On a gorgeous Arizona spring morning walking about the sprawling Salt River Fields Baseball Complex one could hear the familiar sounds of baseballs popping gloves and the crack of the bat. Everywhere one looked on every field there were groups of players warming up and getting into the day’s workout.
In all there are 79 players from the Diamondbacks organization listed on the early camp Roster. Notably, there are no 40 man roster players participating due to Major League Baseball’s ongoing lockout. The lockout is a topic the team officials were not willing to discuss at any level and the media was expressly instructed not to engage with any of the players on the topic. That became a sore point for some in the media and one player in particular at the end of the day.
I focused most of my time around the “cloverleaf” of 4 fields where fielding drills, batting practice, and then live BP were taking place. While it was fun flitting back and forth between the different fields, keying in on and observing some of the higher ranked prospects in the D-backs system, I have to say the overall “energy” of the day was quite relaxed and low key. The players were very quiet as they went about their business, and there didn’t appear to be much “giddy up” in anybody’s step.
While Major league camp and minor league camps are separate, there is usually plenty of crossover as prospects closer to the majors participate in the MLB portion of camp and earlier spring games before eventually being optioned or sent back to minor league camp as spring training wears on. Perhaps not having the MLB camp going on at the same time and no prospect of getting to play with the major leaguers puts a damper on things ?
Or maybe I’m just projecting.
I got to watch Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, AJ Vukovich and Andy Yerzy take some cuts, among others. Tommy Henry and recently signed Dan Straily were the first two pitchers I saw warming up and then throwing live BP. Henry struggled with his command while Straily looked almost ready for the season to start, throwing strikes and exhibiting a sharp curveball.
Here is a link to my Google drive with 7 video clips. Not much to look at . Vukovich taking some swings, some warmup pitches by Henry and Straily. I tried to get some video of Carroll taking cuts during the live portion of BP but he kept taking pitches from Henry outside the zone. So not much to see there. He looks healthy though and it was encouraging to see him out there. There was a Jordan Lawlar sighting outside the workout room but not on the fields.
Mike Hazen and the rest of the D-backs baseball operations leadership were seen on site as was Torey Lovullo and most of his coaching staff. But other than perfunctory hello’s we were not permitted to interview them at all. When the day was over there were two players scheduled to give interviews, Corbin Carroll and Dan Straily. However upon hearing that one of the media members intended to ask questions about MLB Lockout impact on the players and the workouts, Carroll opted out of the interviews. Straily did come out after a very lengthy wait for the media and did answer questions, although none about the lockout. Due to a prior afternoon commitment I could not stay around (It was well over an hour wait).
Below are some links to stories from the other media members on the day’s activities so you can get a broader sense of the day and see more about what Straily had to say
Nick Piecoro, AZ Central:
Mark Brown, TTF Baseball
Zach Buchanan, The Athletic
Steve Gilbert, MLB.com