MILWAUKEE -- Padres pitcher Micah Owings, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a right forearm strain, made a rehab start for Triple-A Tucson on Friday.
But the right-hander wasn't on the mound, instead getting the start at first base. Owings went 1-for-2 on the night, one day after doubling in a pinch-hit appearance.
While his arm isn't ready for the strain of pitching, San Diego manager Bud Black said hitting is not a problem. And it's also something Owings has proven he can do effectively.
"I think that his situation is so unique, because there is a guy that likes the idea of hitting, is motivated to hit," Black said of Owings. "But [he is] also viewed as a Major League pitcher. This just gives the organization an opportunity to let him rehab the forearm to get healthy on the pitching side and also get some at-bats."
Owings pitched in six games for the Padres this year before going out with the injury. In 9 2/3 innings, he allowed eight hits and accumulated a 2.79 ERA.
At the plate, Owings struck out in his only two at-bats, but he's proven over the course of his career to be a more than capable hitter. In 219 plate appearances, Owings owns a .283 average, has driven in 35 runs and hit eight homers. His career slugging percentage is .502, including a career-high .683 in 2007, when he won the Silver Slugger award for pitchers.
Does that mean a switch to the field and more regular at-bats could be in Owings' future?
"I think time would have to let that play out," Black said. "But could he? Yeah. I think he's athletic enough to go to the outfield. I haven't seen him play first base or how his hands are really at a position that requires some athleticism and hands."
As far as batting goes, Black said Owings has good speed and strength in his swing. He doesn't expect the 29-year-old to ever be a Gold Glover in the outfield, should he make a move, but he said Owings would be serviceable.
Black closed saying Owings wouldn't make any position changes anytime soon, but he didn't rule it out for further down the line.
"There might be a motivation there at some point," Black said.