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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Middletown's Kyle Schwarber In ASG Future's Game

The Middletown Middies will be represented in the Sirrius XM Futures Game on Sunday the preamble to the All-Star game.

Schwarber had 22 at-bats for the Chicago Cubs earlier this season, hitting .364 (8-for-22) with a home run and six RBI.  He was with the team while they needed a designated hitter then was reassigned to Triple A Iowa.

The 22-year old was drafted in the first round last year by the Cubs (fourth overall) after matriculating at Indiana University.

Schwarber, a catcher, will play under US team manager Ken Griffey St.
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Griffey senior was a coach with the Colorado Rockies when Glen Este's Jayhawk Owens was a catcher for them.

Schwarber will likely catch Reds' pitching prospect Amir Garrett, who pitches for the Daytona Tortugas in the Florida State League. Garrett played basketball at St. John's University before concentrating on baseball full time.

Kyle Waldrop, who was recently promoted from Pensacola to Louisville, will also play for Griffey's squad.  Waldrop is hitting .275 overall with six home runs and 31 RBI.  He was chosen in the 12 round of the 2010 draft.

Reds' and National Hall of Famer, Tony Perez, will manage the World Team.  One of his players is Reds' prospect Yorman Rodriguez, who had a taste of the big leagues last season. Rodriguez was signed by the Reds as an International free agent as a 16-year old in 2008.  Rodriguez, who was recently named International League Player of the Week, is hitting .269 with eight home runs and 37 RBI for the Bats.

Sean Marshall Starts Throwing Program Could Be Back This Season

It was only 10 minutes but Sean Marshall was as excited as he was when his Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.

Marshall prepared himself for season, possibly career-ending surgery, on May 25 but was pleasantly surprised when the surgeons discovered there was less damage than they thought.


"I threw 10 minutes, free and easy," said the 32-year old, left-handed curveball specialist. "I will throw every other day. So far, so good, I'm back on track."

Marshall was throwing with bullpen coach Mack Jenkins, who roots for the Blackhawks' NHL rival and Stanley Cup runnerup the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I made sure he knew who won," Marshall said.

Bryan Price had a lot of good news on the pitching front this morning. Marshall stood out.

"It was a great day," said Price, who also had good reports on Raisell Iglesias and Tony Cingrani. "From having surgery to playing catch the first day of July is remarkable. If ever you can get excited about a 10-minute game of catch.  Hopefully, we get him back this year. He is a very accomplished, talented pitcher."

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Marshall signed a three-year extension with the Reds on February 27, 2012 which concludes at the end of this season. After making 73 appearances in 2012, Marshall appeared in just 31 games since then, throwing just 24 1/3 innings.

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Wet Reds Take Two Months To Drop Game To Twins

The Reds and Minnesota Twins played a game that spanned two months.

Anthony DeSclafani's June was strange.

Thr rookie right-hander was the victim of a blown save, won a shutout against San Diego, in which he pitched seven innings, then had two no-decisions in extra inning wins. DeSclafani had one inning do him in against his former roommate in which he got the first hit his friend had ever allowed.

After a two hour rain delay, the Minnesota Twins dampened the Reds' spirit with a 8-5 win.

On Tuesday, the ancient Torii Hunter started the scoring in the first inning with his 12th home run of the season.  The Twins scored again in the second when Eduardo Nunez led off with a double and scored on three ground balls, the last of which was hit to Joey Votto at firstbase.  Votto's throw was wide and Nunez scored.

"The Twins do a nice job of putting the ball in play," Bryan Price said. "They take advantage early in the count and battle when they get two strikes. We struck out a few [11] and we weren't chasing balls in the gap all night but they kept putting the ball in play."

Todd Frazier hit his 22nd double of the year off Minnesota starter Phil Hughes but three fly balls left Frazier where he started the inning.

Eugenio Suarez hit a long home run to centerfield off Hughes. It was Suarez' second of the season.

