02/15/2013 8:29 PM ET
McDonald sees roster crunch as good sign for club
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- John McDonald returned to camp earlier than expected and participated in the team's first full-squad workout Friday.
The veteran shortstop had returned to his Massachusetts home last week to help his family during the intense winter storm that struck the area. While he was there, his 96-year-old grandfather passed away.
McDonald, 38, is battling to hang onto his roster spot after an offseason in which the D-backs stocked up on shortstops.
Even assuming that Didi Gregorius starts the year in Triple-A, McDonald could still find himself in a numbers crunch at the end of camp with Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist figuring to make the roster and Eric Chavez and Eric Hinske being kept as backup infielders and pinch-hitters.
McDonald said he looks at the situation as a positive for the team.
"Defined roles are great, but it's unrealistic to think that's going to happen every year," McDonald said. "As far as an organization is concerned, you want as many quality players in the locker room, here in Spring Training and as close to the year as you can get. Whether in the big leagues or down in Triple-A, or Double-A, you just need quality players. You can't have enough depth at any position."
Other than being aware of the situation, McDonald does not focus on the roster issue.
"You control the things you can control," he said. "You control your preparation, how you go about playing the game and you try to make the decisions on our front office and coaching staff as hard as you can for them. It's great. If we start worrying about the things that you can't control, it's going to take away from your preparation and ability to be a good baseball player."
McDonald hit .249 in 213 plate appearances last year and appeared in five games at third, four at second and 54 at short.
Parra again ready to prove value at camp
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For the second year in a row, D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra reported to Spring Training knowing that his playing time for the upcoming season is uncertain.
"I'm just going to be ready to play and just play baseball," Parra said. "I put in my mind, when I get my chance, just play hard. I don't think about 'he plays or I play,' I just play for the team and work hard when I get the chance."
After winning a Gold Glove and hitting .292 in 2011, Parra was pushed to the bench last year with the D-backs signing Jason Kubel as a free agent.
Then this offseason the club signed free-agent outfielder Cody Ross and is intent on giving rookie Adam Eaton a long look as the center fielder.
"It's hard, but that's baseball," Parra said. "I think it was harder last year."
How the playing time will shake out remains to be seen. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he would like to give Kubel, Ross, Eaton and Parra each around 450-500 at-bats.
"That's a good plan, but I don't think about it," Parra said. "I just want to play day to day and whatever happens will happen."
Gibson also said that Parra has a chance to earn his way into the Opening Day lineup based on his performance this spring.
"If that's what he said I feel good, I feel great," Parra said. "I don't want to think if we have four outfielders, am I going to play every day? I just want to play my baseball and he'll give me what he gives me."
Parra mainly played center field in winter ball and he plans on playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
"I'm happy because I'm happy to represent my city and my country," Parra said.
• Martin Prado said that he plans on playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. The D-backs are concerned that Prado will not play enough third base during his time away, as the Venezuelan team has other plans for him.
Prado, though, said that won't be a problem because he will make sure to take grounders at third daily.
"I know what I have to do to get ready," he said.
• D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall said that there has been very little fan backlash following the team's decision to trade outfielder Justin Upton to the Braves.
"I think at first there was confusion and questions," Hall said. "But I think now what we've seen from our fans is excitement."
Said managing general partner Ken Kendrick: "Tough decisions were made that we thought would make our team better, but I think our fans were very respectful of what we were trying to do. Of course they always have the final say. They come and watch or they don't, depending on how we do. We have to earn our fans here maybe more than in some cities and we're OK with that. We think these guys will earn the fans' respect."
• The team will have a short workout Saturday. They are scheduled to take the field around 9:30 a.m. MST and finish at around 11 a.m.
The workout is open to the public. Fans can park in the Desert Lot at Salt River Fields.