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D-backs hit paintball course in bonding exercise

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs had a short day of practice Monday before loading onto a charter bus for a group outing of paintball.

It is just the latest example of some team-building exercises the ballclub is taking part in this spring. Last week, pitchers and catchers hiked nearby Camelback Mountain as a group, and there is a golf outing scheduled next week.

As with the hike up Camelback, the team will get its work in during paintball.

"We'll play for probably three hours at least, and it's a heck of a workout," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

How effective the D-backs are at building a cohesive unit will reveal itself over the course of the long regular season.

"I think what you need to try and create is when things get tough that it stays intact," Gibson said. "This is just the start of many things that we're going to do, exercises to try and build that bond. So when it happens within the season, we'll be better able to stay on our task and not let the results or other things that are outside of us affect us."

D-backs veteran players talked throughout the offseason about how to better stick together during the season and have resolved to make sure that the team stays focused throughout.

It's a theme that the coaching staff has picked up on as well.

"One of the things we talked about is to think more like a tribe, where the bigger the adversary, the more formidable the tribe," Gibson said. "We'll know how we want to accomplish things, and we just have to stay within ourselves and continue to believe that we can do that. If you work together and you stay together, if you see a guy kind of drifting out there, then we have to pull him back in."

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