D-backs' defensive shifting a work in progress

D-backs' defensive shifting a work in progress

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs plan to do more defensive shifting this year than last, but exactly how they will position their players on the shifts is still a work in progress.

When teams typically shift on a left-handed hitter, the second baseman moves into shallow right field and the shortstop either slides over to behind second base or he stays to cover the left side of the infield while the third baseman moves behind second.

The D-backs, though, have tried all different types of combinations, including having the shortstop positioned in shallow right with the third baseman staying on the left side and the second baseman playing behind the second-base bag.

"First of all, we're motivated to shift because we want to fill up the empty lanes," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "What we're trying to do is just get our hands and our eyes on some of the guy's actions and comfort level in moving around. So we're moving guys so we can look at them and evaluate them and then we're going to come up with the best game plan possible."

In addition to seeing how they handle the different spots on the field, Lovullo has been asking players where they feel more comfortable in those situations.

While it might not make a difference to a player like Chris Owings, who has played both shortstop and second base in his career, it can to a player who has played exclusively on one side or the other.

"We're still getting those answers," Lovullo said.

One thing you can be confident of is there will be shifts. Lots of them.

"We are constantly shifting on the flood areas," Lovullo said. "I just know that with men at first and second base we're going to shift, with men at first and third we're going to shift, bases loaded we're going to shift. If that's what it calls for, we're going to do it."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.