Lovullo plans to alternate Diamondbacks DH assignments

SCOTTSDALE – Going forward, Torey Lovullo, field manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, will not take a page from his history book. As bench coach of the Boston Red Sox from 2013 to 2016, Lovullo witnessed the achievements of David Ortiz, the Sox celebrated designated hitter. Now, Lovullo addresses his own version of the DH.

Enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Ortiz revolutionized the concept of the DH, and along with Seattle’s Edger Martinez, remain the benchmark players in that capacity. Lovullo, who witnessed Ortiz’s exploits for four seasons, will institute the DH full-time for his team in the National League. Yet, Lovullo’s previous experience with only one DH is now eschewed in favor of another direction.

“I will probably use the DH as a rotation,” Lovullo said earlier this spring. “I’ll give a day off to a certain hitter and then match up with the best possible guy who will help us win and impact the baseball game.”

From the Arizona perspective, Lovullo cited the luxury of using internal candidates, and not shopping on the open market. Players like Kyle Scwarber and Nick Castellanos, both of whom recently signed with the Phillies, would make excellent choices for an Arizona DH.

Now, Lovullo talks of in-house candidates. Depending on his bench constriction and a notion to match hitters with particular pitchers, the landscape of the Arizona DH is expected to be altered.

“Not one particular DH,” he added. “I love the idea of helping us score more runs and create a little bit of excitement.

With the advent of the DH, a particular strategy is now pulled. Over his tenure as the Diamondbacks’ skipper, Lovullo was passionate about the pitcher hitting and subsequent strategy involved. Plus, he had no issue with the double switch and the reality of a position player hitting out of the ninth hole.

Now, that is all history. Not even Madison Bumgarner, regarded as one of the best hitting pitchers in the game, will not hit. That’s according to Lovullo, who told reporters earlier this spring, that Bumgarner will not swing the bat. Period.

“I enjoyed the pitcher hitting,” Lovullo said. “That added a couple of extra layers of strategy. The DH takes the pressure off me to make a pitching decision before it’s the right time. You have to factor in the offensive aspect of the pitcher hitting and with the game in the line. It took me a little while to learn that and you never get it right. In the end, it’s about the pitcher, how he is doing, and the pitch count. That’s the only way I’ll evaluate when I make a decision to take a pitcher out of a game.”

Among internal candidates, Lovullo could point to left-handed hitters such as Seth Beer, Josh Van Meter, Alek Thomas, and veteran David Peralta. From the right side, Lovullo’s cadre could include Jordan Luplow, Cooper Hummel, and veteran Christian Walker. For these players to be available, several would have to make the eventual 25-man roster, including Beer, Thomas, and Hummel.

Elsewhere … righthander Luke Weaver had his initial start of the spring on Friday and was not effective. Lasting only one and one-third innings, the right-hander allowed four runs, all earned, walked three, and surrendered three hits. In his outing Friday, Weaver faced 10 hitters and delivered 45 pitches, 28 for strikes. Weaver is coming off a 3-6 season, 4.25 ERA for 13 starts, and missed most of 2021 due to a right shoulder strain. The game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ended in a 5-5 tie at Salt River. … offensively, the Diamondbacks tied the game with a three-spot in the bottom of the eighth and received home runs from Daulton Varsho, a solo shot in the fifth, and a two-run blast from Seth Beer in the eighth. … On Saturday, the Diamondbacks have a rare spring training day off and resume their slate Sunday afternoon in Surprise against the Texas Rangers.

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