Zen in 'Zona: Mindset helping Descalso deliver

Injury updates: Miller, Shipley, Delgado, Lamb

May 16th, 2018

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo told a story that could illustrate why -- who has excelled in key spots all season -- is mentally prepared for those big moments.

It goes back to Spring Training, when Steven Souza Jr. was hurt on a diving attempt in right field and the team was congregated around him after the play. Chris Owings started the game in the infield, and while Lovullo wanted to get him reps in right field at some point, he didn't anticipate a situation like this.

Lovullo asked Owings if he wanted to move out to right to replace Souza. Owings hesitated. Then Descalso chimed in.

"Hey man, what's the worst you can do? You either make the play or you don't, and 5,000 people either look at you and think you're great, or they think you're a fool," Lovullo recalls Descalso telling Owings. "It doesn't make a difference. Who cares? Just go out there and do it and have fun."

The mindset has served Descalso well.

Descalso's eighth-inning RBI single proved the difference in Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the Brewers. In the D-backs' last victory before that, on May 8 against the Dodgers, Descalso hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the 12th inning. In an eventual loss to the Nationals on May 13, he laced a game-tying RBI double in the late stages of the game.

Descalso acknowledges that part of it may be luck. After all, his spot in the order must come up for him to have an opportunity to make a clutch play. But from there, it's about not letting the moment get too big.

"We're all human in here," he said. "We know the situation that presents itself out there, we know when it's a big spot. Human nature tells you to get excited, and the more you can do to control that and slow the game down, the better chance you're going to give yourself in the box."

Descalso entered Wednesday batting .262, but he's a career .241 hitter. He has good defensive ability and has made standout plays while replacing at third base, though he has 69 career errors.

The point: He's failed before. He's made outs. He's missed plays. That's why he carries the attitude he does. It comes with experience.

"In baseball, you got to learn how to deal with failure and sometimes, the worst thing that can happen is you make an out, or you make an error," Descalso said. "It's not the end of the world. It's not ideal. You don't want to do that. Baseball isn't a game for players that don't make mistakes. It's a game for guys that learn from those mistakes and get better from it."

Injury updates

• Lovullo said (recovering from Tommy John surgery) will have a limit of four innings and 65 pitches when he pitches in an extended spring training game on Thursday.

(10-day DL, right elbow inflammation) is scheduled to pitch in extended spring training on Friday.

(10-day DL, left oblique strain) will throw a bullpen session on Friday.

• Lovullo said he still does not have a target date for Lamb's return.