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D-backs take in Sydney Cricket Ground

SYDNEY -- The D-backs got their first look at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday afternoon, and they were impressed by what they saw.

The stadium dates back to the middle of the 19th century, and though it has been remodeled over the years, the Member's Pavilion, which was built in 1886, still remains. And players walked around it and were awed by the history.

"I think it's pretty incredible, actually," said Wade Miley, who will start Game 1 of the Opening Series for the D-backs at 7 p.m. Sydney time on Saturday (1 a.m. MST). "I just like the way it looks. It's like old-timey baseball there [with the Member's Pavilion]. It's what you used to see in Brooklyn Dodgers baseball."

The dimensions are 328 feet down the lines, 370 to the gaps and 400 to straightaway center. There is a lot of foul ground, comparable to Coliseum in Oakland.

"It's awesome, man," center fielder A.J. Pollock said. "The first thing is just a wow factor when you get here. It's a really cool atmosphere, really cool everything."

D-backs infielders took ground balls, while the outfielders took some fly balls to get a feel for how the field would play.

There were some areas of the infield where there were some bad hops, and Pollock in center faces the unique challenge of having a portion of shallow center being harder than the rest, because it's where the clay that holds the wickets for the cricket matches.

"It's not an issue," Pollock said. "It's different. No problem at all."

The D-backs will hold workouts at the stadium Wednesday and Thursday, and then play an exhibition game against the Australian national team on Friday before opening the regular season with games Saturday and Sunday.

That should give them time to become more accustomed to the stadium and field.

Tuesday, though, was about admiring the place.

"We got in here and everyone took 20 minutes to just soak it in," Pollock said. "It's just an amazing looking park. They did a great job. They've got a really, really neat park."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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