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BlancoPutz.jpg
Catcher Henry Blanco chats with pitcher J.J. Putz Thursday. (Photo by @Dbacks)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's officially baseball season.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers reported to Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick for spring training Thursday, but for many of the players it was business as usual. Most have been working out at the team's spring training complex and preparing for the upcoming season for weeks.

"That right there just kind of shows that everybody is kind of hungry and not really satisfied with the results last year. They want to come in here stronger. It's awesome," reliever Addison Reed said. "Everybody has been here and we're ready to go."

The Diamondbacks finished 81-81 in 2013.

"I'm not thinking about last year. I'm thinking about this year," manager Kirk Gibson said.

This year began with a contract extension for Gibson, who is entering his fifth season (fourth full season) on the job. He and his staff, along with the entire baseball operations department, have held extensive meetings throughout the offseason with one goal in mind: Reclaiming the NL West.

"We've put a lot of thought and time into reshaping our club, preparing for the 2014 season. We're optimistic about it. We're excited about it," Gibson said.

The Diamondbacks finished a distant second last year, 11 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division, and have ended each of the past two seasons with a .500 record.

But Gibson believes with the additions they've made (Reed and outfielder Mark Trumbo) and return to health for others (second baseman Aaron Hill, catcher Miguel Montero and pitchers Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy), his team can bounce back and finish atop a division they last won in 2011.

"If we makes things right -- and we can do that, that we're going to be very competitive and put ourselves in a good situation as we go throughout the season," Gibson said. "We just have to have a good vision. We have to stick to it. Sometimes that's hard to do, but we're committed to doing that this year.

"We're in 'go mode' right now."

Because they are getting an early jump on the season with two games against the Dodgers in Australia next month, the Diamondbacks reported for spring training a week earlier than normal.

Pitchers and catchers hold their first workout Friday. Position players report -- though several were spotted Thursday, including Didi Gregorius and A.J. Pollock -- next week, with the first full squad workout Feb. 12.

"In the last month is when you start to hit that boredom point of you're done with the offseason. You're sick of your loved ones. You want to get out of your house. You kind of want to get back in some competitive outlet," McCarthy said. "Now it turns real and now you kind of get back to work."

Craig Grialou, Reporter

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