SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For Brandon McCarthy, it's not a matter of eliminating pitches, but just making sure that he's not getting beat with anything but his best stuff.
There's a new emphasis this year in D-backs camp for pitchers to know which of their pitches are working for them on a given day and then making sure they stick with those.
While that sounds like common sense, a lot of times in the heat of the game a pitcher and catcher will try to stick with the original game plan, even when it may not be working.
"If something works, then I'll stay with it. And if it's not working, we'll move away from it," said McCarthy, who will start Wednesday's Cactus League opener. "I think it's more just making the adjustment hitter to hitter, game to game -- not just trying to force feed things in there."
If he was guilty of that last year, it seemed to mainly come with his cut fastball.
"It probably wasn't an excess of cutters, it was cutters in the wrong situations, without it being as good as it should be," McCarthy said. "There were just too many times where we just kind of threw pitches just to throw them and you would find yourself getting punished. We kind of overcomplicated things. And I think we did it, almost as a staff. We didn't just go out and accentuate our strengths."
Autograph sessions signal D-backs' commitment to fans
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Each day on the schedule posted in the D-backs clubhouse there's a block of time carved out for signing autographs.
It serves as a reminder of the organization's desire to have its players interact with fans as much as is feasible.
"We always make it a part of our routine to go out along the wall," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "If a kid comes out there, his ball should be filled up. They're important and we certainly take what they come here for into consideration. We want to make sure they have a good time here, and we want to play well for them as well."
Gibson remembers how his dad used to take him to old Tiger Stadium each year for Bat Day.
"It was a big deal to get a Tiger bat," Gibson said. "They were actually pretty cool bats, Louisville Slugger wood bats at the time. I can remember being in Tiger Stadium, way up in the upper deck of course, and people used to bang their bats on the cement thing, it was pretty cool. That's what we're trying to do. We want people to come down and have a good experience."
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.