It’s hard to believe the Diamondbacks are heading into their 15th season, but they are, and expectations for the ball club couldn’t be higher, as they attempt to return to the top of the NL West and beyond.
The team kicked off spring training on Monday, as pitchers and catchers reported for the first time.
On Tuesday, the players held their first workouts, and from the very first pitch to the very last pitch, it was plainly evident that the Diamondbacks have a wealth of arms.
Brandon McCarthy signed a two-year deal with the Diamondbacks in December, after spending the last two seasons in Oakland.
McCarthy says one of the main reasons why he chose to come to Arizona was because of the wealth of pitching talent on the roster.
“There’s depth,” McCarthy said. “Teams I think that have that depth, is not just 1-through-5, but you can go beyond that, [and] you don’t have weak spots [and] I think it lends very well to a successful team.”
McCarthy talked about the way guys like Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill conduct themselves. He says they handle themselves with class and professionalism, which directly translates to the way they conduct themselves on the mound every fifth day.
“It’s just my job to kind of fit in and try and make it as seamless as I can,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy, if you recall, was hit on the right side of his head last September in a game against the Los Angeles Angels. McCarthy suffered an epidural hemorrhage, a brain contusion and a skull fracture.
McCarthy says he hasn’t changed the way he thinks about the game of baseball, or the way he approaches the game.
“I think doing that just kind of puts more emphasis on what actually happened, and it reflects on it, which isn’t something I’m interested in doing,” McCarthy said. “It was a one-time event that never happened before and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”
Normally a pitcher gets six starts during spring training. Manager Kirk Gibson says he most likely will give McCarthy at least a seventh start, just to give him some time on the mound, considering he missed so much last season after his injury.
“He probably doesn’t want to talk [much] about it, we can all understand why,” Gibson said, when referring to McCarthy’s head injury. “He’s gonna have to mentally overcome that, [and] we’ll make sure that he’s ready when he takes the mound.”
Cahill averaged close to 200 innings pitched in his last three seasons, including exactly 200 last season for Arizona. For him, this season comes down to having the least amount of down time due to injury.
“Baseball stuff is baseball stuff,” Cahill said. “[The] thing is be prepared to do everything I can off the field to make sure I can stay healthy.”
General manager Kevin Towers mentioned the addition of more speed in the lineup, especially near the top, with the potential planting of outfielders Adam Eaton and Gerardo Parra.
Towers was pleased with that, considering they haven’t had that level of speed at the top in a while.
He says this will be a team who will hit their fair share of home runs, but it’ll be more of a contact hitting team, a team he wants to see put more “pressure” their opponents.
“[We’ll] be a club that clubs aren’t gonna want to face,” Towers said.