Lovullo expects D-backs to vie for playoff spot

Greinke feels fine after throwing first bullpen session

February 17th, 2019
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 11: Manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks walks back to the dugout after changing pitchers in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 11, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Monday morning, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo will stand in front of his entire team prior to the first full-squad workout of the spring.

It's a moment he's been preparing for ever since the disappointing end to the 2018 season, when the D-backs went 8-19 in September to fall out of postseason contention.

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"I've spent a whole offseason trying to think about what I'm going to say [Monday]," Lovullo said. "I want to make sure that these guys know what my intentions are for the season, what my outlines and expectations are and not have any sort of my vision get mixed up."

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As he has in his initial address to the team each of the past two years, you can expect the word "family" to be used.

Lovullo is also expected to take advantage of the moment to acknowledge the offseason departures of key veterans like , and while at the same time letting the team know he expects them to compete for a playoff spot.

"It's always fun to get in front of the group," Lovullo said. "It's always fun to let them know that, 'Hey, this is go time, we're here together, this is Day 1 of our family uniting and bonding as one.' I haven't necessarily practiced or rehearsed anything, but I have some thoughts that I want to get across, and I'm going to make sure that I don't miss that opportunity."

Greinke throws bullpen session

Ace threw his first bullpen session since he reported to camp Friday, a 35-pitch session in which he threw all of his pitches.

"It went good," Greinke said. "Felt good. Threw a lot of strikes, all of the pitches were OK."

Once he got his stiff neck warmed up, Greinke said it did not bother him during the session.

Speaking of Greinke

Over the past two seasons, veteran was Greinke's designated catcher, and the pair worked extremely well together.

"For me, I like being comfortable with a catcher," Greinke said.

With Mathis, though, having signed with the Rangers as a free agent last offseason, the D-backs will have to pair Greinke up with someone else.

"I don't necessarily love the idea of having designated catchers, but in this we've seen it work over the past couple of years," Lovullo said. "Jeff Mathis had an unbelievable ease in dealing with Zack. He could tell by body language when things were right and when things were wrong. We're going to give it a lot of attention and we're going to talk to Zack, and we're going to talk to the catchers and find the right situation for him to be successful."

Leading the way

D-backs reliever listened in on part of Greinke's session with the media Sunday. And while Greinke can be a man of few words in that setting, Bradley says that's not the case when the clubhouse doors close.

"We get to see a different side of Zack," Bradley said. "I would say over the past few years he's been one of the better leaders in terms of talking to younger guys. And he really does. He opens up a lot in the clubhouse and especially to some of these starters. I mean you want to learn from Zack. Look at what he's done in his career. Anything he says, you really do try and be quiet and listen."

All but one

The D-backs expect all of their players to be in camp Monday except for infielder , who the team said is having a visa problem. Leyba, who is from the Dominican Republic, is expected to be in camp later in the week.