Notes: D-backs' Tracy to use whole field
Third baseman knows that's the key to his hitting success
TUCSON, Ariz. -- It was one of the first things third baseman Chad Tracy said to D-backs manager Bob Melvin when he saw him down here.
"I've got to get back to using the whole field," Tracy told his manager.
"His game all throughout the Minor Leagues had been using the whole field, and I think that's why you saw the strikeouts you saw last year," Melvin said.
On the heels of a 2005 season that saw him hit a career-best 27 homers, Tracy still hit .281 with 41 doubles and 20 homers. But he struck out 129 times in 597 at-bats.
"I think I got caught up in trying to hit home runs and trying to do too much," Tracy said. "I had never been a guy that relied on the long ball. I was always a guy that stayed inside the ball and hit to all parts of the field.
"That's my main goal in Spring Training is to start using the whole field again. The home runs will come. I'm not going to worry about it. I'm not going to try to do it, I'm just going to let them take care of themselves."
Tracy tried to make the adjustment last year, but changing a hitting approach in midseason can be a real challenge. But he didn't need anyone else to tell him that by trying to hit home runs, his front shoulder was flying open and his head was coming off the ball. That's a combination that usually results in too many swings and misses.
Tracy's new mind-set dovetails nicely with that of first-year hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, who emphasizes players using the entire field.
"Tracy's on board," Seitzer said. "He's going to have a great year."
Attendance: All but two position players are expected to be in camp on time and on the field for the first full-squad workout on Thursday.
Infielder Alberto Callaspo missed his flight from Venezuela and will have his physical Thursday night in Phoenix before getting on the field for the first time on Friday.
Outfielder Alex Romero is having visa problems and is expected to miss at least a couple of days.
Meet and greet: Prior to Thursday's workout, Melvin will gather the players for their first team meeting of the spring.
It's also a time for various front office members to address the team about such things as marketing, media relations and community endeavors. This year's meeting could run a bit longer than in springs past because a lot of the younger players are hearing the information for the first time and there's been a significant turnover in the front office over the past two years.
"A lot of our meeting tomorrow is just going to be getting faces out there so everybody knows who everybody is," Melvin said.
RJ update: Randy Johnson played catch again and should be on the mound in the next few days. Melvin had said last weekend that Johnson would likely throw his first bullpen session "within the week."
"He threw the ball as well as I've seen him," Melvin said of Johnson's catch session. "He was throwing the ball 150 feet, [the] ball was on a line the whole way and shortened it up to a distance that was [comparable] to 60 feet and the ball was jumping out of his hand. We're making significant strides with him."
Keeping in touch: Melvin spoke by phone the other day with former outfielder Luis Gonzalez. The longtime "face of the franchise" is getting ready for his first Spring Training with the Dodgers after signing a one-year free-agent deal with them this winter.
Gonzalez's absence has been felt by Melvin.
"He has had such an effect on things here that you can't but the first day you walk in there and see his locker is not over there and he's not holding court ..." Melvin said. "But it's baseball, it's a tough game and you've got to move on."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.