PHOENIX -- Chris Owings has done it all this year. He's played in the outfield and the infield. He's contributed offensively. He is a team-first player. That's why he was voted by teammates and coaches as this year's recipient of the Luis Gonzalez Award for selflessness and hard play.One thing
PHOENIX -- Chris Owings has done it all this year. He's played in the outfield and the infield. He's contributed offensively. He is a team-first player. That's why he was voted by teammates and coaches as this year's recipient of the Luis Gonzalez Award for selflessness and hard play.
One thing the D-backs' do-it-all player hasn't done too much is hit homers. But in Friday's 5-3 win over the Padres at Chase Field, Owings came through with a go-ahead, two-run blast in the sixth, the key blow in a series-opening victory.
"That's the kind of power that we see Chris display daily during BP," manager Chip Hale said. "He's got big power to right-center field. The talk when I got here before his shoulder surgery, he really drove the ball to right-center a lot in the Minor Leagues. He's starting to get comfortable and he just stayed on that pitch and rode it out of here."
Owings is finishing out a breakthrough season in which he has set career highs in batting average (.278), hits (120), triples (11), RBIs (46) and steals (20). When A.J. Pollock fractured his elbow just before the season started, Owings played center field -- a position he had never played professionally.
Since Nick Ahmed underwent season-ending hip surgery in August, Owings returned to his primary position of shortstop, after playing mostly second base in 2015.
"It's been unique, for sure," Owings said. "I did my best as I could [in the outfield] and it's been kind of nice going back to short and getting comfortable again. It's kind of like riding a bike, once you play it for a week or so, you feel like you're back in the swing of things."
As for the power, Owings feels that will keep building as his shoulder continues to feel better. It certainly looked as if that's possible, based on the opposite-field homer he belted off Padres starter Edwin Jackson on Friday.
"I feel like this year, I've taken a big step of just getting healthy, getting it back stronger," Owings said. "I think the power will come back."
Jake Rill is an associate reporter for MLB.com.