ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs’ Lovullo on Fernando Rodney’s struggles: ‘We’re not going to jump off bridges’

May 2, 2017, 3:32 PM | Updated: 8:29 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks' Fernando Rodney (56) pauses near the mound after giving up a three-run home r...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Fernando Rodney (56) pauses near the mound after giving up a three-run home run San Diego Padres' Ryan Schimpf, rear, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in Phoenix. The Padres defeated the Diamondbacks 8-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Torey Lovullo, D-backs' manager

Early evidence shows that first-year Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo’s philosophy is about empowering his players.

It’s worked for his starting pitchers, all of whom have rebounded so far this season after a rough go in 2016.

Now, Lovullo faces his first big test as manager: hoping that empowerment of struggling closer Fernando Rodney can be rewarded with an about-face after the veteran’s two blown saves in his two appearances before he pitched a full, clean inning Tuesday to cap the D-backs’ 6-3 win over Washington.

Lovullo said before the game that the team will follow a process regarding whether Rodney remains the closer.

There’s a good bet that process will remain in-house as the manager publically expresses support for Rodney.

“(Fans) want to know if I’m ready to make a change at the drop of the hat,” Lovullo told Burns and Gambo on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “We’re going to follow that process. We’re not going to jump off bridges just because of a situation that popped up over the past week.”

Rodney recorded six saves in his first nine appearances of the season. But last Wednesday, he entered with a 5-3 D-backs lead in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres and allowed five runs and six hits in 0.2 innings before being pulled in the 8-5 Arizona loss.

Three days later, against the Colorado Rockies, Rodney entered to begin the ninth only to allow three runs off two hits and two walks in a full frame. The Rockies took the win, 7-6.

Rodney struck out one and didn’t allow a hit Tuesday in the win at Washington.

As it stands, Rodney, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason, has an 11.45 ERA (14 earned runs in 11 innings pitched) on the year.

Just as Lovullo did following the Saturday loss, the manager reiterated Tuesday that Rodney remains his closer.

“Until that happens, until we pull him in and decide we need to switch gears, we’re going to back him 100 percent,” Lovullo said of Rodney. “This (decision) obviously is very public and very, very much out there right now. It is something that is sitting right in front of us and something we’re very aware of.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo gives a fist bump to Daulton Varsho after their 5-2 win ...
Associated Press

Offense pops in 5th inning and Kelly stops Giants again in D-backs win

Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly kept up his mastery of the San Francisco Giants this season, pitching the D-backs to a win Saturday night.
1 day ago
Sergio Alcantara #43 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws to first for an out during the fifth inning...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Diamondbacks lose to Giants, fall in 9th inning for 2nd straight night

For the second straight night, the Arizona Diamondbacks lost in the ninth inning.
2 days ago
Tommy Henry #47 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the first inning of the game against the...
Jake Anderson

D-backs recall Tommy Henry, Pavin Smith from Reno; option Tyler Holton

The D-backs made a handful of roster moves on Friday that included LHP Tommy Henry, OF/1B Pavin Smith, LHP Tyler Holton and OF Jake McCarthy.
2 days ago
Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first...
Associated Press

Zac Gallen’s career night spoiled by latest D-backs bullpen loss vs. LAD

Zac Gallen had a career-high 13 strikeouts and 8.0 innings pitched but the Arizona Diamondbacks' bullpen blew another lead in the ninth.
3 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Drey Jameson throws to the plate during the first inning of a...
Jordan Leandre

Arizona Diamondbacks throw the numbers out for pitching prospects

Arizona Diamondbacks senior VP and assistant GM Amiel Sawdaye said they have to look more at a Reno pitcher's stuff than their numbers.
3 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws to the plate during the sixth inning...
Associated Press

Madison Bumgarner gets 1st win since July, D-backs beat Dodgers

Madison Bumgarner tossed six innings of one-hit ball, giving him his first win in nearly two months, and the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers.
4 days ago
D-backs’ Lovullo on Fernando Rodney’s struggles: ‘We’re not going to jump off bridges’