D-backs option Owings to make room for Chafin
PHOENIX -- With left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin returning from paternity leave, the D-backs faced a difficult decision: Do they keep an extra pitcher, or veteran infielder/outfielder Chris Owings?
The D-backs opted to keep the extra pitcher, meaning the soon-to-be 27-year-old Owings was optioned to Triple-A Reno, his first full-time assignment there since 2013.
It was tough decision for the team's brass and for Owings' teammates, who value his leadership and presence greatly.
"That was certainly a factor," D-backs GM Mike Hazen said of Owings' standing in the clubhouse. "But in the end we felt like this was the move we had to make, the one that most fit with what we were trying to do with the team right now. We obviously have the utmost respect for him as a player and as a leader. This was a tough decision, but it was a decision we felt like we had to make."
Owings' playing time had diminished this year and with infrequent starts and inconsistent at-bats he was hitting .198.
The D-backs could have chosen to option newly acquired right-hander, Matt Andriese, but instead now have 13 pitchers and three catchers on the roster, leaving manager Torey Lovullo with just two non-catchers on his bench each night.
"I think it's a two-part process," Hazen said. "One is we were looking to keep the extra pitcher for right now. And C.O. was sort of in the spot where that was the move we had to make. We feel like it'll be beneficial for him to go down and get some more consistent at-bats. He hasn't played as much lately. We think that will help him when he comes back up to help us through the rest of the season."
Lovullo was under the weather and not able to manage Friday's game against the Giants with bench coach Jerry Narron filling in for him.
"He's doing all right," Hazen said. "He's not feeling overly well. We'll see how he's feeling through tonight and tomorrow."