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Jake Lamb turns heads in Arizona Diamondbacks third base competition

SCOTTSDALE — Everyone in the Diamondbacks organization agrees: third baseman Jake Lamb is a star of the future. With Lamb’s two home runs Tuesday, though, he’s making a case that the future is now.

“Obviously we’re expecting him to be our third baseman of the future,” general manager Dave Stewart said. “It could be now, it could be a year from now. But he’s gonna be a solid player.”

Teammates are taking notice of his talent as well. Close friend and D-backs pitcher Archie Bradley, a teammate in the minors, believes Lamb has high potential.

“He’s got power to go with anyone in the big leagues,” Bradley said. “He’s so close to putting it all together, if he hasn’t already. He’s gonna have a long big league career.”

Expectations are high from the coaching staff. Manager Chip Hale said Lamb has a good chance of making the team’s Opening Day roster if he continues to bat well after his power display against the Oakland A’s.

The third base competition between Lamb and high-priced newcomer Yasmany Tomas has been the D-backs most intriguing position battle, but you wouldn’t know it by talking to Lamb.

“You can’t worry about that,” he said. “You’ve just gotta go out and play.”

This is his second year of Spring Training with Arizona. Although he didn’t make the Opening Day roster in 2014, he played in 37 games after a midseason call-up. This year, he’s hoping to make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training.

At least one teammate is pulling for him.

“When he got called up [last year], I felt like I got called up,” Bradley said. “I was so excited. I’m pulling for him to make it this year as much as, if not more than, anybody.”

Before Tuesday’s two-homer outburst, the 24-year-old had been relatively quiet in early spring action. His batting average heading into Wednesday’s game against the Angels was .214, but D-backs management isn’t worried about the start.

“It can be expected,” Stewart said of slow spring starts. “A hitter takes a little time to catch up with the pitching.”

Lamb himself is not too concerned with his job being up in the air at the moment.

“Let (the coaches) handle that, that’s their job,” Lamb said. “My job is to play hard.”

In fact, more than anything, he is just excited to be in warm weather.

“This weather’s awesome,” he said. “It’s always nice coming here after spending my offseason (in Seattle).”

Trey Lanthier is a senior majoring in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between Arizona and Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.