The Twins got the run back in the fifth.  Brian Dozier singled and went to third on Hunter's perfectly executed hit-and-run single past Ivan De Jesus Jr., who played in place of the ailing Brandon Phillips.  Joe Mauer hit a sacrifice fly and DeSclafani limited the damage.

Tucker Barnhar, who had four hits on Monday night singled in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs DeSclafani singled but Hughes escaped when Billy Hamilton flied out.

The Twins broke the game wide open with four runs in the seventh. Dozier opened with a double. DeSclafani struck out Hunter but threw his second wild pitch of the game.  Mauer walked.  Trevor Plouffe's ground ball to De Jesus Jr. at second was too weak to turn an inning ending double play.  Rosario ended DeSclafani's night with a sharp single.  Ground ball specialist Burke Badenhop induced a pair of ground balls but they found holes.

DeSclafani finished with 6 2/3 innings, allowing a season-high 11 hits, six earned runs and two walks. He struck out seven to match his career-high.

"I battled all night with runners on base," DeSclafani said. "I did alright until that last inning. I fell behind and made some bad pitches. I have to do a better job."
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Marlon Byrd hit his 13th home run to open the seventh.  The Reds used the Twins' generosity to score three more in the frame. Barnhart walked. After Suarez struck out and pinch hitter Skip Schumaker sent Barnhart to second,. Hamilton reached when Eduardo Nunez dropped his ground ball trying to get a grip on it. De Jesus Jr. singled to score Barnhart. Votto hit a ground ball that secondbaseman Dozier fielded in short rightfield.  His grip was tenuous and he threw it past Hughes covering first. Blaine Boyer relieved Hughes. Boyer threw a wild pitch to allow De Jesus Jr. to score.  Frazier represented the tying run but he fouled out to the catcher Kurt Suzuki.

"Our offense showed some resiliency," Price said.

J.J. Hoover gave up his first earned run since April 21 in the eighth inning.  He struck out the first two batters he faced but Hunter doubled and Mauer bounced a single up the middle.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ohio State Buckeye Urban Meyer Country Music Star Cole Swindell To Play At All-Star Game

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and country music star Cole Swindell will play softball at Great American Ball Park on Sunday alongside, Ozzie Smith, Vladimir Guerrero and Rollie Fingers on Sunday July 12.

The celebrity softball game will follow the Future's Game featuring the top minor league stars.

Snoop Dog, Josh Hutcherson, Anthony Anderson, Rob Riggle an Miles Teller from the world of entertainment will participate with Sean Casey, Eric Davis, Paul O'Neill, Aaron Boone, Andre Dawson and Fred Lynn.

Gold Medal softball player Jennie Finch will also play.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Reds Topple Twins In Slugfest

The Reds had trouble hitting the New York Mets pitchers over the weekend scoring just four runs in 31 innings.

They took out their frustrations on former Mets' pitcher Mike Pelfrey, scoring eight in the two plus innings he worked on their way to an 11-7 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Unfortunately, Mike Leake was a little too generous in his 16th start of the season.

"I don't think Mike had his grade A command," Bryan Price said. "The key was we didn't let the game get away from us."

The Reds jumped on Pelfrey in the first inning with both feet. Billy Hamilton bunted for a single.  Ivan De Jesus Jr., subbing for Brandon Phillips, who has injuries on both hands, singled to put runners on the corners. Pelfrey walked Joey Votto.  Todd Frazier, who is closing the gap in the All-Star vote for thirdbasemen, singled to plate Hamilton.  Jay Bruce lifted a sacrifice fly to center.  Tucker Barnhart singled with two outs to score Votto.

Leake retired the side in order in the first but Trevor Plouffe led off the second with a double. Eddie Rosario's soft single to right put runners on first and third for the Twins.  Plouffe scored as Leake turned a one-hop comebacker into a double play.

The Reds got the run back in the second.  Hamilton walked and stole second and third, forcing Minnesota to pull its infield in.  De Jesus Jr. hit a high chop over Danny Santana at shortstop to reinstate the three-run lead.

