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Reds get Owings to complete Dunn deal

Reds get Owings to complete deal

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PHOENIX -- Pitcher Micah Owings entered Chase Field on Friday like he has often done, with one exception. This time, he said hello to the Diamondbacks' clubhouse security guard and kept walking.

"I'm just passing by today," Owings told the man. Instead, the right-hander headed toward the visitors' clubhouse occupied by the Reds.

Rumored for weeks to be Cincinnati-bound, Owings on Friday officially became the third player to complete the trade that sent left fielder Adam Dunn from the Reds to the Diamondbacks.

"It's been a little bit in limbo," Owings said while wearing his new Reds pullover over his new No. 56 jersey.

On Aug. 11, the Reds dealt Dunn to the Diamondbacks for Minor League pitcher Dallas Buck and two players to be named. Utility player Wilkin Castillo was the second player, named a few days later.

Since clearing waivers was required on all post-July 31 trades, the third name was kept under wraps. Word leaked that it would be Owings, but he had an arm injury that, by rule, prohibited him from being placed on waivers until he was healthy.

According to Owings, Arizona didn't tell him anything about his situation when the trade was first executed.

"I found out like the rest of the public did," Owings said. "Unfortunately, they didn't have to say anything until it happened. It was kind of goofy how it did. It is what it is and I'm at peace with it. I wasn't disappointed but kind of surprised."

To make room for Owings on the 40-man roster, second baseman Brandon Phillips was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Phillips had surgery on Friday in Cincinnati to repair a broken right index finger. Two pins were inserted during the 45-minute procedure and he will be evaluated again in 4-6 weeks.

Owings was 6-9 with a 5.93 ERA in 22 games, including 18 starts, with 41 walks and 87 strikeouts. It's been a wildly inconsistent season that started when the 25-year-old began with a 5-1 record. He later strained his gluteus and then went 0-6 over his last seven big league starts before a July 29 demotion to Triple-A Tucson.

Later, Owings came down with soreness behind the right shoulder where the latissimus and triceps muscles meet. It might have played a part in his steep decline.

"I know people have played it down, but it was something that was bothering me more than I ever knew," Owings said. "I won't make any excuses, but I've never been a guy to walk three and five guys a game or hit two and three. If you've seen my track record, that's just not me. I'm a guy that's going to throw strikes."

Owings spent the last month working out at the Diamondbacks' complex in Tucson and reported to be feeling much better. After was deemed healthy by the doctors, he went through waivers and cleared without being claimed by another club.

"Hopefully he'll return to the form he had before and give us another good pitcher," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Don't expect that to happen in the waning days of 2008. Owings will be with the Reds over the last few weeks of the season but isn't expected to take the mound.

"I don't think he's going to be able to pitch," Baker said. "He hasn't done it in a while and the season is so short. We don't want to take a chance of him re-injuring himself."

Hitting could be a different matter. Owings has a .313 (35-for-112) career batting average in 69 games and often pinch-hit for Arizona when he wasn't pitching. Baker hoped he would be able to do likewise this season.

"I told him to be honest with me and let me know if he feels anything. Hitting shouldn't affect his shoulder," Baker said.

Owings hasn't done any hitting since he's been injured.

"Anytime I can do it, I love to get into the box," he said.

Owings will compete for a rotation spot in 2009 and will give the Reds depth if he can be the pitcher that helped Arizona reach the playoffs last season. He tends to be a fly-ball pitcher, which could be to his detriment at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

In 2007, Owings went 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA and made two starts in the National League Championship Series. He had no hard feelings about being jettisoned by the Diamondbacks after only a year and a half in the big leagues.

"Those guys were in a pennant race. They felt like they had to make a move," Owings said. "Let's face it, Dunn is one of the best guys out there. I have respect for what they had to do. Those decisions are out my hands. I have to deal with the hand I've been dealt. I'm anxious to be here."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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