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Escobar on mask: 'I take care of my teammates'

@SteveGilbertMLB
July 8, 2020

PHOENIX -- The D-backs' official Twitter account posted a video Tuesday of third baseman Eduardo Escobar wearing a mask while taking ground balls, something Escobar plans to do during drills and batting practice every day. Players are not required to wear masks while going through baseball activities, but Escobar would

PHOENIX -- The D-backs' official Twitter account posted a video Tuesday of third baseman Eduardo Escobar wearing a mask while taking ground balls, something Escobar plans to do during drills and batting practice every day.

Players are not required to wear masks while going through baseball activities, but Escobar would rather be safe than sorry.

“Obviously it’s outside of our comfort zone as players, but it’s a very high priority for us, something that we want to make sure we focus on in the entire year,” Escobar said. “I can do it every day. It’s safer for everybody. The coronavirus is very, very dangerous. I want to make sure everybody is safe. I need everybody on the roster, that’s most important. I take care of myself, I take care of my family and I take care of my teammates. I can do it in practice. I can do it in the game.”

One of Escobar’s friends, former big league infielder Oscar Salazar, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and relayed his experience with it to Escobar.

“He had the coronavirus,” Escobar said. “He told me the headache, the fever, everything on the body is really, really hard. He told me you need to be careful and be safe, especially with a healthy family. I want to take care of my family, especially my baby and my wife. I had a friend and I heard of more people, too. But Oscar Salazar had it really, really bad. That’s what he told me -- to be careful.”

Escobar spent the time between the shutdown of Spring Training and the start of Summer Camp at his home near Phoenix working out every day.

Fellow D-backs infielders Ildemaro Vargas and Juniel Querecuto were quarantining with Escobar and his family, so he had workout partners.

“I never stopped working out,” he said. “The most important [thing] is that we could still work out and work hard every day. That’s the process. That’s important.”

Beer tests positive

First baseman Seth Beer, the D-backs' No. 12 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, tested positive for COVID-19, manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday.

The D-backs have been without the services of outfielder Kole Calhoun and reliever Junior Guerra because of prior positive tests.

Ketel ... again

Another day and another homer for D-backs second baseman Ketel Marte, this one during a simulated game.

Marte also homered in Monday’s intrasquad game.

The 26-year-old is coming off a season in which he slashed .329/.389/.592 while compiling a bWAR of 7.2, the second-highest mark among National League position players, trailing only Cody Bellinger.

“He’s a special player,” Lovullo said. “What I learned through the course of last year is that anything he does should not surprise any of us. He is one of the best young talents in this game and continues to work, continues to trust coaching and continues to get better every single day. The sky is the limit for him.”

Wrapping up the day

Luke Weaver and Alex Young each pitched sim games -- facing hitters with no fielders behind them -- of around three innings.

“Felt like there was at least one more inning in there,” Weaver said.

It was their first time facing hitters this spring, so Lovullo wanted them to not jump right into an intrasquad game.

Later in the day, Stefan Crichton, Matt Grace, Artie Lewicki and Joe Mantiply each pitched in a three-inning intrasquad game.

Coming up

The D-backs are going to stretch out their instrasquad games to four and six innings over the next week and the level at which they’re played at will likely change as well.

“I feel like the intensity is going to ramp up, everybody is going to be a little crisper as they get more time on the field,” Lovullo said. “I would say that within a week, you’re going to see things amplify a little bit. That’s when it gets fun for all of us. There’s some laughter but I think within a week it’s going to take on a different tone and these guys will get a little more excited, a little more serious.”

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