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Gainesville grad Owings will return to majors with San Diego as position player

POSTED: July 7, 2012 11:40 p.m.

SAN DIEGO — Injured San Diego Padres pitcher and Gainesville High graduate Micah Owings will attempt to return to the majors as a position player on Monday. He still holds the state record with 69 home runs in his career with the Red Elephants from 1999-2002.

In 2007, Owings had two home runs while pitching with the Arizona Diamondbacks in his first career appearance against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

San Diego manager Bud Black said Saturday that Owings will report to the Padres' Arizona League affiliate in Peoria, Arizona, the site of the team's spring training base.

Owings, on the disabled list with a strained right forearm since April 26, is expected to play two or three games in Peoria before going to Triple-A Tucson. Owings will play first base, left field and designated hitter.

"It's a new adventure, a new challenge," said Owings. "I'm excited."

Owings, 32-33 with a 4.86 ERA in 138 games over six seasons, has a career batting average of .286 with nine homers and 35 RBIs in 205 at-bats. He has been used numerous times as a pinch hitter.

Black said Owings injury, which moved him from the 15-day DL to the 60-DL on May 8, has taken longer than expected to heal. Owings said he doesn't feel like he will be able to pitch any time soon.

"He indicated a strong desire to get back on the field and hit," Black said. "He's highly motivated to do this."
Black said it was Owings' idea initially, but added that he and the team's front office supported the idea.
"I'll be a position player who can also pitch," Owings said.

Said Black: "The forearm injury hasn't allowed him to get on the mound. But instead of waiting for it to heal, he wants to see what it's like to be a position player."

Owings was 0-2 with a 2.79 ERA in six appearances for the Padres this season.


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