D-backs' Owings: 'I'm a lot better baseball player than I played last season'
After a disappointing first full major-league season, Arizona Diamondbacks middle infielder Chris Owings is eagerly anticipating a fresh start in 2016 to prove himself.
Playing in 147 games for the D-backs last season, the 24-year-old hit .227/.264/.322 with four home runs, 43 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.
While his defensive play was sturdy, Owings knows he can perform much better at the plate, particularly now that he is over a year removed from a surgery on his left shoulder he underwent in October 2014.
"It was frustrating," Owings told the Arizona Republic. "You don't want to look back at it and say, 'What did I do wrong?' because a lot of it was just trying to stay healthy, for the most part. I just want to stay motivated and know that I'm a lot better baseball player than I played last season."
While Owings was ready for Opening Day 2015 and played through October after having surgery, he was informed that his shoulder could take up to 12 months to experience a full recovery after surgery.
Having passed that benchmark, Owings can now focus on fine tuning his swing and straightening out the quirks in his swing that he developed to compensate for his shoulder.
"It's nice to hit and have somebody give you some suggestions versus just, 'How does your shoulder feel?'" Owings said. "It's good to get back to that."
As Owings prepares for a more productive season, his role for the D-backs could change in 2016.
The club is said to be interested in free-agent second baseman Howie Kendrick and is also rumored to be contemplating trading veteran second baseman Aaron Hill.
Whatever the situation may be, Owings knows he'll need to perform at his best in order to earn a spot in the lineup.
"I've always been fighting to have a spot on the team, per se," he said. "I don't see what's new with that coming into the season. I'm kind of taking the same mindset. There's a lot to look forward to, a lot to work on."