Owings contributes on mound, at plate

Owings contributes on mound, at plate

CINCINNATI -- Friday's rainout didn't just tweak the rotation and wash away Reds fifth starter Micah Owings' first chance to start on Saturday.

It's also affected how manager Dusty Baker will be able to use his bench.

"Now, I have to be more careful when I use [Owings] as a pinch-hitter," Baker said.

It's a conundrum few Major League managers have to contend with these days. One of Baker's better right-handed pinch-hitters will be in the bullpen instead of the dugout.

Owings, who entered the season a .319 career hitter in the Majors, will be on long-relief duty for a few days and is scheduled to make his first start on Wednesday at Milwaukee. The Reds pushed Friday starter Johnny Cueto back one day after the postponement and decided to keep the rest of the rotation on schedule.

So there's a chance that, when the bullpen phone rings, Baker won't be calling for a pitcher, but a hitter.

"Unless I'm going to bring him into a game or something, then you have to figure out how to warm him up and then come in to pinch-hit," Baker said. "It's much like what Milwaukee did with Brooks Kieschnick [in 2003-04]. I will call upon my memory on how they did it, because I've never had that situation."

Owings didn't get a stint on the mound on Saturday, but did deliver a pinch-hit double off the left-field wall in the eighth inning. It was the only extra-base hit the Reds managed during a 10-2 loss to the Pirates.

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