The D-backs have decided to increase the number of fans they will allow into Chase Field this year from 12,000 to 20,000, beginning with the home opener on April 9 against the Reds.
“As we continue to see the key measurements improve throughout the state and the restrictions lifted on businesses, we feel very comfortable that we can permit additional fans to enjoy D-backs baseball while still providing a safe and comfortable environment,” club president/CEO Derrick Hall said. “We will continue to require masks and ask fans to distance appropriately while keeping all other policies in place to start the season.”
The D-backs' home opener sold out of its allotted 12,000 tickets within two hours. The team will put an additional 8,000 tickets on sale Friday at 9 a.m. MST.
Final roster TBA
The D-backs will not announce who will fill the final spot in the bullpen until Wednesday. It's possible that the player will be someone who has already been sent to Minor League camp, or it could be a player who has recently been placed on waivers by another team.
Luke Weaver, who is scheduled to start the opener of the Rockies series at Coors Field next Tuesday, will stay behind while his teammates fly to San Diego this week so that he can throw a simulated game Wednesday at Salt River Fields.
"We want to make sure that he gets the right amount of work [Wednesday], takes the right amount of rest and is ready for our first game in Colorado," manager Torey Lovullo said.
Shortstop Nick Ahmed, who is dealing with patella tendinitis in his right knee, took some ground balls and regular batting practice Tuesday.
"Still anticipating that Opening Day is a strong possibility," Lovullo said of Ahmed being ready. "I know that I've explained that to you guys, and I still feel the same way."
McKay out for opener
First-base coach Dave McKay will not be with the team on its season-opening road trip. McKay suffered a broken rib and a lacerated spleen when he slipped in the dugout March 8 at Scottsdale Stadium.
The team is targeting the April 9 home opener for McKay to return to the ballpark. When he resumes his first-base coaching duties will depend on when the medical team clears him. Quality control coach Robby Hammock will fill in for McKay at first in the meantime.
"We're going to miss him," Lovullo said. "I know he's going to miss us, and it's been heartbreaking for him and us to talk about not having him for Opening Day. But we've got to remember one thing -- that he's recovering and he's getting healthier day by day, making small progress day by day."
The D-backs will leave for San Diego on Tuesday night and hold a workout at Petco Park on Wednesday before opening the regular season Thursday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. MST. Madison Bumgarner will make his second straight Opening Day start for the D-backs and the seventh of his career.