PHOENIX — Peter O’Brien has told the Diamondbacks he’s up for another shot at catching.
Manager Chip Hale said Tuesday that O’Brien, who had 26 home runs among his 70 extra-base hits at Triple-A Reno this year, approached the team about getting back behind the plate — perhaps in spring training 2016. O’Brien was in the catching mix during 2015 spring training but asked to concentrate on playing the outfield early in the Reno season.
"That’ll be his decision," Hale said. "We’re excited if he does, we’re excited if he doesn’t. He’s shown up here he can hit, he’s a major league bat. Obviously being able to catch would help him be here sooner. Our outfield is so crowded."
Hale said the D-backs want O’Brien to take a break this off-season after a busy 2014 off-season that included playing in the Arizona Fall League.
Hale said there were no major defensive issues for O’Brien behind the plate other than some occasional throwing difficulties that have surfaced with other catchers such as Jerrod Saltalamacchia, Gerald Laird and Geovany Soto.
"Behind the plate he was as good as we had defensively," Hale said. "He caught great, he worked great with the pitchers. The thgrowing issue was mostly just throwing it back to the pitcher.
"It’s something that can come and go. He understands that, and I think he’s less worried about it."
Ahmed out for rest of season
Hale said shortstop Nick Ahmed will not play again this season as a precautionary measure. Ahmed suffered a back injury on Sept. 22. He finishes his first full season with a .226 average, nine home runs and 20 defensive runs saves, which ranks third among all shortstops.
"We don’t want to push it and reinjure him," Hale said.
Hale said he was unsure when closer Brad Ziegler would rejoin the team. Ziegler left the team on Monday to be with his wife in Kansas City for the birth of their daughter, Lauryn Michelle.
Brito, Blair earn minor-league honors
The D-backs named outfielder Socrates Brito and right-hander Aaron Blair the organization’s minor league Player and Pitcher of the Year.
Brito, 23, hit .300 with 17 doubles, 15 triples, nine home runs, 57 RBI, 70 runs scored and 20 stolen bases in 129 games for Double-A Mobile.
Blair, 23, went 13-5 with a 2.92 ERA in 26 games with Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He is a repeat winner as minor league Pitcher of the Year.
Hale described Brito as a "bright star" who can be an everyday player at some point, and he said Blair will get a chance to earn a spot in the rotation next spring.