Breathe easy, D-backs fans…Paul Goldschmidt is ‘100-percent healthy’
On Aug. 1 of last year, a bad season for the Arizona Diamondbacks got even worse.
All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Pittsburgh’s Ernesto Frieri. He would miss the remaining 53 games of the season.
But Goldschmidt is fully healthy after reporting to Arizona Diamondbacks spring training camp at Salt River Fields earlier this week.
“It feels great, it’s 100 percent healed. I honestly forget I even broke it,” he told Doug and Wolf Friday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I got to have a normal offseason. I wasn’t having to do any rehab, which was good. I got to take time off, start hitting normally, I didn’t have to take extra swings, took less swings, or do anything different and healed 100 percent.”
That’s music to the ears of D-backs fans, who place any hopes for a bounce-back season squarely on the shoulders of a healthy Goldschmidt. At the time of the injury, he was leading the National League in runs scored and extra-base hits and was in the top five in total bases, RBI, walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Despite his obvious importance to the D-backs’ success, the 27-year-old doesn’t feel the crush of having to be a leader for this team.
“I think everybody on the team has the responsibility to lead in their own way,” he said. “Maybe it’s following other guys or mentoring guys. I don’t think there’s one leader out there.
“Everyone has a very high responsibility. You need to go about your business the right way. If we can get 25-plus guys doing that, we’re going to have a chance to be a successful team, and I believe, do it this year.”
For the first time since he arrived in the big leagues in 2011, Goldschmidt won’t be playing under the watchful eye of manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers.
Chip Hale replaces Gibson and Dave Stewart is now in the general manager’s office. Goldschmidt thinks the change will serve him and the team well.
“Just any change is going to light a fire under guys,” he said. “Whether it’s a bad change or a good change or whatever it is, after some time, it can become the same thing over and over. I’m not saying that’s what happened.”
He elaborated that even the simple tweaking of team routines in workouts during spring training keep guys on their toes.
Goldschmidt is also optimistic that the success on the résumés of Hale, Stewart and chief baseball officer Tony La Russa will translate to the field.
“There is so much experience in this front office and coaching staff,” he said. “Guys have won, they know how to win, they know what we want, they’re going to focus on the details, they’re going to expect a lot out of us as players, and I think it’s going to make us better.”