Paul Sewald’s return has taken pressure off D-backs’ bullpen

May 27, 2024, 12:16 PM

Relief pitcher Paul Sewald has made a world of a difference since returning to the D-backs' bullpen...

Relief pitcher Paul Sewald has made a world of a difference since returning to the D-backs' bullpen. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald made his season debut on May 7 after starting the season on the IL (oblique) and his presence has made all the difference.

“It pushes everybody back a level, gives me a lot of versatility inside the game from the sixth inning on to create the matchups that I want, and I feel like I always have an extra guy sitting in my pocket that I’m able to use if needed,” Lovullo said before a loss against the Marlins on Sunday.

After giving up one run in his season debut, Sewald hasn’t surrendered any since.

He wasn’t needed on Sunday, as the Diamondbacks couldn’t put together enough run support behind Blake Walston for a save opportunity. On Saturday in a high-leverage situation with a one-run lead, Sewald had a clean 1-2-3 ninth inning in fewer than 10 pitches and got pinch hitter Dee Gordon to strike out swinging.

Lovullo said everyone in the building knew “it was gonna be a little bit of a grind” starting the season without Sewald, but he applauded Kevin Ginkel for how he handled the temporary closer duties.

“I thought Kevin did a good job … (He) in the absence of Paul held serve for me. He did just fine,” Lovullo said. “We were all uncomfortable and curious about what was gonna happen, and we did okay.”

“Getting (Sewald) back here has been a really good push and shot in the arm for us … I feel really good about where the bullpen is right now,” he added.

Sewald is 4-for-4 on save opportunities this season.

Geraldo Perdomo preparing for anything upon return

Arizona’s regular everyday shortstop, Geraldo Perdomo — who is “extremely close” to making his return — was seen fielding groundballs from near third base before a win on Saturday.

Lovullo said pregame Perdomo was just looking for a new angle trying to “have a little bit of fun,” but he likes that the everyday shortstop can fill in at third when necessary.

“Being versatile and being able to move around the infield, give me some flexibility depending on the particular matchup, if he’s swinging the bat well … I’m not gonna say he’s gonna be over there, but I like to know that he can do it if there’s a reason for it.”

Kevin Newman has held down the shortstop spot since Perdomo went down, and he has done exceptionally, but on a Sunday that featured a diving grab and nice play by Newman, he also had a throwing error that allowed the first Marlins run to score.

“I don’t wanna downplay anything (Newman’s) doing,” Lovullo said pregame. “He’s been unbelievable, he’s really anchored that spot for us and a lot of credit should go out to him.”

Lovullo pumped the brakes on the idea that Newman has stolen the everyday job from Perdomo, but he was appreciative of the help Newman has offered.

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