Torey Lovullo has been very candid on the adjustments he has had to make since the Diamondbacks’ return to the field under new safety protocols to combat the coronavirus.
The manager likes to be close to his players, whether to motivate them when they are thriving or to put an arm around them when they are struggling, which can be tough from six feet away.
He now debates umpires at a distance. The bottom half of his face now displays a Diamondbacks logo and #17 on each check while he wears his mask on the field and in the dugout.
The theme of this season is flexibility, and it applies to just about every aspect of the game.
On Wednesday night, a new challenge was presented to Lovullo. It was one he knew would come eventually and would be a tough one for a manager who relies on empathy and close support in tough moments.
A hard-hit ground ball hit first baseman Seth Beer in the face, where he instantly started bleeding. The medical team reacted quickly and ran out to look at him.
In any other year, Lovullo would be right next to aid his player any way he could. The manager did provide support, but had to be from a distance and was meticulous in his path to Beer.
“I really believe in getting out there and getting to the injured player to let them know we’re there with them,” Lovullo said. “In that setting, you’re just trying to gather yourself to calculate what went wrong…typically I’m talking when I’m down close.”
He gave the medical team plenty of space and got in Beer’s line of sight from at least six feet away. But because of distance he had to maintain, Lovullo was unable to provide that usual vocal support to his player.
“I was an observer, and that was tough on me,” Lovullo said. “I wanted to get close enough to let him know we were right beside him and the medical staff was there doing that.”
It’s one of the many new normal for managers this year, but one Lovullo has to respect as the focus of the season is on everyone’s health, baseball related or not.
Lovullo did report after the game that Seth Beer is all right. The first base prospect has a facial contusion but did not suffer a concussion as a result of the play.
“We’re glad to see it wasn’t anything more than what it was,” Lovullo said.
The Diamondbacks will continue their summer camp as they ramp up to Opening Day in San Diego on July 24th.