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D-backs Preview #29: 5/4 @ Marlins

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Reinforcements arrive as the D-backs hit the road.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS MARLINS
Pavin Smith - CF Miguel Rojas - SS
Asdrubal Cabrera - 3B Jesus Aguilar - 1B
Christian Walker - 1B Corey Dickerson - LF
David Peralta - LF Adam Duvall - RF
Carson Kelly - C Brian Anderson - 3B
Eduardo Escobar - 2B Isan Diaz - 2B
Nick Ahmed - SS Lewis Brinson - CF
Josh Rojas - RF Sandy Leon - C
Riley Smith - RHP Sandy Alcantara - RHP

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves yesterday:

  • Reinstated OF Tim Locastro (dislocated left little finger) and INF Christian Walker (strained right oblique) from the 10-day injured list.
  • Optioned OF Nick Heath and INF/OF Andrew Young to Triple-A Reno following yesterday’s game.

That’s a good step forward for the offense, though Young has certainly performed over expectations. Part of me wants to see him not called up again, so we can preserve in carbonite the rarity of his season: three hits, all of them home-runs. I was surprised to find that while rare, it wasn’t unique. Four players have posted seasons with three hits, every one leaving the park. The most recent was 2006, when Jorge Sosa went 3-for-24 between the Braves and the Cardinals, hitting three home-runs for Atlanta. Perhaps more remarkably, he was a pitcher, and struck out in almost half of his at-bats (11 K’s). They were the only three home-runs of his nine-year career, which ended with just two other hits.

The list of players like that, who had more home-runs than singles in their MLB career is quite a short one. Less than fifty all told, with 30 of the 49 having just one HR to their name and no singles (including one-time D-backs closer, Gregg Olson). Of the remaining nineteen, third spot goes to another former Arizona player, Kevin Cron, with six home-runs and five singles in his career. But the winner is Ryan Schimpf, who hit 35 home-runs and 28 singles over 147 games from 2016-18, for the Padres and Angels. He is the only player in baseball history with 20+ career PA, to hit below the Uecker Line, while having an OPS over .800 (.195 and .814 respectively).

Christian Walker notes and audio

He completely shut down activity for about a week and then slowly started progression with core work, and then eased into hitting. He described it as a painless process. He didn’t have too much time away from baseball and was able to keep his timing and eyes up to speed. He got about 15 at bats in alternate site games.

Here are some good extended quotes, speaking to the clubhouse culture of teamwork Torey has cultivated. If you have time, I suggest a listen to get a feel for his sincerity. I always come away from talking with Christian feeling he is highly intelligent, and just straight up good guy.

As soon as I got to the clubhouse I had a conversation with Torey. He always does a good job of keeping players in a good headspace. He called Timmy and I in and said, hey just do you, you don’t have to do anything more or anything less than who you are every day. That’s exactly what the team needs right now. Obviously everybody is in a good place and having fun, like I said I just want to fit into it and be there for my team when they need me......

No matter what your role is or what your service time is or anything like that to be able to go out and pull one out for your team, it doesn’t matter who’s stepping up ..........

I feel like with the group of guys we’ve got in there and the way this team is structured I don’t feel that pressure at all, [to be a hero] regardless of how the team’s playing I feel I’m literally just a puzzle piece here in the best possible way, I want to fit in. I want to be there when my team needs me, otherwise I’m going to be in the dugout cheering em on.

Tim Locastro notes and audio

The always entertaining Tim Locastro had some fun things to say in his interview with the writers. I’m sure youl’ll enjoy listening to his good-natured banter. Specifically regarding his injury, he caught his pinky of his left hand on the bag and it bent the wrong way and there was blood due to bone sticking out. He had the stitches in for one week, but as soon as they were removed, he was able to grip a bat.

Going forward, he will use a sliding glove. He had used one in 2019 after injuring his thumb catching the finger on a players leg, but later after over-sliding the bag once trying for third and getting called out he blamed it on the glove. Now he will always use the sliding glove, and has worked on making sure he’s cognizant of getting a grip as he slides in.

Torey Lovullo notes

  • Joakim Soria is traveling with the team and should be able to be activated very soon
  • Ketel Marte is still at the Alt Site and will continue to work there. Next progression for him is to hit and job lightly in the games there. Torey said he would prefer for Ketel to play in at least one or two “real” games against a team with a different jersey before being activated. Presumably that would be in Reno once they start up. It sounds like he’s still AT LEAST a week away from being activated. Clearly this was beyond a grade 1 hamstring strain as we are now at 4 weeks and counting, with earliest return at 5 weeks.
  • Taylor Widener may be out a bit longer than Torey originally forecasted.
  • Christian Walker will play today and tomorrow.
  • Tim Locastro will continue his role as a bench player, 4th outfielder. He’ll get some looks in Centerfield again, but Torey will continue to play matchups and we should expect to see Pavin Smith to continue to get reps in CF
  • While there are challenges with spreading the playing time around and keeping the players sharp, he said: “In this case the way I’ve been using and constructing lineups I feel like we’re in good shape and guys know that... The rust in the traditional sense doesn’t happen here any more, guys are playing and we’re going to find a rotation that maximizes run scoring potential.”
  • He continued to speak about how much it means to him that the players all bought in from the very beginning his strategy for using all 26 players this year. “I’ve got to manage the team that I have, and this team needs to go 26 different ways to win a baseball game. For them to trust that means everything to me.”

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]