Notes: Marte works at SS; dugout protocols

February 28th, 2021

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo and general manager Mike Hazen sat down recently with to discuss possible positions for him this spring.

Marte will initially get some game reps at shortstop, which is similar to previous Spring Trainings. That's because Lovullo, a former big league infielder himself, believes that if you have the footwork and timing down to play shortstop then it's easier to move to other positions.

"I feel strongly when I say that [shortstop] is the hardest position to play on the infield," Lovullo said. "And you can't get away with maybe cutting off angles or fooling yourself on a ground ball to say that you were in the right spot. You've got to do everything right. So I want to get that base camp down pat. And then we're going to move him to second, then into the outfield."

It's still too early to say where Marte will get most of his reps during the regular season, though it appears he could be moving between second base and center field, like he did in 2019.

One other thing the team has to determine this spring is whether Marte is going to be its primary backup at shortstop. Nick Ahmed takes few days off at the position, but when he does, will Marte back him up? Or can someone like Josh Rojas or Andy Young handle those duties?

"[Marte's] been told that, that he needs to prepare for three spots," Lovullo said. "And it's a fluid situation, depending on what happens through the course of camp. But once the season starts, we plan on sitting down with him to give him directive as to exactly what's going to be the case for the season."

Pitching plans
Right-hander Zac Gallen started Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Rockies and worked two scoreless innings. Righties Taylor Clarke, Seth Frankoff, J.B. Bukauskas and lefty Tyler Gilbert followed Gallen and combined to allow five runs over six innings in the eight-inning game.

Following protocols
Typically, just about every player in Major League camp is in the dugout at the beginning of Spring Training games. Then, at a designated time, the ones who are not scheduled to play will head to the clubhouse and be done for the day.

Because of COVID-19 protocols, this year will be different. Only players who are going to play in the game will be allowed in the dugout. That will keep crowding to a minimum.

Meanwhile, the players not in the game will get their work in on the back fields of the facility.

"We're going to let those players playing in the game get their work in so we can evaluate them and let the others improve on the back fields," Lovullo said. "And then, there's going to be a swap where the next day that whole group from the back field that didn't play today will play tomorrow, and I'll have to evaluate that way. So it will be a little bit more challenging."

Taking attendance
On Saturday, right-hander Humberto Mejía was in camp for the first time after missing the first 10 days due to visa travel issues. The only player not in camp is right-hander Carlos Navas, who is also experiencing visa issues.

The D-backs have promoted Mike Fitzgerald to vice president and assistant general manager and Ross Seaton to director of pitching. Fitzgerald had been vice president of research and development, while Seaton was assistant pitching coordinator/analyst.

The baseball operations department also hired Chloe Medina as assistant of education and cultural development.