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Jones makes Cactus League debut for D-backs

Arizona makes eight cuts; Lamb OK after Sunday's exit
@SteveGilbertMLB
March 20, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It didn’t take the ball long to find Adam Jones. The D-backs center fielder, playing in his first Cactus League game since signing a free-agent deal a little more than a week ago, had the first ball of Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Padres hit to

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It didn’t take the ball long to find Adam Jones.

The D-backs center fielder, playing in his first Cactus League game since signing a free-agent deal a little more than a week ago, had the first ball of Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Padres hit to him, which he caught easily.

Since signing, Jones had played a few times in back-field games.

“Amazing,” Jones said of what it was like to be back in a big league game. “Just to smell the grass, take the field. It was good just to get back on the saddle with the fellas. It’s go time now.”

Jones went 0-for-3 and narrowly missed a home run in the fourth inning on a fly ball that carried to the warning track in left field.

“Don’t need to hit home runs right now,” Jones said. “I’ll save them for the season. Just glad I put a good swing on some pitches.”

Jones will get Wednesday off and then likely play Thursday, when the D-backs host the Angels at Salt River Fields.

“Good to see Adam Jones out there,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “He looked fantastic, considering the crash course he’s been on.”

Testing the rules

According to Lovullo, Major League Baseball has asked teams to put a runner on second base to start the 10th inning of a tied game. A tie that late in the game had not happened for the D-backs, but in the seventh when it looked like they might get there, the two managers and umpires agreed to try it in the ninth if the game remained tied.

“It was supposed to be in the 10th inning, but we certainly didn’t want to go any longer and play the 10th inning,” Lovullo said. “So, we decided to advance it to the ninth inning.”

The Padres scored a run to win the game, despite the fact that they hit out of order during the frame.

“The ninth inning was a little awkward,” Lovullo said. “I’m not going to lie. It adds a whole different dimension and a whole new strategy to a baseball game. But we’re committed to trying. Major League Baseball asked us to try.”

Roster moves

The D-backs made eight cuts to the roster Tuesday, leaving them with 34 active players in camp with a little more than a week to go before Opening Day.

Infielder/outfielder Tim Locastro was optioned to Triple-A Reno, while outfielder Abraham Almonte, right-hander Stefan Crichton, right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, right-hander Ricky Nolasco, right-hander Braden Shipley, infielder/outfielder Yasmany Tomas and infielder Kelby Tomlinson were reassigned to Minor League camp.

“Always a hard day for me,” Lovullo said. “We’re still getting down to that part of the year where you have to get to 25 guys, and none of [the cuts] are ever easy. The players always feel like we make the decisions and my message to them is, 'No, the players make the decisions.' The players are the ones that perform, and when they go out there and do their job, they’re telling us when they’re ready.”

Lamb OK

First baseman Jake Lamb left Sunday’s game with tightness in his back, but he seems to be fine as he was out on a half field taking ground balls from infield coach Tony Perezchica and working on turning double plays for a while Tuesday afternoon.

Big step for Walker

D-backs right-hander Taijuan Walker threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May.

“Really happy for him,” Lovullo said. “Obviously, it’s been a long, grinding process, and these are when you start to see some really good moments for these guys, a smile on their faces. I think it was a good day for Taijuan.”

Up next

The D-backs will travel to Glendale, Ariz., on Wednesday afternoon to take on the White Sox at Camelback Ranch at 1:05 p.m. MST. Luke Weaver will get the start for the D-backs and be followed to the mound by Archie Bradley and Yoan Lopez. Bradley is competing with Greg Holland for the closer’s job, while Lopez is fighting for one of the final spots in the bullpen.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.