Upton homers, D-backs beat Mexican League team
Motivated to avoid another trip to the minors, Roberts made across-the-board changes to his game in the offseason, and it paid off with a spring that made him a lock for this year's team.
Roberts had an RBI double Wednesday to help Arizona beat Quintana Roo of the Mexican League 10-2 in its final game before the start of the regular season.
Roberts finished Cactus League play with a .519 average and a .609 on-base percentage, both tops in the majors. In two games against Mexican League teams, he was 2 for 4 with a home run, six RBIs and two walks.
''I've worked a little harder, changed my diet program, changed my workouts. I basically changed everything,'' Roberts said. ''With my swing, I've stopped trying to really drive the ball. I've stopped really trying to hit homers, just try to hit the ball up the middle and let everything else fall into place.''
Roberts will open the season as Arizona's utility man.
''He's played great. He came in, and he's played with a lot of energy,'' manager Kirk Gibson said. ''He's played a ton of positions, and that's how we'll use him in the season.''
''He may get a lot of at-bats. If he keeps swinging the way he did, he deserves to play,'' he said.
Roberts hit .279 and appeared in 110 games for Arizona in 2009 but followed with a disappointing spring and regular season in 2010. He hit just .185 in spring training and was only in the majors for 36 games, during which hit .197 and had more strikeouts (17) than hits (13).
''He came in determined not to let that happen again,'' Gibson said.
NOTES: Arizona finalized its 25-man roster after the game, optioning RHP Esmerling Vasquez and outrighting IF Tony Abreu to Triple-A Reno and releasing RHP Carlos Rosa, who is expected play this season in Japan. LHP Zach Duke and IF Geoff Blum will start the season on the 15-day disabled list.