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D-backs GM: Shortstop position still up for grabs

LISTEN: Kevin Towers, D-backs GM

Ten days away from the Arizona Diamondbacks opening their 2014 season in Australia, the team is making the final decisions on the roster it will bring to Sydney.

The D-backs started their spring training a week early, giving them extra time to prepare for the two-game series scheduled to be played March 22-23 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“I think we’re all ready,” Towers told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “We’ve been here over a month training and we’ve played almost 20 games already. We can’t wait for Sunday to get started and Patrick Corbin and Clayton Kershaw should be a great matchup in game one.”

The D-backs announced earlier this month that Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill will take the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the two-game set.

But while the starting pitchers have already been named, the starting shortstop position is still up for grabs.

The battle between Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings has been brewing all spring, but as of now, Towers and the team do not know who will win the job.

“We still got some time,” Towers said. “We will probably bring both to Australia.

“They’ll both be active there and both of them have played very, very well. You can’t go wrong either way. That’s probably going to be a decision that we’re going to make right before we open up against the San Francisco Giants.”

Towers has previously intimated that the runner-up in the competition will be sent to the minor leagues.

Owings has batted .250 this spring with three runs scored, compared to Gregorius’ .167 average with three RBI.

Gregorius has played in just 111 career games, 103 of them coming with the D-backs last season. Last year, the 24-year-old batted .252 with seven home runs and 28 RBI.

Owings, 22, earned a callup to the D-backs on Sept. 1, after batting .330 in AAA Reno.

The D-backs have until Saturday morning to set the roster that the team will bring to Australia, and Towers said besides carrying more relief pitchers than usual, the it will look pretty normal.

“It’s not going to be much different than using your rosters composed of somewhere between 12 pitchers and 13 position players,” Towers said. “This one is going to be either 11 pitchers and 14 position players, or 10 pitchers and 15 position players.”

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