SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When he pulled into the parking lot Wednesday and saw it filled with cars, Ryan Roberts smiled to himself.
"It really drives home the fact that Spring Training is here," Roberts said.
Roberts had the best year of his career in 2011, winning the starting third base job with an outstanding spring and never looking back.
This past offseason, Roberts was determined to improve his speed, or at least maintain it, while also gaining weight. To that end, he worked at Athletes' Performance in Phoenix throughout the winter doing things like running with a weight sled attached to him.
"The thing that matters is that I still feel as quick and as limber as I did last year, but I gained 13 pounds," Roberts said. "I definitely feel quick."
After reporting in 2010 in admittedly less than ideal shape, Roberts felt he was in peak condition last spring and he made sure he continued to work hard this winter.
"You have to because I'm not getting younger and they aren't going to start drafting older guys, so there's always going to be young, hungry guys who are going to be in the Minors trying to come take your spot," Roberts said. "It's just a battle with trying to mentally prepare every offseason."
Gibson hesitant to heap pressure on Bauer
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When he was a young player coming up with the Tigers, Kirk Gibson was dubbed the next Mickey Mantle by Detroit manager Sparky Anderson.
After going through that experience, the D-backs skipper is loathe to place any kind of expectations on young players.
Gibson was resolute in not talking up outfielder and former No. 1 overall pick Justin Upton in the past. Wednesday, Gibson was equally adamant when talking about the organization's No. 1 pick from a year ago, Trevor Bauer.
"I just encourage him, like J-Up, just let it unfold, don't be who you guys [the media] say he's supposed to be," Gibson said. "That's the most dangerous thing he can do. It's not like you guys are trying to do anything mean. You say positive things about him, but it's like how do you know? He's got ability. We know he's got ability, but what's he going to do with it?
"Just come out here and enjoy it. There's a lot of resources for him to utilize so he can develop and become who he can be. Hopefully he wins several world championships and he's in this organization and becomes a Hall of Famer. Will he? I have no idea. Neither does he. He's certainly got a golden arm."
Bauer has a unique preparation routine that he believes has helped him become the pitcher that he is. He and Gibson sat down Wednesday for 15 minutes to talk about how that can be incorporated into what the D-backs do.
"I think the thing for Trevor Bauer is to just come out here and understand what we're trying to do," Gibson said. "We'll adjust the best we can to accommodate him, but at the same time he's going to have to adjust as well. I mean, we're not going to do a whole practice around his schedule. He knows that. The kid is extremely driven -- I can tell you that already after a few days. He's extremely competitive and he's extremely critical of himself."
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.