The 2023 MLB Desert Invitational is right around the corner, which means that the 2023 Tennessee baseball season is as well.
Head coach Tony Vitello and the No. 2 Volunteers will head south to Arizona’s Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Friday night, which is the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies spring training locations.
Tennessee is set to take on Arizona on Friday night at 8 p.m. ET, Grand Canyon on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET, and UC San Diego on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The Grand Canyon matchup will take place at Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark while the UC San Diego contest will be at Sloan Park.
All three games will be broadcasted on MLB.com and the MLB Network.
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Prior to leaving for the tournament later this week, Tennessee’s Tony Vitello met with the media on Tuesday afternoon. Vitello spoke about the team’s mindset and mentality leading into opening weekend, his pitching rotation, and how the outfield will likely be switching up throughout the three-day stretch as the team continues to work different guys in different spots.
“I think the majority of where this lineup experimentation will take place, is with the DH and the outfield spot,” Vitello said on Tuesday. “It’s going to be one in the same. Our DH is almost always going to be – sizing up our personnel – almost always going to be an outfielder. Don’t hold this to me too much, but I bet we will have three different outfields in three days out there in Arizona.”
In addition to Vitello, Tennessee catcher/outfielder Jared Dickey and starting pitcher Chase Dollander also spent a few minutes with the local media on Tuesday. While Dollander spoke about preparing to be Tennessee’s Friday night pitcher this season and the work that has gone into that, Dickey spoke about whether he is going to primarily play catcher or the outfield this season.
“Man, I really can’t decide on one specific one,” Dickey said when asked about catcher, outfield, and designated hitter. “I think right now we’re leaning more towards the outfield. And, obviously, the catcher position is still wide open. That room has been working really hard. You’ve got Cal [Stark], Charlie [Taylor], Ryan [Miller], they’ve all being doing their thing at the plate as well. So I think it’s going to be really exciting to see what that room holds and how well they perform this season.”
Check out all three interviews from Tuesday in Knoxville below: