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Now healthy, Koch set to start Cactus opener

With Souza introduced, D-backs ready to take on Rockies in Scottsdale
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs will open their 2018 Cactus League season on Friday against the Rockies with Matt Koch on the mound at Salt River Fields at 1:10 p.m. MST.

Koch was limited last year due to injuries and got into only one Major League game after appearing in seven games for Arizona in 2016.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs will open their 2018 Cactus League season on Friday against the Rockies with Matt Koch on the mound at Salt River Fields at 1:10 p.m. MST.

Koch was limited last year due to injuries and got into only one Major League game after appearing in seven games for Arizona in 2016.

"Excited for him," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "All the work he's been putting in. Last year was a lean year for him because of some injuries that he walked through early, so we felt like it would be special for him to start tomorrow and get a new start to the 2018 season."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Lovullo said he didn't know who else was scheduled to pitch in the game.

Most regulars, such as Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, will not play until Saturday, but Chris Herrmann will catch, Chris Owings will serve as the designated hitter and Ketel Marte will play shortstop.

Welcome

Newly acquired outfielder Steven Souza Jr. got a warm greeting from his new teammates when he arrived early Thursday morning.

Souza underwent drills with the position players and took some swings in the batting cage.

"It was great to be out here," said Souza. "And it is lovely out here, I'll tell you that. This is an amazing complex. It's just been a lot of fun to be here and get back out on the field."

Close, but not that close

Third baseman Jake Lamb laughed when he saw reports that he and Souza "grew up together in Seattle."

The pair are both from that area, but did not know each other until Lamb's college roommate, Brian Wolfe, introduced them.

"Yes, the Lamb and the Wolfe were roommates," Lamb joked.

Lamb and Souza go to the same muscle-activation therapist during the offseason in the Seattle area and have become friends.

Video: Souza Jr. reflects on being traded to the D-backs

Speaking of roommates

D-backs lefty Robbie Ray played with Souza in the Nationals' farm system, and the pair were even roommates for a short period of time in Double-A when Ray was called up and looking for a place to stay.

Another familiar face

Souza also got an enthusiastic greeting from shortstop Nick Ahmed, who played against Souza in the Arizona Fall League in 2013.

"We've kept in touch since," Ahmed said. "I got to watch him play a little on TV. I've followed his career, and he's done well. We're really excited to have him."

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

Steven Souza Jr., Matt Koch