D-backs notebook: Decisions coming soon for D-backs, Torey Lovullo

Mar 23, 2018, 7:09 PM
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo directs his team against the Colorado Rockies in the fir...
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo directs his team against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 6, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – The questions keep coming and Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo keeps dodging them: Who’s the Opening Day starter? What about a closer? And how about the rest of those bullpen spots?

They’re fair questions, Lovullo has said. He and the D-backs just haven’t been ready to make any announcements. Until now. More specifically, Saturday morning. Or so Lovullo stated Friday prior to the D-backs hosting the Cleveland Indians under the lights at Goodyear Ballpark.

“I know I told you guys maybe before the weekend (a starter would be named for March 29 against Colorado) but we’re getting very close,” he said, adding one more question that needs to be answered prior to the regular season: who plays right field?

“There’s a few things that haven’t been totally answered and we’re walking through it and we’re trying to come up with some of the best solutions and the best thoughts that are going to keep moving us forward every day and help us win games,” he said.

Greinke’s next landmark

It was going to be right-hander Zack Greinke who started Game 1 — just as he had done the previous two seasons — but nine days ago he exited his Cactus League start complaining of right groin tightness.

Since then Greinke has thrown one bullpen session and pitched in an intrasquad game, all of which have been positive, from a health standpoint anyway.

Up next for Greinke is another bullpen session, and that’s as far as the D-backs are willing to go with his schedule at the moment.

“We want to just make sure that we’re comfortable with Zack and what he’s doing today and tomorrow,” Lovullo said. “We know that he had a good day today. He’s going to throw his bullpen tomorrow. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Greinke is lined up to pitch in Monday’s exhibition game against Cleveland, though Lovullo would not confirm the March 26 date.

“We just want to be fair to Zack. He’s coming off an injury where we paid attention to it and listened to him, so we just want to be fair to the whole process that he’s walking through it,” he said. “We know that tomorrow is a big day and part of these landmarks that we talked to him about and we want to make sure that he hits them all.”

Hole in lineup

Not only did Steven Souza Jr.’s injury leave a vacancy in right field, but it also left a hole in the lineup.

What does Lovullo do now with the batting order?

Souza had been hitting fifth behind third baseman Jake Lamb, allowing the D-backs to alternate right-left-right-handed bats in the middle of the order.

“I’m walking through a lot of different thoughts with the coaching staff, with the front office,” Lovullo said. “There’s a void there. Steven’s absence leaves a void in our lineup. You can’t replace that. We know that. So, we’re walking through a lot of different lineups, a lot of different construction ideas. We haven’t finalized anything but it’s moving. We’re thinking about that.”

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D-backs notebook: Decisions coming soon for D-backs, Torey Lovullo