SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Pitchers and catchers don’t officially report until Feb. 6, but Spring Training is well underway at Salt River Fields.
Players like catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, who is looking to make the opening day roster, have been working out for several weeks at the facility.
“Every year it seems like guys are getting here earlier and earlier,” Gosewisch said. “Guys are working hard all season and when you’re trying to make a team, you have to get here and work hard and give yourself the opportunity.”
Gosewisch was a late-season call up for the Diamondbacks in 2013. He played 14 games and hit .178 with three RBI. He played for Scottsdale’s Horizon High School and then collegiately at Arizona State University. With the Sun Devils, he hit .320 with 10 home runs and 166 RBI in four seasons.
Other players have come to the Valley early to escape the nasty weather back east. Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin is from Syracuse, New York, where he said it’s nearly impossible for him to play baseball outside right now.
“There’s probably a couple feet of snow. It’s freezing outside,” Corbin said. “It’s hard to get out. Much of the work I was doing was indoors. Getting outside here is different, so I’m glad to be here and to be able to get outside.”
Corbin said it’s great to see veterans like Aaron Hill out practicing already as well, and it shows that the team has the right mindset going in to the season.
“We’re all excited to get out here this season and get started. You can tell by how many guys are out here throwing bullpens and getting their work in already,” Corbin said.
Gosewisch said coming to Salt River Fields early wasn’t a tough decision, because there’s nowhere better to practice.
“Why wouldn’t you come to this facility? It’s the best facility I’ve seen in baseball,” Gosewisch said. “There’s no reason not to come out here. You’ve got a great gym, bullpens you can catch, batting cages to hit, ground balls and whatever you need.”
The Diamondbacks open their season in Australia against the Los Angeles Dodgers; something Corbin said provides just a little extra motivation.
“We’re a little disappointed in last season, so you can see that guys are coming in ready and motivated for this year,” Corbin said. “Every game’s important. The Dodgers are our rivals. They won the division last year, so hopefully we can get the season started off right.”
Although Corbin’s role with the team has changed drastically this season, he said his focus going into this spring hasn’t changed.
“For me personally I’m going to look at it the same way as last year,” Corbin said. “Just come in and try to get better every day, and not try to do too much.”
He said he is willing and able to give some advice to the guys trying to make the roster this season.
“Just be yourself and don’t try to put too much pressure on yourself,” Corbin said. “Sometimes when you’re trying to make a spot you get out of your element and get yourself in trouble. Just relax and enjoy the game.”
The full squad reports Feb. 11, and the team opens Spring Training against the Dodgers on Feb. 26 at Salt River Fields.