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Healthy Tomas ready to win spot in crowded OF

February 28, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yasmany Tomas knows the situation.Outfielders A.J. Pollock and David Peralta are back. The acquisitions of outfielders Steven Souza Jr. and Jarrod Dyson make for a crowded outfield that might not include him.Tomas remains unfazed."I come to Spring Training with the same mentality every time, and that's to

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yasmany Tomas knows the situation.
Outfielders A.J. Pollock and David Peralta are back. The acquisitions of outfielders Steven Souza Jr. and Jarrod Dyson make for a crowded outfield that might not include him.
Tomas remains unfazed.
"I come to Spring Training with the same mentality every time, and that's to win a job," Tomas, 27, said in Spanish. "That's normal. It's always been like that for me. I'll give my best as I normally do, and at the end of the day, it's up to them to make the decision."
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Tomas' struggles on defense and inconsistency at the plate are well-documented. He signed a six-year, $68.5 million deal in 2014, and followed with two-injury shortened seasons in 2015 and 2017. He did hit 31 home runs with 83 RBIs and a .508 slugging percentage in 2016, and said he feels like he can produce even better numbers in 2018.
The outfielder had a pair of core muscle surgeries last year.
"Physically, I'm fine," Tomas said. "I'm healthy, and I'll show what I can do when I'm healthy. I'm glad I'll be able to display my talents when I'm feeling good just like others who are coming off an injury."
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Tomas entered camp in a better place mentally. He visited Cuba in January for the first time since defecting, and was reunited with his family members during his five days on the island.
"I can't explain to you the peace of mind it brings to see them after 3 and a half years," Tomas said. "My mother, father, brothers, sisters and my other daughter are there. My grandparents are still in Cuba. It was a great experience, and very good for me."
Position battle
The competition between Archie Bradley, Brad Boxberger and Yoshihisa Hirano for the closer's job has taken an interesting turn.
Boxberger, 29, was originally scheduled to pitch Tuesday against the Giants, but did not because the outing did not align with the pitcher's personal program. When Boxberger throws in a game next will be decided after he throws a bullpen Thursday. Boxberger's lone appearance this spring came last Friday.
"Everything has been feeling good. It's just a matter of not getting too many outings, but making sure I get enough for Opening Day," Boxberger said. "It's all about planning it out. We know how many days are left in spring, and we know kind of the schedule and what I need to do to be able to get ready."
Boxberger, who was limited to 27 games in 2016 and 30 in '17 because of injuries, said he usually needs six to eight outings to be ready for the season. He could be ready in as few as four.
"He's feeling fine," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's just a process that he walks through. We listen to our players and how they feel and we don't want to interrupt things. We know he has a style to prepare himself and we are aligned with that."

As for Bradley, 25, he allowed four runs on two hits while walking three over 1 1/3 innings Tuesday. Hirano, 33, allowed a run and two doubles in an inning against the Indians last Saturday, and allowed two runs on three hits Wednesday against the Rockies.
Feliz means happy
Reliever Neftali Feliz was delayed because of visa issues and is still working his way toward appearing in a Spring Training game.
The right-hander is part of a group of relievers that includes Kris Medlen, Noel Salas and left-hander Antonio Bastardo who were signed to Minor League deals and are vying for a job.
"I'm very grateful that the D-backs gave me an opportunity and I'm going to work hard to win a job," Feliz, 29, said. "I look forward to the competition and being part of a winning team. I know I need to win a job and I can't wait to pitch."
Feliz was closer for the Rangers during their back-to-back trips to the World Series in 2010-11 and gets a daily reminder of the past every time he glances across the clubhouse. Feliz's D-backs teammate, Daniel Descalso, was on the Cardinals team that rallied against Feliz's Rangers in Game 6 of the World Series in 2011, and eventually won the title in Game 7.
"We have not had a chance to talk about it, but I'm sure we will," Feliz said with a smile. "That seems like so long ago. A lot has happened since then. Time flies."
Up next
The D-backs take on the Brewers on Thursday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. MT at Salt River Fields with Zack Godley on the mound. Albert Suarez, Salas, Andrew Chafin and Jorge De La Rosa are also scheduled to pitch. Watch live on MLB.TV or listen to an exclusive team webcast. 

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.