Souza dazzles with 1st D-backs HR, diving grab

Boxberger returns to action with scoreless inning vs. Brewers

March 8th, 2018

PHOENIX -- Steven Souza Jr. made his impact felt in a huge way for the D-backs during their 11-6 win over the Brewers on Thursday afternoon. In the first inning, he made a diving catch in right field on a ball hit by and then completed the play by doubling off first base. Then in the top of the fourth inning, he homered off Chase Anderson.

"I don't want to put too much pressure on myself," Souza said. "I just want to come out here and play the game. I think it builds a little bit of confidence that I'm a little closer with timing and take it into the next time I play."

"That's a good Spring Training out," Shaw said of Souza's first-inning robbery. "That gets the karma on my side for the season. That's plus-one in the bloop category for me."

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This is the Souza the D-backs hoped they were getting when they acquired him from the Rays. Arizona wants offense in the middle of the order and solid defense in right field. Souza may not fully replicate J.D. Martinez's production from last season after he departed via free agency, but the 28-year-old has shown the potential to be very close to that.

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"It's been nice to be out here," Souza said. "I think every time I've been out there I've had some type of action to see where I'm at, as far as defense. It's a positive. Just been working on timing, trying to get my feet back underneath me. Takes time. Little bit more on time today. We'll take it as a positive."

After his two-run double tied the game in the sixth inning and sparked a seven-run frame, Souza finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Souza is coming off a 30-home run season for the Rays in the American League East. He's fully prepared to enter another difficult division race for a team with the highest of expectations after a breakout 2017.

The D-backs were one of baseball's best stories last season, as they improved by a whopping 24 games and made the postseason for the first time since 2011.

Souza has fit in nicely with his new club. He arrived already knowing a large number of D-backs players and has said the rest of his new teammates have made him feel at home from the start.

"Couldn't have been any easier," Souza said. "These guys are awesome. I feel at home here. Everybody has been very welcoming, and I'm very thankful about it."

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said he has seen everything he hoped to see from his new slugger.

"He's the type of guy that is going to go out there and give it everything he has every single day," Lovullo said. "I know the results will come and go. That's what happens in baseball. It's a crazy game. But I know he's out there doing the best that he can, and he wants to make a positive impression on everybody around him. We love what we've seen of him."

Boxberger tosses scoreless frame

Right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger pitched a scoreless fourth inning in his first action since Feb. 23. He has been bothered by arm soreness, and after pitching in 57 games the last two seasons, the D-backs are bringing him along cautiously.

"Everything was good," Lovullo said. "He was on his own pace. He wanted to throw today, and I thought he threw the ball extremely well. We loved what we saw there."

Camp battle

allowed two runs in two innings in his effort to land a spot in the bullpen or to provide rotation depth. He allowed four hits and struck out one.

Up next

Left-hander Robbie Ray gets the start on Friday afternoon on the road against the Royals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. MT, and the action can be followed live on Gameday.