D-backs' Locastro tests positive for COVID-19

Calhoun undergoes right knee surgery; Weaver strong in first spring start

March 4th, 2021

Outfielder will be away from the D-backs for a minimum of 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19, manager Torey Lovullo told reporters on Wednesday.

Lovullo said Locastro was symptom-free and was not sure how he had contracted the virus. Further testing will take place to ensure Locastro did not have a false positive. In the meantime, Lovullo said the team had “minimal concern” that the virus may have spread to others in the clubhouse.

“I have a chance to say out loud, in front of a lot of people and not just [reporters], you can’t be too careful,” Lovullo said. “Those were some of the messages that we relayed to our group today. We have responsibilities when we step away from the ballpark. When we’re at the ballpark, we’re really good, we follow the protocols. But we step away from the ballpark, we can’t let our guard down.”

The D-backs had two players -- catcher Stephen Vogt and pitching prospect Luis Frías -- test positive for COVID-19 during intake testing, but Locastro is the first Arizona player to test positive after being in camp.

Locastro rates as the fastest player in MLB, per Statcast, and is hoping to assume a larger role in the D-backs' lineup after serving as a part-timer in 2020, when he had a .290/.395/.464 slash line in 82 plate appearances.

Calhoun's surgery successful
Right fielder 's right knee surgery Wednesday morning went as expected, Lovullo said. Doctors addressed a medial meniscus tear and did not discover any additional issues with the knee.

There is still not a timetable for Calhoun’s return, though players who have had similar procedures have typically missed around 4-6 weeks.

“He’s doing extremely well,” Lovullo said. “I was texting with him right after surgery. It was encouraging to know he got back to me right away. Getting the chance to hear his voice was good for me. He seems to be doing well and resting comfortably.”

Prior to testing positive for COVID-19, Locastro figured to see more playing time with Calhoun out. As it stands, Pavin Smith, Andy Young, Wyatt Mathisen, Daulton Varsho, Trayce Thompson and Josh VanMeter are among the players who could see increased opportunity.

“We want to make sure we give everybody a look that we feel can step into that situation,” Lovullo said. “We feel good about that list of guys. Somebody will emerge, somebody’s going to have to emerge. That’s the beauty of baseball, that next-man-up mentality. I’m looking for somebody to jump up and take that opportunity and say they’re ready for it.”

Weaver sharp in first start
's bid for a bounce-back 2021 got off to a strong start with, well, a strong start in Wednesday's 9-4 win over Cleveland at Goodyear Ballpark. The right-hander allowed only two hits in two scoreless innings.

But Weaver's outing got off to a rocky start, as he allowed consecutive singles to Cesar Hernandez and Bradley Zimmer to begin the first inning.

“I executed those pitches, and it just didn’t work out,” Weaver said. “So I think, at that point, there was a smile that popped on my face like, ‘OK, that’s how we’re going to start today’s game, huh? That’s fun.'”

Weaver kept his composure and got one of baseball’s best hitters, José Ramírez, to ground into a double play. It was smooth sailing from there.

“To me, that was an amazing moment,” Weaver said, “especially early, to get out of a jam like that and feel confident.”

Long time coming
Two bright spots in Wednesday’s win came from players for whom 2020 was a lost year.

Shortstop Domingo Leyba, who was suspended last season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, went 2-for-3 with a homer and a double. Though he missed an opportunity to potentially contribute in the big leagues last year, Leyba has been contrite and seems to have benefited from playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic.

“He’s sorry, he’s learned and he wants to regain our trust,” Lovullo said.

Right-hander Corbin Martin, the key acquisition in the 2019 Zack Greinke trade with the Astros, missed '20 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. In his first spring appearance, he allowed two runs in two innings, but his stuff was crisp. The D-backs view him as possible starting depth this season.

“We’ve seen him working extremely hard,” Lovullo said. “He’s had a long road, it’s been a long runway. But he came out, did a great job, collected some big outs and made some big pitches.”

Up next
Left-hander Madison Bumgarner will make his first start of the spring when the D-backs host the Angels at 1:10 p.m. MST on Thursday at Salt River Fields, live on MLB.TV. Right-handers Jon Duplantier, Matt Peacock, Stefan Crichton and J.B. Bukauskas and lefty Ryan Buchter are also scheduled to pitch for Arizona. Right-hander Griffin Canning will start for the Halos.