Seeking a spark, D-backs shuffle lineup

Seeking a spark, D-backs shuffle lineup

PHOENIX -- The lineup wasn't posted in the home clubhouse until 10:30 a.m. MST on Sunday, almost an hour later than usual.

Behind the scenes, the D-backs' coaching staff had pondered their options. They considered several lineup variations. They listened to everyone's opinion before making a final decision.

"We considered everything," D-backs manager Chip Hale said.

On Sunday, the D-backs shifted Chris Owings from center field to shortstop, hit Paul Goldschmidt fourth in the order and put catcher Chris Herrmann, who caught Saturday, into center field for a spot start. The club also called up outfielder Michael Bourn from Double-A and there's a reason to believe he will see his fair share of playing time in center field.

The shuffle did not spark the offense and Giants completed the four-game sweep by handing the D-backs a 2-1 loss. The D-backs still rank among the top 10 teams in Major League Baseball in runs scored despite managing only seven runs in the four games against the Giants. The D-backs left eight runners on base Sunday. They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

"When you are having issues and you don't try to change some things and just shake it up a little bit, you are not doing a service for your team," Hale said. "We are just trying something. Shake it up a little bit and have some fun and hopefully, it will work."

Bourn's sac bunt

By adding Bourn to the roster on Sunday, there's something else to consider as the D-backs take on the Yankees this week: Owings is expected to see more time at shortstop with Nick Ahmed struggling at the plate.

"That was the point of bringing Michael Bourn up," Hale said. "Nick is our shortstop, but this is gives us the opportunity to do some matching up. We can give him some days off for some work and some rest. We hope it will help."

Ahmed has been working hard on what Hale described as "bullet points" to improving as a hitter, but the shortstop has been unable to carry over good batting-practice sessions into the games. Ahmed is hitting .175 for the season. He has 15 hits in his last 102 at-bats.

"He's a smart kid," Hale said. "[The game] is not slowing down for him at the plate so we have to take him out every now and again and slow it down for him. We have a number of guys that are trying to gain that experience in a really tough situation."

And, yes, Hale is aware of the success outfielder Peter O'Brien is having at Triple-A Reno. O'Brien, who is hitting .333 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs in his first 32 games, does not fit the club's immediate needs.

"I think a lot of people are wondering why it wasn't Peter O'Brien [who got called up on Sunday] because Peter has been doing a nice job at Triple-A. Peter does not play center field," Hale said. "We know that. Is he still on our radar? Of course he is. If there are other moves to be made and we add another hitter, he'd definitely be in the mix, along with some other guys that are having nice years at Reno and Mobile."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.