PHOENIX — The D-backs could use a “punch.”
Arizona was 2-4, in last place and the National League West and the only team in its divison under .500 entering its home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. The D-backs are hitting .202 as a team, the fourth-lowest mark in baseball.
In need of wins and search of offense, visiting Chase Field are the Dodgers, the same team that beat Arizona by a combined score of 21-3 in two exhibition games earlier this month. The same L.A. team that has finished first in the division seven years in a row.
“It’s no mystery that offensively, things have not been clicking,” manager Torey Lovullo said Thursday.
The team called up catching/outfield prospect Daulton Varsho earlier in the day.
“We just thought maybe it would give us a little bit of extra coverage or a bat off the bench to add a little punch,” Lovullo said. “It might help me maneuver through … our own personal lineup a little bit better. This has been a call-up that a lot us have been looking forward to but it’s extremely well-deserved for Daulton.”
Varsho, 24, is the D-backs’ No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He hit .301 in Double-A Jackson in 2019. He’s known as much for his versatility as his overall playing ability, and can play any of the three outfield positions as well as catcher.
“It was a dream come true,” Varsho said of getting called up. “It was after our game last night at Salt River. Chris Cron called a meeting with all the players. I actually thought it was going to be a new thing about protocols, about mask-wearing. But he told me I was getting called up and it was a pretty cool opportunity because I didn’t see it coming. It was really cool.
“They just said be ready. Be ready to catch. Be ready to play outfield. Just be yourself. Go do you and things will fall into place.”
Varsho said Jon Jay, an MLB veteran who has started and come off the bench, will help Varsho find his way in the beginning. Varsho isn’t accustomed to being a bench player, but he’ll have to find a new routine to settle into his role.
“Right now, he’s going to be coming off the bench,” Lovullo said. “He’s very versatile. So he’s going to give me the ability to pinch-run, pinch-hit, play any outfield position or catch in a moment’s notice. But for right now, it’s going to be something that’s unfamiliar to him, and I’ve asked him to kind of get tuned up as to what it will take to come off the bench, and I know he’ll be ready.