D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo, catcher Chris Herrmann and left-hander Patrick Corbin react to the 5-4 win against the Mets, sweeping the series, May 17, 2017.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Zack Greinke and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt react to Tuesday’s 5-4 Diamondbacks win. Sarah McLellan/azcentral sports
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D-Backs’ Zack Godley talks pitching and gameplay after his team’s 7-3 win over the Mets, May 15, 2017.
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D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo discusses the pace his team kept during a 7-3 win over the Mets, May 15, 2017.
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Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock talks about the injury that forced him to leave Sunday’s loss to the Pirates. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta doesn’t think his glute injury is significant, he said. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo breaks down his team’s 6-4 loss to the Pirates on Sunday and provides updates on his injured outfielders. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta says he ‘got lucky on all accounts’ after being hit in the face by a 93 mph fastball on Friday night vs. the Pirates. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Taijuan Walker and shortstop Nick Ahmed react to the 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, May 13, 2017.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo provides an update on catcher Chris Iannetta, who was hit in the face by a pitch during Friday’s game, before Saturday’s game. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Manager Torey Lovullo, second baseman Brandon Drury and left-hander Patrick Corbin react to 11-4 win against the Pirates, May 12, 2017.
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Shot Clock: Colin Kaepernick is better than Blaine Gabbert, right? So why did the Cardinals not sign him? Also, Zack Greinke has his Randy Johnson moment … what does it mean for Diamondbacks?
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Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke describes his night, in which he nearly threw a no-hitter against the Pirates.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reacts to Zack Greinke’s near-no-hit performance in Thursday’s win over the Pirates.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Zack Godley and shortstop Nick Ahmed react to the 7-1 win.
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Manager Torey Lovullo and left-hander Robbie Ray react to the 7-3 loss.
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azcentral sports’ Sarah McLellan and Dan Bickley discuss the D-Backs’ difficulties on the road and the NBA’s big issue in the playoffs.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo says defensive miscues cost them in a 5-2 loss to the Rockies on Sunday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker talks about his outing vs. the Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin was charged with eight runs in four-plus innings against the Rockies on Saturday night.
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Manager Torey Lovullo didn’t think his team played fundamentally sound in Saturday night’s 9-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up two runs in seven innings in a win over the Rockies on Friday.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo breaks down his team’s win over the Rockies on Friday night.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on Braden Shipley’s outing and his offense’s struggles vs. Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Braden Shipley gave up three runs in four-plus innings against the Nationals on Thursday afternoon. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his team’s inability to come up with a hit in a key situation on Wednesday night, May 3, 2017. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray had everything working but still came away with a loss on Wednesday night in D.C., May 3, 2017. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said his pitching staff did well to hold the Nationals to three runs on Tuesday night.
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Taijuan Walker didn’t blame a small strike zone for his abbreviated, 4 2/3-inning outing on Tuesday night.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the Rockets’ explosion against the Spurs and a possible pitching implosion for the Diamondbacks.
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Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock speaks about the controversial call that went against him in the 10th inning of Arizona’s win over the Rockies on Sunday. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks’ Daniel Descalso talks about his two-run, walk-off homer to beat the Rockies in the 13th inning on Sunday. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo discusses the team’s strong pitching fueling Arizona’s walk-off win over the Rockies on Sunday. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin talks about his strong, scoreless outing against the Rockies in Sunday’s win. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney talks about his outing vs. the Rockies, and says he’ll have no trouble bouncing back from his latest setback. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke talks about his start on Saturday night, in which he allowed three earned runs in six-plus innings vs. the Rockies. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller explains his decision to undergo Tommy John surgery, April 29, 2017. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Manager Torey Lovullo, left-hander Robbie Ray and catcher Chris Iannetta react to the loss.
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Chris Owings talks about the first multi-homer game of his career, and how he’s feeling at the plate after homering three times in the past four games.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker says his fastball was working well for him on Thursday night.
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Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller says he has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and that Tommy John surgery is an option, April 27, 2017. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney on Wednesday’s blown save against San Diego.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reacts to the Padres’ comeback win.
