Chris Owings the favorite over Didi Gregorius for D-Backs’ starting shortstop job

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ESPN’s Jim Bowden hears that Chris Owings is the favorite over Didi Gregorius for the Diamondbacks’ starting shortstop job. Owings, 22, has not had a particularly great showing this spring, but has out-hit Gregorius in OPS, .698 to .541.

Gregorius, 24, wasn’t particularly impressive in his rookie season in 2013, posting a .704 OPS. Owings wasn’t noticeably better at the big league level last season but only had 61 plate appearances with which to work. He performed well with Triple-A Reno, slashing .330/.359/.482.

Bowden expects Owings to wind up as a candidate for the NL Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season. Additionally, he expects the D-Backs to shop Gregorius. He could, perhaps, be an option for the Tigers.

Fernando Rodney gives up walk-off homer to Gary Sanchez

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The Fernando Rodney Experience hasn’t been a good one for the Twins thus far. The veteran closer served up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, erasing a 4-1 lead and blowing his third save in five opportunities.

In the ninth, Didi Gregorius reached on a throwing error by Miguel Sano. Giancarlo Stanton then singled, and Gary Sanchez followed up with a walk-off three-run home run.

Rodney, 41, now sports a 6.75 ERA on the year. He inked a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Twins back in December. The club has an option for next year worth $4.25 million. If things keep going the way they’re going, the Twins aren’t going to want to pick up that option.

The Twins may even want to think about moving Ryan Pressly or Addison Reed into the closer’s role, even if just temporarily. Pressly has been terrific, tossing 13 scoreless innings with 18 strikeouts. Reed has a 2.25 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.