D-backs await MRI on Steven Souza Jr.’s injury, prep for Vargas and Marte
PHOENIX — Steven Souza Jr. was scheduled to receive an MRI around noon on Tuesday after injuring his left knee crossing home plate in the Diamondbacks’ penultimate spring game Monday.
Overnight and into the morning, the D-backs huddled, preparing to start the 2019 season without the outfielder.
“I don’t really have anything right now but we feel strongly that he’s not going to start the season with us,” manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday before Arizona hosted the Chicago White Sox at Chase Field.
As it stands, the pieces are in place for the D-backs to move forward. Infielder Ildemaro Vargas, who previously looked out of the picture with Ketel Marte and Wilmer Flores able to man second base, was with the team.
Lovullo admitted that Vargas is an in-house favorite to take Souza Jr.’s place on the Opening Day roster if the setback indeed places him on the injured list.
That would move Marte into an outfield role he spent spring training preparing for before Arizona signed veteran center fielder Adam Jones. Against Chicago, Marte was set to start in center with David Peralta in left field and Jones in right, something that could be commonplace if Arizona stands pat.
However, Lovullo made sure to point out that the D-backs’ 25-man roster need not be set Tuesday.
“Feel like (Vargas) had a great camp, he deserves an opportunity to be here,” the manager said, “but the roster is not final. First of all, our front office does an incredible job to be creative and is going to get the best possible players. Once we get to the final moment when he have to name our roster, things could change.”
Little time is left, however, before Arizona opens the season Thursday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Lovullo also confirmed that outfielder Socrates Brito was not an option to land with the Diamondbacks.
He is currently on waivers because he was out of options and fell behind Marte, Jones, Peralta and Jarrod Dyson in the outfield depth chart.
“We got a rotation of four very good outfielders. Thank goodness Ketel has migrated out there and done the job he’s done,” Lovullo said. “We’re built to cover this. We’re not only one man deep at each position.
“We want to definitely turn the page,” Lovullo added. “I think everybody is excited to get on the plane today and get to L.A. and crank this thing up.”