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D-backs manager Kirk Gibson: We’re viewing the Australia trip as a positive

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers will renew their National League West rivalry down under in two season-opening contests to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22 and 23.

While the chance to open the Major League Baseball season in a foreign country is often viewed as a welcomed opportunity for participating teams, one Dodgers pitcher, who very well could make a start during the two-game series, was rather candid about his disdain for the 13-hour trip.

“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it,” Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke told Mark Saxon of “There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”

Although both the D-backs and Dodgers opened camp a week earlier than the other 28 times around the league, Greinke’s frustration likely stems from both the jet lag element and the fact that the hiatus in late March ruins any sort of routine created by playing in daily Cactus League games.

But while Greinke sees the sojourn to Australia as a bit of a nuisance, the same cannot be said for D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.

“I think we’re excited to start the regular season and that is part of our regular season this year,” Gibson said. “It’s a couple of our home games. They’re important to win.

“Spring training is always long. It gives us another challenge, yeah. I’m not sure how the Dodgers have processed all that, but I think we’ve kind of viewed it in a positive view. We should. It is exciting. We are honored and humbled to go over there and represent Major League Baseball.”

Although the trip is as much about helping grow the game internationally as it on-field performance, Gibson added that his squad isn’t planning on treating the games any differently than the other 160 games on its squad.

“We are planning on playing really good well over there,” said Gibson. “If you want to play good, you have to have a good attitude about that. We’re preparing to play well over there and have a good time while we’re at it.”

The D-backs and Dodgers open up Cactus League play Wednesday at Salt River Fields. Gibson announced Sunday that right-hander Brandon McCarthy will get the nod on the bump for Arizona.