Torey Lovullo: Diamondbacks staff already ‘in baseball mode’
A condensed spring for the Arizona Diamondbacks comes at a critical point for the current leadership.
Manager Torey Lovullo returns following a 52-110 season that forced him and general manager Mike Hazen to aggressively reimagine their vision of success. Lovullo remains adamant that the D-backs will rebuild quickly to compete in the 2022 season, which began with players reporting to camp Friday, a day after the lockout ended.
In Arizona, the urgency isn’t just kicking up with players coming into town.
“We’ve been in baseball mode as a staff,” Lovullo told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta, speaking of minor league camp that was in motion over the past three weeks. “We knew that this day would happen. We’ve been having meetings daily, we’re ready to go.”
It matters that a coaching staff restructured to better develop those in the minors gathered when the players rostered for the Major League Baseball team could not. Internal growth is at the heart of how Arizona is hoping to turn its fortunes.
How the Diamondbacks fill in the gaps after it took a hard right turn into looking at its prospects during last season remains to be seen. The lockout only froze the revelation of this year’s team’s ambitions.
“It’s like a purple bruise, right? You know that it’s there and you have to pay attention to it and you know it’s going to heal eventually,” Lovullo said of the lockout.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge for us.”
Lovullo said that with a predicted 28 days to prepare for the regular season, which is scheduled to start on April 7, he told his staff to put together a training plan that fits in 21-23 days.
As a manager, he’s already preparing for double-headers to make up the shortened 162-game schedule and rule changes, like the use of a designated hitter in the National League.
“What we’re thinking initially is there’s going to be a rotation of guys based on the matchup. We’re not going to look for anybody like David Ortiz — those guys are few and far between,” Lovullo said.
“Personally how I feel about it … I know that they’re trying to make it more exciting for the fans and put up big points and big numbers. I’m all for that. You lose a little bit of the strategy of the game … now I’ve got to back into a whole new driveway and I’ve got to make sure I know what I’m doing. No more double-switches.”