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Snake Bytes, 1/30: The last of January

The next Snake Bytes will find us actually in the month that will see the Diamondbacks take the field! Woo-hoo!

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Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Team news (more or less)

[] D-backs host first offseason bullpen sessions - The smiles of D-backs players were as bright as the sunshine as they walked off Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Tuesday following their first pre-Spring Training bullpen sessions. No one was beaming more than Evan Marshall, who trod a mound for the first time since walking off it with a fractured skull in August. "I've been waiting a long time to get back on the mound," Marshall said. "[The rehab] has been a long process, and I feel I'm at the point now where I can focus on baseball, and less on the battle coming back."

[AZ Central] Stronger Chris Owings hoping for bounce-back season - Chris Owings has been hitting for more than a month now, a good six weeks earlier than last year, and each of his swings is filled with purpose. For the first time in a while, the Diamondbacks infielder can focus on how he feels mechanically, not physically. "It’s nice to hit and have somebody give you some suggestions vs. just, ‘How does your shoulder feel?’ " Owings said. "It’s good to get back to that."

[Examiner] Diamondbacks look forward to a healthy Castillo - At the winter meetings last month, Hale indicated Castillo would be the Diamondbacks starter behind the plate. However, concern surrounding Castillo could develop. That’s because he seemed to have a propensity for attracting minor ailments. Not the severe kind to keep him out of the line-up for a considerable period of time, but those knocks and bruises which tend to nag. An ice pack or bandage wrapped around various parts of his body were not uncommon after games.

[Inside the 'Zona] Fastball and changeups and Diamondbacks - It has long been known that in dry air, especially at altitude, breaking balls don’t break as much. There’s less resistance from the atmosphere for the seams to grip. This is why the Rockies have long sought pitchers with strong fastball/changeup arsenals. Sure, Chase Field isn’t Coors Field, but as we discussed some time ago when it comes to batted balls, the Diamondbacks’ home is the next closest thing to playing at a mile up. Maybe that makes changeups slightly more important in Arizona than they might be anywhere else.

[CBSSports] Arizona Diamondbacks team outlook - Last season, Jake Lamb got overshadowed by the many outstanding rookies, but after a hot start, he didn't do much to keep pace with the Kris Bryants and Carlos Correas of the Fantasy world. Lamb was shelved by a foot injury for roughly a quarter of the season, and when he returned, he didn't produce much. He was a prolific power hitter in the minors, but over the season's final four months, he had only 21 extra-base hits and a .109 Isolated Power. Lamb will be under the radar now, but with some major league experience and likely better health, he will get another chance to put his power skills on display.

[Kane County Chronicle] Kane County Cougars excited for second year with D'Backs - The Kane County Cougars brought in the beginning to another season, which happens to be the team’s 25th anniversary, with its "Meet the Diamondbacks" night Friday night. The Cougars welcomed in first-year manager Mike Benjamin, Arizona Diamondbacks Vice President/Special Assistant to the General Manager Bob Gebhart, and Diamondbacks Director of Player Development Mike Bell to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.

[] UA baseball: Zinter enjoying life in the game - When he was a boy, former Arizona Wildcats standout Alan Zinter received what seemed like sound advice from his father. Zinter’s dad, who had been a backup infielder at the University of Minnesota, urged his son to become a switch-hitting catcher. "He said that was the fastest way to the big leagues," Zinter recalled this week. "It took me 13 years. I was like, ‘Dad, I don’t think this worked.’ "

And, elsewhere...

[LA Times] As Dodgers ticket prices rise it's fair to ask: Is baseball pricing itself out of the family market? - By now, we should be numb to the cost of supporting our favorite teams. We shrug, and we pay up, and up, and up. And then, one day, something makes you go, "Huh." This was my "huh" moment on Friday: $48 for a seat in the left-field bleachers at Dodger Stadium? This is ticketing in the modern era, and it's not just about the Dodgers. If you can charge more for the front row, or for the exit row on an airplane, you do it. If you can charge more for a holiday game, or a Sunday flight, you do it.

[FOX Sports] Baseball's scouting profession isn't downsizing, it's just evolving - What I found isn't fewer scouts, but more. Significantly more. By my count, there were 639 full-time scouts (or other personnel with scouting backgrounds or responsibilities) in 2012, and 724 in 2015. Which represents an increase from 43 per team to 48. In particular, the Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers seem to have particularly expanded their scouting departments. Is it coincidental that the Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers are particularly associated with analytics and sabermetrics? I think probably not.

[CBSSports] Reports: Dodgers, Howie Kendrick agree to 2-year, $20M contract - Well, cross this one off the list. The Dodgers and second baseman Howie Kendrick have agreed to a two-year contract, pending the results of a physical. Jon Heyman adds that the deal will pay Kendrick $20 million over those two seasons.

[SFGate] Shady 1800s baseball contract hits auction block - It's an 1871 contract Leonard signed to play for the Washington Olympics that is perhaps the most historically significant artifact, said Chris Ivy, director of sports at Dallas-based Heritage Auctionse. It was signed at a time when there was a societal rift over whether baseball should pay its top players or remain amateur. Written on U.S. Treasury Department letterhead and signed by the acting Treasury secretary, the 40-word contract promises Leonard $720 for one year to be a department messenger. "Andy didn't do a lick of work for the Treasury," said Leonard's grandson, 82-year-old Charles McCarty.