Baseball is the only major team sport where the defense possesses the ball. While the pitcher actually has the most control of the ball, it's the catcher who can control the pitcher.
No one knows the importance of the position more than Buzz manager Phil Roof, who spent 15 seasons squatting behind major league home plates.With that in mind, the Buzz should be all right at the catcher position this season. The No. 1 catcher to start the season is eight-year pro veteran Jayhawk Owens. Owens spent parts of the 1993 through 1996 seasons splitting time between the Colorado Rockies and the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox, while toiling all of 1997 with the latter. Various injuries have slowed Owens' progress since being plucked from Minnesota by Colorado in the 1992 expansion draft, but he's always been solid defensively.
Backing up Owens is a somewhat-familiar name. Jeff Horn has had good offensive stints with the Buzz - batting .339 - during brief stays over the past three seasons. His defense has steadily improved, leading the Double-A Eastern League by tossing out 58 percent of would-be basestealers.
Owens will get the bulk of action, knowing that Minnesota is going with 37-year-old Terry Steinbach and unproven Javier Valentin as their two catchers after letting Damian Miller go to Arizona in the expansion draft.
Well, it's time to head back to Utah and get ready for the fifth season of Salt Lake Buzz baseball.
On paper, this year's club could put up the best numbers yet on the offensive side and should have its top group of starting pitchers and closers on the mound.
The big question marks appear to be middle relief and outfield defense.
BUZZ NOTES: The Buzz lost to Pawtucket 6-4 on Wednesday. Dan Naulty suffered the loss as he surrendered a ninth-inning, two-run homer to Cole Liniak. Owens went deep for the Buzz.
The Buzz will head to Salt Lake City on Monday morning and will hold a workout at Franklin Quest Field at 6 p.m. that night.
Pitchers Dan Smith and Ken Wallace were released Wednesday, leaving the Buzz with one more move to make. Another Buzz hurler, Brad Niedermaier, is still on the mend from off-season shoulder surgery and will open the season on the disabled list.