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Notes: Ahmeds share dugout; Duplantier shines

@SteveGilbertMLB
February 25, 2020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When the fifth inning rolled around, D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed had the option to head back to the clubhouse with the rest of the starters whose day was done, shower and head home if he wanted. Instead, he stayed in the dugout right until the end.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When the fifth inning rolled around, D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed had the option to head back to the clubhouse with the rest of the starters whose day was done, shower and head home if he wanted.

Instead, he stayed in the dugout right until the end.

The reason was the presence of his brother Michael, who was called over from Minor League camp to be a reserve for Tuesday’s 7-3 win over the Dodgers.

“Our schedules don’t overlap all that often so just to hang with him and spend extra time with him was a lot of fun,” Nick Ahmed said.

The last time the brothers played on the same team was back in high school in 2008, though they have played against each other before in Spring Training.

Michael Ahmed, who did not end up playing in Tuesday’s game, signed a Minor League deal with the D-backs in January but was not invited to Major League camp.

“Hopefully, the next time he’ll get to play,” Nick Ahmed said. “It was special. We haven’t shared a dugout or a field or a jersey together since high school. Hopefully, it happens a lot more.”

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said he would like to get the two on the field at the same time at some point this spring.

Lovullo has actually known Michael longer than Nick because Michael played with Lovullo’s son at Holy Cross.

“I have a soft spot for [Michael] being here in this organization,” Lovullo said. “And then trying to get that opportunity to put him on the field at the same time would be very special to both of them. I was trying to make that happen but it didn’t. We’re going to try to pull that off. I’m going to try to engineer that. I think that would be a really fun time for those guys to play in the middle of the diamond together.”

Back in there
First baseman Christian Walker is expected to make his Cactus League debut against the A’s on Wednesday.

Walker experienced what Lovullo termed “general body soreness” early in camp so he was slow-played a bit.

“Don’t really know what to chalk it up to,” Walker said.

This is a bit of a different spring for Walker, who comes into camp with a starting job all but locked up. That’s thanks to 2019 when he hit .259/.348/.476 and was a finalist for a Gold Glove Award.

“I feel like it’s not as much of a tryout as it has been in the past for me,” Walker said. “So I’m trying to switch out of the mentality of showing up in midseason form. I want to peak at the end of March. I don’t need to be peaking right now in terms of performance.”

Dup does well
Right-hander Jon Duplantier started and tossed two scoreless innings Tuesday, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out three.

Duplantier had an uneven season last year. He was hampered by illness during the spring which prevented him from getting stretched out as a starter. Then the D-backs called him up from Triple-A Reno in April because they needed an extra bullpen arm, further delaying his ability to get stretched out as a starter.

Duplantier is likely ticketed for Reno to open the year, but a healthy spring during which he’s able to get his innings in would go a long way towards making him a possible rotation candidate in the big leagues during the season.

“He was just pounding the zone with a lot of quality stuff,” Lovullo said. “It had late life. His secondary stuff had depth in the hitting zone. There’s been some mechanical adjustments that showed up today. He deserves a lot of credit for that. It’s not easy to take a step back and understand I need to make some adjustments and have the stuff come out the way I want it to and be consistent.”

Up next
Luke Weaver will make his first appearance of the spring Wednesday when the D-backs travel to Mesa to take on the A's. Weaver is scheduled to be followed by Merrill Kelly, who is battling for a spot in the rotation. Closer Archie Bradley is also slated to see action.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.