Hale prefers Ahmed hitting ninth

Hale prefers Ahmed hitting ninth

LOS ANGELES -- Whether D-backs manager Chip Hale hits the pitcher in the eighth or ninth spot in the order has less to do with how good of a hitter the pitcher is and more about wanting shortstop Nick Ahmed to bat behind the pitcher rather than in front of him.

"We're doing it more to make Ahmed more of a second leadoff hitter," Hale said. "Then the top of the order with [Jean] Segura is a two and then whoever is hitting second for us would be the third hitter and then Paul [Goldschmidt] fourth."

Hitting Ahmed eighth in front of the pitcher makes it easier for pitchers to throw him fewer strikes, and when he does get on base, it limits his ability to steal as teams don't like to run with the pitcher at the plate.

"Running is a big part of his game, so when he's in the lineup, I like him in that nine-hole," Hale said.

Hale really like Ahmed offensively Wednesday night, as he led off the third with his third homer of the year. That proved to be the D-backs' lone run in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.