Lovullo still mulling lineup options

Lovullo still mulling lineup options

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo cautioned fans and media alike not to read too much into the starting lineup he used in Wednesday's 9-1 exhibition victory over Grand Canyon University.

The first five hitters in the lineup -- A.J. Pollock, Brandon Drury, Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb and Yasmany Tomas certainly seemed to resemble what it might look like Opening Day against the Giants.

Not so fast, said the manager.

"This lineup is not an indication of what's going to be happening on April 2," Lovullo said before Wednesday's game. "This was something that I threw together yesterday with a little bit of the staff's help."

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Lovullo has been mulling numerous lineups with no quick resolution expected .

"I want to do what's best for these players," Lovullo said. "I want to do what's best for every player that's going to put them in the right position. That means us having conversations with these guys individually to find out what they like and what they don't like. I've said from the very beginning communication helps us understand these guys."

For much of his career Goldschmidt has hit third in the lineup, but at times last year he hit cleanup and Lovullo left the door open for that this year.

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Thanks to the influence of then-chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, the D-backs have hit the pitcher in the No. 8 spot in the order on occasion over the past two years.

"I've been thinking about it, I've been reading up on it, I've been looking at some of the data," Lovullo said. "I know that if the pitcher hits eighth some of the numbers show you have to do it all year. We have a very strong group of hitting pitchers. So that might change our equation. Right now I don't know enough about it to say yes or no. I'll explore everything."

Once he settles on a lineup, it sounds like Lovullo will stick with it rather than constantly move guys around in the order.

"I believe in lineup flexibility, I believe in flexible players, but there's going to be a core group of guys that I want them to know that they're going to be coming to play every single day," Lovullo said. "There's going to be a creative balance."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.