ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Zac Gallen says current D-backs are ‘probably the closest team I’ve been on’

Mar 30, 2023, 9:37 AM

Pitcher Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on from the dugout during the eighth innin...

Pitcher Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on from the dugout during the eighth inning of the MLB game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field on August 30, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Phillies 12-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are a young team with a lot of experience playing with each other.

That’s something right-handed pitcher Zac Gallen has taken notice of, calling the clubhouse a brotherly atmosphere.

“I’ve been saying this throughout the offseason last year and into the spring, this is probably the closest team I’ve played on,” Gallen told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Tuesday. “The guys just like to spend time with each other …

“I think a lot of that is in part to those young guys who came up with each other, they spent years together in the minor leagues.”

Gallen said he had been hearing how promising the farm system had become but was wondering where the prospects were. That changed last year.

Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, Ryne Nelson, Tommy Henry and Drey Jameson all came up for their MLB debuts last season, while Jake McCarthy and Geraldo Perdomo became everyday players after debuting in 2021. They played together at various levels of the farm system and bonded during the 2020 minor-league camp after the season was canceled due to COVID-19.

Several young players noted that the transition into an MLB clubhouse was made easier by having familiar faces and with welcoming veterans. Gallen has felt the camaraderie.

“You could see a month or two at the end of the year when they all started to gel and get comfortable playing in the big leagues, and I think everybody here and the fans started to see there’s something legit here,” Gallen said. “It’s fun to watch.”

The 27-year-old is entering his fifth season with Arizona after getting traded to the desert in 2019 from the Miami Marlins.

The D-backs were a sub-.500 squad in each of the last three years, but the veteran righty has a different feeling this year.

“I think we’re going to compete for a playoff spot,” Gallen said. “Onefold of that is if you don’t think you could compete for a playoff spot, what are you doing it for, what are you suiting up for? But twofold is I actually think we have the talent.

“… I haven’t been able to say that with full-on confidence so far in my big league career, so I’m very excited.”

The D-backs were nearly a .500 club after Aug. 1 last season at 28-31.

With more experience and new additions, the team has heightened expectations for 2023, only two years removed from a 110-loss season.

Gallen will take the hill at Dodger Stadium for the D-backs on Thursday to open the regular season, his first Opening Day start.

First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.

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