The Diamondbacks announced on Twitter that manager Chip Hale has named Nick Ahmed as the team’s starting shortstop and Chris Owings as the starting second baseman. As a result, veteran Aaron Hill will be relegated to a bench role. The D-Backs are actively trying to trade Hill, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Hill, 33, is owed $12 million for the 2015 season and $12 million next season as well, a portion of which the Diamondbacks would be expected to cover. Hill missed considerable time in 2013 due to a fracutred hand and missed several games throughout the 2014 season due to various ailments, though none resulted in a stint on the disabled list. Nevertheless, given Hill’s age and health history, he would be considered an injury risk.
Ahmed, 25, hit his way into a starting role by batting .328 over 58 at-bats in Cactus League play. Owings hit only .244 in 41 at-bats.
Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa announced on Friday that prospect Archie Bradley has earned the final spot in the club’s starting rotation. There was an opening in the rotation following Thursday’s trade of Trevor Cahill to the Braves.
Bradley, 22, was the Diamondbacks’ first round pick in the 2011 draft, going seventh overall. He enters the season rated as the 11th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus, 15th by MLB.com, and 25th by Baseball America.
Bradley performed well in spring training, compiling a 1.61 ERA with a 14/6 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings. He started the 2014 season in Triple-A for the first time but an elbow injury forced him onto the disabled list for nearly two months, after which he pitched for Double-A Mobile.
Atlanta released veteran left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from his minor-league deal, deciding he wasn’t needed in the rotation after acquiring right-hander Trevor Cahill from Arizona.
Just a couple weeks ago Rodriguez was believed to be penciled into a rotation spot, but now the Braves have Cahill and are also expected to go with Eric Stults in the rotation.
For a long time Rodriguez was a reliable mid-rotation starter for the Astros and one of the more underrated lefties around, but he’s struggled to stay healthy recently and at age 36 apparently didn’t impress the Braves despite posting a solid 3.13 ERA and 23/8 K/BB ratio in 23 innings this spring.