TEMPE — It appears Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Tim Locastro is on the backend of his bout with COVID-19.
So much so that he could be back in the D-backs’ lineup as soon as Saturday.
“He’s basically through the whole cycle and said he felt fine through it, but now there’s procedures that he has to follow that Major League Baseball put out,” skipper Torey Lovullo said Friday.
“We’re going to follow that protocol perfectly before he’s [good to go]. Tomorrow’s our target date, we’re hoping that everything is fine. We anticipate that it will be and we’re all anxious to see him.”
Locastro tested positive ahead of the team’s March 3 matchup against the Cleveland Indians.
Before having to go through protocols, Locastro had been hit by a pitch and struck out once in one spring training game.
Locastro is coming off of career highs in batting average (.290) and OBP (.395). He also recorded 20 hits, seven RBIs, eight walks and four stolen bases.
“I anticipate putting him in the lineup. I’ve talked to the medical team and they said that if he’s feeling OK that he should be able to play no problem,” Lovullo said.
“I know that he’s going to be OK tomorrow and we just have to make sure we put the brakes on him. He’ll get a couple at-bats and then get off the field. But get back him into the rhythm of getting him into a baseball game on the baseball field.”
Locastro’s return could soon be followed by that of shortstop Nick Ahmed’s, who expects to be back “early middle of next week.”
The shortstop has been on the shelf since March 8 after suffering from right knee soreness.
Through four games this spring, Ahmed has registered two doubles, a stolen base and two runs scored. The shortstop’s been walked twice and struck out three times. He’s averaging .250 and has posted a .400 OBP in 10 plate appearances.
While it was mostly good news on the player front for the D-backs, the same can’t be said for first base coach Dave McKay, who is recovering from a broken rib and lacerated spleen.
“Dave McKay is going to step away from us for a couple days,” Lovullo said. “He unfortunately fell in the dugout against the San Francisco Giants when we were there. … He is fine, everything is good. … I’ve been talking to Dave, I’ve been talking to his wife. He’s resting comfortably, everything is fine. He had a little procedure to cauterize the spleen and everything is thumbs up right now.
“I’m still staying in touch with him, giving him information such as the send outs today. He’s very involved day by day. Just staying away for a couple days, you’ll probably see him trickle back into camp with some restrictions.”
McKay, who turns 71 on Sunday, is in his fifth season as the team’s first base coach. He’s also worked with the Chicago Cubs (2012-13), St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011) and Oakland Athletics (1984-95).
In McKay’s place at first base for the next week or so is Gil Velasquez, who is the team’s infield coordinator.
“My gut feeling is it’s gonna be a week at least before we see him active at camp but he’s OK,” Lovullo added of McKay. “This is just all precautionary that we don’t want him to get a line drive ricocheted his direction again. He’ll be ready for the season.”
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