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Notes: Owings staying consistent

Notes: Owings stays consistent

PHOENIX -- You might think that a pitcher who went undefeated in 15 Triple-A starts last season might not want to change a thing when he moves to the Major League level.

You would be correct.

Rookie right-hander Micah Owings, who has a 3.18 ERA in his first five starts at the big-league level after going 10-0 for Triple-A Tucson last season, says staying the course has been the key for him thus far.

"I've had to focus on sticking with what got me here and not getting away from that," said Owings. "You're always trying to improve, but for me it's the little things. I've been doing the same things mechanically my whole career, so I try and focus on not trying to do too much."

Owings has thrown quality starts in three of his five outings this season, with one of the other two consisting of five shutout frames in which he allowed just one hit. Owings missed some time with a strained hamstring, but hasn't missed a beat since he returned last week.

That's not to say that Owings isn't still working on his game.

"With different hitters, I sometimes have to remind myself not to try and get too tricky," said Owings. "In certain situations, I don't want to get beat with my third or fourth best pitch, when I should be throwing my No. 1 or No. 2."

One thing that manager Bob Melvin would like Owings to work on is not attempting head-first slides while he's on the bases, as the rookie did in Tuesday night's game.

"I love the effort, but I think we're going to have to ask him to stop that," Melvin said with a laugh.

No changes yet: With the team having two days off in the next five, there was speculation Owings might have his next turn in the rotation skipped, but Melvin stated that might not be the case.

"We'll evaluate it as we go forward, but for reasons I don't want to get into, right now we're going to stay on turn," Melvin said.

Cruz control: After throwing two perfect innings and striking out five in his rehab outing at Tucson on Tuesday night, Juan Cruz (strained shoulder) said, "My arm feels good. I feel like I'm ready to go, but they haven't said anything to me yet."

Said Melvin: "We're going to wait and see how he feels after playing catch. We have a decision to make soon, but it's not going to be [Wednesday]. We could have one by Friday. There's a bunch of variables we're considering right now."

Waiting his turn: Melvin expressed that he would have liked to get utilityman Robby Hammock in the lineup a little more, but the team's circumstances haven't necessarily allowed that.

"With [Chad] Tracy on the bench [due to a rib injury], we couldn't do anything because if someone in the infield got hurt, he was my only option," said Melvin. "While he's a safety valve for us in a lot of areas, it's not great for him because of a lack of playing time. He's one guy I'd like to get in there more."

A visit from a legend: Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, recently hired as a consultant by Major League Baseball, was in town and came out to Chase Field before the game. He made the rounds in the clubhouse with general manager Josh Byrnes.

"Add everyone up in the locker room, and they don't equal what he did," Byrnes said while ticking off Robinson's accomplishments.

What a relief: Tony Pena picked up the save on Tuesday night, and Brandon Lyon continued to work his customary eighth-inning setup role, with Jose Valverde unavailable after pitching on three consecutive nights.

Melvin indicated he could go back to that arrangement in the future if Valverde was not an option for that day.

"We're happy with who we have, but down the road Pena is a guy that could close," the manager said. "It was nice to get him one and get him some confidence. In the same situation in the future, I'd probably keep Lyon in the eighth."

Up next: After an off-day on Thursday, the D-backs begin a nine-game road trip that will take them to Houston, Colorado and Pittsburgh. The team is back in action against the Astros on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Brandon Webb will face Houston's Chris Sampson. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. MST.

Jason Grey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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