The smiles of D-backs players were as bright as the sunshine as they walked off Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Tuesday following their first pre-Spring Training bullpen sessions.
No one was beaming more than Evan Marshall, who trod a mound for the first time since walking off it with a fractured skull in August.
"I've been waiting a long time to get back on the mound," Marshall said. "[The rehab] has been a long process, and I feel I'm at the point now where I can focus on baseball, and less on the battle coming back."
While pitching for the Triple-A Reno Aces, Marshall was struck by a liner off the bat of El Paso's Jason Hagerty, and missed the remainer of the season.
"I made some really good pitches," Marshall said of his Tuesday workout. "I was inconsistent at times, but it felt like [the ball] was coming out hard. There are some things I can work on for the next one but, overall, today was a win."
"He looks solid, like he's really working hard for this season," Tuffy Gosewisch said after catching Bradley's bullpen session. "It was awesome [being back on the field]. We had quite a few guys out there, and it's exciting to finally get started."
Gosewisch belongs to the rehab crowd: He suffered a torn left ACL in late May and missed the rest of the season.
"I'm ready to go. It felt like last season before I got hurt," Gosewisch said. "It felt like it does every spring."
The bullpen sessions had a large, involved audience, headed by club managing general partner Ken Kendrick and club president Derrick Hall, and also included manager Chip Hale and new D-backs pitching coach Mike Butcher. Coaches Glenn Sherlock, Garvin Alston and Mike Fetters also were on hand.