D-backs allowing Tomas to ease into playing third base

D-backs allowing Tomas to ease into playing third base

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs plan on giving Yasmany Tomas every opportunity to win the starting third-base job this spring, but they won't drag it out until the end of camp.

Manager Chip Hale acknowledged Wednesday that the team would probably make a decision whether Tomas can stay at third or needs to shift back to the outfield.

"We haven't talked about a date," Hale said. "We want to get him into games and see how he looks. We're going to have to decide at some point. I think it's more going to be feel. As long as we feel like he's progressing we'll be OK with it."

Watching Tomas fielding with the other third basemen, it was clear that he was still in the process of learning and getting comfortable over there.

Tomas progressing at third base

"I watched a little bit of his defensive work," Hale said. "I thought he worked really hard and he's getting there. We have a lot of guys over there who are really fundamentally sound so he's able to watch them and pick things from them."

The D-backs signed Tomas to a $68.5 million deal this offseason, because of the power he has at the plate. What he does defensively is more icing on the cake.

The key for the coaching staff is to not overload him so much with information about playing defense that it takes away from his hitting.

"When you get a new player, whether it's from Cuba or a young guy coming to the big leagues, you want to tell him so much, but really you need to back off," Hale said. "At some point when we start evaluating whether he can play third base in the Major Leagues we're going to just have to leave him alone and his game is going to have to play or not play. So we're trying to give him these different tools, but he is competing for a job and you can't rewire everything about his game."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.