Diamondbacks reinstate Jake Lamb from IL, option Leyba
The Arizona Diamondbacks reinstated infielder Jake Lamb from the injured list on Wednesday, a move manager Torey Lovullo announced after Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lamb takes the place of Domingo Leyba on the 25-man roster. The team optioned Leyba to Triple-A Reno to make way for Lamb.
On Wednesday against the Dodgers, Lamb will bat fifth and start at first base.
“Good to have Jake back in the lineup,” Lovullo said. “He’s worked extremely hard to make today happen, and just to write his name in the lineup again was very refreshing. We’ve missed him for quite some time.”
Lamb has been in Reno participating in rehab games coming back from a strained quadriceps and has not played since April 3. He’s taken only 15 at-bats in 2019.
“It’s exciting, man,” Lamb said. “I’m ready to get back with this group of guys, I’m ready to get back on the field and just play baseball. That’s it.”
The All-Star in 2017 hit 30 home runs and drove in 105 runs only to see his stats drop off drastically in 2018, a season in which he played 56 games while struggling with injuries.
“I told him last year is a throwaway year for me, and I’m not going to evaluate anything he did last year because he was injured and trying to play through that,” Lovullo said Wednesday.
Lamb said he doesn’t really take 2018 into consideration, either.
“It was a tough one last year both physically and mentally,” he said. “I definitely got better from it, though. When you go through failure like that, the only option is to either crumble or get better. And so I definitely got mentally stronger and I feel like I’m healthy, I feel like I’m in a good spot. So I’m ready to go.”
Lamb, who can play at first and third, started three of his four games at first this season, where Christian Walker has taken over everyday duties.
“I’m super excited for him that he’s finally healthy and that he’s pushing us in the right direction,” Lovullo said. “That type of an offensive guy, putting him back in our lineup should yield some pretty good results.”
Walker was on a tear once he took over for Lamb, at one point hitting .314 in early May before he submarined after hitting .208 in the month overall. Walker, though, has recovered nicely in June, posting a .297 batting average prior to Tuesday’s action. That includes four home runs and 12 RBI. On the season, Walker is batting .265 with 14 home runs and 34 RBI.
As for third, where Lamb has played for most of his D-backs career, Eduardo Escobar has been terrific, hitting .280 with 17 home runs and 59 RBI.
Escobar is able to play second base, which would shift All-Star hopeful Ketel Marte to a full-time role in center field. In the 70 games Marte has started, 39 have come in center while the other 31 were at second base. Marte, however, is coming off a groin injury. His two starts since coming back from the injury have been at second base.
In his first major league season, Leyba has had one at-bat in four straight games as a pinch hitter, with one hit.