SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As part of the D-backs' Give Back Jersey Program, several big leaguers participated alongside youngsters in an Ahwatukee Little League game on Saturday at Salt River Fields.
D-backs shortstop Didi Gregorius played some infield, center fielder A.J. Pollock took an at-bat and grounded out to first, pitcher Brad Ziegler threw an inning and outfielder Cody Ross played the role of the umpire.
"It was a blast, a once in a lifetime opportunity that I'm sure the kids won't forget," said Bill Norton, the coach for one of the participating teams. "For the players to not only come out, but to play with the kids side by side, that's just awesome. They'll probably not ever get to have that experience again, so it was great."
The kids weren't the only ones enjoying themselves, though. The D-backs players had smiles glued to their faces, encouraging and rooting on the Little Leaguers as if they were a Major League teammate.
"It's just amazing being here with the kids," Gregorius said. "When I was this young, guys like [former Major Leaguer] Andruw Jones came down [to Curaçao] and talked to us. Now I feel like I'm that guy for them. It's awesome and who knows, maybe they're the future D-backs."
The D-backs launched their Give Back Jersey Program earlier this month, donating uniforms and caps to more than 22,000 youth baseball and softball players and their coaches throughout Arizona communities. The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation donated more than $500,000 to the program. Both teams Saturday wore jerseys given to them by the club.
John Terry, President of Ahwatukee Little League, called the program 'phenomenal' and said that because of the D-backs' contributions, his organization was able to lower signup fees and improve some of its fields.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less