Arizona Diamondbacks: Torey Lovullo happy with team commitment
By Mark Brown
Manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks says his team is focused and committed
First impressions are usually lasting. For Torey Lovullo, the first-year manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, that reaction appears to be as enduring as it is important.
Before Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres at the Peoria Sports Complex, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that his camp is off to a commendable start. The nature of wins and losses in spring games is superfluous to decision-makers, and the opening two weeks of training camp for the Diamondbacks is no exception.
Throughout the spring, Lovullo said many times he discounts the win-loss numbers and standings are clearly meaningless. What matter is how is players respond and the level of communication established.
Both standards appeared to have been met, and Lovullo seems to settle into a particularly good comfort level.
Talking with Venom Strikes, Lovullo pointed out the commitment of his players to the task at hand remains admirable.
"“These players are extremely focused. They are open minded and prepared to learn in an impressive manner. They execute every day.”"
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If Lovullo has an immediate impression of his players, the same can be said of those he commands. In what was considered an uneasy clubhouse under manager Chip Hale last season, the advent of the Lovullo era is characterized by communication and a wiliness to listen.
Arriving in the desert for his initial major league manager’s job, Lovullo’s reputation followed as a communicator. At the time of his hiring as the Diamondbacks’ skipper, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that what matters to his players, matters to him.
Speaking with Venom Strikes after his second spring outing, pitcher Shelby Miller echoed the notion that Lovullo’s strength is that of a strong communicator.
"“Torey is a player’s manager. He cares about you on and off the field. Players respect that.”"
So far this spring, the Diamondbacks, under Lovullo, are playing nearly even baseball. After dropping a 6-5 decision to the San Diego Padres before 6,653 on Saturday, their spring mark fell to 4-5. Down by two in the seventh, Arizona loaded the bases with one out, but Padres’ reliever Michael Kelly fanned each Chris Herrmann and Nick Ahmed to end that threat. Despite a single run in the eighth, the Diamondbacks could not gain the equalizer.
Daily Camp doings
Reliever Jake Barrett, slowed by right shoulder inflammation, is behind, but now throwing at 120 feet. There is no timetable for Barrett’s initial camp outing.
Zack Greinke came off his first start of the spring on Friday with no issues. He is expected to make his next start this Wednesday against Team Mexico at Salt River.
The Diamondbacks take on the Chicago White Sox Sunday (1:10 p.m.) at Salt River. Right-hander Taijuan Walker makes his second start of the spring and faces righty Reynaldo Lopez.
On Monday, the Diamondbacks are back in Surprise and take on the Kansas City Royals. Lefty Robbie Ray starts for Arizona and draws right-hander Nathan Karns as his mound opponent.
Leaving for the WBC
After Sunday’s game, players participating in the World Baseball Classic leave and join their respective countries. Against the visiting Chicago White Sox Sunday, Paul Goldschmidt will start at first base and receive two to three at-bats. That depends on how the game progresses.
Next: Miller off to solid spring
Reliever Fernando Rodney, with one spring game appearance, departs for Team Dominican Republic, as does infielder Daniel Descalso (Team Italy), pitcher Silvino Bracho (Team Venezuela), pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (Team Mexico), and outfielder/infielder Reymond Fuentes (Team Puerto Rico).