D-backs’ Lamb learning first with assist from Goldschmidt
Lamb is taking over at first base for the Arizona Diamondbacks, replacing Goldschmidt, who was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in December. He’s still waiting for a new glove with his name stitched on it but he’s taking advantage of one that Goldschmidt gave him.
“It’s not a bad glove, believe it or not,” Lamb said. “I’ve got no ego. I don’t care if someone else’s name is on it.”
Goldschmidt also gave Lamb a few pointers on how to handle the switch from third base to first.
“He gave me plenty of advice and it’s a matter of me taking what he said and carrying it over into the game,” Lamb said.
Lamb has started 449 games over five major league seasons and only two at first. Getting comfortable there may take some time.
“I’m a little bit of a perfectionist,” Lamb said this week. “The game’s still moving pretty quick over there. It’s just a matter of getting live game reps rather than controlled ground balls, rather than taking fungoes in practice. It’s just getting used to the game speed. Once the game starts to slow down, which I know it will, but right now as the game’s moving pretty quick, it’s tough to play when everything is moving really quick over there.”
On Sunday, Lamb had two ground balls hit to him when there was a runner at first but he did not convert a double play. He thought he could have.
“The balls were right at me,” he said. “At third base, balls right at you, you field in front of you and make the throw. In that play, you want to get around it and make it into a backhand or forehand and then make the throw. That’s something I’m getting used to. I kind of froze on both of the balls.”
He did get an out at second base both times. It’ll take time.
“This is what spring is for, getting back into the swing of things, getting up to game speed and stuff like that,” Lamb said.
Diamondbacks first base coach Dave McKay tried to help in the transition and let Lamb borrow one of his gloves.
“That one has a couple years on it so there’s definitely some mileage on that glove,” Lamb said. “I was using it in practice for a little bit then Goldy gave me one of his.”
Being quick enough to turn double plays has been tough. Lamb also has to work on his footwork, which will help.
“It’s new,” Lamb said. “I knew that it would be a challenge and I know I can handle it so I’m not too worried about it.”
There’s more to playing first than just the defense. A lot of first basemen like to chat with umpires, first base coaches and opposing players in game. Lamb’s father told him that’s something he’ll have to work on as well.
“I’m not there yet,” Lamb said, laughing. “I’m still focused on positioning and all that stuff. Once you get comfortable over there, you try to keep it as loose as possible. I like to keep it loose, I like to have fun when I play. But now I’m focused on catching the ball.”