Locastro plays hero as D-backs rally, stun Mets

June 2nd, 2019

PHOENIX -- Sometimes facing a five-man infield can be intimidating for a hitter, especially when those fielders are standing on the edge of the grass trying to cut off a run at the plate.

D-backs utilityman faced that situation in the 11th inning and responded by lifting a deep fly ball to a vacant center field as Kevin Cron trotted home with the game-winning run and Arizona snapped a five-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over the Mets on Saturday night.

“I know what it does to the hitter,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “Immediately it’s a distraction. You're trying a little bit harder to elevate the baseball and you start to change your game plan from a hitting standpoint. … Tim didn’t hit into the trap. He did a good job of waiting it out.”

While it’s true that Locastro wasn’t intimidated by the situation, there is a good explanation for that.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know until somebody just told me in the shower if I’m being completely honest, because I was so locked in on just trying to drive the ball to the outfield,” Locastro said. “And that’s all I was really focused on, so I guess it worked to my benefit.”

Locastro, who was acquired by the D-backs from the Yankees in exchange for cash and a Minor Leaguer in January, has provided a spark for the D-backs when he’s been called up from Triple-A Reno.

With his speed and freakish ability to get hit by pitches -- he’s been plunked nine times in 55 plate appearances with the D-backs this year and another seven in 114 plate appearances in Reno -- Locastro has proven to be a valuable part of the offense.

“An opportunity like that presents itself where I can get on base any way I can, then I can try and score,” Locastro said. “I can try and use my speed to try and score, steal a base, sac fly, passed balls, whatever it takes to score. That’s the name of the game -- score more runs than the other team. That’s just the way I was brought up, even in Little League, college, high school, so just have to continue to do it.”

Over his 2,560 plate appearances in the Minor Leagues, he has been hit a whopping 161 times. He doesn’t lean into a pitch and doesn’t crowd the plate, but neither does he dart out of the way when they are bearing in on him.

“I’ve been hit by pitches ever since Little League,” Locastro said. “So fortunately, in my career I’ve never been hit with a pitch where I’ve been seriously injured and can sort of deflect it more than actually get the brunt of the blow, so just continue to try and do that.”

As one might expect, Locastro’s body is covered in bruises from the baseballs, but he’s also got bandages on both his arms and knees from making a pair of recent diving catches on the warning track down the left-field line.

It’s the cuts, he said, that hurt more than the spots where he got hit by pitches. In fact, he doesn’t even notice those while the game is going on.

“I mean, my adrenaline is going,” he said. “Once I’m on base I was like now I’m trying to steal a base or score a run. So, once you’re on base you’re a baserunner, so I don’t think about [getting hit by a pitch]. Right now, it hurts a little bit. Tomorrow it will hurt a little bit in the morning, but then at game time, the adrenaline will get going and I’ll be ready to go.”