SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — While much of the nation is buried in snow, glazed by ice or just plain shivering in the cold, it's 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.
Arizona's reporting date signals the beginning of preparation for a season that won't 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 offseason 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.
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