SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While much of the nation is buried in snow, glazed by ice or just plain shivering in the cold, its time to play ball in the desert. Spring training officially began Thursday when Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers reported, with their first workout set for Friday. On the other side of suburban Phoenix, in Glendale, Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catchers report on Saturday. Full-squad workouts for both teams begin next week. The Diamondbacks and Dodgers get an early start because they will open the MLB season with a two-game series in Australia on March 22-23. The rest of the teams begin workouts next week at their spring training haunts in Arizona and Florida. Arizonas reporting date signals the beginning of preparation for a season that wont end until the World Series eight months from now. The Diamondbacks are coming off consecutive 81-81 seasons and face the prospect, like the rest of the NL West, of trying to compete with the cash- and pitching-rich Dodgers. Arizona wanted to add a veteran starter in the off-season and still may. A person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday that the Diamondbacks were talking with representatives of Bronson Arroyo with the possibility of landing the 36-year-old right-hander. The person asked not to be identified because the talks had not been made public. The Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles also reportedly have interest in Arroyo. If no changes are made, the Diamondbacks rotation is expected to include left-handers Patrick Corbin and Wade Miley and right-handers Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy. Young right-hander Randall Delgado and top minor league prospect Archie Bradley could vie for the other rotation spot. Diamondbacks players went through informal workouts in relatively chilly weather, at least by Arizona standards, on Thursday. Temperatures were in the low 60s but were expected to rise to the high 70s over the weekend. Kirk Gibson is entering his fourth season as manager and earlier this week got an extension of his contract, which had been set to expire this year. He said the early start to spring training will mean a larger gap between the start of full-squad workouts and the beginning of spring games. "Well come in on the 11th and our first games on the 26th," he said. "It gives us a challenge. We need to get our pitchers ready to be ready to go on March 22." After the long trip to Australia, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers will come back to Arizona to complete spring training before their stateside regular-season openers. "The seasons going to be a little longer, " Gibson said, "but if you look at the other people that have played abroad early, I think theres 10 teams that went and five of them have went to post-season play." Even though its an early start to spring training, McCarthy said players are more than ready to get back at it. "In the last month is when you start to hit that boredom point," he said. "Youre done with the off-season, youre sick of your loved ones, you want to get out of your house. Now it turns real and you kind of get back to work." The other significant addition to the Diamondbacks pitching staff is Addison Reed, The 25-year-old right-hander had 69 saves the last two seasons with the Chicago White Sox, 40 last year. Arizona acquired him from the White Sox for third baseman Matt Davidson. Reed hasnt been anointed the Arizona closer yet, though, facing competition from the likes of J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Brad Zeigler. "Obviously everybody knows that I want to close. Its the only thing Ive ever wanted to do," Reed said, "but Im here and whatever they have me do is what Ill do and Ill be happy to. As long as Im out there throwing, Ill be a happy guy." McCarthy said that a core group of Arizona players plans to take a bigger leadership role in the coming year. "I think theres a group of guys here that know exactly what they want," he said. "Last year I think we were kind of getting there but we didnt have that true leadership that really came through. Its the one thing Ive seen just in talking to guys so far, that heres an idea of exactly what we want and I think we know how to implement that now. "Youre going to see a clubhouse of guys that go out of their way to get things the way they want it, to set an attitude the way they want it." Kenny Clark Jersey
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. The Calgary Stampeders running back received the West Division nomination for the CFLs top individual award Thursday in voting by the Football Reporters of Canada and leagues eight head coaches.KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- B.C. Lions head coach Mike Benevides wants his players to embrace the role of being Grey Cup hosts. He told them as much before CFL training camps got going Sunday. "I was pretty honest about it. You know what? Its additional pressure," said Benevides. "Every team across the country is saying the same thing -- we want to win a championship. Im not going to be dishonest and say Well its at home so its no big deal. It is a big deal." The Lions started a string of three straight host teams winning the title in their own backyards with their victory at B.C. Place Stadium in 2011 and will be looking to make it a four-peat for host cities this November. "We want to win it in front of our fans," Benevides continued. "Last time it was here thats exactly what occurred, and thats what we get paid to do. Distraction, focus, motivation -- call it whatever you want. Thats the No. 1 goal." The Lions have not won a playoff game since raising the Grey Cup three years ago, but running back Andrew Harris said he believes they have the horses to get it down in 2014. "The expectation for us every year is to be in the Grey Cup. Obviously theres maybe a little more added pressure, but last time it was here we won and that was a great year for us," said the Winnipeg native. "Were looking to do the same and I definitely think looking around and seeing the guys that we have solid chance to do that." That chance could rest heavily on Travis Lulays surgically repaired shoulder. The Lions quarterback was injured during last seasons 11-7 campaign and returned for their playoff loss before going under the knife. Lulay said Sunday "it remains to be seen" if he will be ready to go when B.C. opens its regular season on June 28. "Im still in a stage where camps going to be a continued progression for me, but it has steady upward progression throughout the off-season," said Lulay. "Im actually really anxious to see how it recovers on a day-to-day basis coming out here." B.C. traded for veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn at the CFL draft as an insurance policy, and while Benevides and Lulay were both adamant the Lions No. 1 quarterback is on schedule, the head coach added its his job to make sure his star gets back to 100 per cent. "All these guys that are elite athletes, theyre champions and MVPs," said Benevides. "You have to make sure you help them in understanding the overall picture. Hes intelligent, he understands it, hes been through this before but theres no doubt that well have various conversations and discuss it back and forth." Added Lulay: "Sometimes you think you can be Superman and overcome some of that stuff.dddddddddddd Managing expectations is one of the biggest parts of coming off an injury and thats one of the things Ive learned and you have to learn to deal with that." The Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup as hosts in 2012, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders took the title on the Prairies in 2013. Both teams loaded up through trades and free agency in the off-season leading up to the CFLs marquee event, but the Lions had a quiet winter by comparison. What B.C. does have is a lot of fresh faces at camp both on the field and the sidelines. A number of veteran players were either traded, retired or moved on through free agency, while the club also has new offensive and defensive co-ordinators. Khari Jones has been brought in to kick-start an offence that was criticized for being too predictable, while Mark Washington was promoted to run the defence after six seasons coaching the secondary. "We have a lot of open positions," Benevides said of the competitions for spots at camp. "Were going to have a young team and we have to evaluate and find that talent. "Our football team is going to play fast. Everything we do is fast." Apart from a lot of new blood and fresh schemes, the Lions who have been around awhile believe theyre also wiser as hosts because of what they went through in 2011 after starting that season 0-5. "The biggest thing for us is just coming through adversity and staying on that one track and definitely building as a team," said Harris. "I think we did that in 2011 and we have some components this year to make that happen again. Its being persistent and staying at it. Its a full 18-game season and you never know how it ends." Benevides was the defensive co-ordinator with that championship team and will be looking for his first playoff win as a head coach in a season he hopes will culminate with a victory for the Lions in Vancouver on Nov. 30. "Its a long, long journey. Its a long, long season," he said. "Its about making critical plays at critical times and winning that critical game. "Nobody can tell you how the script is going to be written, but its going to be written and someones going to stand on the podium." Notes: The Lions had a meeting with CFLPA representative Paul McCallum before Sundays first practice, a session the veteran kicker said helped clear the air of any questions players might have with regards to the threat of a strike. The leagues collective bargaining agreement expired on Thursday night. ... The Lions first pre-season game is scheduled for June 13 on the road against the Edmonton Eskimos. Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2018 Cheap Jerseys Store NFL Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys From China
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