A couple of questions were raised when Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo put out his lineup for Game 2 of the 2021 MLB season against the Padres in San Diego on Friday night.
That’s because the likes of shortstop Nick Ahmed and outfielder David Peralta were excluded from the starting nine.
Lovullo confirmed it was just a matchup situation with Padres left-handed pitcher Blake Snell getting the start for San Diego on Friday.
“It’s something for several days leading up to the series that I’ve been thinking about,” Lovullo said via Zoom. “We’ve asked Wyatt (Mathisen) to go out there and get reps in left field for days like this. … It’s about the matchup for sure, but I’m looking at it long-term.
“We’re going to be facing a number of righties — I think it’s going to be five or six in a row — and I thought this was the only opportunity where I could give Wyatt the best chance to have the most success possible. It’s a little unconventional, I know it’s Day 2. But these are the things I’m going to try to do this year. I’m going to try to match up and give us the best chance to score as many runs as possible.”
“I’m normal, I’m good,” Peralta added via Zoom. “Whatever is best for the team, I’m fine with it. I’m sure I’m going to be there as soon as possible, as soon as they need me. So I’m just going to be prepared and be ready since the first inning. I’m going to just be here for the team and be ready for any situation.”
As for the D-backs shortstop, Ahmed continues to miss time due to inflammation in his right knee.
The 31-year-old said pregame via Zoom that he received two shots on Saturday. One was a PRP injection and the other was what Ahmed described as “a gel injection — like a hyaluronic acid for cartilage.”
“I’m feeling a little bit better. Unfortunately the injections I got didn’t help as quickly as I was hoping they would,” he said. “Getting a little bit of progress each day, but not to the point where it’s just great to kind of let it go and play every single day now.
“Just trying to be really smart now and knowing that we have a long season ahead and not trying to play behind or play with an injury all year long. Just doing the best I can to try to get it cleaned up and healthy as can be before I start going out there and playing every day. Hopefully I’ll be ready to go in a day or two. Just taking it day-by-day right now.”
Ahmed added that there isn’t any further medical treatment needed from a doctor. Instead, the shortstop will continue to stay on top of physical therapy and proper rest and nutrition. He also added that he doesn’t believe this will be a lingering injury, nor will it affect his swing once he’s back.
“I’m not worried about it,” Ahmed said. “I like where my swing is at. … I’m comfortable where I’m at with my swing and my approach. As long as I’m able to execute physically, I’ll be in a good spot.”
The D-backs will look to get their first win of the season against the Padres at Petco Park on Friday night.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Catch all the action on ESPN 620 AM.