Micah Owings pitched well enough for the Diamondbacks last season that most people stopped saying he should give up pitching and become a full-time hitter, but the 29-year-old right-hander has still had to settle for a minor-league deal from the Padres.
Owings was an excellent hitter in college and has batted .286 with an .820 OPS in 217 plate appearances as a big leaguer, but came to the plate just 19 times for Arizona last year while throwing 63 innings with a 3.57 ERA and 44/23 K/BB ratio.
He’s a fairly marginal pitcher, posting a 4.91 ERA in 473 innings, so it would seemingly make sense for an NL team like the Padres to use him more in a Brooks Kieschnick-style dual role. So far no team has done that, though, and he’s expected to compete for a traditional bullpen job in spring training.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.