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D-backs’ Torey Lovullo: ‘Dynamic’ Ketel Marte could see time at 3 positions

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Torey Lovullo is ready to move past 2020.

“To be totally honest with you, I was pretty bitter the first several weeks of the offseason, watching the postseason,” the Arizona Diamondbacks manager told reporters via Zoom on Monday.

But with the help of some ice cream and time to absorb what happened in the shortened season, Lovullo is confident in his team’s ability to turn things around heading into the 2021 season.

“There’s conversations that are being had as to how we can become a better offensive team with the coaches. There’s conversations being had about what it’s going to take to get us to the next level,” he said. “We’re not sitting still.

“We’re a good baseball team. We’re a good organization with good baseball players and I want that to shine through next year.”

One of those key baseball players is Ketel Marte.

The versatile Marte saw most of his time at second base last year, playing 41 games there and three at centerfield. He split time equally between the positions in 2019 and has seen time at shortstop.

As the team constructs the roster, Lovullo says where exactly on the field the 26-year-old will play this upcoming year has yet to be decided and will likely depend on any offseason moves made.

“With Ketel, I feel strongly that he’s dynamic enough that he can play really three positions on the diamond as good as anybody in the game… In my conversations with him, he doesn’t care [where he plays],” Lovullo said. “He wants to do what’s best for the Arizona Diamondbacks and what’s going to be best for us to win baseball games.”

Offensively, Marte was one of the D-backs who struggled in 2020. He had a breakout season in 2019, posting a career high .329/.389/.592 stat line and was named to the All-Star game, but saw his numbers fall last season on his way to a .287 batting average while battling a wrist injury. After racking up 32 homers in 2019, he hit just two in the shortened season.

To combat the offensive slump the team saw last year, Lovullo says coaches are focusing on the mental aspect of the game with all players.

They have begun reaching out to have conversations about what they saw from each players’ performance at the plate and what could be improved upon.

“We got game planned last year,” Lovullo said. “It’s no longer the pitcher and the catcher and the pitching coach going over a game plan 35 minutes before a start. It’s an army of people that are game planning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. We do it obviously for our pitching staff. We’ve got to understand how we’re getting worked.

“We’ve got to step back, we’ve got to be able to make adjustments and those are the types of things we’re talking about right now.”

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