Monday, March 12, 2007

Catcher turned Pitcher

A year ago, Henry Owens was hot. Though he was 25, he was considered something of a young arm, even a pitching prospect. He produced a nice spring, enough of one that he Mets summoned him to the big leagues in July. The one-time catcher made enough of an impression that when the Mets made their annual trade with the Marlins, Owens was part of it, and now he has chance to be Florida's closer.
All that is a preamble to this: Joe Hietpas now is a one-time catcher, too. And he, too, is trying his hand -- his right hand, of course -- as a pitcher.

As a catcher, Hietpas was indentifed as a "catch-and-throw" guy, which is a delicate way to say he didn't hit much. A .208 average in 1,300 Minor League at-bats strongly suggests as much. Hietpas, 28 in May, topped out at .256 in 117 at-bats with Class A Brooklyn in 2002.

That was one year after the Mets selected him in he 16th round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

But the organization clearly has high regard for him. And who knows? In a couple of months, he may be a good-hitting pitcher.
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