From left to right, the outfield transition seamless for Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mark Trumbo
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Like an offensive lineman in football or an official in basketball, you know you’re doing your job when no one is talking about you.
For the Arizona Diamondbacks, that person is Mark Trumbo.
Yes, people are talking about how well he’s hitting this spring, but it’s what they’re not saying about his defense that has the team encouraged.
“I think that (the talk) has been kind of quiet. It’s probably a good thing,” he said Thursday.
After a year in left field, Trumbo is beginning his second season with the D-backs playing right field, a job that was his to lose at the start of spring training. In fact, only he, Paul Goldschmidt (first base) and A.J. Pollock (center field) had secured spots among position players on the 25-man roster heading into camp.
Nothing has changed the D-backs’ thinking about Trumbo.
“He moves better than people give him credit for,” first-year manager Chip Hale said. “He throws better than people give him credit for. We know he’s not going to be the fastest outfielder…I think he’ll do a fine job out there.”
Said Trumbo, “So far so good, I think. I’ve tried to make the plays that have come my way.”
The D-backs, according to Trumbo, approached him about a position switch over the final few days of last season. It was new GM Dave Stewart who first broached the subject.
“I was quick to say that if it was an option, I would be totally game for it, for trying and making that transition into right,” Trumbo said.
Though he’s played more left field than right field (116 games vs. 65) over his five big league seasons, Trumbo said he actually feels more comfortable in right.
“Visually there is a bit of a difference, in my opinion I think,” he said. “I pick (the ball) up a little better in right. I know especially coming in on a ball I feel more comfortable. Left was a little more challenging. I think being right-handed in right field is maybe a little more beneficial for me, too; always having things going away from you are all on the glove side.”
In 2014, Trumbo made 41 starts in left field before an injury to Goldschmidt necessitated him playing first base, his natural position.
Obviously, there’s no replacing Goldschmidt. So, Trumbo headed back to the outfield, but now in right, where Stewart and the D-backs felt he played better during his time with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Even better than his glove is the bat Trumbo is swinging.
He entered Thursday hitting .394 (13-for-33) with four doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI in 11 Cactus League games.
“Got a few lucky hits. Hit a few balls hard,” said Trumbo, healthy after a stress fractures in his left foot limited him to 88 games last season. “There’s still a lot of things I’d like want to work on, obviously.”
The D-backs hope this is the Trumbo, the one capable of 30-plus home runs and 90 RBI, they see in the regular season.
Being more comfortable now defensively should help him offensively.
“If (playing right field) can allow me to alleviate a little bit of extra pressure and allow me to free up a little bit (at the plate),” he said, “sure, I think it’s a benefit.”