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Goldy proving too valuable a workhorse to rest

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

ARLINGTON -- Like Kirk Gibson and Chip Hale, the men who sat in his chair before him, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo meant well when he said in Spring Training that he planned on getting first baseman Paul Goldschmidt more days off in 2018.

But, like Gibson and Hale, Lovullo has found that putting those words into practice is extremely difficult.

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ARLINGTON -- Like Kirk Gibson and Chip Hale, the men who sat in his chair before him, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo meant well when he said in Spring Training that he planned on getting first baseman Paul Goldschmidt more days off in 2018.

But, like Gibson and Hale, Lovullo has found that putting those words into practice is extremely difficult.

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"I know I committed to somewhere in the low- to mid-150s [for games played], but I don't know if that's going to happen," Lovullo said.

It almost certainly will not.

Including Tuesday night's game, Goldschmidt has started 118 of the team's 121 games. He pinch-hit during one of those "off" games, so he's had just two full games off this season. His last off-day came June 24, and he did not get much time off during the All-Star break as he was selected to play in his sixth consecutive Midsummer Classic.

About the best Lovullo has been able to do is give Goldschmidt a partial day of rest by using him as a designated hitter twice -- against the A's on May 26, and then again Tuesday.

"It's a really tough situation to take him out of the lineup," Lovullo said. "He ... is in such great physical shape. He's tough mentally, he doesn't have down days from that standpoint, so it's hard to take him out."

Complicating Lovullo's task is that the D-backs find themselves in a battle for their second consecutive postseason berth. Entering play Tuesday, Arizona had a one-game lead over the second-place Dodgers and Rockies in the National League West.

"We're in the thick of a pennant race, and to take him out of this lineup at this point in time is pretty challenging," Lovullo said. "But we've talked about that, and I've given him some options, and every time I do he's like, 'Over my dead body am I coming out of this lineup,' and that's what great leaders do."

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

Arizona Diamondbacks, Paul Goldschmidt