that quite frankly are very elementary for most of these guys. But I said we’re going to start from ground zero and work out way up, really explain what we’re doing and what we want to be done."

It was also the first time General Manager Dave Stewart and Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa got to see the complete pitching staff they bolstered during the off-season.

"I’ve definitely been waiting for this day," Stewart said. "I feel today as I did when I was a player. I always look forward to the first day of baseball.

"The work we did this winter as an organization, I think we did as much as we could and rightfully so. … Spring training is the build up to the season and, quite frankly, I wish we could fast forward to Day 1."

Hale, Stewart and La Russa made their way around the complex, briefly chatting with fans and watching 39 pitchers go through various drills.

"I let the guys know I’m out there watching and (to) get this stuff done right," Hale said.