The Reds piled on Pelfrey in the third.after Leake struck out the side in the top half.  Bruce doubled to open the inning. Marlon Byrd singled Bruce to third.  Barnhart singled to score Bruce.  Eugenio Suarez doubled home Byrd and Barnhart. Greensburg Indiana native Alex Meyer replaced Pelfrey.  Leake's sacrifice bunt moved Suarez to third.  Meyer walked Hamilton and De Jesus Jr.  Votto hit a line drive directly over the head of Eduardo Escobar in left.  Suarez scored but De Jesus with Votto on his heals stopped at second. Votto was forced to return to first.  Meyer got two outs but the Reds led 9-1.

Leake nearly gave it up as the Twins scored six runs to close the gap to 9-7. Tori Hunter doubled. Plouffe singled. Rosario singled for one run. Leake struck out catcher Kurt Suzuki but  Escobar doubled. Danny Santana singled. Brian Dozier hit his 16th home run . Joe Mauer singled before Leake got Hunter to ground out to Frazier to end the inning.

"I elevated some pitches and they took advantage of them. They put a nice inning together," Leake said.

Hamilton stole second and third after opening the fifth with a single to give him 40 stolen bases on the year and four in the game.  His mates couldn't get him home though.

Hamilton was back in the leadoff spot after batting ninth the last month.

"I tried to be as aggressive as I was in the ninth hole," Hamilton said. "It was fun getting four stolen bases. I got two hits and walked.  I've been swinging at too many bad pitches this year."

"Billy reeks havoc when he's on base," Price said.  "The Twins were very quick to the plate but Billy still made things happen."

The bullpens took over

Nate Adcock worked around a pair of walks to throw two scoreless innings to earn the win.  Manny Parra pitched two scoreless innings.

Adcock's only other Major League win was against the Twins in 2011 when he pitched for Kansas City.

"I knew going in that I had to pitch more than one inning," Adcock said. "I just wanted to keep the ball down and keep the game where it was."

The Reds scored off J.R Graham in the sixth.  Byrd singled with one out. Barnhart doubled Byrd to third. Suarez singled to score Byrd.

Bruce doubled with two outs to score De Jesus Jr. in the bottom of the seventh. Bruce raised his average to .243 with two doubles in four at bats plus a sacrifice fly. Barnhart had four hits, raising his season average to .308.

"It was awesome," Barnhart said. "It was my first  (four-hit game) and it came in a win. Hopefully it won't be my last. I'm just working on drills every day and trying to get better."
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"Tucker seems more confident at the plate," said Price, who has sent pitchers up to pinch hit in front of him because he is the only other catcher besides Brayan Pena. "He doesn't get too many at bats from the right side and that's his natural side.  He got one from the right side tonight by staying up the middle.  That's what he's been working on."

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. He fanned Santana, Dozier and Mauer with several pitches at 102 mph.

All-Star Thirdbase Race Heats Up For Todd Frazier

Todd Frazier is gaining on St. Louis thirdbaseman Matt Carpenter in the race to be the starting thirdbaseman in the All-Star game to be played at Great American Ball Park in two weeks.

Last week Frazier was about two and a half million votes behind Carpenter as of June 16. With the aid of a campaign by the Reds to stump for the fan vote, Frazier is now just 63,000 votes behind. (6,252,327 - 6,189,347).  Voting ends at 11:59 ET on Thursday July 2.

Frazier is hitting for a .290 average. He is second in the Major Leagues with 25 home runs and fifth with 54 runs scored and 53 RBI.  Frazier hit 21 doubles and one triple in leading the Major Leagues with 47 extra-base hits.

Carpenter is hitting .279 with eight home runs and 37 RBI. He is tied with Frazier with 21 doubles.

“Well, we want Frazier to start because he deserves it, not just because he’s from Cincinnati," Bryan Price said. "That’s the way the All-Star Game is supposed to be. You earn your way on to the team. Where we get to one person can have 35 votes. I just think the best players should get a spot. With home field advantage being on the line, I don’t necessarily like the format.”

Frazier was critical of the vote when he was behind on July 16 and third in the voting, but the "Vote Frazier" campaign has him enthused about the process and the fan support.

