Arizona Diamondbacks: Remodeled D-backs open with Cardinals

2013-04-01T00:00:00Z Arizona Diamondbacks: Remodeled D-backs open with CardinalsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - Adam Wainwright begins earning his newfound wealth today.

The right-hander will be on the mound in his third opening day start when the St. Louis Cardinals face the remodeled Arizona Diamondbacks, who for the second year in a row will open with Ian Kennedy.

Wainwright's start comes four days after he agreed to a contract that guarantees him $109.5 million over the next six seasons. Last year, Wainwright was 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA after missing all of the team's 2011 championship season because of elbow surgery.

"He's the full package of the guy you look for in your ace," St. Louis right-hander Jake Westbrook said. "He has all those qualities. We are going to feed off of him and go from there."

The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have traded right fielder Justin Upton and added Martin Prado at third base. Three projected regulars - outfielders Adam Eaton and Cody Ross, and shortstop Willie Bloomquist - open on the disabled list.

"We don't need any more injuries," manager Kirk Gibson said.

Neither do the Cardinals, who start with third baseman David Freese and closer Jason Motte on the DL.

Eaton, the speedy rookie center fielder, is out for six-to-eight weeks with an arm injury. He was to be the leadoff batter in a lineup that wants to rely more on contact hitting than on home runs.

Kennedy, a 21-game winner in Arizona's NL West championship season of 2011, started slowly last year but finished strong, going 15-12 with a 4.02 ERA overall.

Arizona catcher Miguel Montero raved about the rebuilt roster, especially in terms of team chemistry.

"We've got a good solid lineup and bench players," he said. "More than that we've got good solid players with good personalities and great attitudes. That's great - veteran guys that have been around winning ball clubs and can bring a lot to the team."

The most significant addition is Prado, who came to Arizona in the deal that sent Upton to Atlanta.

Prado will bat in his customary No. 2 spot, with Aaron Hill dropping to third in the batting order. Both Prado and Hill batted over .300 last season.

Montero moves into the cleanup spot, at least for now. Gibson has a history of juggling his batting order.

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who just got a new contract after just one full season in the majors, bats fifth, followed by Jason Kubel, the only returnee from the Arizona opening-day outfield a year ago.

Gibson, entering his third full season as Diamondbacks manager, calls this "a very close" group.

"They've had a good time, they work together, they talk about the game, they're engaged in the things that we've worked on," he said.

"They've been open to it. They haven't been bored with it. They've executed in the games. They've been open to looking at themselves when things didn't go the way we wanted, understanding why mistakes are made. You can tell right now they're ready for the season to start. ... There's a lot of good conversation going on about where we're headed and how we're going to get there."

Mike Matheny opens his second season as Cardinals manager.

Center fielder Jon Jay will bat leadoff for St. Louis.

Today

• What: Season opener

• Who: Cardinals at D-backs

• When: 7 p.m.

• TV: ESPN2, FSAZ

• Radio: 1490-AM

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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