Found February 23, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When it comes to all the changes that took place in the National League West this offseason, Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson might have put it best. "It's hard not to notice everything," Hudson said. "I think a lot of guys would be lying if they said they didn't pay attention to it at all." While they remain primarily focused on their own goals, the D-backs are well aware of the improvement that happened within the division as teams try to dethrone them as NL West champions. In the age of Twitter, the MLB Network and seemingly endless outlets for sports news online, hot stove news travels far and fast. Accordingly, the D-backs are conscious of the fact that their shot at repeating as division champions got even tougher this winter. "Everybody knows that every team in the division got better this offseason, and I think that's really got to motivate everybody to play better," Hudson said. The D-backs enter the season with a target on their backs, and the NL West could produce one of baseball's best races. The Dodgers bolstered a pitching staff led by NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. The Giants get better by virtue of Buster Posey's health, but they also added outfielders Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan. The Rockies retooled with all-star outfielder Michael Cuddyer, catcher Ramon Hernandez and starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. And the Padres made a slew of moves, bringing on outfielder Carlos Quentin, closer Huston Street and top first base prospect Yonder Alonso. The D-backs' competition was clearly not content to sit tight, but neither were the D-backs. "We didnt want to stand pat," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "We knew the rest of the division was going to get better, and I think they have." Towers and the rest of the front office addressed the D-backs needs by adding starting pitcher Trevor Cahill, relievers Craig Breslow and Takashi Saito and outfielder Jason Kubel. Those are the moves the D-backs like to focus on most, but as Hudson said, it's hard not to ignore what your chief competitors are doing to improve. "I think you monitor it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "The players, I'm sure they keep up, and we respect everybody we play. Everybody's out there (going) for the same prize." Gibson was also quick to note, though, that the offseason is more about focusing on your own improvement and that of the organization. D-backs center fielder Chris Young shared Gibson's stance that the greater focus is internal. "You'll see it on the ticker every now and then, but it's not like you're stressing about it or focusing on it," Young said. "You realize the signings, but I think you still try to focus more on what you have. You cant sit there and watch what everybody else is doing. You've got to focus on your squad and say 'Is our squad good enough to beat anybody out there?'" while some D-backs are more tuned in to what's going on around the league than others, they all know that every team in the division has its sights set on what they've got -- the NL West crown. "It just lets you know that no team's in a rebuilding mode," Hudson said. "They're trying to win now, they're trying to go for it now. It makes it exciting to know that we're going to have a lot of good games, a lot of good battles within the NL West this year." The division is typically rich in pitching, and with the likes of Ian Kennedy, Tim Lincecum and Kershaw, that's not about to change, though the new hitters moving in could make things a little tougher on those aces. With Cuddyer, Quentin, and Cabrera joining the likes of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Troy Tulowitzki, the division looks to get a bit more offensive. Given the improvement all around within the NL West, another tight, down-to-the-wire race can be expected. To a man, the D-backs expect to be in that race, and they're hoping they can break out of the pack. "If you were to go on paper, I love the way our team looks," Young said. "I can't really speak for any other teams, but I feel like we have a very strong squad this year that is extremely capable of surpassing what we did last year."

Parra stays positive despite losing starting job

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Anyone who thought Gerardo Parra would gripe about losing his starting job as the Diamondbacks left fielder does not know Parra. Parra, who won a Gold Glove as the Diamondbacks starting left fielder in 2011, became the Diamondbacks fourth outfielder and backup at all three spots whenfree agent was Jason Kubel. My first reaction I know Kubel. I saw him when...

Drew makes a positive step ... sideways

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew still has a long way to go in his ankle rehab, but he took a nice step Thursday by moving laterally while fielding ground balls. Drew took grounders Monday at Salt River Fields for the first time since fracturing his right ankle last July. In that session, though, he didn't move side to side as he did on Thursday. "...

Young: D-backs' crowded outfield no concern

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With the acquisition of Jason Kubel from Minnesota this offseason, the Diamondbacks' outfield situation got a little complicated. Gold Glove winner Gerrardo Parra suddenly appeared out of a starting job. Parra reported to D-backs camp at Salt River Fields on Wednesday and said he's happy the team added Kubel. He offered not even an inkling of a complaint...

Pitching is the easy part for D-backs' Bauer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Stress, Trevor Bauer believes, is defined by your perspective. While many people seek to avoid it, he embraces it. He believes his success as a pitcher depends on his ability to function with it, so he immerses himself in it. His workout routine comes from the please, sir, can I have another? school. Bauers pregame regimen, which includes an hour of stretching...

GM: Goldschmidt repeat would be just fine

(Eds: Adds details, quotes.) Ever since Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt stepped on a baseball field he has been able to hit the ball a long way. The Diamondbacks know what Goldschmidt is capable of and expect the 24-year-old to contribute but they're not necessarily looking for power. ''I would be happy if he did what he did last year and nothing more than...

MLB Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

2011 RecapAfter going an NL West-worst 65-97 in 2010, the Diamondbacks were able to turn it around under manager Kirk Gibson in his first full season at the helm in Arizona, going 94-68 and winning the NL West crown.  The starting rotation was surprisingly strong, as Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88 ERA) and Daniel Hudson (16-12, 3.49 ERA) both had career years, while Joe Saunders (12...

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Bryan Shaw's cutter drawing high comparisons

Shaw throws a cut fastball that some in the Diamondbacks clubhouse liken to that of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Putz a leader by example for D-backs

J.J. Putz has been more than just the linchpin at the back of the D-backs' bullpen. The veteran closer has served as a mentor to some of the younger pitchers, and the example he's set has resonated.

Diamondbacks: Kirk Gibson wants his pitchers better at the plate

One year after he made controlling the running game a focus of spring training -- and saw the results pay off in the regular season -- Gibson is asking even more of his pitchers. He wants them to help themselves at the plate.

D-backs, Montero remain apart on contract

The D-backs have not had talks recently with catcher Miguel Montero about a contract extension.

Diamondbacks are here to stay

DeMarco: There is plenty of evidence that the Diamondbacks have set themselves up nicely for a short-term run of success — no matter how much their win total may fall in 2012.

Arizona Diamondbacks Cactus League game to feature live microphones

For the first time in an MLB game telecast, live audio content will air on a brief delay throughout the Cactus League game telecast of the Cleveland Indians at the Diamondbacks on March 7.

Diamondbacks' Stephen Drew progressing faster than expected

Notes: Shortstop Stephen Drew showed increased mobility while taking ground balls on Thursday, a sign that his surgically repaired right ankle had "more giddy-up" than earlier in the week.
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.