Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings delivered the game-winning hit on Sunday vs. the Giants.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about the hug he gave walk-off hero Chris Owings and about his first win in his new job.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up two runs in five innings against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday at Chase Field.
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Diamondbacks insider Nick Piecoro and Jay Dieffenbach talk about the upcoming baseball season. The lineup appears to be solid. What about the pitching staff? Video: Cheryl Evans/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale breaks down the story lines to watch as baseball’s regular season begins.
USA TODAY Sports
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azcentral sports’ Dan Bickley discusses the state of the Arizona Diamondbacks as Opening Day approaches.
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Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller struggled with his fastball command Monday but says he’s ready for spring training to end. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up three runs in five-plus innings against the Chicago Cubs. He believes he is making progress toward Opening Day. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Jorge L. Ortiz breaks down the key headlines to watch during the final week of spring training.
USA TODAY Sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale poses these questions that will be answered in the MLB regular season.
USA TODAY Sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Jorge L. Ortiz recaps the championship between USA and Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium.
USA TODAY Sports
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Shot Clock: Why isn’t Paul Goldschmidt playing? Will Cardinals draft QB Mitchell Trubisky? Kurt Warner also had a Super Bowl jersey stolen? The Shot Clock tackles the burning topics in Arizona sports.
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Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray gave up two runs in five innings, walking one and striking out six, vs. the Royals on Tuesday. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up one run in five innings against the Netherlands on Saturday.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller struck out eight in 3 1/3 innings vs. the Mariners but wasn’t efficient with his pitches.
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Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray gave up two earned runs — both on a first-inning homer — in four innings against the Brewers on Thursday.
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Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke comments on his side session to minor leaguers at Salt River Fields on Mar. 13, 2017. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin gave up three runs in 3 1/3 innings against the White Sox but came away sounding upbeat. Video: Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Right-hander Taijuan Walker struck out eight in four scoreless innings for the Diamondbacks on Friday vs. the Brewers.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke’s fastball was in the upper-80s on Wednesday at Salt River Fields.
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller lasted 2 2/3 innings against the A’s, giving up six runs, on Tuesday. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker gave up just one hit in three scoreless innings against the White Sox on Sunday, Mar. 5, 2017. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin, who is vying for a spot in the rotation, gave up two runs in three innings against the Padres on Saturday in Peoria.
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Diamondbacks right-handed Shelby Miller talks about his impressive outing vs. the Cubs. Miller struck out six in three innings.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley tossed three scoreless innings in his second start of spring training.
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Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray was upbeat despite walking three in 1 1/3 innings on Wednesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale breaks down the story lines to follow as spring training heats up.
USA TODAY Sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker talks about his outing on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers in Surprise. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Here are some longtime favorites about America’s favorite pastime.
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The MLB is changing up the intentional walk in an effort to improve the pace of play.
USA TODAY Sports
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The Brewers by position: Bullpen
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USA TODAY Sports has released its projected win totals for the 2017 MLB season.
USA TODAY Sports
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USA TODAY Sports released its annual list of players to watch for in the upcoming season.
USA TODAY Sports
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about his frustration with the MLBPA, which he said rebuffed the league’s efforts to make any of a number of rules changes at Tuesday’s Cactus League Media Day at the Biltmore. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks’ Ken Kendrick discusses the team’s lawsuit with the Maricopa County Stadium District over over Chase Field maintenance costs at spring-training camp on Friday.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo discusses star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and his new team’s foundation at Cactus League Media Day at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks had their photos taken on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 at Salt River Fields.
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Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses how difficult it is to win back-to-back championships in the MLB on Tuesday at Cactus League Media Day at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses how to prepare for this season in regards to overworking and injuries after last season’s championship run at Cactus League Media Day at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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The Arizona Diamondbacks hosted fans to celebrate the start of spring training and the 2017 season at D-Backs Fan Fest at Salt River Fields on Monday. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney tosses a bullpen session at Salt River Fields.
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There are several MLB teams looking for new stadiums, while at least two are happy with their old-school dwellings.
USA TODAY Sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker throws his first official bullpen session of spring training at Salt River Fields on Tuesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller tosses his first bullpen of the spring at Salt River Fields on Tuesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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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
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on what he sees in his team and pitcher Shelby Miller heading into the first days of spring training at Salt River Fields. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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D-Backs pitcher Archie Bradley, sporting facial hair that he has not shaved since October 31st, reports to spring training camp in Scottsdale. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
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D-Backs skipper Torey Lovullo press conference at spring training camp in Scottsdale. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
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D-Backs pitcher Patrick Corbin reports to spring training camp in Scottsdale. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley talks about the excitement of getting spring training started, saying “I couldn’t sleep last night.” Video: Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks have faced tough seasons and payroll limitations, and it might cost them a beloved franchise player. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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Proliferation of young talent in the game provides an abundance of inexpensive options to stock a roster.
