PHOENIX -- The D-backs plan to give Paul Goldschmidt more rest this season … but everything in moderation, of course.Five-time All-Star Goldschmidt will play "in the mid-150s" of games this season, manager Torey Lovullo said Wednesday, a number that was arrived at in consultation with the team's medical staff.In other
PHOENIX -- The D-backs plan to give Paul Goldschmidt more rest this season … but everything in moderation, of course.
Five-time All-Star Goldschmidt will play "in the mid-150s" of games this season, manager Torey Lovullo said Wednesday, a number that was arrived at in consultation with the team's medical staff.
In other words, Goldschmidt will be on the field as much as he has in every healthy season since 2013, when he logged a career-high 160 games. After missing the final two months of 2014 with a fractured hand, he has played 159, 158 and 155 games the last three years.
"He's a hard personality, a hard leader, a hard bat, a hard defender to take out of the lineup," Lovullo said. "But a rested Paul Goldschmidt and a healthy Paul Goldschmidt is the most meaningful Paul Goldschmidt in the direction we are trying to go. Every player is very reluctant to come out of the lineup and not perform every single day. That's part of their DNA."
Lovullo points to early rest for his regulars as one of the reasons the D-backs' were able to put together a 13-game winning streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 6 and pull away from Colorado in the race for the first NL Wild Card spot last year. Arizona swept two three-game series from the Dodgers and one from Colorado in that run.
"In August, when we hit the gas pedal a little bit and we started to throw our guys out there just about every day, we went on a very, very important winning streak," Lovullo said. "We separated ourselves. They see there is a real reason for that."
Goldschmidt is the only player in franchise history with three 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons, and is one of six active players to do so since 2013. Edwin Encarnacion, Nelson Cruz, Anthony Rizzo, Nolan Arenado and Jose Abreu are the others. Encarnacion has done it four times.
"I prepare to play every game," Goldschmidt said. "It's Torey's job to set the lineup. If I'm in there, I'll be ready to go. If not, I'll be ready to come off the bench.
"It's a long season. Days off to rest mentally and physically can definitely help you succeed and keep you fresh. It's not like if you take a day off Monday, you are way better Tuesday, but I think more over the long run. There are times you get a little worn down. It is part of it. Everybody's there. Off-days can help with that."
Major League Baseball did a small part in lessening the constant grind, building in four more off-days in the schedule this season by starting the year in the final days of March.
THREE'S A CHARM
Arizona is one of two teams carrying three catchers to start the season, and each played a part in the victories over the Dodgers in the first two games of the series.
Jeff Mathis had a pinch-hit, game-winning single after starter Alex Avila was intentionally walked in an 8-7, 15-inning victory Monday, and John Ryan Murphy homered and singled in a 6-1 victory on Tuesday.
The D-backs also carried three catchers last year, Lovullo's first with the D-backs. Boston has three on its roster, and Mathis previously played on an Angels' team that also had three catchers in Mike Napoli and Bobby Wilson.
"I know that it's a great luxury," Lovullo said, "because you can pinch-run, pinch-hit and still have a little bit of coverage for that catcher. All three of our catches can play other positions, and I like that versatility, too."
Avila played 19 games at first base last year and 23 in 2015, and Mathis has taken grounders at second base in Spring Training. Murphy played 14 games at third base early in his Minor League career and does some pregame work there.
"In-game action, I haven't had it in a while, but they do such a good job with game planning and positioning here that you feel comfortable by the time that you get out there on the field," Murphy said. "It's really just taking reps and ground balls on the days and games I'm not playing."
Mathis was scheduled to pitch the 16th inning had Monday's game continued.
"Obviously, all three of us want to play as much as possible," Mathis said. "It definitely gives him options, and whatever helps the squad out, I'm all for."
Mathis has caught all of Zack Greinke's starts when healthy the last two years, and Lovullo has said he is not averse to personal catchers if the bond leads to a positive outcome.
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com.