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D-backs start 1B Christian Walker vs. Dodgers; Murphy to catch Greinke

Mar 28, 2019, 9:41 AM | Updated: 11:37 am
Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker races to third base on his triple against the San Francisco ...
Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker races to third base on his triple against the San Francisco Giants in the second inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

First baseman Christian Walker will start and bat fifth for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers and lefty pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Converted third baseman Jake Lamb was also expected to earn an opportunity at replacing the traded Paul Goldschmidt this season, but he has struggled against lefty pitchers, batting .170 against them last season.

In order, Walker will bat behind Adam Jones, Eduardo Escobar, Wilmer Flores and David Peralta atop the Diamondbacks’ order.

The Thursday lineup for the D-backs’ 2019 debut also went some way in answering how the team will deploy its three catchers. John Ryan Murphy will catch for ace Zack Greinke.

Greinke entered spring training having pitched almost exclusively to catcher Jeff Mathis in each of the past two seasons, but once the veteran Mathis signed with the Texas Rangers, a new battery-mate was required.

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo spent the spring allowing Greinke to throw to a number of catchers. Early on, Greinke suggested he would be open to throwing to more than one catcher, and the D-backs ultimately decided to enter 2019 with three on the 25-man roster.

It is not known if Murphy plans to be Greinke’s catcher all year long.

The 27-year-old Murphy was out of options this offseason. With Carson Kelly and Alex Avila the other players setting up behind the plate, it was unclear from the outside if he had a future with the Diamondbacks. Working well with the team’s ace, of course, made that future more clear.

Among the other notable changes, it’s converted infielder Ketel Marte who will make the start in center field, sliding veteran addition Adam Jones to right field after Steven Souza Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury on Monday.

Arizona’s 1:10 p.m. Opening Day game will be broadcast on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Here’s how the rest of the lineup looks on Thursday.

D-backs lineup

1. RF Adam Jones

2. 3B Eduardo Escobar

3. 2B Wilmer Flores

4. LF David Peralta

5. 1B Christian Walker

6. CF Ketel Marte

7. SS Nick Ahmed

8. C John Ryan Murphy

9. P Zack Greinke

Dodgers lineup

1. LF Joc Pederson

2. SS Corey Seager

3. 3B Justin Turner

4. 1B Max Muncy

5. CF A.J. Pollock

6. RF Cody Bellinger

7. 2B Enrique Hernández

8. C Austin Barnes

9. P Hyun-Jin Ryu

Arizona Diamondbacks' Nick Ahmed dives safely back to first base on a pickoff attempt by the San Francisco Giants during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Andriese throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Diamondbacks' Alex Avila drives in a run with a sacrifice fly against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley works against Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story in the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Denver. The Diamondbacks won 5-3. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Andrew Chafin throws against the San Diego Padres during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, April 20, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks' Jarrod Dyson tries to lay down a bunt against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) San Francisco Giants' Henry Ramos, right, slides toward a tag by Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Eduardo Escobar for an out on a stolen-base attempt at third base during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Wilmer Flores, right, turns toward first but holds up a throw after forcing out Cleveland Indians' Brandon Barnes at second base in the third inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 7, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Indians' Yu-Cheng Chang was safe at first on the fielder's choice on the play. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley, left, walks off the back of the mound as Milwaukee Brewers' Travis Shaw (21) runs the bases following a home run in the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Friday, March 8, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) RHP Zack Greinke
Greinke might be costly by making $35 million annually, but he's at least been reliable. The 35-year-old has pitched more than 200 innings in each of the past two seasons with nearly identical ERAs (3.20 , 3.21) and WHIPs (1.07, 1.08).  Greinke entered spring feeling the best he has since joining Arizona in 2016.

 (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) Arizona Diamondbacks' Yoshihisa Hirano stretches between pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Greg Holland throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the fourth inning of a spring baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz., Monday, March 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) OF Adam Jones

A Baltimore Oriole from 2008-18, Jones spent the offseason hoping for a long-term deal. It didn't come, so he hopes a one-year contract with the D-backs can turn into something more permanent. At 33 years old, he's not only still productive (.281/.313/.419 in 2018) but expected to be a veteran voice in Arizona's locker room.

(ArizonaSports.com / Kellan Olson) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly stretches after giving up a hit to the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Travis Shaw crosses the plate in front of Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly, left, following a solo home run in the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Friday, March 8, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Matt Koch watches a pitch to a Colorado Rockies batter during the eighth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Denver. The Rockies won 5-1. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) FILE - In this July 20, 2018, file photo, Arizona Diamondback' Jake Lamb plays third base against the Colorado Rockies during a baseball game in Phoenix. With key players still on the roster and new players who should fill at least some of the void, the Diamondbacks are hoping to compete for a playoff spot even with one of baseball's best players on a new team.
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb, File) RHP Yoan Lopez

The 26-year-old made 10 appearances as a September call-up last season. He threw his first nine without allowing an earned run before getting tagged for three scores in his final outing of the year. There might be a learning curve in 2019, but his fastball that averaged 97 mph and his slider along with it could be an intriguing new piece to the bullpen as 2019 begins.

 (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte blows a bubble during the fourth inning of the team's spring training baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks catcher John Ryan Murphy, left, congratulaTes starting pitcher Robbie Ray as he waits to be pulled form the mound after walking Colorado Rockies' Chris Iannetta in the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta gestures skyward as he heads home on his solo home run against the San Francisco Giants in the third inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray throws to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) INF Ildemaro Vargas

After Steven Souza Jr. went down with a leg injury, Vargas got the nod to replace the outfielder on the 25-man roster. Although he was one of those cut on Sunday, Vargas provided a spark for the D-backs throughout spring training. The infielder ranked among the top MLB leaders in spring training in hits (22), average (.367) and OBP (.397). In 26 games over two seasons with the D-backs, Vargas averaged .308 at the plate with 4 hits, four RBIs and four runs scored.

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker races to third base on his triple against the San Francisco Giants in the second inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Luke Weaver pauses for a few moments before throwing against the San Francisco Giants in the third inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Arizona Diamondbacks' Steven Souza Jr. is congratulated after scoring against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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D-backs start 1B Christian Walker vs. Dodgers; Murphy to catch Greinke