Notes From Day 2 at SRF
D-backs pitcher Micah Owings signed autographs for fans after workouts on Tuesday.
Photograph: Jordan Megenahardt
By Greg Salvatore
The D-backs had their second day of workouts at Salt River Fields. Here are some of the goings on:
Johnson Deal Done
As noted earlier, the D-backs agreed to terms with Kelly Johnson on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
“I’ve said all along that to me there are no winners in going to a hearing and arbitration,” D-backs General Manager Kevin Towers said. “Sometimes it hurts relationships and especially being new here, I want the player to be focused on getting ready for the season, not on putting on a suit and sitting in a hearing room tomorrow. It was good for both sides.”
Towers said that the sides did not work on a multi-year deal, with the contract being strictly a one-year deal.
This is Johnson’s last year as an arbitration-eligible player, so he would be a free agent at the end of this contract.
Versatile Owings Getting Ready
When the D-backs signed Micah Owings to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, Towers said he expected Owings could be used as a batter in addition to pitching.
Owings is already getting after it in Spring Training. On Tuesday, he took ground balls at first base, and on Wednesday he will throw a bullpen session.
“He said, ‘I want to be ready for when the position players get here,'” Manager Kirk Gibson said. “He could be more of a bullpen guy, but if he can play some first base, he’s going to get some innings at first base in Spring Training.
“Maybe he’ll go in and play an inning at first at the end of the game. He gives us flexibility. He’s got great power and he wants to hit.”
As valuable of a tool as he could be as a bat, Owings is primarily a pitcher. And his value to the D-backs is directly proportional to his value in the bullpen.
“I want him to be throwing the ball good,” Gibson said. “First and foremost, I want him to have value as a pitcher. The other is a bonus.”
Veteran Relievers Teaching Pickoff Moves
“On the pick fields, there is a lot of mechanics to throw to the bases better,” Gibson said. “It’s just the second day and we’re progressing.”
Former D-backs reliever Mike Fetters and left-hander Ed Vosberg, a native Arizonan who pitched 10 seasons in the big leagues, were the instructors on the pick fields.
“Those guys were very good,” Gibson said. “They understood it, it was an important part of their game and consequently they became very good at it. We know it can’t be a weapon for everybody, but is there one guy or two guys or five guys?
“We’re on the pitchers’ side of it now, but when our infielders get here, they’re going to have to be very communicative as well. It takes some communication from everybody on the infield. Our goal is that they run the show out there.”
Here are some shots from D-backs staffer Jordan Megenhardt: