Hale rests Goldy for first time this season
First baseman enters as pinch-hitter in eighth, posts single
MIAMI -- Paul Goldschmidt wasn't in the D-backs' starting lineup for the first time this season in Thursday's 7-6 win over Miami at Marlins Park.
Goldschmidt, who had started the previous 39 games at first base, entered in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and hit an infield single, which loaded the bases. He finished the game at first base. Entering the finale, Goldschmidt was 4-for-24 with a double, a homer, four RBIs, two walks and four strikeouts on the road trip.
"The physical part of the game -- [Goldschmidt is] so strong, works so hard in the weight room, takes such good care of himself off the field, that physically, I think he's fine," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "It's just to get him a little break. He carries this team on an everyday basis, whether he's hitting or not. He's such a huge presence that the other team is always accounting for him, and [it] allows his teammates to get better pitches."
Hale said he and chief baseball officer Tony La Russa had been discussing when to give Goldschmidt a breather since the ballclub arrived in Miami on Sunday.
With the D-backs headed home for the weekend following the matinee matchup, no off-days until Thursday, a long flight west and the humid environment of South Florida, it seemed like the perfect time.
"It's just so hard to give Goldy off," Hale said. "No. 1, he doesn't want to be off. No. 2, he takes such good care of himself, and he prepares so well. He never appears to be tired. This one was more of a mental day off just to watch a game on the bench and hopefully come and get a big hit late. To ask a guy to play 162 games today is tough to do. I think he wants to do it, he wanted to do it -- to start 162 games, I should say. I just felt like today was a perfect day going into a weekend series and no days off until next Thursday."
Last season, Goldschmidt appeared in just 109 games when a fastball fractured his left hand in early August. He played in 145 and 160 contests in 2012 and '13, respectively. Hale said both the management and front office believe guys will produce better at the 150-game benchmark rather than pushing them to 162.
"A guy like Goldy. I have a hard time foreseeing -- knock on wood, no injury -- that he wouldn't play in the high 150s," Hale said. "This is definitely not going to happen very often."