LOS ANGELES – The Diamondbacks lost shortstop Nick Ahmed to the injured list on Monday for an undisclosed reason, which likely means he has been caught in COVID-19 protocols.
The Diamondbacks replaced him on the roster with infielder Jake Hager, though Geraldo Perdomo is expected to get the bulk of the action at shortstop in Ahmed’s absence.
Ahmed becomes the third Diamondbacks player to miss time due to COVID. Relievers JB Wendelken and Mark Melancon missed time starting on the club’s second road trip of the season.
Ahmed has been dealing with recurring shoulder issues in recent days, so it is possible the downtime could help him recover. Ahmed missed the first 13 games of the season after receiving cortisone shots in his shoulder during spring training. That said, Lovullo stressed that the shoulder was not the reason Ahmed was headed to the injured list on Monday.
“His shoulder is feeling fine,” Lovullo said. “He has been managing (the shoulder) and he’s been doing a really good job of being open and honest with me and the medical team and letting us know when he needs a little bit of a break. Those things are hard to manage. ”
Ahmed had been off to a solid start at the plate, hitting .231 with three homers and two doubles in 17 games.
Since the start of the pandemic, a player who is placed on the injured list for an undisclosed injury tends to mean some sort of issue with the league’s COVID protocols, if not a positive test result.
Lovullo said that if he had a lead to protect in the ninth inning on Monday night, reliever Mark Melancon would again get the save opportunity.
“Melancon’s our closer,” Lovullo said. “If you look at the full body of work, he’s saved seven games for us. He’s had some hiccups. Every closer has them. I was watching baseball games the other day and I watched a couple of very, very prolific closers give up the lead and take losses. It happens. ”
Melancon has converted seven of eight save chances this season, posting a 3.86 ERA in those games, but has struggled badly in non-save situations, allowing 10 runs (eight earned) in 4 2/3 innings across six such outings. In non-save situations, opponents have hit .480 off him with four walks and no strikeouts in 29 plate appearances.
Melancon said after taking his fifth loss of the season on Saturday night that he did not believe he was far from getting himself right.
“That’s what’s been really frustrating,” he said. “I think I’m an inch away here and there. I feel like nothing’s really gone my way. But I think there’s a reason for that, and I need to be that much better. “
Lovullo said he is seeing Melancon’s working hard to make “subtle adjustments” and trusts his player when he assures him he feels good.
“All the things you look for in my position are telling me he’s going to be ready for this next challenge,” Lovullo said. “It’s always a work in progress for everybody. He’s putting in a lot of work behind the scenes to make things work the way we all want it to. He’s transparent, he’s honest, he’s telling me when he feels good and doesn’t feel good. “
Left fielder / designated hitter Cooper Hummel has managed to stick on the roster despite a handful of roster moves in recent weeks, including on Sunday when slugger Seth Beer was optioned to Triple-A Reno to make room for reliever Sean Poppen.
Lovullo pointed to Hummel’s numbers against right-handed pitching, including a .396 on-base and .378 slugging, as a quality that has stood out in his favor despite owning just a .184 / .319 / .355 line overall.
“I know he has not had a lot of success as far as batting average, but those aren’t the only things we look at,” Lovullo said. “Of course, batting average is nice. To me, it’s like a bikini: It’s a lot but it does not show everything. He’s doing a lot inside the game that’s helping us win baseball games. “
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.