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Lovullo plans to ratchet up intensity during camp

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With the pitchers' and catchers' first workout less than 24 hours away, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo took a brief break from his day of meetings to talk about a variety of topics Tuesday afternoon.

Here is a rundown:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With the pitchers' and catchers' first workout less than 24 hours away, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo took a brief break from his day of meetings to talk about a variety of topics Tuesday afternoon.

Here is a rundown:

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Competition
As a way of making sure his team doesn't get complacent after a 93-69 National League Wild Card-winning 2017 season, Lovullo plans to emphasize competition throughout the roster.

"I want to hit it right on the head with that feel by saying, 'Look, it's going to be competitive, and we've got to pick it up, and we've got to be ready to start the season the best way we can for the first game of the season,'" Lovullo said. "We had a lot of success last year. It was a fantastic year, and we all enjoyed that, but we turn the page and it's a new year and we've got to get our mind right. And I think we got to get on edge and start performing at a competitive level as fast as possible."

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Closer battle
Whereas last year Fernando Rodney was the unquestioned closer heading into Spring Training, this year the D-backs will have to choose between Brad Boxberger, Yoshihisa Hirano and Archie Bradley.

As with a lot of spring decisions, this one will not be based on stats. Nor will it necessarily involve them pitching in the ninth inning, as that is usually the time when other team's non-roster or Minor League players have entered the game.

"We evaluate more about stuff than performance and numbers," Lovullo said. "We look at the fundamentals of what's going on when we're evaluating everybody. It would be nice to say, 'There's a closer,' by the end of camp, but where that falls and where that leaves us at this point in time, I'm not sure. I'd like to have something established, and we'll see what that is."

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Goldschmidt's workload
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has played under three managers in Arizona, and all three have at one point talked about giving him more days off. Goldschmidt, though, doesn't like off-days, and managers hate to have his bat out of the lineup.

Last September was not a good month for Goldschmidt. He missed five games with a sore right elbow and had his worst month since becoming a full-time player, hitting just .171.

"That will be up to me to manage some of his games played better than I did last year," Lovullo said.

Greinke's schedule
Last year, ace Zack Greinke got ready for the season at a slower pace than his fellow starters. Lovullo hasn't talked with Greinke yet about his schedule for this spring, but once again that decision will be made by the right-hander.

"He knows when he's got to be ready, and there's nobody better at preparation," Lovullo said. "I know when it's time for him to get the ball for his first start of the year, he'll be ready to go."

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

Arizona Diamondbacks