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Young shortstops holding their own

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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."

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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