Lamb broadens horizons with work at first base

Lamb broadens horizons with work at first base

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There are a number of things that D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb has to learn as he transitions to playing some first base.

Lamb is still primarily a third baseman and could very well be the D-backs' Opening Day starter there, but the team has played him at first twice this spring with the idea that he could get some time there on the rare days Paul Goldschmidt takes off.

"The weirdest part is when a ball is not hit to me -- I know it sounds obvious -- you've got to cover the base," Lamb said. "I'm so used to when the ball is not hit to me I just watch the play develop."

In addition, when you play third base you rarely have much of an opportunity to talk to opposing runners, whereas at first you're standing next to them.

Lamb has only played first base three times in his career. Once last year at Triple-A Reno and twice this spring, including Monday's game with the Dodgers.

The first baserunner Lamb encountered Monday was Justin Turner, who had just been hit by a pitch. When Turner got to first base, Lamb went with a standard opening line.

"I asked him how he was doing," Lamb said. "And he goes, 'I was doing better about 10 seconds ago.' Then I realized he had been hit by a pitch so that probably wasn't a good question to ask."

When Turner got hit for a second time in the game, Lamb opted for the silent treatment and thinks that might be the way to go.

"I'm not much of a talker," he said.

Lamb doesn't yet own a first baseman's glove, so he's borrowed one from either Blake Lalli or Jordan Pacheco.

"My biggest problem right now is I don't have a glove that I'm comfortable with," Lamb said. "So if they're going to put me over there, at some time we've got to get a glove. I'm so used to having a smaller glove. Hopefully I can stick over at third, but like I've said over and over, I'll play wherever they want me to."

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.