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D-backs not resting on laurels entering spring

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- When Spring Training opened last spring, first-year manager Torey Lovullo talked about changing the culture of the clubhouse and leaving the disastrous 2016 season behind.

This year, Lovullo will want to keep the culture from last year, while also working to put the success of 2017 behind them, after the D-backs won 93 games and captured the top National League Wild Card spot.

PHOENIX -- When Spring Training opened last spring, first-year manager Torey Lovullo talked about changing the culture of the clubhouse and leaving the disastrous 2016 season behind.

This year, Lovullo will want to keep the culture from last year, while also working to put the success of 2017 behind them, after the D-backs won 93 games and captured the top National League Wild Card spot.

The D-backs open Spring Training on Wednesday with the first pitchers and catchers workout, followed by the first full-squad workout, which will take place next Monday.

There won't be a lot of practice time before games begin, as the D-backs play host to Arizona State University on Feb. 21, before opening Cactus League play Feb. 23 against the Rockies.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I was really proud of the year we had," Lovullo said. "Our guys came together in a very unique way; they believed, cared, trusted. I think all those things that go into a team feeling like they can be successful, year in and year out, are kind of built-in. [But] we have turned the page on 2017."

One of the phrases Lovullo has used in appearances this offseason is "raising the bar," and it's something his players will likely hear from him throughout this spring, because while they did have success last year, they still finished short of where they wanted to be after getting swept by the Dodgers in the NL Division Series.

"We know what it takes now," Lovullo said. "We know what the walk is. We know what the runway looks like. And when you get to the end of the runway and hopefully enter into the postseason, that it's a whole new level of baseball, and that you got to be ready to play. So as we're moving forward, we're not going to look past what we have to do during the year, but we know that there's an extra gear that we need to get to, and we know what that feels like. And we fell short of our expectations and our overall goals, and I know that we're hungry to achieve things and bring it to the next level."

The D-backs enter the spring with a starting rotation that is set. The bullpen will likely have a couple of spots open, and perhaps more, depending on health.

Of course, the biggest question will be who ends up as the closer among Yoshihisa Hirano, Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger.

While there doesn't appear to be many spots open when it comes to position players, the biggest question there is going to be how Lovullo sorts out a crowded middle-infield situation.

Whereas last year nothing was expected of them, this year, they are looked at as legitimate postseason contenders.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks