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09/12/08 9:28 PM ET
Owings sent to Reds to finish Dunn deal
Slugging pitcher struggled after strong start to the season
By Mike Ritter / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Micah Owings was donning a different shade of red in an unfamiliar part of Chase Field on Friday night. After receiving the news that he had been traded to the Reds, Owings walked straight past the D-backs' clubhouse in the stadium corridor to the visitors' clubhouse to put on his new jersey and to meet his new teammates. Owings is the final player to be named in the deal that brought slugger Adam Dunn to the D-backs on Aug. 11. The other two players were right-handed Minor League pitcher Dallas Buck and utility player Wilkin Castillo. It had been speculated for a while that Owings was the third player involved in the deal, but a shoulder injury had held up the process because injuries prohibit teams from placing players on waivers. Since the deal was made after July 31, Owings had to be placed on waivers. "It was kind of goofy how it happened, but it is what it is, and I'm at peace with it," Owings said. "Nothing is ever for certain and I never treat it like that." Owings has spent the last month working out his shoulder down in Tucson, where he made two starts for the Sidewinders. He said the injury may have hindered him on the mound during his final stretch with the D-backs. "I won't make any excuses, but I've never been a guy to walk three to five guys a game," Owings said. "If you see my track record, that's just not me. "I didn't detect [the injury] until my last start in Tucson in the first week in August. Honestly, I don't know how long I had been injured. I think it was an issue [for the D-backs]." Owings hadn't appeared in a game for the D-backs since July 28. He was demoted to Triple-A Tucson the following day after losing seven of his past eight starts. Prior to that point, Owings had gone 6-2 to start the season. Owings appeared in 22 games -- 18 starts -- for the D-backs this season, putting together a 6-9 record and 5.93 ERA (69 ER in 104.2 IP) with 41 walks and 87 strikeouts. It looked like Owings would play a significant role for the D-backs down the stretch, but the 25-year-old right-hander didn't pan out exactly how the team would have liked. "For decisions that aren't in my hands, I try not to think too much," Owings said. "Obviously, you evaluate it a little bit, but those guys are in a pennant race and they felt like they had to make a move and, let's face it, Dunn is one of the best guys out there." Known just as much for his bat as his arm, Owings hit .288 (15-for-52) with seven runs scored, two doubles, a home run and three RBIs and boasts a .313 career batting average with five homers and 18 RBIs. D-backs outfielder Conor Jackson said earlier in the season that Owings had the most pop among any hitter on the roster, speaking about the hit show Owings puts on during batting practice. Owings probably won't be doing much pitching for the Reds in the final few weeks of the season due to his recovering shoulder, but he may see some pinch-hitting duties. Asked what he would do if Owings came up to bat against the D-backs this weekend, manger Bob Melvin said: "We won't throw him a first-pitch fastball down the middle. With September rosters, you don't think he would be used in that capacity, but you never know with him." Melvin added: "To bring in a quality player, you have to give up some quality, and that's why Micah was involved in that trade, more than anything. You have to kind of take stock in what you have and what you need to bring in. That deal doesn't get done without Micah in it. "We were trying to get Adam Dunn here and that's what it took." In 51 career games as a D-back, Owings went 14-17 with a 4.97 ERA in 257 1/3 innings through parts of two seasons.
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.