Lovullo proud to share alma mater with Jackie

Like Robinson, D-backs manager played baseball at UCLA

Lovullo proud to share alma mater with Jackie

LOS ANGELES -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo is proud of his playing days at UCLA, but never moreso than Saturday when Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day.

Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier in 1947, lettered in baseball, football, basketball and track at UCLA.

"The impact that he's had speaks for itself," Lovullo said. "I feel a little bit more connected to him because of our affiliation with UCLA and walking through the halls of that sports hall of fame, you see his name and his blueprint all over it. I'm proud of my association with that university, and it makes me even more proud that I'm associated with his name there. It's a great honor, it's a great day and it's a special recognition with him. I'm glad nobody wears 42 anymore. He deserves that honor."

Work in progress

Taijuan Walker, who will start for the D-backs on Sunday afternoon, has been working to perfect the mechanical changes he started making last season.

After his last between-starts bullpen session he did some "dry work" -- simulating the throwing motion without a ball -- afterwards focusing on it.

Another challenge for Walker has been to continue to throw his breaking pitches, which were a point of emphasis for him this spring.

"I've been trying to," Walker said. "When I get into tough situations I always go back to my two best pitches -- my fastball and changeup, but I need to start trusting my other two pitches, my curveball and slider, which are pretty good pitches too. I just have to have more confidence in them."

Injury update

Reliever Jake Barrett (shoulder) threw 17 pitches in an extended spring training game Friday. It was his second extended spring outing.

"Came in today and said he felt real good," Lovullo said.

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.