Diamondbacks pregame notes: How Lovullo plans to manage workloads 17-game stretch

Sep 2, 2023, 4:31 PM | Updated: Sep 4, 2023, 7:52 pm

Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks doubles to drive in two runs to take a 6-5 lead ov...

Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks doubles to drive in two runs to take a 6-5 lead over the Detroit Tigers during the ninth inning at Comerica Park on June 11, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. The Diamondbacks defeated the Tigers 7-5 (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks started a 17 games in 17 days stretch on Friday to open the final month of the regular season.

Manager Torey Lovullo would appreciate giving first baseman Christian Walker a day off during this span given his heavy workload all year, but that’s difficult to do.

“He keeps hitting a home run the day before,” Lovullo said. “I can’t give him a day off the next day after he goes deep. So I don’t know. I just watch it, target it probably a week out, pay attention to it and then watch the results from the field.”

It’s a difficult balance to have his best players on the field as the D-backs scratch and claw for a postseason berth with the National League Wild Card race still wide open.

On the other hand, he does not want players to get into the “red” on the club’s chart that tracks workloads, similar to that of its pitching staff.

“‘I’ll rest in November, I want to win, I’m your best option.’ That’s what they always tell me,” Lovullo said. “I like that. I admire that. But at certain points in time, (the sheet) is gospel. If you get into that red area, you’re not playing, no chance. So I try to keep it as far off of the red as possible. Same with the pitchers.”

In this stretch, Lovullo said he’s tracked pitching matchups through the Chicago Cubs series from Sept. 7-10.

He says he’ll map out days off based on those matchups but pay attention if anyone starts dragging a bit.

The D-backs recalled Pavin Smith as one of their September call-ups as someone who could give Walker a breather at first base. But Walker has been on a tear with a 1.018 OPS and six home runs over his last 19 games.

“I need to give him a recharge there in the middle of 17. Where that is, I don’t know,” Lovullo said. 

D-backs’ revolving door

The Diamondbacks recalled Smith and Emmanuel Rivera from Triple-A on Friday while optioning Buddy Kennedy.

Lovullo explained that they will turn to the hot hand in Reno to “try and catch lightning in a bottle” with the extra roster spots awarded in September. Arizona has done a version of this all year with some shuffling and sending down players to find a rhythm. 

Jake McCarthy was passed up to return, and Lovullo explained what the D-backs want to see from him.

The manager said they want McCarthy to be more aggressive using his leverage to drive the ball instead of slashing it the other way.

“There should be great incentives for the kids in Triple-A right now, knowing that if they have a good couple of weeks, they are gonna have an opportunity,” Lovullo said. “We’ve been pretty consistent with that all year.”

Top prospect Jordan Lawlar had a four-hit night on Friday and blasted a 454-foot home run on Thursday for the Aces, for what it’s worth.

Tommy Troy jumps to top 100

Arizona’s 2023 first-round pick, Tommy Troy, joined MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects list on Saturday after Los Angeles Angles catcher Logan O’Hoppe graduated.

He is the third D-backs played in the top 100 with Lawlar (No. 10) and Druw Jones (No. 34).

Troy joined High-A Hillsboro on Aug. 1 and has a .790 OPS with four home runs and eight steals in 23 games.

D-backs injury updates

Lovullo said Drey Jameson is throwing up to 100 feet. The club wants to be cautious after he suffered a strain in his UCL, but he has not been ruled out to pitch this year. Lovullo said on Wednesday that Jameson would throw a bullpen within a week.

Tommy Henry (elbow) is a long shot to return before the end of the season, but Lovullo said he is expected to begin his throwing program this weekend.

Mark Melancon (shoulder) has not pitched in a game this season, but he has thrown six bullpens and will face live hitters in a batting practice setting next week.

“The velocity is increasing, but he’s really been battling some injuries that take a little while to heal,” Lovullo said. “He’s very determined to get back as soon as possible. When that is, I’m not sure.”

D-backs vs. Orioles

The Diamondbacks face the Orioles at 5:10 p.m. on Saturday night with a chance to clinch a series win. Slade Cecconi throws for Arizona vs. Baltimore’s Kyle Bradish.

It is Mexican Heritage Night, so there is a jersey giveaway, postgame concert by Contacto Norte and appearances by mascots from the Mexican Pacific League.

Catch the game on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and 

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