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07/25/08 10:41 PM ET

Owings prepping for return to rotation

After three bullpen outings, righty will start Monday for D-backs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Micah Owings threw a bullpen session under the watchful eyes of D-backs pitching coach Bryan Price before batting practice Friday at AT&T Park.

Finding the mechanical flaw that has caused Owings to struggle with his command of late is not hard. Making the necessary adjustment while the game is going on, well, that's been a challenge.

"He has a quick front side and the problem it presents with him is that his elbow drops and so he doesn't get on top of the ball and winds up with a lot of lateral movement on his pitches," Price said. "His pitches get excessive run and they are hard to control. It's frustrating to him, I'm sure, and it's frustrating to me because it's something that you can definitely control, and we keep trying to find a way to be able to do something about it in-game."

Owings hopes to have it ironed out by the time he takes the mound Monday against the Padres at PETCO Park. It will be the right-hander's first start since July 9. Following the All-Star break, the D-backs faced a bullpen depleted by injury and ineffectiveness, so Owings made three relief appearances with Yusmerio Petit starting once in Owings' place.

"Petit has really picked us up, and I tried to do what I could in the 'pen," said Owings.

Arizona manager Bob Melvin faced a tough decision whether to start Owings or Petit, but with reliever Juan Cruz due back soon from the disabled list and the acquisition of Jon Rauch, meaningful innings for Owings would be few and far between.

"We think he's a guy that needs to be used in a more significant role, therefore back in the rotation," Melvin said. "It was a difficult decision; both these guys have certainly done enough to warrant pitching in the rotation, but we also saw Micah have a great second half last year after a little bit of a lull similar to this season, and we expect him to pick it up."

Owings started the year 6-2, but has lost his last six decisions.

"You could see in his first eight or 10 starts this guy can be very good when he's right," Price said.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.