D-backs’ Tomas to focus on defense in Reno; Ray works on backfield

Mar 25, 2018, 5:39 PM | Updated: 5:40 pm
Yasmany Tomas (AP Photo/Matt York)...
Yasmany Tomas (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Once the Arizona Diamondbacks added outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Steven Souza Jr. this offseason, the odds of Yasmany Tomas making the Opening Day roster dropped. Significantly.

Even after Souza Jr. strained his pectoral muscle this past week, the D-backs turned to Chris Owings in right field, not Tomas.

Perception became reality on Sunday, when the team optioned their highest-paid position player to Triple-A Reno.

The reason, according to manager Torey Lovullo, was simple.

“He had a great camp offensively and defensively was still trying to piece together his game,” he said of Tomas, who batted .293 with two RBI in 16 spring games. “And those are the things that we talked about with him that he needs to go and work on his defense. It’s adequate but we want it to improve on a level where he’s going to be an above-average defender and that was spelled out to him.”

Lovullo added Tomas, halfway through a six-year, $68 million contract, took the news well.

The D-backs know what Tomas can do with a bat. It’s his glove that continues to be an issue, and Lovullo made clear speaking to reporters Sunday that defense comes first in 2018.

“We have outlined our thoughts very clearly about what type of defensive team we want to have on the field at all times. And it’s a priority,” he said. “We just don’t want to go out there and bang the ball and win 10-9. We want to pitch, we want to pick up the baseball and be a complete team. That’s a priority for us.”

Robbie Ray throws in Single-A game

Rather than pitch against the team he’ll face in five days when the results count, left-hander Robbie Ray threw in a Single-A game on Sunday — and looked good.

He struck out the first six batters he faced and finished with 12 over 6.1 innings. More importantly, Ray issued zero walks.

“It went really well. Me and (catcher Alex) Avila worked really well today, mixing up the pitches. My command was really good today,” he said.

Ray’s only blemish Sunday on a backfield at Salt River Fields was a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Other than that, four of the remaining five hits he allowed were all singles, including a bunt base hit.

Ray is scheduled to start Game 2 of the season-opening, three-game series with the Colorado Rockies.

“Getting into the seventh inning, 86 pitches. I could’ve gone deeper. I could’ve finished out the seventh and I feel like, right now, that’s right where I need to be,” he said.

Deven Marrero arrives

Just before 10:30 a.m. Sunday and ahead of a team meeting, infielder Deven Marrero walked into the D-backs clubhouse. A few hours later, he made his D-backs spring training debut.

Marrero entered the game with the Rockies in the bottom of the seventh. The next half inning, he singled in his first plate appearance.

The D-backs acquired Marrero, a former Arizona State Sun Devil, from Boston just a day earlier.

“I’m excited to be back here in Arizona where I grew up and played college baseball. I became a man here,” he said, following the D-backs’ 8-3 win.


— Though Sunday marked the end of the Cactus League schedule, the D-backs will play a pair of exhibition games Monday and Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians at Chase Field.

Right-hander Zack Greinke will start Monday’s contest, which then lines him up to take the ball on Saturday which would be the series-finale with the Rockies.

“If it everything works the way it’s supposed to, yes, that’s what we’re hoping that will happen,” Lovullo said.

— In addition to Souza Jr., outfielder Rey Fuentes is expected to begin the season on the disabled list. He’s got a hand injury.

Fuentes was hit by a pitch in a game on March 19.

“He was progressing well. The swelling was going down, but he was still experiencing a little bit of discomfort,” Lovullo said, “and (a MRI) showed that there was a small fracture there” in his knuckle on his left hand.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks' Kyle Lewis, right, scores after hitting a two-run home run as Los Angeles Dod...
Associated Press

D-backs stun Dodgers with pinch-hit homer in 8th inning

Kyle Lewis had a pinch-hit, go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning and the Diamondbacks rallied to beat the Dodgers 2-1 on Friday night.
1 day ago
Anthony Misiewicz #72 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait during St. Louis Cardinals Ph...
Arizona Sports

D-backs trade for LHP Anthony Misiewicz; Corbin Martin to 60-day IL

The Arizona Diamondbacks traded cash considerations to acquire left-handed pitcher Anthony Misiewicz from the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
1 day ago
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)...
Arizona Sports

How to watch the Suns, D-backs and Coyotes on Friday

It's going to be a busy night of athletics to end March with three of the Valley's four major sports teams in action on Friday.
1 day ago
Follow @AZSports...
Haboob Blog

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. lives every emotion as Dodgers fan proposes on field, gets walloped

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went from celebrating to shock as a Dodgers fan who ran onto the field proposed before getting tackled.
1 day ago
Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers opening pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the...
Arizona Sports

D-backs take issue with new Dodger Stadium LED lights

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo didn't blame the Dodger Stadium LED lights for a loss, but he did not like how they changed during play.
1 day ago
Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first...
Jake Anderson

D-backs’ Zac Gallen roughed up in Opening Day loss to Dodgers despite 7 Ks

Zac Gallen struggled with the PitchCom device throughout his outing, having to place it back on his glove after it fell off multiple times.
1 day ago
D-backs’ Tomas to focus on defense in Reno; Ray works on backfield