Notes: Owings named the No. 5 starter
Right-hander was a combined 16-2 in the Minors during 2006
PEORIA, Ariz. -- And the No. 5 starter will be...
D-backs manager Bob Melvin announced after Friday afternoon's game that Owings will get the nod April 6 against the Nationals in Washington, D.C. However, Melvin would not say as whether Owings will be on the club's Opening Day roster.
"Not only is he a competitor, he does all the little things," Melvin said. "He holds runners, he can field his position, he can hit, but, most importantly, he can pitch, and we saw that all last year, and we've seen it all spring."
Owings, 24, was a longshot to win the spot when Spring Training began because he was not a member of the 40-man roster. But as he kept piling up impressive outings and others faltered, he left the organization will little choice.
Even a subpar outing against the Padres on Thursday night wasn't enough to cost him the spot.
"His last outing yesterday wasn't his best outing, but everybody has had their bumps in the road, and that was his little bump yesterday," Melvin said.
Owings, who was a combined 16-2 at Double-A and Triple-A last year, learned of the decision following Thursday's game.
"I was just kind of speechless," Owings said. "I didn't really know what to say. My mind started racing. It's a great honor. I've worked hard, but I've been very blessed to play this game, and I'm looking forward to joining the team and doing the best I can to help them out."
Putting the pieces together: If Owings doesn't start the season with the D-backs, it could mean that Dustin Nippert, who was the club's other fifth starter option after roster moves eliminated the others, will begin the season in the bullpen.
Melvin said, "We could do something different in the bullpen, too, if we decide Micah's not going to start with us on Opening Day."
If Nippert did begin the year with the team, he'd likely be optioned back to Triple-A for the three games in Colorado, because it would make little sense for him to fly all the way to Washington for just one day. Owings is slated to start the second game against the Nationals at RFK Stadium.
The lone roster decisions left are who will be the final two bench players. Brian Barden, Robby Hammock and Jeff Salazar are in the running.
Salazar, who was claimed off waivers from the Rockies earlier in the week, got his first taste of action for his new team Friday and was 1-for-3 with a double and four RBIs while playing all nine innings in right field against the Padres here.
"For a guy who said he hadn't played much right field, he looked very comfortable out there," Melvin said. "[He] obviously had a nice day at the plate, too, so good first impression out of him."
It would still seem that Barden and Hammock would be the favorites considering their history with the organization, not to mention that they both had very good springs.
An official announcement is due on Saturday.
Officially speaking: Melvin made official what had been known for at least a few days, that reliever Doug Slaten has made the team as a left-handed specialist.
Also Melvin confirmed that outfielder Carlos Quentin (shoulder labrum tear) will begin the year on the disabled list. Quentin's DL stint can be backdated, which means he would be eligible to come off the list on April 7.
Watch your fingers: Closer Jose Valverde, who slammed his finger in a car door, causing a blood blister, played catch on Friday and should be ready for the season opener.
"Hopefully, we get an inning out of him tomorrow, and if that's the case, than we're in good shape, and I expect that to be the case," Melvin said.
Up next: The D-backs and Padres close out their exhibition slates on Saturday afternoon at Chase Field. Recently acquired Yusmeiro Petit will get the start for the D-backs against Clay Hensley at 1:40 p.m. MST.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.