04/07/12 12:17 AM ET
D-backs pay tribute to last year's success
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Still, the D-backs made sure to take a few moments to celebrate last year's accomplishments during pregame ceremonies.
Daniel Hudson and Justin Upton were presented with their National League Silver Slugger Awards while outfielder Gerardo Parra received his Rawlings Gold Glove Award, and D-backs GM Kevin Towers then handed manager Kirk Gibson his NL Manager of the Year Award.
"It's a great opportunity to celebrate some of the amazing accomplishments of last season while officially turning the page on the new season and getting ready to defend our National League West division championship," D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said.
With the individual awards out of the way, the D-backs unveiled their 2011 NL West championship banner in left field. It was the organization's fifth such championship in its 14-year existence.
Rival head football coaches Todd Graham of Arizona State University and Rich Rodriguez of the University of Arizona each threw out ceremonial first pitches.
The sellout crowd got a look at F-16CM "Fighting Falcon" aircraft as part of a flyover by the 310th Fighter Squadron.
"It is just another game but it is special," Gibson said of Opening Day. "Obviously we've had a long time between our last game and a lot of preparation for this season. We want to pick up where we left off last year and finish what we started last year. But you have to keep it in perspective because it is a long haul."
Young hits second as Gibson revises order
PHOENIX -- When it comes to D-backs manager Kirk Gibson's lineups, it's usually best to expect the unexpected.
Gibson did not reveal his Opening Day lineup until Friday morning, and when he did, it contained a couple of surprises.
First, Gibson decided to hit center fielder Chris Young in the No. 2 spot. Young had not hit there at all this spring and hit second in just one game last year. In his career, he has 274 at-bats in that spot.
"I'm not going to tell you exactly why I did it that, because I would tell you I have something in mind to do later within the game," Gibson said.
Given that Paul Goldschmidt has good numbers against Giants starter Tim Lincecum -- 5-for-9 with two homers -- he is in the fifth spot.
Another surprise was Aaron Hill, who spent a good part of the spring hitting second, batting in the No. 8 spot with Ryan Roberts hitting No. 7.
Gibson said he seriously considered hitting Roberts and Hill first and second in the lineup, but he likes the speed of Willie Bloomquist and Young in the top two spots.
"I like it the way it is," Gibson said. "It's not going to be that way every day. I woke up two days ago, it came to mind, and I stuck with it."
Young said he hopes that if he gets on base, No. 3 hitter Justin Upton will see better pitches to hit.
"It makes sense. I see the reasoning, I get it," Young said. "I think the point is for me to still be aggressive and be the same hitter I am no matter where I am in the lineup."
Miley excited to be with D-backs for opener
PHOENIX -- There were some anxious moments for left-hander Wade Miley this week as he waited to find out if he would make the D-backs' Opening Day roster.
Miley seemed like a long shot coming into camp, and even in the final days, it was thought the D-backs were going to send him to Triple-A Reno.
"I was expecting the worst and hoping for the best," Miley said of his thought process before Wednesday's decision. "And the best happened."
An injury to reliever Takashi Saito opened up a spot, and with the D-backs not having a reliever capable of throwing multiple innings, they decided to keep Miley, who is a starter by trade, instead of a reliever like Mike Zagurski.
Miley was 4-2 with a 4.50 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for the D-backs in 2011.
"I'm excited and just happy to be a part of this on Opening Day," he said. "I'm still hungry from last year."
Friday's sellout crowd of 49,130 was the third-largest Opening Day crowd in franchise history and the fourth-largest crowd for a regular-season game.
Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt homered in the first inning Friday, the first time in franchise history there were two homers in the first inning on Opening Day.
Young tied Steve Finley for most Opening Day starts by a center fielder in club history with six.
Despite beating Tim Lincecum for the third straight time, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson raved about the right-hander. "What a competitor the kid is," Gibson said. "He just has a way about him and he's hard to predict. He's always a challenge. He's as good a competitor as I know."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.