Lovullo humbled by D-backs extension, was ‘not an idiot’ about potential fate
With his ball club reaching the century mark in losses, an occurrence in only one other Arizona Diamondbacks season in franchise history, manager Torey Lovullo said Thursday he was “not an idiot” and knew what could be coming next.
Heading into the tail-end of a 2021 season where it would not have been foolish to predict that Lovullo was fired at the end of it, the D-backs instead announced on Thursday they had extended Lovullo’s contract through the 2022 season. That cemented a talking point and curiosity floating over their team the last few weeks and months.
After a 6-4 win over the Atlanta Braves that afternoon, Lovullo spoke with the media for the first time since the announcement.
“I am humbled and honored by this extension,” he said. “With (owner) Ken (Kendrick) and (president) Derrick (Hall), having enough faith in me from the dugout level to continue pushing this ball forward day-by-day. I know what the record looks like. I’m not an idiot. I know what can happen in these types of circumstances.”
Lovullo had a conversation with general manager Mike Hazen on where the D-backs currently stand and how they can improve in the future, a talk they have often, but one that was obviously different on Thursday given Lovullo’s extension.
The manager admitted that he is slow to evolve sometimes to changes that Hazen and the front office would like to see and that battles would occur there, which is not an oddity for any franchise.
“It’s not him coming down telling me, ‘You better do this or else,'” Lovullo said. “It’s a conversation and I’ve always appreciated that conversation and I always know where he’s coming from because he’s just trying to help me learn and help this team grow and help us win a moment. For me, it’s about winning every moment or winning every inch you possibly can.”
Lovullo said he was able to block out the “black noise” of his potential fate when he showed up for work, comparing it to his days in the majors when he was a player trying to keep his job, even though he did say he was “awfully curious” with what would be happening as anyone would be in his shoes.
Infielder/outfielder Josh Rojas was happy to know that Lovullo wasn’t going anywhere in the short term.
“He rode with us through one of the toughest seasons I’ve been a part of, I think every guy in the clubhouse, it’s been one of the toughest seasons that we’ve ever been a part of at any level,” Rojas said. “And to bring in a guy that went through it with us and he’s going to know what it takes to get out of it. I think it was a great decision by this organization and Mike Hazen.”