Ahmed (knee) still confident he'll avoid IL

D-backs shortstop out of lineup for 2nd straight game to open season

April 3rd, 2021

Nick Ahmed's right knee is taking longer to heal than he expected, but the D-backs shortstop is still confident that he will not need to be placed on the injured list.

Ahmed battled patella tendinitis for much of Spring Training, and he received a platelet rich plasma injection, along with another gel injection, last Saturday. At the time, he hoped that would be enough to have him ready to start Thursday's season opener.

That turned out not to be the case, and Ahmed was again out of the lineup Friday night against the Padres.

"I’m feeling a little bit better," Ahmed said. "Unfortunately, the injections I got didn’t help as quickly as I was hoping they would. I’m getting a little bit of progress each day, but not to the point where it’s great to let it go and start playing every single day.

"I’m just trying to be really smart now, knowing that we have a long season ahead, and not trying to play behind and play with an injury all season long. Just doing the best I can to get it cleaned up and healthy as can be before I start going out there and playing every day. Hopefully, be ready to go in a day or two, and taking it day by day right now."

Ahmed is strict about his eating, sleeping and workout regimen, and he hopes that, as well as getting treatment from Arizona's medical staff, will knock out the tendinitis. Ahmed has been warned that it's a condition that he could have to deal with all year.

"That’s kind of what some people have told me a little bit, but I don’t really believe everything that everyone says," Ahmed said. "I’m going to do my best to make sure it’s not an issue all year and just stay on top of therapy and nutrition and rest and different things that are going to help get the inflammation out, keep it out. I don’t have a crystal ball to say it will or will not affect me this year, but my plan is to make sure that it doesn’t."

Other injury news
Outfielder Kole Calhoun (right knee surgery) ran 180 yards worth of bases and was scheduled to get six at-bats in a backfield game at Salt River Fields on Friday night, a development that manager Torey Lovullo described as "fantastic."

Meanwhile, right-hander Zac Gallen (right forearm hairline fracture) threw a 39-pitch bullpen session Wednesday. While Gallen threw at 100 percent, he did not throw his curveball, which is the pitch where he felt the discomfort that led to the diagnosis.

It's possible that Gallen could get into a simulated game sometime in the next few days.

Being aggressive
Lovullo talked a lot during the offseason and this spring about wanting to play matchups more than at any time in his previous three seasons. That was evident in the opener, as he pinch-hit right-handed-hitting Tim Locastro for the left-handed-hitting Pavin Smith when the Padres brought in southpaw Tim Hill in the fifth inning.

Locastro made Lovullo look like a genius when he hit a two-run homer that tied the game at 6.

"Those are some of the adjustments that I feel like I've needed to make as a manager," Lovullo said. "I think it's the best way that I can manage this baseball team, the 2021 version of the Arizona Diamondbacks, to help us be in a position to have the most positive results."

Lovullo also started the right-handed-hitting Wyatt Mathisen in left field Friday against Padres lefty Blake Snell, instead of regular left fielder David Peralta.

While Peralta will play against some left-handers this year, Lovullo will once again pick out ones that he feels are bad matchups for Peralta and go with someone else.

"David is not a platoon player," Lovullo said.