SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After 19 days, including one off day, the Diamondbacks’ spring training workouts will now include games. Real games. Against actual opponents. Or as real as games against an opponent can get in the month of February.
“We’re definitely ready to play games,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “The intensity and the way they’ve approached every day at practice has been good even though they’re ready long ago.”
The Diamondbacks open the Cactus League season on Wednesday with a game against the Dodgers at Salt River Fields. Brandon McCarthy will throw the first pitch at 1:10, and according to Gibson, will be on the mound four innings or 60 pitches.
“You want to extend them in preparation for what we’re going to do in Australia,” he said.
Here’s the lineup Gibson is running out against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw:
AJ Pollock CF
Aaron Hill 2B
Paul Goldschmidt 1B
Martin Prado 3B
Mark Trumbo LF
Miguel Montero C
Matt Tuiasosopo DH
Cliff Pennington SS
Gerardo Parra RF
“We have a strong lineup,” Gibson said. “We have some strong guys on the bench this year. We’re going to have to keep everybody involved. I say it every year. This is legitimate guys that are going to end up on our bench. We’re going to have some players that are going to have to take some time off.”
The Diamondbacks will play 24 games over 19 days before leaving for Australia where they will open the regular season with two games against the Dodgers on March 22-23.
The trick, Gibson said, is giving everyone—pitchers and position players alike — all an opportunity to play.
“We’ve talked a lot about this spring training, how we’ve kind of really focused on making sure they’ve had time to recover and keep them healthy,” he said. “Everybody has loved it. Have you heard anybody complain about it, about the pace? It’s been outstanding. My question would be why wouldn’t we do that in the season as well? Why wouldn’t it work there? Ultimately, we’re trying to win games. We’re trying to win as many games as we can. We’re trying to keep guys healthy, fresh, enthusiastic; able to make the plays.
“My curiosity is what’s the proper balance, how do I keep guys going. Ultimately in the end we’re trying to win as many games as we can. We’ve got a lot of good players that I’ve got to integrate in. We’ll buy into that. I think it’ll help us out.”