Outlook: Owings could top 15 homers, 15 steals in '14

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It turns out the battle for the job of starting shortstop might not be settled before the D-backs open the 2014 season in Sydney, Australia, after all.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Tuesday that the team would most likely carry both Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings for the March 22-23 series with the Dodgers.

Because the two teams are beginning the season earlier than usual, they will get to have 28-man rosters for the series.

"I think probably we're looking at taking both of them to Australia, along with Penny," Gibson said referring to Cliff Pennington, who figures to back up the shortstop who wins the job. "You look at it in two phases, Australia and beyond. So we're on Australia right now."

The D-backs will reset their roster at 25 for their March 31 re-opener of the regular season.

That is when the D-backs will most likely choose between Gregorius and Owings, with the one who does not win the job ticketed for Triple-A.

Arizona general manager Kevin Towers has said he does not want one of the young shortstops sitting on the bench and would prefer that whoever does not win the job get consistent at-bats in the Minors.

Australia series to skip new replay system

Manager Kirk Gibson had challenged only one call through Tuesday.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs' series with the Dodgers to open the regular season in Sydney, Australia, will not use the new expanded instant replay system.

The system that was in place last year for home runs and fair/foul calls will be used.

"I don't make the rules," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said when asked what he thought about the absence of the expanded system. "We'll play by them."

Gibson's bigger concern, he said, would be to become familiar with the new system during Spring Training. The D-backs have seven games this spring featuring the system.

"It's gone fine," Gibson said. "Personally, I'd like to have the opportunity to have more of them in Spring Training so we can get it down."

Gibson had challenged only one call through Tuesday -- a bang-bang play at first base -- and the umpires upheld their call after further review.

"Just trying to understand when you want to replay it and when you don't," Gibson said. "I don't want to just go out there and ask for a replay for the sake of asking for a replay; I want to be right on it. I don't want to inconvenience the game or the umpires or put them in a bad position."

Worth noting

• Gibson said it was possible that right-hander Bronson Arroyo could open the season on the disabled list.

Arroyo is dealing with a bulging disk in his back that has been slow to respond to treatment.

"Our thought process is, let's keep the pressure off him," Gibson said. "We talked last night: If he's not getting improved, let's don't push him. Let's just make sure it gets resolved."

Arroyo has never been on the disabled list in his career, and there is still hope in the clubhouse that he will be able to start the regular season on time.

• The Dodgers will start two lefties against the D-backs in the season-opening series in Sydney, Australia.

Clayton Kershaw will start the opener, and Hyun-Jin Ryu will get the ball in the second game.

"We've got a lot righties," Gibson said of his starting lineup. "We should stack up good against them."

• The D-backs have day-night split-squad games Wednesday, and most of the expected Opening Day lineup will play in the night game against the Rockies at Salt River Fields rather than the day game against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.

"I'd like to see them play under the lights again," Gibson said. "It's a little different than playing in the day time all the time."