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D-backs ponder how Cricket Ground will play

SYDNEY -- The D-backs took batting practice for the first time at Sydney Cricket Ground, and they were pleased with how the ball carried.

One thing that could be a little tricky is it appears that the winds swirl within the stadium, making it difficult to get a consistent read on it.

The D-backs plan to play a three-inning simulated game in the stadium Thursday prior to the Dodgers' exhibition game with Team Australia.

"Kind of play the field a little bit," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "There's a lot of foul territory here. Kind of interesting."

That could impact how first baseman Paul Goldschmidt positions himself.

"Goldy plays off the line quite a bit, it will be interesting to see how he gets over there [in foul ground]," Gibson said. "Might want to modify that, depending on the hitter."

Both teams seemed to be pleased with the way the stadium has been converted from cricket to baseball, and the batter's eye in center has been given the thumbs up.

"They've done a good job of getting ready," Gibson said. "It is different, the way the stadium looks, so you have to try to learn the characteristics and be ready to deal with whatever it might throw at you."

The positioning of the lights is a little different than a regular baseball stadium, so the D-backs are anxious for their exhibition game against Team Australia on Friday night to get a chance to experience them.

Gibson said he thinks that the ball will not carry as well at night here as it does during the day.

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