3/22/2014 9:35 P.M. ET
D-backs to take it easy upon return home
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
SYDNEY -- The D-backs are expected to arrive in Phoenix sometime in the late afternoon Sunday, and they will be told to stay away from the Salt River Fields facility and take Monday completely off.
On Tuesday, the team will hold a light workout before resuming its Cactus League schedule against the Cubs at home at 1:10 MST on Wednesday afternoon.
The D-backs will have a total of five exhibition games before the regular season reopens on March 31 at 6:40 p.m. MST against the Giants at Chase Field.
"We'll play everybody, just try to rotate them," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of the exhibitions. "Won't play them very long."
The team's medical staff measures each player's variable heart rate and compares it to a baseline mark to gauge how they are responding to the stress.
"We'll be totally focused on recovery," Gibson said. "We've been taking their readings here, and when we came here they were really abnormally low. It's just hard on your system, so we probably won't push them as hard while we're in recovery from the trip. I think one of theories is you're more susceptible to injury when you tax your body like that. Hopefully by the time we get to the game Monday [March 31] we'll be ready to go."
Aussie Rowland-Smith impressed with crowd
SYDNEY -- Ryan Rowland-Smith breathed a deep sigh of relief following Saturday night's first regular-season game.
The D-backs left-hander was born and raised in Australia, and he was as curious as anyone to see how his country would react to Major League Baseball.
"I was nervous about last night," he said Sunday morning in the D-backs clubhouse. "Just about how Australia would receive baseball. Just because I grew up loving the sport and I was like campaigning for it as a kid trying to get people to respect it, appreciate it and understand it. I think the relationship with baseball and Australians in general has strengthened a lot just because last night."
Rowland-Smith's family lives in Sydney, and as he walked out of the Sydney Cricket Ground following Arizona's 3-1 loss, he could hear the fans buzzing.
"I could just hear people, not talking about how packed the SCG was or how loud it was, but it was more talking about Clayton Kershaw throwing some nasty pitches, or the sound off the bat, or certain plays. Things like that," Rowland-Smith said. "That's when I realized they are paying attention and loved what they were seeing."
Gibsons stay in touch with sons via Internet
SYDNEY -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson sat with his wife, Joanne, in their hotel room the morning of the season opener against the Dodgers watching his two sons play.
Kevin Gibson was playing for the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in the Division III Hockey Frozen Four.
Meanwhile, Cam Gibson was playing baseball for Michigan State University against Ohio State.
"We had two computers open watching them both," Gibson said. "The Internet [connection] at the hotel went out at one point, so we bootlegged another signal."
Both sons played well, and Kirk was hoping to catch a bit of Kevin in the championship game.
• The D-backs' offense has not looked particularly good in its first two games in Sydney, falling 5-0 to Team Australia on Friday night and then scoring just one run against the Dodgers in the season opener.
W: Kershaw L: Miley SV: Jensen
"You go up there and try to have good at-bats," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "That's Game 1 of 162. We pitched well, they pitched well. Don't try to over think it. Their approach and their game plan was good, their pregame work was good. I think over the course of the year, it's going to work out for us."
• The absence of injured outfielder Cody Ross was noticeable in the opener when Gibson only had one right-handed hitter, Tuffy Gosewisch, on the bench and had to use a pair of lefties, Eric Chavez and Didi Gregorius, to pinch-hit against left-hander Kershaw.
• Speaking of Ross, he played the outfield for the first time this past week in a Minor League game and came out of it with a stiff back.
• Bronson Arroyo (back) is scheduled to start games Monday and Saturday, which would put him on target to be able to start the regular season when his spot in the rotation comes around the first time.
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.