How does that "World Champion San Francisco Giants" phrase sit with you Diamondbacks fans? Used to it yet, or does it still rub you raw? Unfortunately, it's going to be around until October -- but that doesn't make having them on the schedule for the very first 2011 Spring Training game any easier.
The Diamondbacks and Giants kick things off today at 1 p.m. at Scottsdale Stadium located in downtown Glendale, AZ. Kidding, it's in Scottsdale just down the street from all the swanky bars and clubs that the cool kids (and Matt Leinart) frequent.
Kirk Gibson has elected to throw Joe Saunders on the mound for this very first live pitch of 2011 while the Giants obviously went with a long-haired freak, Tim Lincecum. Wade Miley will take the mound after Saunders with each projected to go about two innings and throw roughly 30 pitches. From there, it's bullpen time.
The batting order is Willie Bloomquist (2B), Melvin Mora (3B), Justin Upton (RF), Miguel Montero (C), Xavier Nady (LF), Brandon Allen (1B), Wily Mo Pena (DH), Tony Abreu (S), Cole Gillespie (CF).
The Giants order is...well, who cares really, it's Spring Training.
A couple of note from Gibby's pregame media chat:
- Xavier Nady's arm is not as strong as other guys but 18 months removed from surgery should be healthy and has no restrictions.
- Overall, the D-backs came through camp in good health. LHP Joe Patterson missed one day due to a neck strain and guys like Clay Zavada and Juan Jaime were held back as expected.
- As usual, guys will move all around during Spring Training. Batting order, positions in the field, whatever.
- Gibby went with a DH today and Sunday in part because his pitchers got enough stick work recently and because he wants to see Pena hit. So do I. He's a big man.
- Gibby still hopes to know what kind of team he has by Opening Day and have a set lineup by then. He hopes.
- Rule #1 for defense? Catch the ball. Gibby doesn't want guys rushing to make plays. Catch the ball.
- Tomorrow is a big day with the home opener at Talking Stick but Gibby won't change his approach and give his "stars" more time than he otherwise planned. It's Spring Training, not a dog and pony show (he didn't say that, but I could see it in his gruff eyes).
- Play ball.