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“They’ve got great attitudes. They work hard. they go about their business,” he said. “It’s contagious. That’s what we were hoping for.”

Gibson said the older players understand it’s a privilege to wear a major league uniform.

“When you get older like that, maybe you can see your time coming to an end, so you do really appreciate it more,” he said. “They’re just like me and you guys know how I feel about that. They’re giving the same message. The players hear it from me _ I said it again today in our meeting _ and they (the veterans) are reinforcing that.”

Ian Kennedy, a 26-year-old right-hander, appreciates the importance of adding such experience.

“With the Yankees we had that,” he said. “You need those good leaders. I felt like we were missing that aspect last year. You have a good, young mix, too. A successful team has that mix.”

Shortstop Stephen Drew, quiet by nature, also likes the changes around him after two straight last-place finishes in the NL West.

“It’s a whole different feel, a good vibe,” he said, “and I think it’s‘ going to be a good season.”