After slow start, Ahmed heating up at plate

After slow start, Ahmed heating up at plate

PHOENIX -- Nick Ahmed is in the D-backs' lineup nearly every day. It's no secret that the reason for that is his Gold Glove-caliber defense.

Therefore, it'd be easy to think that any offense Arizona gets from Ahmed is simply a bonus. But Ahmed doesn't approach it that way.

"I know the type of player I can be offensively," Ahmed said. "I'm not showing up every game and just hoping to get a hit or hoping to contribute. I'm going out there knowing I can."

After getting off to a surprisingly strong start with his bat, Ahmed's averaged dipped below .200 on April 26. It stayed below the Mendoza Line until May 22. At the beginning of June, it looked to be on its way back down again.

But Ahmed may be heating back up. He had a hit in each of the D-backs' first six games of the homestand entering Monday's series opener against the Dodgers.

After entering June 6 with a .201 batting average, Ahmed saw it climb 20 points to .221 in that six-game hit streak.

"Just keeping things simple, I'm not complicating things all that much," Ahmed said. "Just trusting my preparation and my approach once the game starts."

On Friday against the Marlins, Ahmed had his first three-hit game of the season. He was a homer shy of the cycle with an RBI and two runs.

Ahmed typically bats eighth, but he has batted ninth, behind the pitcher, nearly as much this season, as he did Monday against the Dodgers. He entered batting .247/.295/.321 in 24 games in the No. 8 hole and .242/.301/.455 in 21 games batting ninth.

"A lot of times when you have the pitcher hitting behind you, you kind of get pitched around or thrown a little bit differently, especially with guys on base," Ahmed said. "Hitting in the nine-hole, I've got [Jean] Segura hitting behind me, so I'm definitely not going to get pitched around and hopefully I get some good pitches to hit."

Worth noting

• MLB.com's Jim Callis has reported the D-backs have signed third-round pick Jon Duplantier. The Rice right-handed pitcher was the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year this season. The club hasn't confirmed the report.

• This weekend in Philadelphia, the D-backs will start Robbie Ray on Friday and Zack Greinke on Saturday, keeping both starters on four days of rest. It will be either Shelby Miller or Zack Godley starting on Sunday. Miller (sprained right index finger) is making his second rehab start for Class A Advanced Visalia on Tuesday.

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.