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Hale unsure if D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed will return in 2016

Arizona Diamondbacks' Nick Ahmed, left, throws to first base after forcing out Los Angeles Dodgers' Howie Kendrick (47) during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 16, 2016, in Phoenix. Andrew Toles was safe at first. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

LISTEN: Chip Hale, D-backs' Manager

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale doesn’t know if or when shortstop Nick Ahmed will return this season.

Hale told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that Ahmed’s hip injury that put him on the disabled list on July 25 might keep him out the season.

Even if he does return, Chris Owings has taken well to shortstop.

Owings entered the year as a backup infielder at second and shortstop, but ended up playing center field following A.J. Pollock injury. Now, he’s filling in at Ahmed’s post and batting as well as he has in some time.

Owings headed into Tuesday night with an eight-game hitting streak, which has included four doubles, two triples and six RBI over that span. It’s given him a leg-up on Ahmed, setting up a shortstop battle to resume when Ahmed is healthy.

“We’ll evaluate it, reevaluate over the winter,” Hale said on Burns and Gambo. “I don’t know how much we’re going to be able to get Nick back if we’re going to get him back this season.

“His hip injury has been a real issue with him and I think it bothered him a lot longer than he gave into when he first came back. He, like you said, is a tremendous defender. C.O. is probably just a step below him on the defensive side of it. He is really started to swing the bat, using that right-center gap. That’s the type of hitter he is. It’s going to be a fight like we had last spring. C.O. right now is probably going to have the upper-hand.”

Ahmed was hitting .215 with an on-base percentage of .265 and a slugging percentage of .299. Owings is enjoying a batting average of .281, best since his rookie season of just 20 games.

DE LA ROSA RETURN?

Rehabbing pitcher Rubby De La Rosa is hopeful to begin game action on Saturday, Hale said.

It appears that with less than two months to go in the season, it might be too little of time to return the pitcher to the starting lineup.

“Whether he can start again this season, we don’t know,” Hale added.

Nonetheless, the Diamondbacks would like to get De La Rosa innings out of the bullpen.

Hale called the current pitching situation a “logjam” with De La Rosa on the comeback, Patrick Corbin set to begin getting things right out of the bullpen and Shelby Miller trying to work his way back into the majors with strong outing in Triple-A.

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