D-backs' Jake Lamb returns; Steven Souza aggravates pectoral injury

NEW YORK -- Jake Lamb was reinstated from the disabled list Friday by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hope the return of their All-Star third baseman will boost a struggling lineup.

"I just know having an impact bat in there is very relieving to everybody. It's 30 home runs and 100 RBI that's returning to us. We're excited about that. I know there might be some growing pains early," manager Torey Lovullo said, "but we're going to expect big things from him, as we did last year."

The move came just a few days after the National League West leaders lost center fielder A.J. Pollock for the next four to eight weeks because of a broken left thumb. Pollock was hitting .293 with 11 home runs and 33 RBIs, pacing the team in all three categories.

Arizona began the day with a .220 batting average that ranked last in the majors. Then the Diamondbacks opened a three-city road trip with their eighth defeat in nine games, striking out 16 times in a 3-1 loss to the New York Mets.

Lamb went 1-for-4 with an RBI double and three strikeouts

"I'm not trying to put too much pressure on myself to hit six homers tonight. Just going to go out, have fun and try to win a game," Lamb said. "It's been tough. It was tough watching the team win, and then this stretch here has been tough. So, it's not fun when you can't play and be out there with your teammates."

Lamb, 27, had been sidelined since April 3 with a sprained acromioclavicular (AC) joint in his left shoulder. He was 5-for-18 (.278) with five RBIs in the first four games of the season, after hitting .248 with 30 homers, 105 RBIs and an .844 OPS last year.

"It just so happens that the offense is a little low right now. I'm not too worried about it," he said. "We have a bunch of great hitters; everyone prepares really well. So, it's never a lack of preparation or anything like that. It's just a stretch that everyone goes through."

Lamb batted third Friday night against New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, between Steven Souza Jr. and slumping slugger Paul Goldschmidt. Lamb struck out his first two times up and hit an RBI double in the sixth inning. He was thrown out stretching at third.

"It's great to be back here with the guys and just playing baseball again. So, I'm ready to go," Lamb said before the game. "It's definitely nice to be back."

Souza, however, was removed in the sixth. On a throw from right field an inning earlier, he aggravated the right pectoral injury he suffered during spring training. That one kept him out from March 21 until May 3.

"It's way better than that," Souza said. "The first one was painful, and I could barely move. But this one's just a little bit different."

He was replaced in the outifled by Chris Owings and will have an MRI on Saturday.

"Just frustrating, obviously," Souza said. "Just kind of flared up again."

To make room on the roster, Arizona optioned infielder Christian Walker to Triple-A Reno. In addition, right-hander Braden Shipley (right elbow inflammation) was activated from the 10-day DL and optioned to Reno.

Walker has played in 16 games during two stints with the Diamondbacks this season, going 2-for-16 (.125) with a home run, a double, two RBIs and three walks.

In three rehab games at Class A Visalia, Lamb went 2-for-11 (.182) with two doubles. And when he struck out against Lancaster, fans at the game got a free beer as part of a promotion.

"Yeah, I gave 'em one too," Lamb said. "I gave 'em a strikeout. I'm not going to say anything about the call, but yeah. So, I hope they got all the beer that they wanted in Lancaster."

In other news, Lovullo said veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz is expected to be called up from Reno to start Sunday against the Mets, giving Zack Greinke extra rest. Greinke would be pushed back a day to pitch Monday at the Milwaukee Brewers.

With some bad weather in the forecast, the Diamondbacks are just hoping Buchholz won't have any trouble traveling across the country and getting to New York in time.