Arizona Diamondbacks – Owings maintains hot bat
By Mark Brown
Shortstop Chris Owings of the Arizona Diamondbacks continues productive season
The “hot bat” never left Chris Owings, shortstop for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
When hits begin to pile and batting average increase, there could be an immediate notice. In quiet times, the media seems to make up for a lost and distant dialog. Because Owings was on the disabled list for over a month, his numbers tended to be lost to the injury of landing on the DL. Now back in the lineup and playing his natural position of shortstop, numbers seem to be falling back into place.
Coming into Tuesday’s game with the New York Mets in Chase Field, Owings’ batting average was sitting at .281, the highest in his four-year major league career. In facing the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard Tuesday, Owings came into the contest with an eight game hitting streak and a .469 batting average during that period.
His current average nearly reached his most productive average.
Called up from the minors late in the 2013 season, Owings hit .291 in 33 games. Save that cup of coffee, Owings’ ability to spray the ball and occasionally hit for power remains his value.
Despite landing on the DL from June 11 to July 23 for plantar fasciitis in the left foot, Owings continued to work in the batting cage and hit against live pitching.
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“The foot injury didn’t stop me from swinging the bat,” he said in the clubhouse before Tuesday’s game. “I was still hitting on the DL. I was able to keep my timing up and keep up with my routine. Throwing did not affect me either, so I just kept doing the things I normally do.”
With his average above .280 here in mid-August, Owings picked up where he left prior to his foot injury. In his last game on June 5 at Wrigley Field before landing the DL, the native of Charleston, S. C. was hitting .281.
Starting the season in center field for the injured A. J. Pollock, Owings is now back at the position where the Arizona Diamondbacks made him a supplemental draft pick (41st overall) in the 2009 draft. While shortstop is considered Owings’ natural position, he admits to be comfortable in the outfield, as well. With Nick Ahmed nursing a right hip impingement, and out for the foreseeable future, Owings is back at his old spot.
“I guess there is a comfort level playing the position you were drafted,” he said. “I also had that in the outfield. I don’t see much difference.”
While Owings, at 5-10 and 185 pounds may be diminutive, his power is deceptive. Last season, he collective 27 doubles and drove in 43 during 515 plate appearances.
“He has more power than people give him credit,” said manager Chip Hale. “I’m not sure if he is in a kind of comfort zone right now. He is so athletic, and I don’t worry about his ability to move around the field.”
A prized possession
Though on the disabled list and unable to make the last road trip to Boston, outfielder David Peralta gave second baseman Jean Segura a special assignment.
That was to collect an autograph jersey from David Oritz, Peralta’s baseball hero growing up in his native Venezuela.
When the Arizona Diamondbacks returned from the trip to Bean Town, Peralta was given that jersey. His smile radiated throughout the clubhouse.
“I know exactly where this is going,” he said, holding the jersey in front of his locker in the clubhouse. “When you walk in, it’s right in the front of the house.”
Next: Ray survives high pitch count
According to sources within the organization, Peralta texted Segura frequently until he received word the jersey was autographed, and on its way to Phoenix.