“It's pretty cool. I just found out a couple seconds ago. Exciting. Still got a couple of days left. To see the fans going out there and voting, I’m very proud. Proud to be from Cincinnati,” Frazier said.

The city has rallied around him.

“Huge. Huge. I saw ‘Vote Frazier’ at a McDonald’s. I’m getting big around here, especially in the French fry business. I just thank everybody. I think it’s big to see the zoo has my back. You’ve got walruses holding up ‘Vote Frazier’ signs at the aquarium. You’ve got elephants. It’s nice to see that.," Frazier said.

Frazier has been receiving support outside of Cincinnati too.
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“It’s awesome. When I first got called up, I just wanted to play baseball and play in the major leagues, trying to make a name for myself and get a position. Now, third base is basically my spot now. It’s a lot of fun being able to come to the ballpark knowing you’re that guy. I’m just trying to help this team out and playing the game the right way. I thank my father for that.," Frazier said.

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Rasiel Iglesias And Tony Cingrani Prepare For Return.

Rasiel Iglesias is scheduled to pitch two innings in a rehab stint with Triple A Louisville.

Iglesias, a member of the Reds' "Kiddie Corp" of rookie starters has been on the shelf since June 5 with a strained left oblique.

“I’m guessing Iglesias will pitch a couple of innings and somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 pitches. That first one is just checking to make sure everything’s OK. I think he’s fine. He hasn’t had any recurring since he started throwing. He’s been throwing for a while. Now more than anything it’s about building up the resiliency. It’s going to take 2-3 outings to get him up to 90 pitches<" Bryan Price said.

Tony Cingrani has been nursing a strained left shoulder since June 15.  He is scheduled to go on a rehab assignment on Saturday also with Louisville.

"He’s scheduled for a bullpen today in preparation for that game on Saturday," Price said. "With Tony, it’s still a day-to-day. He’s been throwing a lot, but he has to be reintroduced to the mound. The bullpens have to go well before we can sign off on that Saturday outing.”
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pete Rose Revelation Damage Hall of Fame Chances?

The timing may be suspect and the evidence is anti-climactic. Does the newly found evidence that Pete Rose bet on baseball as a player hurt his chances for reinstatement?

Frankly, there was not much chance of his reinstatement before Mike Bertolini's cryptic notes were released to ESPN. Even in a court of law, the scrawled "Pete" in Bertolini's notebook would not pass scrutiny.  If I'm Rose's defense attorney, I could shed doubt easily. For all anyone know it could refer to Pete Gray, not Pete Rose.

Pete Rose cannot be trusted in any position in baseball.  Regardless of his age, he would not be hired by any team in any capacity that would influence the fortunes of a team.

That was not going to happen.  Rose, though popular with fans of the game, has proven that he can't be trusted, period.

Rose is someone who can speak candidly about the game and his role with Fox Sports as a commentator is perfect for him.  As long as he is an outsider, with insight, he will be informative and entertaining.  He should stop there.  On any other subject, he will flat out lie.  When the subject is baseball and in particular the playing of the game, he is brilliant and a valuable source of information.

When that turns to the business of the game, he is a poor source.  He not only a degenerate gambler, he is a bad gambler.  Not only is he a poor business man, he is an untrustworthy and a pathological liar.

Case in point, my friend Steve Watkins was turned down by Rose for an interview on a book written about him by Kostya Kennedy. Rose required $500 for a 10 minute interview.  See link below:


Then when called on it like bad gamblers often are, he threw his publicist under the bus and reversed his decisions.  Pete Rose does what's good for Pete Rose and cares nothing about anyone but himself.

Still, with all this said, the Hall of Fame means nothing without his membership.  How can baseball have a museum that maintains its history leave out one of its most historical players.  It is a museum, not a referendum of morality.  Baseball should be strong enough to admit its darker sides.  It should acknowledge the steroid players like it does its players and executives from the past that also had character flaws.
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Babe Ruth was a heavy drinker.  Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis was a racist, who systematically kept blacks out of the game for 27 years, besides being a corrupt judge, drunk with power.  Talk about the integrity of the game, how can baseball claim to be the best in the world while excluding such talented players as Sachel Paige and Josh Gibson.  It can't.

Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame, period, if for no other reason than to be the subject of a cautionary tale to players yet to be born.

The irony is that Rose himself couldn't give a damn about membership in the Hall.  He can't make money off it to offset his gambling losses.  He can stick it to baseball every year by gauging for autographs during the annual induction ceremonies.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier Homer In Michael Lorenzen's Win

Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier provided the power.

Michael Lorenzen provided the pitching.

Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton provided the defense as the Reds put a total game together to provide manager Bryan Price with a 5-2 win.

"Baseball is broken down by pitching, fielding and hitting," Lorenzen said. "We've had games when we beat the other team in one out of three, or two out of three.  Today we played better in all three."

Lorenzen started out rough.  Dee Gordon and Derek Dietrich singled to open the game.  Gordon stole second but Dietrich's single was hit hard and right at Hamilton. Gordon could only move up one base.  With one out, Giancarlo Stanton drove in his National League leading, 64th run on a ground out to Phillips.

Lorenzen flew his father Clif in for the game. It was just the second time his father has seen him play in person since he was nine years old.

"There was a lot of fighting in our family when I was younger," Lorenzen said. "He left when I was nine. He follows me on TV.  We talk on the phone.  He still doesn't have a lot so I flew him in for Father's day."

Joey Votto walked and Todd Frazier's 23rd home run off David Phelps put the Reds up 2-1 in the bottom of the first.

"Fraziet has been fun to watch in June. It hasn't just been home runs. It's been a hard single or a walk to set up an inning.  He is really become comfortable as a middle of the lineup producer," Bryan Price said.

Justin Bour hit a long home run off Lorenzen to tie the game It was Bour's 6th long ball of the season.

The Reds loaded the bases in the second with hopes of breaking the game open. Marlon Byrd and Eugenio Suarez singled to open the inning.  Lorenzen bunted them up a base.  Phelps hit Hamilton with a pitch to load the bases. Phillips lined a one hopper to Adeiny Hechavarria at short, who gloved it and turned it into a double play.

Lorenzen loaded the bases with Marlins in the fourth but struck out the side to get out of the jam.

Hamilton saved a run in the fifth.  Gordon hit the second of his three singles, leading off.  Dietrich doubled over Hamilton's head.  Hamilton played it off the base of the fence, then hit Suarez, who threw home to Pena in plenty of time to tag Gordon out at the plate.  The Marlins wasted their challenge as the call was upheld.

Bruce followed Votto's single with his 11th home run to put the Reds up 4-2 in the sixth.  With two outs and the bases empty, the Reds got to Phelps again. Consecutive singles by Byrd, Suarez and Lorenzen gave the Reds the three run lead.

Bruce has struggled as much as anyone.

"I started out slowly," Bruce said. "We've all had obstacles we've had to overcome. We're playing better baseball now. It was good to have that separation. Michael settled in after the first two innings."

Lorenzen left the game in the capable hands of J.J. Hoover after pitching seven innings. Lorenzen allowed two runs on eight hits.  His lone walk was intentional and her struck out five.

Lorenzen was battling strep throat but at no time did he consider sitting the game out.

"I had body aches. My throat was closed down. The training staff made sure I got enough fluids," Lorenzen said. "I don't think Nolan Ryan would miss a start because he was sick. You're going to have to really, really fight me to get me from playing."

"Never for a minute did Michael give us any indication that he wasn't going to do what he needed to do," Price said.

Hoover pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. He has not allowed a run in his last 12 appearances, covering 12 2/3 innings. Hoover has not allowed an earned run since, April 21.

Aroldis Chapman entered to pick up his 15th save in 16 tries.

The first three Marlins reached on an error, bloop single and a walk but Chapman struck out Donovan Solano, Gordon and Dietrich to end the game.

Votto or DeSclafani?

