The Arizona Diamondbacks opened up their new Spring Training home, the wordily-named Salt River Fields, with a 10 inning loss. The Snakes were down 7-2 going into the ninth inning before they tied the game off a three-run blast by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. The Arizona Diamondbacks are now 0-2 on the Spring Training season, not that anyone is counting.
Today's bright spots include the two scoreless innings for Aaron Heilman in the start and the nice bat work from leadoff man and second baseman, Kelly Johnson. Goldschmidt impressed as well with two hits and three RBI. The 2009 draft pick is considered a dark horse to win the open first base job and he certainly didn't hurt his chances today.
"When you get into the late innings of games, they're very impact innings. The at-bats are very critical and crucial. (Goldschmidt) comes up with a chance to tie the game. He was patient enough to get that pitch and disciplined enough to put a good swing on it. That's what we're looking for," Kirk Gibson said about the young prospect.
Goldschmidt said he had faced the pitcher, Adam Jorgenson, at least six times in the minor leagues and had seen all his pitches before. It was a good day for the young player but he's not going overboard with the results.
"It's just one (at-bat) and it's a long spring training so we'll see what happens," Goldschmidt said.
Kelly Johnson started things off well when he worked a solid walk out of Colorado Rockies ace, Umbaldo Jimenez. Then in the third inning Kelly hit a home run to left, which he admitted was aided by the wind. Johnson finished off his day with a single in the fifth inning.
"That's probably an ideal Spring Training at-bat is to see some pitches, foul them off, get a pitch where I felt pretty good about," Johnson said about his leadoff walk to open the game. "(Jimenez) is definitely more electric than about any pitcher in the game so you never know, but in Spring Training it's nice to see the ball and feel like you see it well."
Zach Duke followed Heilman but didn't have nearly the same success. Duke gave up five hits and an earned run in his two innings. His evaluation of the day was understandably mixed.
"The main thing for me is to get first pitch strikes and control the ball after that. I wasn't able to do that with a couple of hitters and that ended up hurting me, " Duke said.
The lefty did get himself out of what could have been a much worse showing as he induced two ground ball double-plays and also successfully picked a runner off in the third inning. The run he gave up came off a single to former D-back Carlos Gonzalez who drove in Seth Smith who had doubled to leadoff the fourth.
The guy mostly likely to want to forget this game is Micah Owings. Owings didn't have good stuff today and was tagged for four earned runs in just one-third of an inning of work. According to Gibson his ball was flat and he knows he needs to pitch better.
New Park, Very Scottsdale
My impressions of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick are positive. What's not to like about the nice, clean, open ball park. Personally, I prefer Scottsdale Stadium a bit more because it reflects more of an urban feel which is appropriate since it' the home of the San Francisco Giants. This park is typical Scottsdale. Very fancy, very new, very comfortable, good food, and very expansive so you don't have to get too close to other people who may or may not be in your income level.