Tomas to split time between third base, outfield in Spring Training
Hale wants Cuban slugger to see a lot of at-bats
By Jesse Sanchez
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yasmany Tomas, who has worked out almost exclusively at third base, has started to shag balls from the outfield during batting practice and will see action there when games start next week.
"We've talked amongst everybody on the staff and in the front office, and what we're going to do for games is we have these at-bats, especially early on, where guys are only going to get two or three at-bats and then be out of the game," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "We've told Tomas that if there's a day when he is not going to play third, we're going to put him in the outfield just to get at-bats.
"We have to prioritize who gets all these at-bats in Spring Training. He's one we want to get a lot of at-bats to get a good [look] at his offense, too. We want him to go out and play."
Tomas, who was primarily an outfielder in Cuba, has responded with mixed results during drills at third base so far this spring. He made a few impressive plays during defensive drills Saturday, but he also mishandled a few groundballs and made errant throws to first base.
"Today we put him on the hot corner, as we call it. It's pretty high-intensity, more game-like," Hale said. "I think at the start of it he was so focused on catching the ball, he forgot he had to throw it over there, and his throws were very erratic. By the end of it, I thought he improved 100 percent with the throwing.
"It was good to see. Those are the type of drills that we'll see more and more of, and in the game we'll get to see what he looks like. I think he's coming along. He's getting more confident in himself and more comfortable."
Tomas remains optimistic.
"It feels like it's been a long time since I played third base, but I like the position and I feel good about it," he said. "I worked really hard in the Dominican, but this was a pretty intense rhythm. We simulated a game and I admit that at the beginning it was difficult. I don't think I was the only one who thought that, but we adjusted, and by the end, I was feeling good. That's normal at this point. That's why we are out here working."
Tomas said he's confident he can play both infield and outfield if needed.
"I signed as an outfielder, but they've given me the option to play third base and I'm working really hard at that," he said. "I'm going to try to get as many at-bats as I can and keep working hard, do what the team wants me to do. I'm having a great time. This is my dream."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.