Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt comes into Friday’s contest with the Pittsburgh Pirates boasting a career .500 batting average (7-of-14) against right-hander Edinson Volquez.
Unfortunately for the reigning National League MVP runner-up, he likely won’t be able to improve upon that success any time soon.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson elected to sit Goldschmidt for the second of the team’s four games against the visiting Pirates — a move that agreed upon earlier in the week.
“Is he not in the lineup today?” Gibson joked. “I didn’t notice. I mean, obviously he’s played a lot. We needed to do that. It’s the right thing to do to him — a little day off — mentally and physically. He’s pushed pretty hard. You can only go so far with these guys.
Goldschmidt — who has a .300 average with 19 home runs, an NL-leading 39 doubles and 69 RBI on the season — played all 28 of Arizona’s scheduled games in the month of July. Not to mention, he also traveled to Minneapolis as a member of the National League All-Star team during the built-in midsummer break.
“You can always justify why you don’t want to do it,” said Gibson. “It’s kind of hard to take Paul Goldschmidt out of the lineup. But, I had gotten to the point after observing him that it was going to happen regardless — right or not.
“He’s played in a ton of games. It’s only fair he gets a mental break and a physical break like everyone else.”
Ever the professional, Goldschmidt didn’t mope about Gibson’s decison, revealing that when it comes to off days, he always cedes to his manager’s authority.
“He’s doing what’s best for the team,” Goldschmidt said. “You want to play every day, but days off sometimes are good. He knows I want to play. I’ll tell him that any time, but I’m never in there arguing with him.
“He’s the manager, and like I said, he’s doing what he thinks is best for the team. You can’t argue with that.”
While the 26-year-old might be leading dugout cheers for the first time since June 3, he said he’ll be more than ready if called upon.
“You never know when you’re needed off the bench, so you just try to prepare for that,” said Goldschmidt. “It’s a little bit different, but mostly the routine doesn’t change. You watch the game to see if you can see things that’ll help you or a teammate. And then you get ready to possibly pinch hit, or come in defensively, or pinch run or whatever is needed.”
In 18 career appearances as a substitute, Goldschmidt has just three hits and three RBI in 18 at-bats.