With full squad reported, D-backs toe starting line for 2014
FEB 11, 2014 6:50p ET
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tuesday's full-squad report day at Salt River Fields was more symbolic than anything. Most of the team already had reported, but the day provided an official marker for the 2014 season.
With everyone now on the starting line, spring training has begun in earnest for the D-backs and the team will hit the ground running after the organization's leadership -- manger Kirk Gibson, general manager Kevin Towers, president Derrick Hall and managing general partner Ken Kendrick -- addresses the team Wednesday morning.
"Everybody's reflected on what happened last year and even the year before and the year before that," Gibson said. "You put it all together and kind of determine where you want to go, and hopefully it will be a good, positive affirmation and we'll have a good picture of who we are and then we'll start working on it."
The D-backs won't waste any time early in camp. Pitchers and hitters will be thrown into the fire right away with live batting practice in the team's first full-squad workout. Already, pitchers and catchers have been working on communication with signs from behind the plate.
"We need to get our pitchers to have enough appearances to be prepared for the early season (opener)," Gibson said. "It's like, let's start simulating the process, how we're going to think."
Because the D-backs plays two games against the Dodgers in Sydney, Australia, March 22-23 before playing another week of exhibition games, it makes for an atypical spring training setup. The D-backs have made a number of adjustments.
First, there are more players in camp. The major league spring training roster begins at 68, so many that the team had to ask a handful of players to dress on the minor league side with only so many lockers in the big-league clubhouse.
"You need 'em," Gibson said. "It'll be a little different."
The extra players will help the D-backs keep fresh players on their anticipated 25-man roster, covering the late innings of exhibition games and split-squad days. To better manage the expanded roster, the D-backs have a bigger spring staff as well.
The D-backs also will be careful not to wear out players as they prepare them to play meaningful games a week earlier than usual. Pitchers did not throw bullpen sessions Tuesday, and some didn't even play catch.
Even with the extended spring training -- most teams' pitchers and catchers don't report until later this week -- most D-backs showed up early, eager to get started on another season.
New left fielder Mark Trumbo arrived in Arizona more than a week ago and got started at Salt River Fields. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt said he's basically been there all offseason, making it unlikely he had to "report" anything Tuesday.
"I just showed up to get ready and figure it out," Goldschmidt said. "We had a good turnout today, and we haven't even officially started. Guys are going to get their work in but know when to cut back as well."
Added Trumbo: "The workouts here are so structured it's almost like we've already been in camp even though technically we're still doing some early stuff."
When workouts officially begin Wednesday, the D-backs will have only a few questions to answer. Much of the opening-day lineup appears set, with only shortstop to be determined between Chris Owings and Didi Gregorious. Beyond that, the D-backs will see competitions for backup catching, a fifth starter, a bullpen role and perhaps a fifth outfielder.
While incumbent and presumed starters will have to remain motivated, the players battling for jobs should help set competitive tone in camp.
"I think that's always a good thing," Trumbo said. "I think it brings out the best in guys, and ultimately everyone's going to contribute at some point with injuries and what not. But I think in the middle of it guys more or less appreciate the dog fight of coming in each day trying to earn a spot."
The D-backs have much to accomplish in the next seven weeks (plus one more after the Sydney series) to reverse their fortunes after back-to-back 81-81 seasons. As they begin, they do so with eyes narrowly on the present.
"Last year's over," Goldschmidt said. "If we would've won 100 games or 50 games, every team starts out the same this year. We're just looking forward to the start of the season and preparing the best we can.
"We have a very talented team. There's no reason that we shouldn't give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs and win the World Series at the end of the year."
* Though his two-year deal remains unofficial, starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo arrived in camp on Tuesday. Arroyo completed his physical and briefly met with Gibson before being greeted by a few new teammates.
The D-backs expect to officially announce Arroyo's addition on Wednesday, when the 36-year-old right hander will speak publicly for the first time since agreeing with Arizona. Arroyo also is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session Wednesday.
* Outfielder Cody Ross, working through a surprisingly quick rehab of a fractured and dislocated hip, said Tuesday the doctor who performed his surgery gave him full clearance for baseball activities.
"He gave me full rein to do everything," Ross said. "That's a nice feeling when you go into a doctor and he says, 'Go for it.'"
Ross hopes to be ready for the D-backs' opening series against Sydney or at least Opening Day in Phoenix but will take as long as he needs.