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Wednesday night’s game against the Padres drew the smallest crowd in Diamondbacks history.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and left-hander Patrick Corbin react to Tuesday’s win. Sarah McLellan/azcentral sports
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Zack Greinke and shortstop Chris Owings react to Monday’s home win over the Padres. Sarah McLellan/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller did not provide many details on his elbow injury on Monday, but he is planning to receive a second opinion on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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D-Backs’ Shelby Miller talks about arm injury suffered during the 6-2 loss to the Dodgers, April 23, 2017. (Scott Bordow/azcentral sports)
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David Peralta talks about the Diamondbacks’ offense and his record-setting four doubles Saturday.
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Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray talks after his team’s 11-5 victory over the Dodgers.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Taijuan Walker, shortstop Chris Owings and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt react to the 13-5 win.
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First baseman Paul Goldschmidt says the Diamondbacks couldn’t string together enough hits against the Padres on Thursday night.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his team’s 4-1 loss to the Padres and their 4-6 road trip through San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
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Diamondbacks outlast Mets in extra innings
Diamondbacks discuss close win over Mets
Diamondbacks’ Zack Godley talks after win over Mets
Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo talks upbeat pace in win over Mets
A.J. Pollock discusses his injury after loss to Pirates
David Peralta downplays his injury vs. Pirates
Torey Lovullo on injuries, loss vs. Pirates
Chris Iannetta talks about scary HBP vs. Pirates
Diamondbacks rally falls short against Pirates
Lovullo: Iannetta “said he could play tonight if he had to” after HBP
Diamondbacks overwhelm Pirates 11-4
Kaepernick blackballed? Greinke now trade bait?
Zack Greinke on his near no-hitter against Pirates
Lovullo reacts to Greinke’s near no-hitter in win
Diamondbacks snap losing streak with win over Tigers
Diamondbacks drop third straight with loss to Tigers
Shot Clock: D-Backs face pivotal homestand
Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ latest loss to Rockies
Taijuan Walker after loss to Rockies
Patrick Corbin after being roughed up by Rockies
D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo on ‘tough night’ at Coors Field
Zack Greinke on impressive outing vs. Rockies
Manager Torey Lovullo after win over Rockies
Manager Torey Lovullo after D-Backs lose series vs. Nationals
Braden Shipley after walking six in loss to Nationals
D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo after loss to Nationals
Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray strikes out 10 in loss to Nationals
Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ 6-3 win over Nationals
Taijuan Walker on his short start vs. Nationals
Shot Clock: Rockets sizzle, D-Backs fizzle?
A.J. Pollock on controversial play: “You guys saw the replay”
Descalso talks about walk-off home run over Rockies
Lovullo on pitching, more in D-Backs’ wild win
Corbin discusses his scoreless outing vs. Rockies
Fernando Rodney talks about his latest blown save
Zack Greinke after outing vs. Rockies
D-Backs’ Shelby Miller to have Tommy John surgery
Diamondbacks fall 3-1 to Rockies
Chris Owings on his two-homer night
D-Backs’ Taijuan Walker on his 11-strikeout performance vs. Padres
D-Backs’ Shelby Miller considering Tommy John surgery
Fernando Rodney reacts to his blown save against the Padres
Torey Lovullo reacts to Diamondbacks’ ‘heartbreaking’ loss
Diamondbacks attendance hits new low
Diamondbacks pull away from Padres for 9-3 win
Diamondbacks hold on for win over Padres
Shelby Miller on his injury, visit with team doctor
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Shelby Miller discusses arm injury
David Peralta on his record-setting night
Robbie Ray reacts to Saturday’s win over the Dodgers
Diamondbacks use 9-run eighth to overwhelm Dodgers
Paul Goldschmidt on D-Backs’ offense vs. Padres
Manager Torey Lovullo breaks down D-Backs’ loss, road trip
He’s a bench coach so naturally, when Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire agreed to an interview following his return to the team after five weeks away to undergo prostate surgery, the only logical place to talk was out in the dugout at Chase Field.
“It makes sense, right?” Gardenhire said. “I mean, it’s been a while and hey, this is where I belong.”
It is, even if he’s never been a bench coach before until this season. The new role has been different, to be sure, and Gardenhire, the 2010 American League Manager of the Year with the Twins, admits he was a little out of sorts upon rejoining the Diamondbacks earlier this week.
