It took all spring, but Chris Owings was finally able to separate himself from Didi Gregorius to win the Arizona Diamondbacks' shortstop battle.
Four games into the regular season it is easy to see why, as the 22-year-old is batting .462 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
The 2013 Pacific Coast League MVP, everyone knew the guy could hit. But where he trailed Gregorius was with the glove, and Owings has not exactly played a clean shortstop early in the season. He failed to come up with a fly ball down the third base line in the ninth inning Tuesday night, allowing the tying run to reach second base.
But still, the D-backs are very pleased with what they've seen from the middle infielder.
"He's swinging the bat real well," D-backs GM Kevin Towers told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. "He's just one of those little pesky hitters. He can be off balance and still he's got those good, quick hands.
"He's been able to find that hole right between short and second quite a few times so far this year."
This is not Owings' first stint in the big leagues. A September call-up last season, he hit .291 in 55 at-bats.
But there is a big difference between being a September call-up and an Opening Day starter, and thus far Owings is doing all he can to justify the team's decision.
"For the competition he went through with Didi and to come out and hit close to .500 in his first three games, four games that he's been playing," Towers said. "Defensively I think he's been pretty good. [Tuesday] night I think the wind probably caught that ball and it did the same thing to Aaron Hill, handcuffed him as well.
"To me it's just steady defense, making the routine plays, and so far he's been able to do that and if he continues to swing the bat this well he might start finding himself moving up in the order."