While spring training signals the end of the offseason for all players, Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young and second baseman Kelly Johnson acknowledge that a determined mindset is the most important thing to bring with them to Salt River Fields.
“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what kind of year you had last year,” Young said on Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf Monday morning. “By all means you come into spring training with the mentality of having to win a job and having to prove yourself all over again.”
For Johnson, having to prove himself in spring is no change from an offseason that almost resulted in a salary arbitration hearing. A one-year contract was agreed upon, saving both player and club from more distractions than either would have liked.
“[Arbitration] is one of those things you just don’t want to go through,” Johnson said, also on Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf. “As an athlete everybody knows its business, but at the same time it gets brought up in some way or another. But it’s nice to get it done before camp.”
Coming off an embarrassing season, the D-backs are coming into spring training with the goal of putting losing as far into the past as possible.
“Just trying to right that ship has been on my mind all year [and] all offseason,” Johnson said. “Coming in here, that’s all I want to do: Just get this thing turned around.”
Young is approaching this season knowing that he needs to be more controlled mentally because the season is a marathon and the team that survives it will be on top. Staying consistent throughout the season is Young’s top priority and that approach starts in the spring exhibition games.
“I’ve learned not to get down on immediate results,” Young said. “You just kind of go with the flow of spring training and try to prepare for the season.”
In an attempt to turn a new leaf and bring in a higher maturity level, the D-backs have added veterans and coaches with winning experience into the mix.
“I’ve learned that it does make a difference,” Young said. “In ’07 we did have some veteran players and they did kind of put us in check when we needed [it].”
“You’ve got World Series Champions at every coach on the board,” Johnson said. “It makes it real easy to buy into what these guys are saying, doesn’t it?”