Diamondbacks Major Leaguers Begin Return to Spring Training

Diamondbacks Spring Training
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Diamondbacks Spring Training: Major Leaguers Begin Their Return to Camp

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, Mar. 11 — There was a different feel when pulling up to Salt River Fields for Diamondbacks Spring Training Friday morning. For the past few weeks, the camp was full of minor leaguers. But with the end of the lockout Thursday evening, the players who were nearby began their return to camp.

It was like a reunion. The check-in tent to pick up media credentials was on the same sidewalk as the player check-in tent, so this reporter got to catch up with several smiling players. Reliever Joe Mantiply was the first, followed by right-hander Taylor Widener. Right-handed starter (and new papa) Merrill Kelly cracked some jokes. Catcher Carson Kelly pulled this reporter aside and asked him about all kinds of things, from off-season activities to this reporter’s new book and more. Outfielders and former University of Virginia teammates Pavin Smith and Jake McCarthy wore ear-to-ear grins while they checked in. Local product Josh Rojas, boyish grin and all, waved hello to everyone as he walked up. Manager Torey Lovullo arrived shortly thereafter, drawing huge smiles and bearhugs from the players.

Back to Work

Diamondbacks Spring Training
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Mar 11, 2022 — Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers Taylor Widener (left, in red) and Caleb Smith (right, in red) pitch bullpen sessions Friday morning during spring training at Salt River Fields. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

The pitchers who showed up threw bullpen sessions under the watchful eye of Lovullo and his coaching staff. Lefty Caleb Smith, Widener, righty Humberto Castellanos, among others, got reacquainted with returning catchers and introduced to the new ones. New pitching coach Brent Strom and returning bullpen coach Mike Fetters, along with some of the minor league pitching coaches stood along the back wall of the four-mound bullpen, giving feedback along the way.

Players of all positions did their calisthenics and stretching on the agility fields behind the main Diamondbacks complex. They laughed and joked with one another. Many came near the fence to both meet the new reporters and photographers and catch up with the returnees. Much laughter and joking came from those conversations as well.

It felt normal again. The Diamondbacks, along with the rest of Major League Baseball, are back.

Main image:

Diamondbacks Spring Training
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Mar 11, 2022 — Arizona Diamondbacks outfielders Jake McCarthy (left, with duffle bag) and Pavin Smith check in to spring training Friday morning at Salt River Fields. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

Players/managers/coaches mentioned:

Joe Mantiply, Taylor Widener, Merrill Kelly, Carson Kelly, Pavin Smith, Jake McCarthy, Josh Rojas, Torey Lovullo, Caleb Smith, Humberto Castellanos, Brent Strom, Mike Fetters