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D-backs notebook: Lamb dealt minor setback, A.J. Hinch returns with ring

Arizona Diamondbacks' Jake Lamb scores the tying run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 15th inning of a baseball game off a base hit by teammate Nick Ahmed Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks won 8-7. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX – While the Arizona Diamondbacks welcomed back one position player off the disabled list this week, it will be a little bit longer before the second player returns.

Third baseman Jake Lamb has been shut down, again, for a couple of days after a second MRI revealed some inflammation in his left shoulder, according to manager Torey Lovullo.

Lamb has been sidelined since April 3 due to a sprained left AC joint.

“He was experiencing a little bit of discomfort yesterday in his left shoulder, which was the area of the original injury,” Lovullo said Friday, ahead of the D-backs’ series opener with the Houston Astros. “There was a follow-up MRI. There was a tiny bit of inflammation so yesterday he got an injection to help get him over the hump.”

Lovullo was quick to add that this was “not a huge setback” for Lamb, who earlier during his rehab was diagnosed with right elbow tendinitis. The elbow, Lovullo said, is no longer an issue.

Lamb appeared to be nearing a return, which would’ve followed the return of right fielder Steven Souza Jr.

Lamb now won’t pick up a baseball or resume any baseball activities until Sunday, at the earliest.

“This will just delay (Lamb’s recovery) by a couple of days to let everything kind of settle down in there,” Lovullo said. “Me, personally, I’m not overly concerned that it’s going to delay things any longer than originally kind of planned. There was no return date for him. We’re still working through the process.”

The D-backs have still yet to run their projected starting lineup out this season.

Souza Jr. was welcomed back Thursday following a lengthy stint on the disabled list with a right pectoral strain. He went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.

“It was nice to have him back, it was very nice,” Lovullo said. “Nothing against the rest of the guys that were filling the gaps and hitting behind A.J. Pollock, it was just nice to see that his bat was back in the lineup and in the middle of a very potent part of our lineup. He didn’t get any hits yesterday, I know that—to be honest with you I wasn’t really expecting a ton of production but it was just nice to see the big fella out there in right field, I’m not going to lie.”

Souza Jr. had a scheduled day off Friday with the expectation he’ll be back in the lineup on Saturday.

The World Series champions in town

It has been dubbed World Series week at Chase Field.

First, the L.A. Dodgers visited and now the Astros, who are in town for a three-game weekend series. Houston clinched its first World Series title with a 5-1 Game 7 win last November.

“A quality team, pretty much complete in every area. A young offense that matured quickly and became very potent, fortified by some really good starting pitching,” Lovullo said, referring to the Astros. “We know that they’re a very good team, and we’re excited by today’s challenge, we’re excited about this weekend. I think we embrace those types of challenges and it’s a way for us to look at the world champs right in the eye and see how we compare.”

At 20-13, the Astros are the second-best team in the A.L. West.

Houston’s visit also marks the return of former D-backs manager A.J. Hinch, now in his fourth season leading the Astros.

“I loved my time here, for the most part. The people — there’s a lot of familiar faces. It’s fun to come back. Arizona was home for a long time, so I’ll always consider it a fun place to come back to. The memories will flood in, most of it being, even for my time here as an Astros manager, coming back in ’15 that was a really big experience for me,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be the Astros manager today had I not got the opportunity in Arizona regardless of how it worked out.”

Hinch managed the D-backs from 2009-10, going 89-123 in 212 games.

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