8/1/2014 8:20 P.M. ET
Young shortstops holding their own
By Adam Lichtenstein / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Second baseman Aaron Hill is 32 years old and has played 10 seasons in the Major Leagues.
Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed have played a combined 254 games in the Major Leagues and have already made an impact on the D-backs infield.
"It's fun watching them go," Hill said. "We really push each other. It keeps me young, too."
Owings was having a fine rookie season, hitting .277 with a .771 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, but he has been sidelined since June 26 with a left shoulder injury. Gregorius and Ahmed have filled in admirably in his absence since then.
Gregorius was the D-backs' primary shortstop in 2013, but spent the early part of this season at Triple-A Reno before being recalled in early June.
Gregorius scuffled a bit when he first arrived back in the Majors. His batting average fell as low as .196, but he has since brought it back up to .256. He is hitting .391 (9-for-23) in his last six games.
"I think everybody can see what we saw in him," manager Kirk Gibson said.
Ahmed made his Major League debut on June 29, and he too has been hot of late. Ahmed his hitting .353 (6-for-17) in his last four games entering Friday, and he hit his first big league homer on Thursday night.
"That's something pretty special," Hill said. "We take for granted sometimes what we're doing because we want to get better every single day, no matter what. It's pretty neat. That's something he's going to cherish forever."
Pollock hit on hand in rehab game
PHOENIX -- Playing in his first game since a pitch from Reds starter Johnny Cueto fractured his right hand, A.J. Pollock was hit on the hand again.
Pollock started his rehab stint with the Rookie League AZL Diamondbacks on Thursday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., and recorded one official at-bat before he left the game after the hit by pitch.
"It's OK, but it's swelling up a little bit," manager Kirk Gibson said. "I think he's going to take batting practice to see if he's going to play … tonight."
Gibson said he wasn't sure if Pollock was wearing any kind of protective glove while he hit, but he did say that if Pollock's latest hit by pitch didn't set him back, he could return to the D-backs in about two weeks.
Pollock had surgery on the hand in early June and has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 1.
Pollock's return could provide as big of a boost to the D-backs' lineup as a midseason acquisition. Before suffering the injury, Pollock had hit .379 in his previous 23 games with a 1.098 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Despite missing two months, Pollock is still second on the D-backs in wins above replacement (WAR) at 2.7, behind only Paul Goldschmidt's 4.1 mark.
Anderson taking advantage of rest
PHOENIX -- A little rest has gone a long way for starter Chase Anderson.
The D-backs are trying to limit the rookie pitcher's innings as the season goes on in order to protect his arm, and the move is also paying off in the short term.
After getting 14 days off after his June 7 win against the Marlins, Anderson has a 2.08 ERA in his last two outings, giving up three runs in 13 innings while striking out 13.
"He responded good to that," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's throwing the ball well. His last time was probably his best outing since he's been a big leaguer."
Anderson has been a pleasant surprise for the D-backs this year. Entering the season as a 26-year-old in Double-A, Anderson flew under the radar to most. But he's put himself on the map this season. His 3.34 ERA ranks fourth among Major League rookies with more than 10 starts.
"I've been feeling pretty good out there," Anderson said. "My fastball command's been really good lately. Last couple starts, I've been able to throw that inside, outside, kind of establish that early in the game, which gets me deeper into games."
Anderson said he understands the reasoning behind the D-backs limiting his time. Between Double-A Mobile and the Majors, he's thrown 106 1/3 innings. The most he's pitched in professional baseball is 108 1/3 in 2010.
"We want to get him to pitch into September; he's never done that," Gibson said. "So we had some discussions about ways to do that and we'll continue to monitor that."
Anderson will pitch on four days' rest against the Pirates on Saturday. It will be only his third start on regular rest this season.
"I just tell myself: I'm going to pitch until they take the ball out of my hand," Anderson said. "If you're going to play this game a long time, you have to have a passion for it."
• Gibson gave first baseman Paul Goldschmidt his second day off of the season on Friday. Goldschmidt is third in the Major Leagues with 965 2/3 innings played this year.
Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.