USA TODAY Sports
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Are the Arizona Diamondbacks right to sue Maricopa County over Chase Field? Columnist E.J. Montini says no.
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With the longest championship drought in American professional sports, the Cubs have seen a lot change since they last won the World Series, in 1908.
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Chris Owings discusses his walk-off hit vs. Giants
Torey Lovullo on his emotional first win as D-Backs’ manager
Zack Greinke after his start vs. Giants on Opening Day
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Chris Owings looked up during a game in Mesa last month and noticed that Ben Zobrist, who had manned left field for the Chicago Cubs during the World Series, was at second base that day in spring training. Owings couldn’t help but think about his own potential role as a multi-positional specialist.
It’s no secret that Owings views himself first as a shortstop. It’s the position he grew up playing, the one at which he feels most comfortable. And it seems likely to be the position he plays the most for the Diamondbacks this season, after a spring training performance that seemingly won him the lion’s share of starts.
But Owings has been around enough – and bounced around enough – to know things can change quickly. In his time in the big leagues he has gone from shortstop to second base to center field and back to shortstop, and the Diamondbacks had him in right field occasionally in the final weeks of spring training.
“I think the biggest thing is whatever can give us the best lineup that day might be the best scenario,” Owings said. “If somebody gets hurt and you can slide around to different positions and keep playing, help the team out, I’m fine with it.”
DIAMONDBACKS SALARIES: How much each player makes
While Owings is viewed by scouts as a solid defender wherever he’s played, a big part of the allure is his bat, which helped give the Diamondbacks an Opening Day win with a walkoff single on Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.
Owings’ numbers ticked up last season as he got further removed from the October 2014 shoulder surgery he had to repair a torn right labrum. The shoulder might have been the only reason he ever failed to put together solid numbers at the big-league level.
Owings hurt his shoulder on June 20, 2014, in a home-plate collision with then-Giants catcher Hector Sanchez. To that point in his career, he owned a .284/.327/.450 slash line. He tried to play through the injury but struggled the rest of the season.
Those struggles continued throughout 2015, which wasn’t unexpected; doctors had told him he’d probably need a full year to regain full strength in his shoulder. From the day of the injury through the end of 2015, he hit just .223/.262/.310 in 634 plate appearances.
Looking back, Owings said he couldn’t find a happy medium between giving the shoulder rest and working on his swing. When he did work on his swing, he’d feel it.
“Some days, I’d be in the on-deck circle before I’d hit and I’d be swinging and my shoulder would be killing me before I went up to the plate,” he said.
Take out the injury-related numbers and Owings is a .280 hitter with a .750 OPS in his career. Owings says he is looking to build on his 2016, and he’s made some adjustments to his bat path in his swing that he hopes lead to even better results. For what it’s worth, his numbers during spring training were impressive: .345/.377/.534 with two homers and three steals.
“I’m just trying to be a better hitter,” he said. “For me, I felt like I could improve in a lot of ways, maybe kind of spread out a little bit and calm some things down to see if I could see the ball a little bit better. I’m just putting my hands in a good position to repeat the same swing every time.”
As for where he plays – and how often – that remains to be seen. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo threw out a number for starts he anticipates for shortstop Nick Ahmed during a pregame media session on Sunday, then backtracked, asking reporters to “strike that from the record.”
It seems plausible that Owings could see time in right field against certain left-handers. Right fielder David Peralta has always struggled against lefties, while Ahmed is far more productive against them.
“Both guys give us a lot of variety and maneuverability,” Lovullo said of his shortstops. “I like that. I think National League baseball is that type of a game. It’s a credit to the system that we have two really good players who are going to play the position.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.
Giants at Diamondbacks
When: 6:40 p.m.
Where: Chase Field (Roof hotline: 602-462-6262).
Pitchers: Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (5-13, 5.15)* vs. Giants RHP Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79)*.
TV/radio: FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).
*Stats from 2016
Corbin was the Diamondbacks’ most consistent pitcher during spring training, posting a 3.44 ERA in 18 1/3 innings in the Cactus League. He also threw well in a pair of minor-league starts during camp. … Corbin owns a 3.46 ERA in his career against the Giants, including a 3.66 ERA in 19 2/3 innings against them last year. … OF Hunter Pence hits him hard, having gone 12 for 25 (.480) with four homers off Corbin. … Cueto led the National League last season with five complete games. … He has a 3.17 ERA in his career against the Diamondbacks, but allowed 15 earned runs in 32 2/3 innings (4.13 ERA) in five starts last season. … 3B Jake Lamb has good numbers against him. He is 5 for 14 (.357) with a pair of doubles and a home run.
Wednesday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (8-11, 4.22)* vs. Giants LHP Matt Moore (13-12, 4.08)*.
Thursday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (8-15, 4.90)* vs. Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (12-11, 3.81)*.
Friday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Shelby Miller (3-12, 6.15)* vs. Indians RHP Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40)*.
*Stats from 2016