D-backs’ Ketel Marte, Jake Lamb transitioning well to new positions
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – While Spring Training is the opportunity for most players to sharpen their sword for their position in preparation for the regular season, Arizona Diamondbacks’ players Ketel Marte and Jake Lamb are using this time to familiarize themselves with the new spots they’ll be playing in 2019.
Marte, former shortstop, will be taking over for A.J. Pollock in center field while Lamb, former third baseman, will be moving over to Paul Goldschmidt’s vacant spot at first base.
Manager Torey Lovullo confirmed before Friday’s game that we will be seeing Marte in the outfield going forward, with some instances of him still playing his former position on the field.
“As far as what we’re looking for are good angles, good breaks, fearless baseball that he plays on the infield,” said Lovullo in regards to the expectations for Marte. “We feel like that can transition to the outfield. And he’s giving us every indication that there’s a certain degree of comfort that he’s experiencing every single time he goes out there, whether it be in drills or whether it be in games.
“I know he expressed a little bit of nervousness or anxiety his first game and I don’t think that’s going to be the case now. So I think there’s a growth pattern that he’s going to show when it comes to comfort level, and then the things we can look at on a piece of paper or with our eyes, depending on what we have in front of us, we’ll be able to find out about his full running speed, his angles to the ball, his breaks and those are things that he’s going to prove each time he goes out there.”
In Friday’s game against the Cubs, Marte already started making highlight plays in the outfield when he robbed Kyle Schwarber of a hit to end the top of the third inning. D-backs dropped the game to the Cubs by a score of 10-2. Neither player had a hit as Marte went 0-3 at the plate and Lamb went 0-2.
“I feel great out there. I’m just trying to be good every day,” said Marte after the game. “I’ve been playing infield my whole career, so it’s about practice. I know I got the talent, but I need to keep working hard and [Dave] McKay knows a lot of things out there.
“The more I play the more I feel good. I just need to play out there,” he added. “Any way they need me, I’ll be there to give 100% for the team.”
Similar to Marte’s transition, Lovullo stated that Lamb may get some time back at third base, but he too will be playing his new position at first base for the foreseeable future. “I think we might get him some innings over there, but for right now we’re on a crash course over at first base. I think we could transition him over just to get his coordinates right.”
Lovullo did also confirm that depending on what happens in camp, Lamb could still be second in line at third base on the depth chart.
After the game, Lovullo was pleased with the performances from both of his transition players.
“I thought he did a really good job in center field,” he said on Marte. “He had a nice break, ran a long way to catch a ball in I think the first or the second inning. Those are the plays that we feel like because of his athleticism and his aptitude that he’s going to be comfortable making, so I felt very, very comfortable with what I saw from him.
“Jake, much of the same,” he added. “It’s about positioning, getting over towards that 45-foot mark in overshifts, being comfortable around the bag with his foot work, and it seems to be coming together for him. I don’t think he had any real big tests today, but just standing out there I feel like he’s getting more and more comfortable.”