Diamondbacks to start Nick Ahmed at shortstop, Chris Owings at second base

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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.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).