Goldschmidt meets with Aussie athletes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Inspired by his time attending the school, recent graduate and D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt announced Wednesday he will finance and help grant three full tuition scholarships for fans to the University of Phoenix.

As part of the Teaming Up For Education program, any Arizona resident pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree can apply for a scholarship at Phoenix.edu/dbacks before the July 1 deadline. From there, a committee, including Goldschmidt, will narrow the maximum 150 qualified applicants down to three. Once chosen, Goldschmidt will present the winners with their scholarships at a future D-backs game.

"After I finished my degree, we bounced around tons of ideas and this was something that just made sense, to help give back," Goldschmidt said. "I'm just happy to be a part of it, and hopefully we're able to help out a few kids and start something that continues for years to come. I want to encourage people to get their school done, whether that means finishing up or starting new."

During his National League MVP-runner up season a year ago, Goldschmidt earned a bachelor's of science degree in management thanks to the flexibility of online classes, often completing assignments as the team traveled from city to city.

Goldschmidt isn't sure yet what he'll be looking for from applicants, but he said it was crucial for him to be a part of the selection process, instead of simply lending his celebrity for the program.

"If I'm going to put my name on the scholarship, I wanted to make sure I could give my opinion along with other people," he said. "You want to make sure it's about something you're passionate about. We'll look at all the applications and hopefully come up with three people that are very deserving.

McCarthy tabbed to start in D-backs' home opener

Outlook: McCarthy looks to rebound in 2014

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs announced their rotation Wednesday for their first three home games of the regular season, beginning with Brandon McCarthy on Opening Day at Chase Field against the Giants on Monday, followed by Wade Miley and Trevor Cahill.

After that, it will be either Bronson Arroyo or whoever wins the final spot in the rotation taking the mound for the series finale of the four-game set vs. San Francisco next Thursday. The D-backs are confident Arroyo's ailing back will be healthy enough for him to start that game or the first game of the team's next series in Colorado, they just don't know which one yet.

"It's just a matter of when, is it the fourth game or the fifth?" D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "But unless he has a severe setback, I expect him to be ready."

Arroyo is scheduled to start his first Major League preseason game since Feb. 27 on Saturday at Chase Field against the Cubs.

As for McCarthy, the honor to start the D-backs' home opener is not wasted on him. Even though the club already began its season in Australia, he anticipates the game to feel just like Opening Day.

"It's a cool opportunity, for the fans it's their first chance to get out and see you guys again," McCarthy said. "There's always a lot of atmosphere there, it's kind of the closest you get to a playoff atmosphere in the regular season until the season starts drawing to an end. It'll be fun."

McCarthy, who previously made an Opening Day start for Oakland back in 2012, capped off an impressive spring Wednesday with another strong outing, this time tossing six innings and surrendering three runs on six hits while striking out six. Overall in 20 Cactus League innings, McCarthy posted a 2.70 ERA with 12 strikeouts against just three walks.

"I executed a lot this spring," he said. "I threw most of my pitches where I wanted to, I threw with conviction and was able to accomplish what I wanted to while I was here. Those are all good things, but how they'll translate into regular season results, we'll find out, but I feel like I'm in a good place."

Added D-backs bench coach Alan Trammell, "He looks like he's on a mission. He's kept them off balance and that's what makes him effective. That's what we need to see from him this year."

Gibson back at ballpark following knee surgery

LAD@ARI: Gibson on losing two straight in Australia

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson just couldn't stay away from the ballpark. A day after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, the skipper was back at Salt River Fields on Wednesday, albeit without much pep in his step, as he needed crutches to maneuver around the complex.

"I feel great, a lot better than I did yesterday," Gibson said. "It was something I needed to get taken care of and tomorrow I'll be even better."

Gibson said he first felt the discomfort about five to seven days before the D-backs left for Australia. Team athletic trainers worked on the knee, but it began hurting worse during the club's trip Down Under.

When the D-backs arrived back in Arizona earlier this week, Gibson underwent an MRI the same day and scheduled the hour-long surgery.

Gibson will stay on crutches for at least a couple more days and in the interim, bench coach Alan Trammell will continue to manage the club's Cactus League games, as he did for Wednesday's contest against the Cubs. Gibson watched the game from the left-field balcony.

"It was good to get it done," Gibson said. "Never would've made it through the season that way."

Montero to team with Cards' Motte to fight cancer

Meggie catches up with Miguel Montero

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Miguel Montero has battled Jason Motte on the field for several years now.

But off the field, the D-backs catcher is joining forces with the Cardinals reliever in his bid to fight cancer.

Montero is one of the 30 players -- one from each team -- who agreed to participate.

The website 108stitches.com went live on March 17, with 108 Stitches showcasing the "Strike Out Cancer" tees in each team's colors. Each is promoted by a different player who agreed to join Motte in a partnership that will benefit multiple charities. Each participating player has chosen a charity that will benefit from the T-shirts sales, and for each shirt sold, $5 will go to the Jason Motte Foundation and $5 to a charity of that player's choice. A full list of recipient charities will be listed on the 108 Stitches website soon, along with a photo of each player rep in his team-colored shirt.

Montero's shirt is black with a red "K" on it.

"At the end of the day, it's about reaching people," Motte said. "Baseball is great and everything, but there are other really important things going on out there that affect a lot of people. Wearing these T-shirts shows people that they're not alone. They're not sitting there doing chemo by themselves where no one cares. People do care, whether it's friends, family or baseball players. There are people who this has touched and this has affected. This is something we're trying to do to get the word out there and try to raise money to help."

Montero, who has teamed up with his wife Vanessa on many charitable projects in Arizona, did not hesitate when asked.

"He [Motte] tweeted at me one time to see if I could help spread it out here and I said, 'Yeah sure, why not?'" Montero said. "Gotta help each other out, especially when it helps out a foundation like this. I was happy to do it."

Montero, along with several of his teammates, has been wearing the T-shirt around the D-backs clubhouse.

Snake bites

• While Randall Delgado starts against the Reds on Thursday, fellow fifth starter candidate Archie Bradley is expected to pitch in a Minor League game.

• Gibson said Patrick Corbin, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, is in better spirits this week after being "crushed" by the injury when it occurred. The skipper expects Corbin to be back with the team by the club's home opener vs. the Giants on Monday.

Cody Ross (hip) continues to inch forward in his rehab, playing outfield in a Minor League game Tuesday. But the D-backs still seem to think he won't be ready when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on April 3.

"That's probably a stretch," Gibson said. "When he's ready he's ready. You can let your hopes and wishes get in the way of making the right decision, but he's been good about not doing that. I think it's important he gets to where he needs to be, then plays several games. He is in agreement with that."

• There is still no official word on who will win the D-backs' starting shortstop and backup catcher jobs. Gibson said it is "unresolved at this point" and the club wants to let it "play out a little longer."