D-backs excited for return to work in spring

Pitchers and catchers reported Monday, while position players arrive Thursday

D-backs excited for return to work in spring

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While Monday was technically reporting day for D-backs pitchers and catchers, the reality is most of them, as well as position players, have been working out at Salt River Fields for a while now.

There was still that first-day-of-school feel around the complex, though, with right-hander Archie Bradley admitting he had some trouble sleeping on Sunday night just from the anticipation of it all.

Pitchers and catchers will work out Tuesday and position players report Thursday, with the first full-squad workout coming on Friday.

"It felt good to get back out and throw the ball around a little bit and just get moving around a little bit and be around the guys," left-hander Robbie Ray said.

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It also was a first of sorts for new manager Torey Lovullo, who while he got some Major League managing experience while filling in for Red Sox skipper John Farrell in 2015, is in his first Spring Training in charge.

"It's been a long runway. It's been a long time coming for this day," Lovullo said. "We're all excited about it. It's like starting your own business. There's a lot of things that you're trying to put together, a lot of visions that I've had and those visions are in common with [general manager] Mike Hazen and I can see I'm aligned with ownership and [team president and CEO] Derrick [Hall], as well."

Here's a look at some news from Lovullo's first media session of the spring:

• The D-backs will "slow-play" ace Zack Greinke this spring, meaning he won't throw his first bullpen session until later in the week and take his time getting ready. Though a shoulder issue ended Greinke's 2016 season a week early, Lovullo said giving the right-hander more time to get ready is not related to his health.

"He knows himself better than any pitcher that I've had a chance to talk to," Lovullo said. "He just knows that he wants to throw a little bit later in the week."

D-backs will rely on Greinke

• D-backs closer Fernando Rodney is having visa issues and is not expected to be in camp until later this week.

"He's finalizing his visa issue," Lovullo said. "He's in full communication with us. We're very well aware of the situation. We know he's working hard to get here as soon as possible."

David Peralta will focus on playing right field and Yasmany Tomas in left. Peralta played primarily left field in 2015 before switching to right last year. When Peralta missed time due to a wrist injury, Tomas had shifted from left field to right.

• Whether the team carries 12 or 13 pitchers to open the season is yet to be determined. Lovullo also said it's not a given that the team would carry a situational left-hander in the bullpen, but if they don't, he would at least like to have a righty that is adept at getting lefties out.

• Lovullo has spoken with right-hander Shelby Miller over the phone this winter and feels like Miller's struggles last year were an aberration.

"He has a proven track record that he's been successful and he's gone out and performed at a very elite level," Lovullo said. "As athletes go, I know that you can have a down year, and I think that's what happened with Shelby. He got a little bit behind and couldn't quite catch up, and those are tough circustances for any athlete to go through.

Gilbert on Miller's 2017 season

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.