D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall met with reporters Wednesday to discuss a variety of topics. Here are some key takeaways from the session:
The D-backs will be cautious with how many fans are allowed in Chase Field during April
When the season opens April 9 at Chase Field, the D-backs will limit tickets sales to 25 percent of capacity, which equates to roughly 12,000 tickets.
It's possible that once more people become vaccinated and COVID-19 numbers continue to decrease, the D-backs could allow more fans in the ballpark. But at least for April, the 25 percent figure is pretty well locked in.
"I think it's more important for us to take the smaller step at first and watch and do it in a very responsible way," Hall said.
The roof could be open more often than a typical season
In the past, the D-backs have had their retractable roof open for most games in April and May and possibly early June before opening it again toward the end of September.
This year, with the research that shows the spread of COVID-19 is rare in outside conditions, the team will try to push the limits of how often the roof can be open.
"We'd like to go into as much of June as we can and open up as much of September as we can as well," Hall said.
Face coverings will be required
Unless fans are actively eating or drinking, face coverings will be required at Chase Field, as they are this spring at Salt River Fields.
"We've had very few incidents where we've had to address it with a fan," Hall said. "Typically, our ushers or gameday staff with their signs of, 'Wear your mask,' has really worked, and it's worked at other venues here locally, too. But we're going to enforce it. And when we do have a situation where someone's not wearing a mask, we're going to address it and hopefully do it in a non-confrontational way. But what we've seen is everyone's been really cooperative, and they realize the importance of wearing a mask and not just for themselves, but everyone around them."
The D-backs are unfazed by the Dodgers and Padres having bigger payrolls than they do
The Padres were aggressive during the offseason, signing Fernando Tatis Jr. to a long-term extension, while picking up Blake Snell and Yu Darvish in trades as they continued to increase their payroll.
The Dodgers also spent significant money this winter signing right-hander Trevor Bauer and bringing back third baseman Justin Turner.
"As far as the activity and the aggressive nature of some other teams, I think that's good for our division," Hall said. "It's a very competitive division. I think it's the toughest division in baseball. And I look at that as a good thing for this group of guys. We were very aggressive the last couple of years in filling holes. We put together a team and a roster that we thought was going to be extremely competitive. Obviously, last year, we had our issues. But we didn't feel like there was too much to change or tweak. Going into this year, obviously, we had to look at the bullpen and we've addressed a couple of holes there."
A contract extension for manager Torey Lovullo is not a pressing issue
Lovullo, who has managed the D-backs since 2017, is in the final year of his contract, and while Hall said the organization feels good about the job Lovullo's done, a contract extension is not something that is a front-burner issue right now.
"I think it's something that [general manager] Mike [Hazen] and I will have conversations about throughout the season," Hall said. "And again, when the time is right for us to address it, we will. It just hasn't been something that we felt we had to address right now. And I don't think he would want to address it right now. I don't want to speak for him, but I know he's focused on the team. He's focused on Opening Day and I think he would want our attention to be right there, too."