La Russa, D-backs working on finalizing Opening Day roster

Mar 30, 2016, 9:40 AM
Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon Drury (27) celebrates with Nick Ahmed (13) after Drury hit a two-run ...
Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon Drury (27) celebrates with Nick Ahmed (13) after Drury hit a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 7, 2016, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
LISTEN: Tony La Russa, Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer

With Cactus League play winding down and Opening Day looming, the Arizona Diamondbacks are facing some difficult decisions in paring down their roster to 25 players.

They’re getting close to completing the task, according to chief baseball officer Tony La Russa.

“I would say, based on this meeting we just had, we’re probably — and I’m not going to specify pitchers or position players — there may be two spots for three guys, whether it’s pitchers or hitters,” La Russa told Doug and Wolf Wednesday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “That’s really a pretty good clarification here on Wednesday with four games to go.”

After finishing their Cactus League schedule with games in Mesa against Oakland Wednesday and at Salt River Fields against Colorado Thursday, the D-backs will host the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals for two exhibition games at Chase Field Friday and Saturday.

La Russa said the club hopes to have the 25-man roster finalized very soon — maybe by Thursday afternoon following the final Cactus League game.

“The reality is, there are still a couple of tough decisions to make,” he said.

The Hall of Famer shared a glimpse into the D-backs’ process of finalizing a roster, commenting that everybody that is involved will have their thoughts heard before a determination is made.

“In the end, what you hope is that there’s a consensus — that two guys of the three, whether a pitcher or position player — we all agree on,” he said. “If it comes down to where there’s a disagreement, the classic thing is the front office says ‘we’re picking this guy,’ and at least as a uniformed person, you appreciate that your opinion was solicited and respected.”

One player who is the proverbial roster bubble right now is Brandon Drury. The 23-year-old has been in a third base position battle with Jake Lamb this spring and has acquitted himself quite nicely. Drury is hitting .369 with four home runs and 12 RBI. He has also seen some time in the outfield in recent games.

“When you start having decisions about guys that have had this kind of spring, and you’re trying to figure out how many at-bats — more on the position players’ side — you’ve got a great situation,” La Russa said. “We just spent an hour-and-a-half discussing these great young players, including Brandon Drury, and where they fit and how they fit, it’s a great problem to have.”

The Diamondbacks open the 2016 campaign Monday night at Chase Field against the Colorado Rockies. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. and all the action can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

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