Diamondbacks release Russell Branyan to make room for Micah Owings

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The Diamondbacks released Russell Branyan following last night’s win over the Twins. The move clears room on the roster for Saturday’s starter Micah Owings.

Branyan, who was signed to a minor league deal in February, began the season in a timeshare with Juan Miranda at first base, but his playing time dropped off considerably this month. The veteran slugger batted .210/.290/.339 with one home run and two RBI over 69 plate appearances during his time with the D-Backs. Things didn’t work out in Arizona, but he shouldn’t have a tough time finding a new opportunity.

Owings will replace Armando Galarraga in the starting rotation, who was designated for assignment earlier this week. The 28-year-old was originally drafted by the Diamondbacks in 2005 and posted a 4.97 ERA over two seasons with the club before being traded to the Reds in 2008 as part of the Adam Dunn deal. He had a 4.85 ERA and 27/9 K/BB ratio over his first seven starts with Triple-A Reno this season.

Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.