D-backs notebook: The wait is over for Steven Souza Jr. and Kris Medlen
May 3, 2018, 12:10 PM
PHOENIX – No player likes to sit and watch while his teammates perform each and every day.
Welcome to Steven Souza Jr.’s world the past five weeks.
Since the Arizona Diamondbacks began play on March 29, Souza Jr. has played the role of spectator rather than right field.
“Watching games on my couch, I did a lot of that,” he said Thursday. “I also did a lot of watching my son climb some rocks, so those two things — it was not what I would choose to do is watching the game on the couch, but watching my son climb rocks was definitely better than the other.”
Souza Jr. suffered a strained right pectoral late in spring training. The injury landed him on the disabled list, robbing him of the season’s first 30 games.
It was certainly not how Souza Jr., acquired from Tampa Bay as part of a three-game trade on Feb. 20, envisioned the start of his D-backs career.
“Just feeling helpless in all situations,” he said.
That feeling is gone now.
Souza Jr. was activated on Thursday, just ahead of the series-finale with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Trying to stay locked in and watch pitchers and support the team in any way I can,” he said, explaining how he passed the time. “So, just excited to move past that and move on to helping contribute.”
MEDLEN BACK IN THE MAJORS
Souza Jr.’s wait to make his D-backs debut pales in comparison to that of right-hander Kris Medlen. It’s been nearly two seasons since Medlen stepped on a big-league mound. His wait ends Friday.
The D-backs announced Medlen will start the series opener against the Houston Astros.
“I didn’t expect it at all. To get that call is just unbelievable,” he said Thursday. “I’m just really glad to be back, however long it is. It could be for one inning and I just proved to myself that I can work through some things and persevere a little bit.”
Medlen, 32, twice has undergone Tommy John surgery. More recently, he dealt with a shoulder injury which sidelined him for most of 2016. He then spent all of last season in the minors, pitching at all three levels in the Atlanta Braves organization.
The D-backs signed Medlen to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
“This is something that at one point, a couple of years ago when I was going to retire, that I honestly wanted to happen but thought it would never happen again. Just I have a ton of gratitude for this organization giving me a shot and I’m ready to go.”
Medlen’s last MLB start came on May 10, 2016 while with the Kansas City Royals.
— Given center fielder A.J. Pollock’s recent production and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt’s lack thereof, the question was posed to manager Torey Lovullo: Have you considered flip-flopping the two in the lineup?
“No, I’m not reactive like that,” Lovullo said Thursday, adding about Goldschmidt, “We’ve been so spoiled by these incredible numbers that when it doesn’t go the way we’ve seen, we think that there’s a crisis. And there’s really not. It’s just a little bit of a Paul-funk but by everybody else’s standards, it’s OK.”
— Third baseman Jake Lamb (sprained left AC joint) continues to make progress, though Lovullo didn’t sound optimistic about a Lamb return this weekend.
Meanwhile, left-hander Robbie Ray (strained left oblique) is “just doing some general conditioning,” according to Lovullo. The D-backs have not put a timetable on Ray’s return.