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Snake Bytes, 2/16: Spring in the air

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It. Has. BEGUN...

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Workout Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Team news

Let’s start with 13 more minutes of pitcher bullpens, shall we?

There. That was pleasing.

[AZ Central] Tomas not assured of starting job - “I think a corner outfield spot is available, and how we fill that and who starts and who plays is going to be up for grabs,” Lovullo said... That said, it’s not exactly a surprise the Diamondbacks aren’t just handing him the job. At the moment, there’s no proven replacement on the roster, unless the club wants to use the versatile Chris Owings more heavily in the outfield. Lovullo didn’t want to comment on Tomas specifically. Tomas isn’t in camp yet – position players report to Salt River Fields on Sunday – and Lovullo said he wanted to speak with him before making public comments. “As soon as the position players get in, I’ll get into that,” Lovullo said.

[brinkwire] Lovullo preaches competition on eve of camp - On the infield, it’s the same collection of players vying for time at shortstop and second base, though the initial pecking order has likely changed somewhat. Ketel Marte, a sort of also-ran last year, would appear to have a leg up for a job. Brandon Drury, the starter at second on Opening Day last year, might be in a less commanding position. Asked about the logjam, Lovullo brought the conversation back to competition. “I want that to be the theme because I think that prepares everybody from a mental standpoint and gets them ready for the start of a healthy season,” Lovullo said. “I don’t know where it’s going to land us, but they’re the same names as last year.”

[Arizona Sports] Hazen: All is silent on J.D. Martinez front - "No update,” Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said Thursday. Martinez, along with several other big-name players, is unsigned after hitting free agency in the offseason. “I think, again, we’re engaged in the entire market. As I’ve said throughout the entire offseason, we’re continuously looking for ways to make our club better and there are still options available out there and so we’re staying intimately engaged with the market,” said Hazen, who added they are primarily targeting the outfield.

[] D-backs' Greinke would welcome Martinez back - Greinke said he is not sure what effect, if any, the installation of a humidor at Chase Field in 2018 will have, but he's open to it. The D-backs have said they are adding the humidor not to reduce home runs, but in order to be able to store baseballs at the humidity level recommended by Major League Baseball. "I wish every park was neutral so that everyone dealt with the same circumstances," Greinke said. "I know my ball moves more in most places than it does in Arizona, like my two-seamer and some of my changeups I feel like, too."

[AZ Central] Walker hopes humidor helps him get a grip - “It’s pretty easy to get a grip with the fastball, but the hardest thing for me is getting a grip with the curveball,” Walker said. “That’s the biggest feel pitch for me. Sometimes I feel like it’s going to slip out, so I have to choke it to really get a good grip on it, and I feel like I sometimes lose some spin doing that. And sometimes it pops up because I feel it’s going to slip out. If I feel like I have a good grip on the curveball, and if that (the humidor) is going to help, it’s going to be awesome. That’s my biggest feel pitch.” Overall, Walker’s results on the road (2.92 ERA) were better than at Chase (4.18).

[Arizona Sports] Greinke aiming for faster approach to spring training - “I’m trying to get ready a little bit faster this year so we’ll see how that goes, but it probably won’t work out that way,” he said. “Just, last year, I felt like I was — it ended up being a good year — playing catch-up a little too much and if things didn’t work out super smooth the end of spring training, I might’ve been a little bit more behind, where this year I’m trying to start early so I don’t have to be lucky to get ready in time.” Another reason for the different approach this spring, Greinke said, is because he had “a couple of setbacks trying to get ready in the offseason.” They were small setbacks, according to Greinke, who mentioned getting a rash and traveling more than normal.

[] D-backs' Torey Lovullo embracing second year - "It's more time for me to catch up [with guys] and dig right in, and start to challenge them quicker," Lovullo said. "It's a totally different year. Last year, I was kind of treading water." The D-backs will not look to do any treading in 2018, as they hope to qualify for the postseason for a second straight season for the first time since 2001-02. "It doesn't mean that you can just go up to the starting line and run the race and expect to win," Lovullo said of last year's 93-69 National League Wild Card-winning team. "We've got to get back to who we believe and know that we are."

And, elsewhere...

[Phoenix Business Journal] Two world views collide on stadium, arena subsidies - A conservative lawmaker is running a bill at the Arizona Legislature prohibiting public funding and subsidies for professional sports stadiums, ballparks and arenas. State Sen. Warren Peterson’s measure — Senate Bill 1453 — would potentially impact public money for new or renovated arenas for the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Coyotes, ballparks for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cactus League spring training ballparks and eventually down the road for the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals.

[] Top 100 MLB players of 2018: The Top 10 - 10. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, the cornerstone first baseman is one of baseball's best all-around players. After another spectacular season last year—.297/.404/.563 with 36 home runs and a Gold Glove—Goldschmidt finished third in NL MVP voting, the third time he's finished top-three in MVP voting. Goldschmidt has it all: Durability (he's played at least 155 games in four of the last five seasons), plate discipline (95 or more walks four of the last five seasons), defense (three Gold Gloves), speed (at least 18 stolen bases in each of the last three seasons) and, of course, power

[USA Today] MLB commissioner Rob Manfred: Pace of play rule changes coming - Commissioner Rob Manfred emphatically said Thursday that there will be rule changes to improve the pace of play before the start of spring training games, whether he receives the union’s approval or not. Manfred also said that he’s not concerned with the abundance of unsigned free agents, acknowledging that the marketplace is slower than usual, but believe they will be eventually signed. “There’s a difference between not having a job and having an offer for a job,’’ Manfred said,

[ESPN] Put me in, coach! How much embarrassment would you be willing to endure to play major league baseball? - If, because of an unintended loophole in the collective bargaining agreement, the Miami Marlins discovered they could save $1 million by letting you play an entire major league game, on the condition that you actually had to play, that you must start the game (at any position) and you must not leave the game (under any condition), would you play?