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.

Jorge Soler hits Royals’ first home run in nearly two weeks

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The 16-31, last place Royals had a power outage lasting nearly two weeks. Entering Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Cardinals, Jorge Soler had hit the club’s most recent home run, a solo shot off of the Phillies’ Jake Arrieta in the sixth inning on May 10. That time frame spanned eight games.

Soler ended the home run drought, hitting a three-run round-tripper off of Michael Wacha to cap off a six-run third inning in the first game of the twin billing, staking the Royals to a 7-0 lead.

Soler, 27, is now batting .249/.303/.497 with 11 homers, 30 RBI, and 22 runs scored in 198 plate appearances on the season. He’s the only member of the Royals currently in double-digits in homers, though Hunter Dozier (nine) and Alex Gordon (eight) should soon join him.