Arizona's Wil Nieves beats the throw home during the sixth inning of Sunday's split-squad spring training game at Kino Stadium. The Diamondbacks beat the Padres 8-6 in the first of two exhibition games scheduled in Tucson this week.


When Sawyer Carroll arrived at the Padres' spring training facility in Peoria a little before 7 a.m. Sunday, the idea of a two-hour bus ride to Tucson wasn't all that appealing.

But when he arrived in Southern Arizona and saw 10,826 fans pack Kino Stadium for the Padres' "home" spring training game against the Diamondbacks, his mindset changed.

"It's very fun once you get here, but nobody likes the travel," said Carroll, an outfielder who spent the 2012 season with the Tucson Padres. "It was a little hectic this morning getting everything ready in time to get down here.

"But once you get here, it's a fun change of scenery and it's always fun to play in front of a big crowd."

The St. Patrick's Day crowd, the largest for a non-Dodgers game the past three years, saw the Diamondbacks beat the Padres 8-6 in the first of two spring training games in Tucson this week.

And while the weather was perfect and the green beer was flowing, the Padres and Diamondbacks logos on the jerseys could easily have been changed to Tucson Padres and Reno Aces designs.

Of the 20 combined starters in the game, including designated hitters, none are locks to make an opening day roster. There were a few players with past big-league experience, but the majority of the split-squad rosters were filled with players likely ticketed for Triple-A in a couple of weeks.

"When we set this game up originally, it was always a split-squad game," Tucson Padres general manager Mike Feder said. "We were told by the major-league clubs that they didn't know what the makeup would be and they didn't want to promise anything. I've come to spring training games here and have seen rosters like this.

"This isn't the first time."

The Diamondbacks also hosted a game Sunday at Salt River Fields that was televised by Fox Sports Arizona. Because of that, the majority of D-backs regulars stayed in Scottsdale.

"We try to bring some of the veterans, but with a TV game up north, that's where most of the guys are," said Diamondbacks bench coach Alan Trammell, who served as the manager Sunday.

Trammell was happy to make the trip to Tucson, where he has positive memories. His daughter, Jade, graduated from the UA in 2010.

The Padres also sent a split-squad with the other half playing a road game in Tempe against the Angels. Their Tempe lineup featured nine players that will likely open the season in San Diego.

Unlike in years past, major-league teams are not required to send a certain number of big-leaguers to each spring training game because of the World Baseball Classic.

But the rosters didn't dampen the mood at Kino Stadium at all on Sunday.

It was technically the Padres' home game, but the majority of fans were dressed either in red for the Diamondbacks - or in green for the holiday.

Those who came out were able to see starting pitcher Patrick Corbin work. Corbin, who is battling for the No. 5 spot in the D-backs rotation, worked into the fifth inning, giving up one earned run and striking out four.

"(The D-backs) used to be here before I got here, so it's good to come out for the fans that used to come and support us during spring training," Corbin said. "So it's neat and it was a good crowd, which makes it fun to play."

Spring training action will return to Kino on Thursday when the Cubs and Dodgers hook up at 1:05 p.m.