Manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks is likely to create a batting order and not deviate very much.
Earlier in camp, Torey Lovullo, manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, told Venom Strikes he expects to have his roster set several days before the start of the season. Noting he wants to avoid uncertainty on the part of players near the start, Lovullo appears to work in a methodical and precise way.
That would look to be the case in all aspects of his responsibilities. Starting with naming a five-man rotation, of which Lovullo has only identified Zack Greinke as one, to the formation of his bullpen and winners of competitive jobs, his decisions seem to be well-thought-out and presented.
At the same time, Lovullo will have to construct a batting order with similar precision. Given the potential power and production of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ offense, that could be considered a relatively easy task.
Then again, success could be generated on how Lovullo’s places players within his line-up. Throughout the spring, Lovullo has made it a point to stress the need to win each pitch and then create a domino effect. Win the pitch, he likes to say, then win the at-bat, then win the inning and win the game.
Sounds relatively simple and there’s no reason to believe that’s essentially the quest of every major-league manager. Then again, Lovullo needs to put his players in a position to succeed.
About an essential theory of constructing a batting order, Lovullo told Venom Strikes he prefers to write in a player in the line-up and keep that slot.
"I’ll go with basically with the same guys in the line-up. I’ll also mix and match and that depends on who we face that night and a hitter’s track record. In any case, I want to give us the best chance to win every game."
Right from the start, finding a lead-off hitter and table-setter could be a challenge.
Two years ago, A. J. Pollock fulfilled that role on his way to an All-Star season. When Pollock went down with a fractured right elbow just before last season began, second baseman Jean Segura was thrust into that role.
For the season ahead, it was believed that Pollock could regain his lead-off spot but the fleet centerfielder had been out since March 12 with groin tightness. His spot both in the field and at the top of the order has been filled by veteran Gregor Blanco, who was signed as a non-roster invitee to spring training.
Throughout the spring games, Lovullo seems to like right-fielder David Peralta in the two-hole. Should Pollock regain his health and productivity at the top of the line-up, then the Diamondbacks could field a very respectable top four of any line-up. With Pollock back in the lead-up spot, he would proceed Peralta, Paul Goldschmidt in the three-hole and Jake Lamb hitting clean-up.
Add the solid bat of Chris Owings, the likely starter at shortstop, and an emerging Brandon Drury at second, the Diamondbacks will score runs.
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Right now, it’s up to Lovullo to construct his batting order in a way, as he said, “to give us a chance to win every game.”
More roster moves
Before Monday’s night contest with the Oakland A’s in Mesa, the Arizona Diamondbacks trimmed their roster by four players.
Optioned to Triple-A Reno were Braden Shipley and Matt Koch, a pair of right-handed pitchers.
Assigned to the minor-league camp was infielder Jason Pridie and Keyvius Sampson, a right-handed pitcher
That leaves 45 players remaining in camp. By opening day, Arizona decision-makers must cut 20 more players to reach the mandated 25-man roster by April 2, their season opener with the San Francisco Giants in Chase Field.
After riding buses throughout the Phoenix metro area the past two days, the Arizona Diamondbacks return to Salt River and face the Kansas City Royals at 1:10 p.m. on Tuesday. Lefty Robbie Ray will get the start for Arizona, and Andrew Chafin is expected to pitch as well. The Royals send lefty Jason Vargas to the hill.
On Wednesday, the Diamondbacks are off and resume their spring slate Thursday at Salt River against the Chicago Cubs.