“I’ve always had my coaches do all the markings and the lineup card, keeping track of where innings ended and all those things and keeping up with (manager) Torey (Lovullo), because he’s doing things – he’s moving and shaking,” Gardenhire said. “I think it took me about four or five innings that first game back on Monday because I was still trying to figure out what the hell to do.
“But it’s really exciting. I missed it while I was away. … Getting back in the dugout is the best thing in the world. To sit here and watch how everybody interacts with each other, watch a ballgame, it’s as good as it gets.”
In Lovullo and Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks have the ideal yin and yang. Lovullo, in his first year as a major-league manager, is the cool, calming influence who preaches togetherness and a family bond. Gardenhire is a fiery and colorful character who liked to argue with umpires so much that he still ranks 10th in big-league history in ejections (65) despite managing only 13 seasons.
Ron Gardenhire, Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach, annouced on Tuesday that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the team’s spring training complex at Salt River Fields. Manager Torey Lovullo also spoke. Video: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
Even though the two have contradicting personalities and have been apart for more than a month as Gardenhire convalesced in Minnesota, the cohesiveness is very real and complementary.
“Outstanding leader, I can already see that,” Gardenhire said of Lovullo, who spent the past four seasons as bench coach of the Boston Red Sox. “He is a very calming influence on these guys, and listen, that’s good to be a manager and be calm about things. He never really gets too fired up and he thinks things through before he really reacts.
“That’s very, very important, probably something I didn’t do well for a long time because I used to get pretty fired up. But he’s calm and I really like that because he is a calming influence on these guys.”
Asked if he gives Lovullo a touch of fire or if Lovullo brings him a dose of peace, Gardenhire didn’t hesitate.
“Oh, I think probably he brings me peace more than anything else,” Gardenhire said, “but I’m always going to have that. I’m going to have to watch my Ps and Qs here because that was just my instinct … hoot and holler out of the dugout. So now I may yell and then I’ll duck down.”
Why does he feel he needs to mind his bellowing from the bench?
“Because, what’s going to happen is I’m going to scream something out and they’re going to look at Torey and throw his butt out and then I’m going to be in trouble,” Gardenhire said, laughing.
One would think Gardenhire actually misses being thrown out by one of the boys in blue, but he says no.
“Not really,” he said. “I miss the interaction with umpires because everybody thought that I don’t get along with umpires, but I had fun with umpires. Some of the conversations that we had on the field were absolutely hilarious. And you know what, I miss those guys. I’ve got so many good friends out there and sure, they throw you out of the ballgame, but the next day we looked at each other and laughed about it.”
One of Gardenhire’s favorite stories to tell is running out on the field to confront an umpire and telling him he’s tired of watching his team play, that they “aren’t worth a flip today” and that “you’re going to throw me out of the game.”
“But they’d say, ‘No, I’m not. If I’ve got to stay, you’ve got to stay,’” Gardenhire said.
Lovullo said he’s thankful to have Gardenhire back on the bench as his trusted, right-hand man. He’s relied on Triple-A manager Jerry Narron in the interim and that’s worked so well that Narron will remain on the major-league coaching staff, just in a different role.
“Having him back is exciting,” Lovullo said of Gardenhire, adding, “Just to have his presence next to me, offering me incredible baseball wisdom inning-by-inning is priceless.”
While away, Gardenhire watched every Diamondbacks game on television. To that end, he at least feels like he’s stayed plugged in and informed. Coming back to watch the team sweep the Mets in a three-game series served only to validate what he’s thought all along – that Arizona has the talent to stay in a playoff race.
“I think we have as good of an opportunity as anybody,” he said. “When you can hit and do some of the things we do? We’ve got one of the best first basemen, if not the best first baseman in the game (Paul Goldschmidt). He’s a great leader for all these guys, they look up to him. We’ve got some young players that are learning the game, they’re getting better and better.
“We’ve got some utility guys that can play all over the place. And our starting pitching has really stepped up and our bullpen has really come together. So there’s a lot of things that are really working right now. It’s just a matter of you have to sustain it now, you have to keep playing. It’s a long grind and you’ve just got to keep grinding.”
Reach McManaman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac and listen to him live every Wednesday night between 7-9 on Fox Sports 910-AM on The Freaks with Kenny and Crash.