[D’backs.com] D-backs ready to turn page to Opening Day - The D-backs came into Los Angeles looking forward to seeing a team wearing a different uniform for the first time in months, but exiting Dodger Stadium on Monday night, they were no doubt thankful to be done with the Dodgers for a little while. Arizona’s pitching staff struggled for the second straight night to keep the Dodgers’ bats in check as the D-backs fell, 12-1, the lone run coming in the second on an Ildemaro Vargas home run. In two games against the Dodgers, the D-backs were outscored 21-3.
“Look, I can’t sugarcoat it,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We didn’t play good baseball. I’m not going to sit here and try to fool you guys. We didn’t play the way we could. We didn’t play Diamondback baseball. I think these guys are going to understand what they got to do over the next few days to make sure we’re ready to go. We can’t stumble out of the block. It’s a short sprint, we got to make sure we’re ready to go.”
[Arizona Sports] Ildemaro Vargas’ summer power surge continues in D-backs’ exhibition loss - Even when playing three different positions, it was always going to be hard for Ildemaro Vargas to get playing time for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2020. Second baseman Ketel Marte, shortstop Nick Ahmed and third baseman Eduardo Escobar are three of the D-backs’ most important players that block nearly all of Vargas’ potential opportunities. But what if a fourth position you couldn’t even consider last season is the spot where he gets his breakthrough? Vargas was the D-backs’ designated hitter on Monday in a 12-1 exhibition loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and homered to continue a power surge he’s had this summer.
“It’s hard not to notice Vargas right now,” [Nick] Ahmed told reporters last Tuesday. “He’s hitting everything on the barrel and he’s hit four or five home runs, four or five doubles, and even his outs seem to be hard line drives to the center fielder. He’s swinging the bat really well.”
[AZ Central] Dodgers trounce Diamondbacks again in exhibition finale - In four days, the Diamondbacks will open their abbreviated, 60-game season against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. For the past month, everyone associated with the club has talked about the significance of a fast start, about how each game carries exponential importance compared to a typical season. For the past two nights, the Diamondbacks, who lost 9-2 on Sunday, did not look like a team poised to get off to a hot start.
“It kind of showed us those areas where we need to clean it up a little bit, where we can get better,” Diamondbacks catcher Stephen Vogt said. “But at the same time they are exhibition games and when the bell rings on Friday, I’m confident – the rest of the guys in the room are confident – that we’re going to get it done and we’re going to be right where we want to be.”
Around the League
[CBS] Fauci to throw first pitch at Opening Day game between the Nationals and Yankees - The Washington Nationals said Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci — the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and self-described fan of the reigning World Series champs — will throw out the Opening Day pitch when the team hosts the New York Yankees on Thursday night. “Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title,” the Nationals tweeted.
[USA Today] First MLB player to kneel during national anthem applauds Giants, Gabe Kapler for shining light on injustice - San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler and several Giants players and staff, became the first members of a Major League Baseball team to kneel during the national anthem since [Bruce] Maxwell in September 2017... Kapler is not only the first MLB manager to kneel during the national anthem, but he also is believed to be the first head coach in any of the four major North American sports leagues to protest racial injustice in that manner. Kapler, in his first year as Giants manager, had been outspoken on racial injustice and Black Lives Matter since George Floyd was killed in May. He had spoken to his players and staff members for the past three days, even reaching out to other organizations, and Monday informed his players that he intended to kneel before the game. He told them he would support their decision to kneel or stand for the anthem.
[MLB.com] Alyssa Nakken coaches 1st base for Giants - Player development will be a major theme for the Giants this season, but manager Gabe Kapler is making sure members of his coaching staff have an opportunity to advance their own personal growth as well. In that spirit, the Giants had Alyssa Nakken, the first full-time female coach on a Major League staff, coach first base in the final innings of the club’s 6-2 win over the A’s in Monday night’s exhibition game at the Coliseum... Nakken, 30, often coached first base during intrasquad games at Oracle Park this summer. Her official title is assistant coach, though she frequently partners with Richardson in overseeing outfield and baserunning instruction for the Giants.