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Torey Lovullo Speaks on D-backs Roster Moves

Hear from the skipper on some Spring send-downs, and facing the Dodgers for the first time since the NLDS.

The Diamondbacks face off against NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch today. Prior to the game, the team announced a slew of roster moves, covered here by Inside the Diamondbacks' Jack Sommers. 

Lovullo addressed the media ahead of their matchup today, and commented on some of the decisions made.

SS Jordan Lawlar

The most notable move was the decision to send top shortstop prospect Jordan Lawlar down to Triple-A Reno. Lovullo said it was a difficult decision, but that it was best for the young infielder's development.

“That was a tough send-down, but the way the team was coming together, it was showing up that if he stayed here he wasn't going to play but once or twice a week, and he's too good to do that. He still has some developing to do."

Lovullo echoed the sentiment that general manager Mike Hazen expressed weeks ago, that Lawlar is "too good not to play every day." With that being the case, it made the most sense to send Lawlar back to the minors for now

The manager praised Lawlar's on- and off-field presence, noting that the 21-year-old's maturity and work ethic matches his high level of talent.

"I get caught in between which one do I love more, do I love the person or do I love the player? It’s hard for me to decide. He’s that good of a person and that good of a player and you don't see that combination very often," Lovullo said.

RHP Justin Martinez

Martinez has wowed D-backs fans since his 2023 debut with his triple-digit velocity. The control, however, has been an issue. In five innings of Spring work, the young flamethrower has allowed just two runs while striking out seven batters, but he frequently found himself in jams, and he allowed eight hits over those five innings, translating to a 1.80 WHIP.

Although he looked to be improving during Spring so far, the decision was made to send him back to Reno to continue to improve that command. Lovullo said the young arm also needs to work on his pitch selection, and utilize his secondary stuff rather than leaning entirely on the high-velocity fastball.

"I just think there were some middle-middle mistakes with his fastball. 99-mile-an-hour fastballs were getting turned around with regularity, so he needs to mix up the pitch selection and start to work edges and work corners."

Similarly to Lawlar, Martinez would likely not see much action if he remained on the major league roster, so sending him down will give him more frequent opportunities to fine-tune his arsenal and get reps.

The manager did note that he didn't think dialing down his velocity was a necessity to improve said control, but that the right-hander needs to remember that he has a three-pitch arsenal and work on utilizing his secondary stuff more.

INF Cole Roberts

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has a son, and he's a prospect in the D-backs organization. Today, Cole will share a special moment with his dad on the field, per Lovullo.

Lovullo said he had Roberts sign the lineup card with a personalized message, and deliver it to his dad on the field. Lovullo also noted that the young infielder will get an at-bat in today's game.

“I'm a dad, [Dave Roberts] and my world overlap quite a bit, and I know how he feels about his children, and it’s always special when you can share these types of moments with your own son," Lovullo said. 

Dave's wife and daughter will also be in attendance for today's game.

"It's a pretty special day for the Roberts, and I want to make sure that I set him up there to connect with his dad a little bit differently than he'll ever be able to connect with him again on a baseball field," Lovullo said.

Facing The Dodgers

The D-backs will get a look at the new Dodgers, facing them for the first time since their sweep of the NLDS. The Dodgers are playing many of their starters today, so the challenge will be present for Arizona.

“I'm looking forward to it," said Lovullo, "it's the first time we're going to get to see this team on the same field. We know what’s there, and we’ve embraced the challenge, so today’s going to be our first sightline at it."

The manager noted his admiration for the top of the Dodgers' deadly order, and the fact that this game might mean a little more.

"I'm a baseball fan, I get to watch Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman hit back of one another, but I want to play good baseball too, I want us to go out there and do our job, its a Spring Training game, you're right, but maybe it has a little bit of meaning, it’s the Dodgers, and they're ready to compete, and we will be too."

The D-backs will face the Oakland A's tomorrow at 1:10 PM.