PHOENIX — D-backs manager Torey Lovullo spent Tuesday doing what a lot of people in Arizona and across the country did as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe.
“We’re staying close to home,” Lovullo said. “We’re not going out to do anything extra. We’re spending time as a family inside of our home. We’re hunkered down and we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do.”
That included sitting on the couch watching "Major League II" with his youngest son, who had just had his tonsils removed, and playing cards with his wife, Kristen.
An eye infection, along with his son’s surgery, has kept Lovullo away from the team’s Salt River Fields facility the past two days, but some of his players have made their way over there.
In order to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines, the D-backs have asked their players to let them know the night before if they plan on coming into the facility for any work.
The Arizona front office then schedules the players to come in at different times.
“We’ve been following the protocol of very small groups, between four and five players at a time,” Lovullo said. “And we’re just making sure that as people are moving around the facility, there’s a lot of space between everybody and the areas are being cleaned as soon as people move on.”
The D-backs have a “skeleton” crew of staff on hand to help with players rehabbing from injury or working in the weight room.
“We didn’t make demands on the players and several players [have gone] home,” Lovullo said. “The uniqueness of what we have here is that [Arizona] is home for a lot of our players.”
Pitchers have been told to stop throwing bullpen sessions off the mound since there will be no organized baseball activity for at least eight weeks. Instead, they’re encouraged to play catch and keep their range of motion.
Hitters can take some swings in the cage if they want while at the facility.
“We’re not getting after it,” Lovullo said. “We’re really pulling back because we now know it’s probably shut down until mid-May, so we need to be smart about this.”
And while he knows it’s wise to stay at home and avoid crowds, the baseball lifer in Lovullo makes this whole thing feel odd.
“It’s still very surreal,” he said. “I feel like I’m playing hooky every day. My heart knows where it’s supposed to be, but my head is saying we have a bigger cause that’s right in front of us. It’s still something that we’re all getting used to.”