SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Well, that didn’t take long.
New Diamondbacks left fielder Mark Trumbo was tested early — try the first batter of the first inning -— in his first spring training game manning the position at Salt River Fields.
Leading off the Cactus League opener, Dodgers shortstop Chone Figgins laced a hard, sinking line drive that Trumbo snagged with a headfirst dive.
“I shot (center fielder A.J.) Pollock a smile. But you’ve got to be ready,” Trumbo said. “That’s kind of one of the things (Figgins) does. He shoots the other way a lot and fortunately I was in a decent position to come in and make the play.
“There’s not a lot of headfirst diving in practice. We usually save that for these types of situations.”
Four innings later, it was Figgins again; and once again Trumbo made the catch, this time sliding.
“It was nice to make a couple (plays), sure,” he said after the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 4-1. “First time playing left (field) here and fortunately I got tested and made a couple of good ones.”
Trumbo was the talk of the clubhouse afterwards.
“Oh my,” Martin Prado exclaimed. “He was exciting. Sometimes the ball finds you.”
“Oh, it was nice,” Miguel Montero added. “I mean a couple of top 10 (plays) already. It was good to see him making good catches and build up the confidence for him too out there. He looked good to me.”
Ever since he was acquired in the offseason, Trumbo’s outfield defense has been one of the more talked about subjects around the Diamondbacks. Last season he made only seven starts in left field, spending the majority of his time at first base.
“I am confident in him,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “Since I’ve been questioned about it several times and from day one we felt — we did our homework before we acquired him, and that he’d be a true asset to this team. He’s still got a lot to learn. He’ll get better.”
For his part, Trumbo is putting in extra work daily, spending time with outfielders coach Dave McKay.
“I go out there with confidence,” Trumbo said. “I expect to make the plays, but things like that are reassuring, sure. The more that I can put into my memory bank, the more good plays that just keeps building your confidence.
“I think there’s a lot of skepticism, so the more I can produce and contribute the better; the more confidence people have in me out there.”