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Drury, Lamb form a friendship competing for third base job

Despite competition for the starting third base position, Brandon Drury and Jake Lamb maintain a good friendship on and off the field. (Photo by Jessica Watts/Cronkite News)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Brandon Drury and Jake Lamb spent the last month of the 2015 season together in the Diamondbacks clubhouse.

“We have had a good relationship since I met him a couple years back,” Drury said. “We work well together and we talk on and off the field together.”

They have a lot to talk about this spring as they battle for the third base job.

Their competitiveness and friendship have pushed one another to get playing time.

“We both are really competitive,’’ said Lamb. “We definitely push each other on both ends.”

Lamb, the veteran of the duo, appeared in 107 games last year and hit .263 with six home runs and 34 RBI. As he gets ready for his second full season in the major leagues, the Seattle native wants to improve his all-around game.

“I worked on everything,” he said. “My defense, running the bases, improving my swing, you are always looking to improve on every part of your game.”

Drury made his MLB debut last September. Taken in the 13th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves, Drury was acquired by the D-backs in 2013 as part of the mega-deal that sent outfielder Justin Upton to the Braves.

Appearing in 20 games for the D-backs last year, Drury had a .214 batting average with two home runs and eight RBI. Drury spent his offseason working on a position he has played only 74 games in four years in the minors as well as improving his overall health.

The D-backs are giving him a look at second base as well as third.

“I worked a lot at second base and really took care of my body,” he said. “I tried to lean up, just be ready to go for spring and play second and third.”

Both Drury and Lamb agree there have been numerous current and former D-backs who have helped with their growth in the game.

“All of the guys have been really good to me,” Drury said. “(Paul) Goldschmidt, (A.J.) Pollock, everybody here has really kind of helped me and been there to make be better,  so it’s awesome to be on a team like that.”

The two stayed in contact in the offseason even though they didn’t work out together. Lamb said most of the conversations weren’t about baseball but “seeing how his body is feeling and how is offseason is going.”

As he battles for a roster spot with the team, Drury wants to show his improvement in hitting.

“I want to try and not give away any at-bats,” he said. “Be really prepared and ready to go every day and play hard, that’s all I can control.”

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