Arizona Diamondbacks once again juggling at-bats for six outfielders
Jun 6, 2016, 6:02 PM
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
PHOENIX — One player won’t change the Arizona Diamondbacks’ fortunes completely, but they’ll gladly accept any help they can get at turning the 2016 season around.
So, welcome back outfielder David Peralta.
“I’m really excited; I’m really excited to be back with the team,” he said Monday ahead of the D-backs interleague-series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The D-backs reinstated Peralta from the 15-day disabled list, where he spent the past three weeks due to right wrist inflammation.
Peralta missed 20 games on top of the six he missed prior to being placed on the disabled list on May 15.
“It’s difficult for me to be sitting the bench or watching the game and not do anything or something to help the team,” he said.
With Peralta sidelined, the D-backs went 10-16.
“But, we’re going to start from zero today,” he continued, “so today is going to be a new day; a new week and we’re going to our best and we’re going to beat Tampa Bay and whatever team is going to come (to Chase Field).
“We have to keep that mind that we’re going to beat anyone.”
Peralta’s return should have an immediate impact.
Manager Chip Hale wasted no time putting Peralta, who was hitting .260 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 33 games before the injury, back in the lineup.
“He’s going to hit sixth today just to kind of ease him back in,” Hale said.
The question later for Hale becomes what about the next day and the days after that as Peralta joins an already crowded outfield with Michael Bourn, Brandon Drury, Chris Owings, Rickie Weeks, Jr. and Yasmany Tomas.
“It’s going to be tough,” Hale said.
Bourn and Tomas filled the other outfield spots Monday, which was made easier given Owings’ need for a day off because of foot soreness.
Last week Tomas, who had been struggling, missed a game because of a sore knee, but he has since responded with six hits in 19 at-bats (.316) over the past five games.
“The great thing was the at-bats with guys in scoring position; obviously hitting that double (Sunday) was huge for us,” Hale said. “He’s a guy that’s going to swing the bat. When he swings at the right pitches, he has a lot of success. It’s teaching here at the Major League level; it’s development and the more he swings at the right pitches, I think the more damage he’s going to do.”
How Hale juggles six players for three positions will depend largely on the opponent, specifically the pitching matchup.
Hale noted both Owings and Drury are infielders “by trade” and Peralta has shown the versatility to play some center, as needed.
“We’re going to work them in the best we can,” Hale said. “We can’t let young guys like Brandon or Yasmany not play. They got to get their at-bats. It’s probably going to cost Rickie the most time because he’s a veteran. He can handle coming off the bench without playing.”
Peralta, meanwhile, expressed no concern with picking up where he left off on May 8, his last appearance with the D-backs.
Between extended spring training and two games with Triple-A Reno over the weekend, Peralta got 16 at-bats with four hits, three walks and a pair of RBI.
“I wasn’t worried about results. I had pretty good at-bats and the timing is going to come,” he said. “I know in my mind my wrist is good, so everything is going to be fine; everything is going to come (back).”