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Diamondbacks get ready for Sydney

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SYDNEY, Australia - The sports pages of newspapers here and sports segments on the local news programs essentially inform about the results of cricket and rugby matches.

Plus, there's the occasional football (soccer to the rest of us) contests to keep the locals informed.

In about 10 days, the Diamondbacks should sweep this traditional reporting to the back burner.

That's when Arizona and the Los Angeles Dodgers vie for attention from the sports fans of Australia. Because the D-backs and Dodgers each play Team Australia before going head-to-head to open the championship National League season two weekends from now at the hollowed Sydney Cricket Grounds, there could be an interesting introduction to Major League Baseball.

The papers here have had little so far about the American invasion and appear confined to report the traditional sports to their readers.

Last week, there was a blurb on Dodgers' right-handed Zach Greinke and a minor injury sustained during his first start of the spring. Then again, not too much here on Greinke's recent blow-in which he told ESPN.com that the trip to Australia was not in his best interest.

While the trip will be new to most Diamondbacks players, pitcher Brandon McCarthy and infielder Cliff Pennington were part of an Oakland A's team which opened the 2012 season against Seattle in the Tokyo Dome.

With the games in Sydney, several issues need to be addressed.

First, players face the disruption of their regular spring training routine. "Game faces" must appear to face the Dodgers for the games which count, and then drop back into spring training mode for the final days before opening their home season against the Giants on March 31.

So far in spring training, manager Kirk Gibson has not revealed his cards in relation to any special considerations, physical or mental, for his players. Plus, there's the added concern of the effect of the trip.

Traditionally, teams which opened the season in Far East venues had a difficult time recovering. Many played under .500 baseball before the period of adjustment ended. That usually took about two weeks and the D-backs have important series at Chase Field against the Giants (opening night among a four game set) and the Dodgers the second weekend of the season.

There is also the issue of who to take to Australia.

Each the Dodgers and D-backs are allowed 28 players and that's three above the season limit. Yet, there are special considerations regarding the extra three. Those players cannot be carried once the D-backs open their home season at Chase against the Giants on March 31.

Injuries, as well, could determine who stays back at Salt River.

One player who could be affected is pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Currently out with a bulging disk, Arroyo was to initially miss 5-7 days. If the injury lingers, that would put him on the bubble for Australia and a possible visit to the Disabled List.

For now, the Red Carpet treatment awaits the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

Each team will be treated to transportation in Rolls Royces, cruises around Sydney harbor in yachts, receptions and special events.

Oh yes, there may also be a few baseball games.

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