Comeback Continued: Micah to the M’s
After a successful 2016 season spent in York, the next step on the comeback trail for Micah Owings will take him to the Seattle Mariners organization. Owings announced his signing with Seattle on Twitter, Monday afternoon.
The Major League veteran returned to professional baseball for the first time since the 2014 season with the Revs, and embraced York as his summer home as well as the Atlantic League as his path back to the big leagues where he has pitched for parts of six years with the Diamondbacks, Reds, and Padres. The 34-year-old was one of the on-field and clubhouse leaders of a Revolution squad that won 76 games, three shy of the franchise record.
Owings will join the Mariners where he will look to complete a five-year big league comeback in 2017, having last pitched in the Majors with San Diego in 2012.
We caught up with Owings by phone on Tuesday morning and got his thoughts on time well-spent in York:
On his 2016 season –
“I didn’t know what was going to take place after coming off two years of injury, rest and rehab. I didn’t know what to expect from the league, the team, or the city. I can’t say enough about Fletch and Mase, the opportunity they gave me, and once I got there, the patience to work with me. They wanted me to start even when I was telling them I only had an inning or two and that it would take time to get built up. They continued to give me the freedom to do that and wanted me in that spot. As that process unfolded, I got stronger and stronger and hit my stride. I can’t say enough about them, the opportunity, and what they did with our whole group, not just me individually.”
On his time in York –
“It was a neat, small, special town to come to and to witness at this stage of my life and career. I do plan on revisiting at some point, and as often as possible. I made a number of good relationships there. I had an amazing host family with Jim and Tracy Board. They welcomed me in, and I’ll be forever grateful for the meals and accommodations over the summer. That helps tremendously with all of the moving parts with players’ and families’ lives. I love those people.”
On his time in the Atlantic League –
“I had no idea that every team had former big league guys. It was extremely competitive. If you asked me, I’d put it up there with Triple-A type of competition, especially your one through five, one through six hitters on almost every team. I was very impressed with the talent and the mix of younger and older players. I’ll definitely be a fan of the Atlantic League moving forward and will definitely keep track and keep following.”
In addition, here is the club’s official press release on Owings’ signing with Seattle:
After spending the 2016 season with the York Revolution, right-handed pitcher Micah Owings has signed with the Seattle Mariners, it was announced on Monday afternoon.
The six-year Major League veteran returned to professional baseball for the first time in two years with York last season, logging his most innings and starts since 2009, and his most strikeouts since 2008. Owings went 7-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 23 outings (19 starts) for the Revolution, striking out 81 while walking just 38 in 106.2 innings, and becoming a workhorse for the club during the second half. Owings went 4-2 with a 3.67 ERA over his final nine starts of the year, logging six innings or more in all nine including a season-high 7.1 innings in a win vs. Southern Maryland on September 6, his longest start since going the distance on a two-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants almost nine years earlier as a rookie with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007.
Owings was often dominant, such as in a 10-strikeout performance over six scoreless innings in a win at Long Island on August 27. It was his second-highest strikeout total of the year behind an 11-whiff outing on August 5 at Southern Maryland, as he became just the fourth in Revs history to log multiple 10-strikeout games and the second to do it twice in the same month.
“We are very happy for Micah,” commented Revolution manager Mark Mason. “He worked extremely hard and got better as the season went along. I’m glad he’s getting an opportunity to continue his career with the Mariners. We wish him the best.”
The 2016 season was Owings’ 11th as a pro. One of the most accomplished hitting pitchers of all-time, Owings has enjoyed tremendous success both on the mound and at the plate at the big league level. The 34-year-old is 32-33 with a 4.86 ERA in 138 Major League outings (68 starts), to go with a 30-11 minor league record and a 3.52 career ERA. At the plate, Owings has batted a combined .283 with nine home runs in the big leagues, and .274 with 10 round-trippers in the minors.
A third round draft pick of the Diamondbacks in 2005, Owings made his Major League debut just two seasons later, winning eight games in helping the Diamondbacks to a division title. Included in his rookie season was National League Silver Slugger honors as the right-hander batted .333 with four homers at the dish, including a 4-for-5 game with two homers, a double, six RBI, and four runs in a win at Atlanta on August 18 of that year. Owings won six more games for Arizona in 2008 before being dealt to the Cincinnati Reds that September as part of a deal for Adam Dunn. He won seven games for the Reds in 2009 before moving to the bullpen in 2010.
Owings re-signed with Arizona for the 2011 season, and went 8-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 33 games (four starts) helping the Diamondbacks claim another division title. He also earned a win in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers with his team facing elimination.
Owings appeared in six games for San Diego during an injury-shortened 2012 campaign, and split time in the Nationals and Brewers organizations during the 2013 season. It was at that time that the Gainesville, GA native transitioned to batting full-time, as he hit .324 for the Nationals in spring training, and posted a .785 OPS at Triple-A Syracuse as an outfielder / designated hitter. Owings also appeared in the Marlins organization in 2014.
Prior to turning pro, Owings was ACC Rookie of the Year at Georgia Tech in 2003. He transferred to Tulane for his junior season, and as 2005 Conference USA Player of the Year, helped lead the Green Wave to the College World Series. Owings also holds Georgia’s state high school home run record with 69 long balls, one short of the national record.