D-backs using Ahmed less against righties

Defensive specialist has ceded time at shortstop to Owings

D-backs using Ahmed less against righties

CHICAGO -- The D-backs love what Nick Ahmed brings to the table defensively at shortstop, but they also feel he needs to contribute more on the offensive side of things to be an everyday player.

"He's got to do better," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "Especially against right-handed pitching. He knows it."

Ahmed entered Friday batting .215 with an OPS of .591, and that drops to .193 with an OPS of .536 against right-handers.

Chris Owings, who had been the starter at second, has been used at his natural shortstop position more often of late against righties, and that could continue. Hale also wants to get a look at Phil Gosselin and Brandon Drury, who both play second and third base.

"I don't not want to start him against righties for the rest of the year, but a lot of times we're going to probably have to start Chris to get the other guys in there," Hale said of Ahmed. "That's just the way it's going to be."

Ahmed has been working with hitting coach Turner Ward and assistant hitting coach Mark Grace on being shorter to the ball with his swing, and getting his foot down and staying on top of the ball so he does not hit as many fly balls.

"He knows that and to his credit, he's worked on it," Hale said. "And when he's not starting, he's been really good in the dugout, really good off the bench. We know he's not very happy about not starting, but he has not shown it at all, and he's definitely been a good teammate and been able to come off the bench and help us win games."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.