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D-backs’ Torey Lovullo on resuming season, DH in NL, playing without fans

Manager Torey Lovullo #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on from the top step of the dugout during the first inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 02, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has been keeping up with the news.

Ever since the NFL Draft helped pique his excitement for live sports, he has kept up with the biggest reporters in baseball to stay abreast of what’s going on with the coronavirus and its hinderance to the start of the Major League Baseball season.

“From what I’m reading, hearing, there’s a push to make something happen,” he told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo. “The states are opening. I do know this: Major League Baseball will not do anything if it affects the public and their ability to get tested. They will not do anything if it’s going to put anybody in harm’s way.

“But we’re starting to hear that talk, and I’ve been a part of work stoppages before and this is how it starts. The talk happens, everybody starts to get a little bit more amped up and pushing in the right direction, and the next thing you know, something good happens.”

The coronavirus put MLB’s season on hold during spring training. If it resumes, it could look drastically different than teams and the league initially planned. One difference could be the use of a universal DH, a much-debated facet of the sport that could be deployed if the National and American League are scrapped for a one-season-long realignment.

“When you’re talking about the strategy of the game in the National League with the pitcher hitting, there’s an awareness of where that pitcher is in the lineup every single inning beyond the fourth inning,” Lovullo said Tuesday. “You just have to be aware of where he’s at, where he’s at in the game. You might have to pull the cord early on him to score some runs.

“It’s an incredible part of the game that you need a tremendous amount of strategy. I think it’s great for the game, but I’m all for whatever Major League Baseball decides to do. And if they decide it gets us back on the field and it protects the pitchers from not being able to prepare themselves to go out and be a hitter, I’m all for it.”

There’s also a real possibility that sports including MLB return without fans. The Korean Baseball Organization did so on Monday night by getting their season underway in empty stadiums.

“There’s conversations that can be had inside of a dugout that the third base coach would never be able to hear with a stadium full of fans,” Lovullo said. “You just have to be careful. When you would shout something across the diamond at somebody, you just have to be careful that the opposition could hear it.

“But we practice a lot on the backfields here in Arizona here in spring training with no fans and you get used to it. I think the guys will start to accept that new normal, especially if it gets them back on the field.”

Burns & Gambo

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