Updated Feb 11, 2014 - 6:19 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks' Gerardo Parra was worn down by 2013 season
There were no air horns to be heard in the team clubhouse and no batting practice antics to be seen on Field 2 -- Jackrabbit Field -- when he joined outfielders Mark Trumbo, Matt Tuiasosopo and Cody Ross in a coaches-led session around 11:00 a.m.
Instead, there was, for once, a measure of reservedness about him.
And perhaps that's a good thing.
Parra, who spent the majority of the offseason outside of the United States, took part in Venezuelan winter ball in November and December.
"I (felt) tired," he said of his time playing in his native country at the end of last year.
No one should be surprised by that tidbit.
Parra, who has a tendency of playing with distinct intensity, seemed to wear down over the course of the 2013 season.
After getting out to a hot start in his first 65 games -- at which point he was hitting .322/ .388/ .475 -- Parra hurtled downward, batting just .226/ .271/ .347 from June 14 to Sep. 29. Despite logging 84 hits in those first 65 games, the two-time Gold Glover managed just 77 hits in his final 91.
He took big leads while on base, as always. He dove for balls and crashed into the wall, as always. He showed off his big left arm whenever possible -- sometimes gunning down runners from the outfield warning track, even in the latter innings of blowouts. He just refused to slow down, and he seemed to wear down. And then he slowed down, involuntarily.
Parra, whose love for baseball is incredibly evident, might be labeled "reckless" by some.
But as he ran his fingers backward through his hair and sighed Tuesday at his Salt River Fields locker, he seemed different.
Expressing gratitude for his new, one-year, reported $4.85 million contract, he didn't want to discuss the fall off the precipice midway through last season.
"I don't think (too much about) last year," the 26-year-old said. "That's the past."
After taking January off, though, to work on his swing and run agility drills with an unknown friend in Miami, Parra looks forward to 2014.
"I (feel) good," he said. "I never (felt) really, really tired last season."
The wear caught up with him in Venezuela, however.
Parra, one of a slew of Diamondbacks outfielders, feels refreshed and hopeful now back in Arizona. But he wouldn't commit to pacing his intensity in the upcoming season.
"I play to win," he explained. "And (I do) what I can to help the team."
- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB insider - Wednesday April 23ESPN MLB insider Tim Kurkjian discusses what the D-backs need to do to turn things around.
- Kevin Towers, D-backs GM - Wednesday April 23What can be done to save the season?
- Kirk Gibson, D-backs manager - Tuesday April 22D-backs manager Kirk Gibson talks about the team's struggles.
- Bickley Blast - Monday April 21Dan goes off on the struggling D-backs.
- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB Insider - Thursday April 17Tim Kurkjian talks about the Diamondbacks' tough start to the season.
- Bickley Blast - Thursday April 17Bickley blasts Kevin Towers' philosophy and the need for an analytics GM.
- Derrick Hall, D-backs President and CEO - Thursday April 17Is it too early to make a change?