D-backs OF Jordan Luplow nearing return, INF Josh Rojas progressing
PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo provided several injury updates on Friday and Saturday.
Outfielder Jordan Luplow, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, is nearing a return.
Lovullo hopes Luplow — who is on the 10-day injured list with an oblique strain — can make his team debut early next week.
“Jordan Luplow played seven innings in center field and had six or seven at-bats, (he) came through that real good,” Lovullo said pregame on Saturday.
Luplow primarily played right field during spring training. Lovullo said that was because the outfielder was working his way back from an ankle issue, but Luplow will be another option for center field. The manager reiterated that Daulton Varsho is the starter out there, but Luplow will provide depth.
“We need to prioritize that position. … It’s like shortstop, you want to have as many shortstops, as many center fielders as possible,” Lovullo said.
Another bat working his way back is infielder Josh Rojas, who has also missed the first few weeks of the season with an oblique strain. Rojas hit off the velocity machine this weekend and will take live at-bats against pitchers starting on Monday.
He had been playing third base during spring training before the injury, a position that Arizona has plugged Drew Ellis, Sergio Alcantara and Matt Davidson into. Lovullo said on Friday that shortstop Geraldo Perdomo will also get reps at the hot corner.
Perdomo will start at short Saturday against the New York Mets in place of Nick Ahmed, who made his season debut on Friday after coming off the IL (shoulder). Lovullo intends to be careful with Ahmed’s workload, stressing how important the former Gold Glove winner is to Arizona’s defense.
“He’s been grinding pretty hard,” Lovullo said. “A lot of baseball games had been played for him over the past maybe 10 days. A number of at-bats. I made up my mind that he was gonna play (Friday) — get (Saturday) off.”
The D-backs also have multiple pitchers on the IL, including Luke Weaver and J.B. Bukauskas who have each played catch up to 60 feet.
Reliever Sean Poppen was added to the list Saturday with shoulder inflammation after he felt tightness while warming up in the bullpen on Friday night. He was scheduled to enter against the Mets, but the D-backs had to adjust and sent in J.B. Wendelken instead.
The second of three games between the D-backs and Mets is set for 5:10 p.m. at Chase Field on Saturday night. Arizona will look to even the series after an extra-inning loss on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.