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Efficiency name of the game for Robbie Ray

Lefty starter realizing value of DP ball; Owings preparing for OF work
MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Two outs for the price of one is a pretty good deal, D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray is discovering.

Ray got one double play and narrowly missed a second in his Cactus League start Monday against the Royals.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Two outs for the price of one is a pretty good deal, D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray is discovering.

Ray got one double play and narrowly missed a second in his Cactus League start Monday against the Royals.

Not coincidentally, he was far more efficient with his pitches than he was in his first spring start. Running up high pitch counts early in games was an issue for Ray last season, one he has vowed to rectify.

Video: ARI@KC: Ray discusses his outing vs. the Royals

"I was able to get some ground balls when I needed it," Ray said of Monday's outing. "I think that's a big thing, being able to, when guys get on base, not go for the strikeout and get a double play. I think that was a big step forward. It's part of the growth. Just learning that a double play and getting two outs with the same amount of pitches is better than getting one."

Ray is working on a new grip for his changeup as he looks for a consistent pitch to go with his fastball and slider.

Worth noting

Chris Owings is in the battle for the starting job at shortstop, but he's also able to play in the outfield.

Video: SD@ARI: Ownings throws out Renfroe, call confirmed

Owings hasn't seen any game action in the outfield thus far because D-backs manager Torey Lovullo wants to give him a fair chance at short first. However, Owings has worked with outfield coach Dave McKay in practice and taken some fly balls out there.

"Out of fairness to him, I told him we wouldn't do that until the back half of Spring Training," Lovullo said of using Owings in the outfield.

• Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa tossed his second scoreless inning of the spring as he battles for a spot in the bullpen.

• Right-hander Matt Koch made his spring debut Monday after being out with a hamstring injury. Koch allowed one run in an inning of work.

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

Arizona Diamondbacks, Robbie Ray