Micah Owings stays with Reds, accepts Triple-A assignment

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Reds general manager Walt Jocketty apparently wasn’t kidding when he said there was “not a lot of interest” in Micah Owings from other teams after the right-hander was designated for assignment last week.
Owings cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to Triple-A, which means he’ll remain in the Reds organization while losing his spot on the 40-man roster. He’ll try to get back on track in the minors, but Owings is unlikely to receive a September call-up now that a 40-man spot would need to be cleared for his return.
He’s still just 27 years old and at one point looked like a potential middle-of-the-rotation starter long term, but Owings has ERAs of 5.93, 5.34, and 5.40 over the past three seasons and given his strong track record offensively I continue to think he’d be better off ditching pitching for an attempt at becoming a full-time position player. He has a .293 batting average and .538 slugging percentage in 198 career plate appearances and also starred as a hitter in college.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.