D-backs' Burke learning to play first
Utilityman has never played position in Major League career
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Chris Burke got his first taste of playing first base on Tuesday in the D-backs' 8-7 loss to the Royals.
With the possibility of Chad Tracy starting the year on the disabled list, Burke's ability to play first could come in handy for the D-backs. In parts of four seasons in the Majors, Burke has played second base and shortstop and he got some time at third earlier this spring, but he had never played first.
"We've done some early work, and for me I just want to make sure I'm in the right position on cuts and then also make sure my footwork and stuff is decent around the bag," Burke said before Tuesday's game. "It's probably going to be rough early, but I'm just going to try to keep getting some time in so if [manager Bob Melvin] feels like he needs me over there I can fill in."
The only mistake Burke made there in six innings on Tuesday was when he ranged too far for a ball that he should have let the pitcher field. Burke fielded the ball, but was too far away from first to make the play.
"You can't fault him for that," Melvin said. "It's just a guy being aggressive and an infielder with good range. I thought he did fine."
Look for Burke to play in the outfield as well as all four infield positions during the year as Melvin tries to get his bat in the lineup. So far this spring, he's hitting .393 with eight RBIs.
"He's certainly shown in Spring Training here that when he gets consistent at-bats he has the chance to be an offensive force," Melvin said.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.