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D-backs’ Towers: crowded middle infield ‘good problem’ to have

LISTEN: Kevin Towers, D-backs GM

All of a sudden, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a crowded middle infield.

With second baseman Aaron Hill, shortstop Chris Owings and infielder Didi Gregorius in the major leagues, in addition to shortstop Nick Ahmed impressing at Triple-A Reno, D-backs general manager Kevin Towers thinks the team has four MLB-quality middle infielders.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Towers said Wednesday morning on the Doug and Wolf show on Arizona Sports 98.7. “We’ll see how it plays out. I like our options there in the middle (infield).”

Hill has endured a down season in 2014, hitting .250 with five homers. Two years ago, he was one of the better offensive second baseman, winning a Silver Slugger Award after hitting .302 and 26 home runs. Hill is owed $12 million in each of the following two seasons.

“We still like Aaron Hill a great deal too,” Towers said. “Aaron Hill’s a proven professional hitter… I’m still a big Aaron Hill fan.”

On the other side of the diamond, Owings has played good defense and is batting .270 with six steals and five home runs.

In spring training, Owings beat out Gregorius, the incumbent starter, for the D-backs’ primary shortstop position. Gregorius rejoined the MLB team after Cliff Pennington landed on the DL. Since his June 3 call-up, he has appeared in six games, going 6-for-20 at the plate with two home runs.

“(Reno hitting coach) Greg Gross I think did a great job with him, kind of got him into a more comfortable stance,” Towers said.

The most intriguing name of the group is Ahmed, a second-round pick in the 2011 draft who came to the D-backs in the Justin Upton trade. At Triple-A Reno, Ahmed is hitting .305 with eight steals this season.

“We’ve got a lot of good options and that’s not even mentioning Nick Ahmed, where I get calls every day on him from probably 20 other major league ballclubs that think he’s major league ready at shortstop.”