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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Owings fifth starter as Reds set roster

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CINCINNATI -- After seven long weeks of Spring Training, the makeup of the Reds' 25-man roster came down to five final moves.
Homer Bailey, who was optioned to Triple-A Louisville, was one of five players sent down on Sunday before the team worked out at Great American Ball Park. Also optioned were infielder Adam Rosales, catcher Wilkin Castillo and lefty reliever Bill Bray. Outfielder Jonny Gomes was re-assigned to the Minor Leagues.

That means the final rotation spot was won by Micah Owings, while the second left-handed bullpen spot went to Daniel Ray Herrera. The last two outfield spots went to Laynce Nix and Darnell McDonald, and Paul Janish is the backup utility infielder. Chris Dickerson and Jerry Hairston Jr. will form the left field platoon.

"This is a tough day when you make the final cuts, probably the toughest day of the year for me," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "There were a lot of guys deserving. You wish you could have a 28-29 man roster."

Bailey and Owings had a spirited battle for the rotation's fifth spot this spring. Bailey finished with a 2.61 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings over six games. Owings had a 1.52 ERA in six starts with 24 strikeouts.

There was consideration to keep Bailey in the long reliever role that ultimately went to Nick Masset, who was out of options.

"As a long reliever, when your starters are doing well, you might not pitch for two weeks," Baker said. "That certainly wasn't going to help his growth. We really considered him a lot. If not, it wouldn't have come down to this last-hour decision. Homer did everything we asked. He probably improved as a man and as a ballplayer and pitcher as much as anybody from one year to the next."

There is a chance Bailey could return sooner than later. Third starter Bronson Arroyo is battling carpal tunnel syndrome in his right wrist and had his starting assignment on Thursday vs. the Mets moved back to Sunday vs. the Pirates. Owings will start on Thursday in Arroyo's place.

Before the announcement, Arroyo was determined to start on Thursday. He received a cortisone shot to help lessen the discomfort he's felt lately.

"I think I've earned my stripes to look them in the face and say I'm fine, give me the ball," said Arroyo, who has never missed a start because of an injury. "It's just sore from the cortisone, but all of the tingling is gone. I haven't had this much energy in two years. I'm so pumped just to play catch. It's the first time my arm feels normal in about three weeks."

One of the biggest stunners was the cutting of Gomes, who was expected by many to make the team. Signed to a Minor League contract over the winter, he led the club with four homers this spring but finished camp batting .250.

"That was real tough," Baker said. "Jonny started off this spring on fire and cooled off at the end."

Other issues might have factored into the Gomes decision, Baker indicated. Regular center fielder Willy Taveras is out with the flu, and McDonald was chosen because of his center-field experience.

Gomes has an out in his contract that he can become a free agent if he doesn't make the big league roster. He said he hasn't decided whether to go to Louisville.

"I had a good spring, came in and played left and right [field]," Gomes said. "They asked me to go to first base, and I went there with open arms. It just didn't work out. They can't keep everyone."

McDonald, a 30-year-old former first-round Draft pick of the Orioles in 1997, will start for the Reds on Monday and bat second. He has just 21 games of big league experience since he debuted with Baltimore in 2004. He can play all three outfield positions.
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Owings fifth starter as Reds set roster | reds.com: News



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