SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- You know it's Spring Training when you hear a D-backs manager vow that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will get more days off in the coming season.
Goldschmidt, who hit his first homer of the spring Monday in the D-backs' 7-4 split-squad win over the Rockies, started 152 games last year, and the total likely would have been higher had he not missed five games in September with an elbow issue.
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In 2016, he played in 158 games, and he logged 159 games in 2014. A fractured left hand limited him to 109 games in 2014 after he played 160 games in 2013.
Each of his previous two managers, Chip Hale and Kirk Gibson, had made similar comments during Spring Training about limiting Goldschmidt's games, but it proved too tempting to have his bat in the lineup and Goldschmidt loathes days off.
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"I did talk to Paul for a short period of time during our one-on-one and we're going to give him some time off," current D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "He's not a machine. Sometimes we think he is because he's so elite. We have to be careful with his playing time. He'll fall right in the same category as everybody else when it comes to rest."
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Last year, Lovullo said during Spring Training that he would play Goldschmidt between 155 and 160 games. This year, though, it will be less.
"I don't think it'll be that aggressive, off the top of my head," Lovullo said of last year's target. "It's subject to change but I think we're going to pay a little closer attention to him."
Put me in, coach
Lovullo has said that outfielder Steven Souza Jr. would not make his D-backs debut until Wednesday, and he's holding firm to that despite an intense lobbying effort.
"At dinnertime last night, I got a text from Steven and he said, 'I'm ready to go. Please, please, please put me in the lineup tomorrow,'" Lovullo said. "I told him that if he wanted to get his manager fired, that's something I'd agree to. But under no circumstances are we going to come off the game plan that we have."
Infielder Chris Owings will get the bulk of his playing time at second base for right now. After having surgery performed for a second time this offseason on his broken right hand, the last part of his game to come around has been throwing across the diamond.
As soon as the team feels comfortable with him making those throws, he will play some at short and third.
The plan is to have him fill a super-utility role this year at second, short and third. Initially he was looked at as a corner outfielder as well, but the acquisitions of Souza and Jarrod Dyson will limit his appearances out there.
D-backs right-hander Taijuan Walker will make his Cactus League debut against the Giants on Tuesday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium. Two of the three closer candidates -- Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger -- are also expected to see action.
The D-backs will have a lighter morning prior to heading over to Scottsdale Stadium as Lovullo wants to make sure his players get a little break early in camp.