Notes: Spring sellout, closer competition

February 22nd, 2021

It took less than 24 hours for the D-backs to sell out of tickets for their games this spring at Salt River Fields.

Approximately 2,200 people will be allowed in for each Cactus League game at SRF, a facility that the D-backs share with the Colorado Rockies. The tickets were sold in socially distanced pods of two, four or six tickets.

"I just saw that on Instagram as I was waiting; I was like, dang, that sold out quick," D-backs pitcher Zac Gallen said. "I imagine there weren’t as many tickets, but that's still cool. The fans here are unbelievable. We’re itching to see them, they’re itching to see us. That’s super cool that the fans want to come out and support us."

As part of increased sanitation protocols, parking, concessions and merchandise purchase will be cashless and fans will be required to wear masks at all times unless actively eating or drinking.

"We missed our fans, and not just Diamondback fans but I think baseball fans -- throughout the entire United States," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We've kind of lost a little bit of a connection. We've done what we could and in our special way here in Arizona to remain connected to our core group of fans, and the fact that they're out there and they sold it out doesn't surprise me at all. The fans have been patiently waiting for these days, to be able to return to stadiums, and I am so excited to welcome them back. And hopefully as things move on through the course of the year, we start to reintroduce more and more fans. We know it's a process, and we're going to follow the protocols but couldn't be more pleased knowing that they're back on their way here to Salt River Fields."

Workouts on the backfields, which had always been open to fans in the past, are closed this year because of the COVID-19 protocols.

Bring it on

The NL West picked up its share of elite pitchers this offseason with Trevor Bauer signing with the Dodgers and the Padres picking up Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, and that's fine by D-backs right-hander Zac Gallen.

"I love it," Gallen said.

While it may bring headaches for some of the team's hitters, Gallen is eager to soak up some lessons and compete against the best.

"If I’m not pitching against them, I get to watch them from 100 feet away in the dugout," he said. "Just get to see those guys up close and personal and see what they do, and try to see what makes them tick and makes them successful. At the same time, if we compete against each other I know I’ll have to bring A1 stuff. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. I’m excited those guys are in the division and we can see what they’ve got."

Closing time

Stefan Crichton took over the closer's role last September after the D-backs traded Archie Bradley to the Reds, and while the team recently signed veteran right-hander Joakim Soria, who has 223 career saves, Lovullo said he wants to give Crichton a chance to compete for the role this spring.

For his part, Crichton is excited to learn from a 13-year veteran like Soria.

"It certainly would be awesome," Crichton said of closing. "I’m not going to hang my hat on whether I’m the closer or not. Everyone in the bullpen wants to be the closer. As a bullpen arm, that’s the most coveted position and role you can have. Whether I am or not, it does not matter to me. To have a guy here who has played 13 years, going on 14, I mean, golly. There’s so much everyone in this bullpen can learn from him. I’m pretty excited to work with him more, see what he’s all about and how he approaches his days and whatever else he does."

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The D-backs will hold their first full-squad workout of the spring Monday morning.