The Arizona Diamondbacks assigned fan-favorite pitcher Micah Owings to minor league camp today, alongside right-handed pitcher Brian Sweeney and fabulously-named journeyman outfielder Wily Mo Peña.
D'Backs management also sent catcher John Hester to Reno.
None of these guys were expected to make a difference for the Diamondbacks this season, but Owings' demotion is a big news story for the team and its followers. When Owings' returned to the Diamondbacks in January, we asked if he could live up to Arizona fans' (wrong) memory of him as a great slugging pitcher. As we predicted, the answer was no.
Owings is, by all accounts, a good guy who tries hard, and we wish him well as he works on his game in the minor leagues. But he's a guy who's been hurt by a myth, in his case that he can be Babe Ruth in miniature and do it all on the field. Owings needs to decide whether he's a pitcher or a hitter -- and stick to it.
Otherwise he runs the risk of becoming a minor league sideshow, the pitcher who will hit a homerun on a mistake pitch while giving up 5 runs in 5 innings of work down on the farm.
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According to the Diamondbacks, they now have 35 players in Major League camp, 31 on the 40-man roster and 4 non-roster players.