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Diamondbacks open Cactus League with new outfielder and high hopes

Posted at 5:29 AM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 11:15:15-05

The Arizona Diamondbacks open Cactus League play Friday against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields. 

The D-Backs begin their quest for a second straight playoff appearance. 

Fans will get their first look at new outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Steven Souza Jr. 

Souza came to the Diamondbacks on Tuesday in a three-team trade that sent infielder Brandon Drury from Arizona to the New York Yankees and left-hander Anthony Banda, a top Arizona pitching prospect, to Tampa Bay. 

Souza batted just .239 last season but hit 30 homers, drove in 78 runs and walked 84 times, all three career highs.

He will wear the same No. 28 that J.D. Martinez wore in his torrid half-season in the desert last season. Martinez signed a five-year, $110 million deal with the Boston Red Sox this week.

Nobody expects Souza to approach the numbers Martinez put up with Arizona -- 29 homers and 65 RBIs in 62 games.

"That's ridiculous," Souza said. "I don't know that anybody's really done those types of things that he did in the second half. So to expect me to come in and say I'm going to fulfill those shoes would be a little far-fetched. But I'll tell you I'm going to come in and play my game, and I'm going to play as hard as I can every single game, and I'm going to help this team win a ballgame."

The only real position battle for Manager Torey Lovullo is at shortstop. Nick Ahmed, Ketel Marte and Chris Owings will vie for the starting job.