D-backs begin new era under Hale
Roster, front office overhauled during offseason
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training on Thursday and there were plenty of unfamiliar faces after the new baseball department overhauled last year's 98-loss team this winter.
So many, in fact, that veteran holdover Josh Collmenter was asked if players should wear nametags.
"Well, the beauty of it is we have jerseys, so they have our names on the back," he replied.
With all the new players, plus a new manager and baseball operations department, there will be plenty of differences in the way Spring Training is run.
"For us, the way you teach is to go back and start from ground zero," first-year manager Chip Hale said. "When a team loses 98 games, it's not hard to get their attention. We like to go on what guys have done in the past, but if a guy jumps out to us, he could find himself on the team."
Hale has taken advantage of having so many players working out at the facility over the last month to get to know his team. He will not get to ease into the job, however, as there will be plenty of decisions to make over the next six weeks.
Collmenter and Jeremy Hellickson are the lone locks for the starting rotation at this point, with Chase Anderson, Robbie Ray, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Andrew Chafin, Trevor Cahill, Vidal Nuno, Daniel Hudson, Randall Delgado, Yoan Lopez and Archie Bradley among those competing for the three open spots.
There will be much made about how players look while throwing bullpens over the next week, but for Hale that is only a small part of the equation.
"When that batter gets in the box, that's what's going to tell me," Hale said. "I think pressure and competition is going to make us better. We'll see who can handle it."
Here are some of the other topics Hale covered in his media session Thursday:
• Relievers Addison Reed and Matt Stites will be behind the other pitchers initially. The two were a little sore after throwing side sessions recently. Both underwent tests to rule out injury and were prescribed rest.
• Setup man Brad Ziegler, who underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee last September, is expected to be ready for Opening Day.
• Shortstop Chris Owings will likely miss the first 8-10 Cactus League games. The team wants to be extra cautious with his left shoulder that he had surgery on this offseason.
• The D-backs will initially look at Hudson as a starter, but nothing is set in stone at this point. Whatever they decide to do, they will involve him in the decision.
• There are eight catchers in camp including Tuffy Gosewisch, Oscar Hernandez, Gerald Laird, Blake Lalli, Peter O'Brien, Jordan Pacheco, Matt Pagnozzi and Mark Thomas.
"It's wide open," Hale said of the catching competition. "Any of the eight could be on our team as one of our catchers."
• The D-backs will begin stretching on the fields Friday around 10 a.m. MT. Fans wishing to watch practice should part in the Desert Parking Lot and follow the winding path to the practice fields. There is no charge to attend.