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Lamb lands on injured list with quad strain

D-backs recall Vargas; emotional Souza attends home opener
@SteveGilbertMLB
April 5, 2019

PHOENIX -- D-backs infielder Jake Lamb was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of his left quadriceps muscle, and will be out an estimated six weeks. The team recalled infielder Ildemaro Vargas from Triple-A Reno. Lamb injured the quad while legging out a double in the ninth inning Wednesday night

PHOENIX -- D-backs infielder Jake Lamb was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of his left quadriceps muscle, and will be out an estimated six weeks. The team recalled infielder Ildemaro Vargas from Triple-A Reno.

Lamb injured the quad while legging out a double in the ninth inning Wednesday night in San Diego. An MRI taken Thursday revealed the extent of the injury.

“Obviously I’m bummed,” Lamb said. “It is what it is, man. I wasn’t sure how bad it was going to be. I’ve never felt anything like that before. They said, ‘Around six weeks,’ but who knows? It might be quicker; it might be later than that. I’m just back to taking it day-by-day, and we’re going to get back on the field.”

This is the second year in a row that Lamb sustained an early-season injury. Last year he injured his left shoulder while diving for a ball during the season’s first week and missed six weeks.

The injury eventually required surgery in August, and Lamb worked hard during the offseason to be healthy for Spring Training.

“I learned a lot last year,” Lamb said. “[Like] how to deal with frustrating times like this. You just have to take it one day at a time and stay positive. I honestly put more focus on the team and anything I can do, whether it’s moral support to help the guys, and to get my mind off the injury and feeling bad about the injury.”

With Lamb out, Christian Walker and Wilmer Flores will see time at first base. Eduardo Escobar figures to get most of the reps at third with Vargas also a possibility.

Vargas opened the season with the D-backs, but was optioned to Reno following the season-opening series with the Dodgers when the team needed an extra pitcher in the bullpen.

Start of long process for Souza
Outfielder Steven Souza Jr., who sustained a torn ACL, LCL and partial tear of his PCL and posterior lateral capsule while slipping on home plate in the second-to-last exhibition game of the spring, was in the clubhouse prior to Friday night’s home opener.

Souza had surgery performed in Cincinnati last Tuesday, and was still in some pain as he used crutches to get around. He was, however, determined to take part in the home opener as a way to send a message to fans.

“I think it’s been frustrating since I’ve been here,” he explained. “For the fans, for myself, for my family. It’s just been a tough two years. It just means a lot for me to show the fans that I’m still here, still working hard. I’m still trying to do everything I can to get back. I’m not giving up. I’m going to do everything I can to get back out there.”

Souza was acquired by the D-backs from the Rays prior to last spring, and suffered a shoulder injury while diving for a ball in a Cactus League game. It limited him to 72 games, and he was determined to make this year different.

“The most frustrating thing is I wanted to come to this city and show what I’m capable of,” Souza said, his voice breaking. “And I still know what I’m capable of, and that’s not stopping me. But when I went down again, my heart just dropped for my teammates. For [Arizona general manager] Mike Hazen, for bringing me over here. And everyone. This team means a lot to me and to not be out there with them is killing me.”

Fellow leaders
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo was excited to meet Arizona State University head basketball coach Bobby Hurley, who was scheduled to throw out the first pitch Friday.

Lovullo attended one of ASU’s games this year, after he heard Hurley say during a press conference that he wanted as many people as possible to be there. He also had hoped to attend an ASU practice, but the timing did not work out.

“I love the idea of the coaches in this community getting together,” Lovullo said. “I’ve gotten the chance to meet all of them. Bobby will be the final one. We’re all in the same fraternity. We all share the same thing as far as leadership thoughts and skills. I see how he operates every single time they play, so I want to pick his brain as best I possibly can and hopefully it makes me a better [manager].”

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.