SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Ketel Marte enters the D-backs' Spring Training complex each morning believing the starting shortstop job is his to lose.He's more confident than cocky, and he's definitely determined to be the top guy at the position come Opening Day. Here's the thing: Marte's biggest competition, Nick Ahmed, feels
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Ketel Marte enters the D-backs' Spring Training complex each morning believing the starting shortstop job is his to lose.
He's more confident than cocky, and he's definitely determined to be the top guy at the position come Opening Day. Here's the thing: Marte's biggest competition, Nick Ahmed, feels the same way about the job.
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"I'm a shortstop, but I was told I'll play second base on occasion," Marte, 24, said in Spanish. "That's fine, and I don't have a problem with that. I just need to be prepared for it."
The club plans to rotate Marte and Ahmed at shortstop this spring. Chris Owings will also see action at second base, shortstop and eventually third base.
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"We love all three guys that are there," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's probably too early for me to give you what will happen [Opening Day]. It will be unfair to these guys. They are going to compete. They are going to go out there and earn their innings and their time. Knowing that, I've loved everything that I have seen so far from all of them."
Last year, Marte began the year with Triple-A Reno, before he was called up June 28 and became a crucial piece of Arizona's playoff run. He emerged as the starting shortstop after injuries to Ahmed and Owings, and finished the season with five home runs and 18 RBIs in 73 games.
Marte has come a long way. The young infielder burst on the scene with a strong season at Triple-A Tacoma in the Mariners' system in 2015, then he hit .283/.351/.402 in 247 plate appearances after a promotion to the Majors. He finished the 2016 regular season with a .259 average, one homer, 33 RBIs, 55 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 119 games.
As for Ahmed, he was hit by a fastball from Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal last June and suffered a fractured right hand. He was hit on the same hand during a rehab assignment at Triple-A Reno and it ended his season.
Ahmed started at shortstop Wednesday against the Rockies.
"We have a lot of depth, which is good, and we saw how it helped us last year when we had a bunch of injuries," Ahmed said. "But I'm going to prepare to play every single game and help our team win each day. It's a little bit out of my control and I try not to focus on that."
For his part, Marte knows he will need some work if he is asked to shift to the other side of the diamond. He has played 234 of his 249 big league games at shortstop, and only four times at second base.
"I'm going to do my work and all I can control is how hard I work," Marte said. "I'm really happy with this team and what we were able to do last year. I look around here and I see a good team that can win again. I know I am going to do my part."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.