D-backs’ Nick Ahmed scratched from lineup vs. A’s due to personal issue
SCOTTSDALE — Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed said last Friday that he was on track to be back in the lineup sometime this week after not playing since March 6.
At 8:14 a.m., it appeared the shortstop was back in the fold and in the lineup Tuesday against the Oakland A’s.
But just over two hours later, Ahmed was replaced on the lineup card, marking his ninth straight game missed.
The shortstop had originally been listed as day-to-day with right knee soreness after being scratched from the team’s March 8 matchup against the San Francisco Giants.
It was a different story on Tuesday, however, as his absence was due to a non-baseball issue.
“Nick was scheduled to play in the game and was feeling good with his knee issue,” skipper Torey Lovullo said. “He is dealing with another personal issue that we feel very, very good about saying that he’ll be fine in time. … The knee was fine. That’s really about all I have to say about that for right now.”
General manager Mike Hazen added that he is “not concerned right now” but did not specify a timeframe for Ahmed’s return.
In four games this spring, Ahmed has two doubles, a stolen base and two runs scored. He’s been walked twice and struck out three times.
Ahmed is averaging .250 to go along with a .400 OBP in 10 plate appearances.
In 2020 (57 games), Ahmed accounted for 29 RBIs, 53 hits, four stolen bases and 18 walks. The 30-year-old shortstop averaged .266 and posted a .327 OBP, both career highs.
If Ahmed is forced to miss an extended period of time, the D-backs could turn to Josh Rojas, who replaced Ahmed at shortstop Tuesday.
Rojas has had an impressive spring thus far, recording 13 hits (first among Cactus League hitters), six RBIs and five runs scored in 12 games (39 plate appearances). He’s been walked four times and struck out 11 times.
Rojas is averaging .371 (seventh in Cactus League) to go along with a .436 OBP (10th in Cactus League).
— Lovullo on if he has nailed down an Opening Day starter: “I have not. I’ll probably wait until the final week, a couple days before the season to let you guys know. I’ve been pretty consistent with that.”
– Lovullo on sending down right-handed pitchers J.B. Bukauskas, who had posted a clean spring (4.0 innings): “Every sendout is tough, first of all. Especially when you’re starting to get down into the final weeks of spring training. J.B. has been throwing the ball extremely well. We had the chance to evaluate him over three to four innings and we love what we see. However, we want him to continue to grow with the finer points of his game and the consistency aspect of it, changing roles from a starter to a reliever.
“We just wanted to give him more time. How much time? Unpredictable. But we’re going to see him in the big leagues if he continues on the same path.”
Bukauskas registered nine strikeouts in four innings of work this spring. The pitcher did not allow a hit or walk a batter.