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D-backs plug Souza Jr. into lineup for second return from pec injury

Arizona Diamondbacks' Steven Souza Jr., left, runs out a double as Daniel Descalso, right, runs to home plate to score a run against the Milwaukee Brewers during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, May 14, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. will bat fifth in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ lineup Thursday against the San Diego Padres, making for his second return this season from a strained right pectoral muscle.

Souza will start in right field, sliding his replacement, Jon Jay, to left field. A.J. Pollock will start in center.

An outfield log-jam may have sorted itself out for the time being after Jarrod Dyson left the D-backs’ game on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals with a groin injury.

The outfielder was placed on the 10-day disabled list Thursday.

In other moves, the D-backs recalled pitcher Silvino Bracho from Triple-A Reno, while they optioned right-hander Joey Krehbiel to the Aces following Wednesday’s game.

Souza, who was acquired in an offseason three-team trade, began the year on the DL with a strained right pectoral muscle. He didn’t debut until May 3 but only appeared in 14 games before he went back on the disabled list with the injury after a May 21 game.

“What we don’t want to have happen is something where there was a hiccup,” manager Torey Lovullo told Burns & Gambo on Tuesday regarding Souza’s comeback. “We rushed him back, we needed him back. And he didn’t even re-injure his arm throwing the ball. He braced himself for a fall, and we want to avoid that.

“We feel like if we miss him again — if he’s going to miss several more weeks — we can’t have that.”

For the D-backs this season, Souza averaged .163 with just one RBI, seven hits and four walks to go with 13 strikeouts.

While Souza began his minor league rehab stint playing only as a designated hitter due to his injury and didn’t take to the outfield until Monday, he found comfort at the plate.

Souza slashed .400/.464.960 with three home runs, two triples and a double with seven RBI and two walks over 25 at-bats in Single-A Visalia and Triple-A Reno.


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