D-backs' Minor Leaguers get to work early

D-backs' Minor Leaguers get to work early

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In an effort to get their starting pitchers stretched out before the Minor League season opens and to get some younger prospects extra work, the D-backs invited 50 players to come to Spring Training on Wednesday ahead of the March 10 pitcher and catcher report date.

Another 10 players, who are rehabbing from injuries, were also invited.

Yet, there were far more bodies on the Minor League field Wednesday afternoon as 42 players showed up on their own.

"Players start showing up and we take care of them," farm director Mike Bell said. "If somebody wants to work, our staff, our coordinators and coaches work with them."

The invited players get their hotel taken care of for the time before camp officially opens, while the other guys find a way to take care of it on their own. Meals are provided at the ballpark for anyone who shows up, invited or not.

"Beyond that, they're being creative," Bell said. "They're being resourceful, they're finding a way to do it. It's a real commitment on their part."

And it's a commitment on the part of the Minor League staff which spends the morning helping in big league camp and the afternoon working with the young players.

"It's long days," Bell said. "But I think if you ask these guys it's the kind of hard work where you know you're doing something valuable and you lay down at night with a smile on your face."

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.