PHOENIX -- Chris Owings won the starting shortstop job as the D-backs demoted Didi Gregorius to Triple-A Reno following Saturday's exhibition game with the Cubs.
Owings and Gregorius had been locked in a tight duel for the starting job all spring, and with outfielder Cody Ross starting the season on the 15-day disabled list, it appeared that both Owings and Gregorius would be kept, in addition to backup Cliff Pennington.
But the D-backs decided to carry 13 pitchers rather than 12, leaving them needing to eliminate one position player on the bench, making Gregorius the odd man out.
Gregorius was acquired by the D-backs from the Reds in December 2012, and was tabbed as the club's shortstop of the future.
After a hot start at the plate last year, Gregorius cooled off and Owings tore up Triple-A pitching and then looked good during a September callup, which vaulted him back into the competition.
D-backs GM Kevin Towers said the team felt Owings was ahead of Gregorius at the plate and that the team needed to get every bit of offense it could.
Gregorius has been the subject of trade rumors, but Towers said he is not planning on dealing him.
"We think the world of Didi," Towers said. "I hope he stays a D-back for a long time. I think at some point in time we're going to need Didi Gregorius on the 25-man [roster]."
Owings received the news that he made the team from manager Kirk Gibson just before he drew a walk in the sixth inning Saturday.
"Just a little relief," Owings said. "I've been working really hard this spring and it was a long, tough competition. Just excited to get that news and just go and get ready for the year."
Delgado to be fifth starter for D-backs
PHOENIX -- Randall Delgado won the final open spot in the D-backs rotation.
The right-hander will start Friday's game against the Rockies at Coors Field.
When pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training, it looked like Delgado would battle top prospect Archie Bradley for the spot. The club, though, signed Bronson Arroyo less than a week into camp and that seemed to fill up the rotation.
Ace Patrick Corbin suffered a torn ligament in his elbow prior to the trip to Australia and suddenly there was a vacancy in the rotation again.
With Bradley struggling in his final two spring outings, the club turned to Delgado.
D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said the team had not informed Delgado of the news, so he didn't want to say publicly that he would be the fifth starter. However, as Towers pointed out, with Bo Schultz being optioned to Triple-A Reno, that clearly left Delgado as the winner.
Gosewisch earns backup duty at catcher
PHOENIX -- Catcher Tuffy Gosewisch was on the D-backs Opening Day roster last weekend in Sydney, Australia, and the 30-year-old will also be on the roster for the team's regular-season game Monday against the Giants.
Gosewisch beat out veteran Henry Blanco for the right to back up starting catcher Miguel Montero.
When he was signed to a Minor League deal this winter, Blanco was told that he could become the team's assistant hitting coach if he did not make the Opening Day roster.
D-backs GM Kevin Towers said that Blanco wanted to spend the next 24 hours finding out if there might be a big league job for him somewhere else before he decides whether to become a coach.
"He's disappointed," Towers said. "I would be disappointed if he wasn't disappointed."
This year was the first time that Gosewisch had found himself on an Opening Day roster, and he had a hard time putting into words what it meant to him to be on it when the team was in Australia.
At the time, Towers said that the backup catcher battle was still ongoing. The team decided to go with Gosewisch then because he was playing well and already on the 40-man roster. Had the team elected to go with the non-roster Blanco, his contract would have become guaranteed.
It has been a long journey for Gosewisch, who made his big league debut last season after nine seasons in the Minor Leagues.
"It feels really good now," Gosewisch said. "I don't know if I can express how happy I am. I'm not sure it's all set in yet."
Rowland-Smith makes team as 13th pitcher
PHOENIX -- The biggest surprise of the final roster moves the D-backs made Saturday was their decision to keep 13 pitchers rather than 12.
That meant that Australian-native Ryan Rowland-Smith made the team as the third left-hander in the bullpen, along with Oliver Perez and Joe Thatcher.
"Thought he threw the ball very well this spring," D-backs GM Kevin Towers said.
The team plans on using Rowland-Smith in long relief, along with right-hander Josh Collmenter.
Having another pitcher who can throw multiple innings in the bullpen became a priority given starter Bronson Arroyo's struggles with a bulging disc this spring and the season-ending injury to ace Patrick Corbin.
The decision to carry 13 pitchers meant that shortstop Didi Gregorius could not make the team in a bench role.
The team is likely to go back to 12 pitchers when outfielder Cody Ross returns from his hip injury, which could be a week to 10 days after the season begins.