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D-backs ready to write their own story

Gibson isn't concerned with early misfortune or pundit predictions

PHOENIX -- Let's be honest, the last couple of weeks have not been kind to the D-backs.

First, one day before they left for Sydney, Australia, they found out that ace and anticipated Opening Day starter Patrick Corbin would be lost for the season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Then the D-backs dropped both games of the Opening Series to the National League West-rival Dodgers.

And finally, upon their return to Arizona, they learned that eighth-inning setup man David Hernandez also had a torn UCL and could be headed for Tommy John surgery.

"Initially, we had a tough week last week," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Saturday morning just prior to the team's final Spring Training game against the Cubs. "But I felt like today guys came in, real good frame of mind, good energy. They can see the start of the season coming, and we're excited about it."

Gibson is aware that fans might not share that sentiment and instead could be concerned that the injuries could shift the D-backs from contender to pretender status before they even "reopen" their season tonight at 6:40 MST against the Giants at Chase Field.

"Virtually every team is going to have obstacles to overcome throughout the year," Gibson said. "We've had some that have hit us early, and we'll be resilient and have to fight through it."

For a precedent, Gibson thinks back to his first full season as manager in 2011.

The D-backs did not play well that spring, and coming off a 97-loss season they were picked to finish near the bottom of the National League West.

Instead, the D-backs went on to win 94 games and capture the division title before losing in extra innings in Game 5 of the NL Division Series.

"I don't think anybody was thinking we were going to do anything in 2011," Gibson said. "I know what we believe in, and that's the important thing. I understand that people ride the emotional roller coaster, but being involved at our level, that's not what you do. You write your own story, your own vision."

That story will start once again Monday with Brandon McCarthy getting the starting nod for the D-backs against Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

If you're looking for good signs amid the ominous ones this spring, McCarthy is certainly one of them. The right-hander has been the team's most consistent pitcher this spring, which is important after he suffered through an injury-plagued season in 2013.

Gibson chuckled at the preseason predictions that get made each year.

"There's going to be several predictions on who's going to win it," he said. "Nobody knows. We don't know. You don't know. But that's what's exciting: We get to find out, we get to start the journey to find out. That's the fun part about it.

"Players and athletes and people who compete and believe in themselves, they actually cherish people doubting them. That all begins on Monday. We're definitely ready."

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