When it comes down to competition, you really do want to beat your friends.

Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafani have grown up in baseball together. Riding minor league busses, getting chewed out by the same managers, being cheered and booed by the same fans will bring a young man ,competing for lucrative Major League employment, closer together.

Joey Votto, one of the best hitters in the game, was Nicolino's first strikeout victim in the Major Leagues and he has the baseball to prove it.

"I remember being in high school watching him play on T.V," said Nicolino, who grew up in Orlando, Florida but his parents are from Alliance, Ohio near Akron. Nicolino was born in Alliance.

"It was a true blessing to pitch in the big leagues," Nicolino said. "I don't punch out a lot of people. To punch out Joey Votto was an honor.  I have the scorecard, the baseball from the first pitch and the baseball from striking out Votto.

"It was even better to pitch against my best friend," Nicolino said. "I was mad when he got the first hit. That was the first hit I gave up in the big leagues. I was joking mad at him. That will be something we will talk about at the wedding. I couldn't believe he got a hit."

Nicolino's fans for his debut included his fiance, his parents, and his grandparents.

"It was crazy to see my friend and family," the 23-year old said.

Nicolino got the last laugh by pitching seven scoreless innings while his 24-year old friend gave up three in one bad inning.  Nicolino became the 10th Marlin pitcher to get a win in his debut and the first since DeSclafani himself did it last season.

The win not withstanding, DeSclafani cruelly attacked his friend in his at bat.  The Reds' hurler fed Nicolino a steady diet of sliders.

"I saw one fastball and I took it," Nicolino said. "Then he threw three sliders. I looked at him and said,'are you kidding me?' "

The pair were bonded together by another event early in their baseball careers.

Both were drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and worked out in spring training together. They played on the same minor league teams.

Both were included in a trade in which Miami sent "name players" Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, ace Josh Johnson and popular Emilio Bonifacio to the Blue Jays for prospects, no names, DeSclafani, Nicolino, Jeff Mathis, and Adeiny Hechavarria.

Miami fans did not take that well.

"I knew they didn't like it. They didn't understand that it was a trade for the future. Everyone has their point of view," Nicolino said. For me to be a part of that trade with the names involved was an honor."

It didn't make him any more competitive.

"You always want to go out and show your ability," said Nicolino, who is the last of that group to make it to the Major League level. "Sometimes you have to time those things out."

"Yesterday made all the bus rides, all the things that happened worth it," Nicolino said.
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The only thing that would make it perfect was to make his friend his first strikeout victim.

"If he didn't get a hit off me, I'd rather strikeout DeSclafani than Votto for my first one," Nicolino said..

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Anthony DeSclafani Bows To Former Mates

Anthony DeSclafani didn't know when he came to the ballpark this afternoon that one of his best friends would be his mound opponent.

The Reds got DeSclafani from the Marlins along with minor league catcher Chad Wallach in a trade for Mat Latos in December.  The 24-year old started the season with Double A Jacksonville last year where his roommate was Justin Nicolino, who pitched his team to a 5-0 win over the Reds.

Derek Dietrich provided the offensive.

When Tom Koehler could not pitch with a stiff neck that failed to respond to treatment, Nicolino was recalled from New Orleans to pitch against the Reds and his former teammate in Jacksonville.

"That's crazy. I'm happy for him. I know how hard he's worked," DeSclafani said.

"I think he was mad at me. He kind of stared at me when I was on base.I hit it good but I don't know what happened to Ozuna. I just saw the ball fall in. I was lucky"

"I think he was mad at me for throwing him three sliders. You have to do what you can to help your team win."

The Marlins took out their former teammate with a three-run fourth.

Dietrich began DeSclafani's demise with his second home run of the season to rightfield to open the fourth. It was the first run Reds' pitchers allowed in 17 innings.  Christian Yellich doubled to leftcenter, bringing the National League's leading RBI man to the plate, Giancarlo Stanton.  Stanton singled hard to center but Billy Hamilton got to the ball so quickly that Yellich had to hold at third, when former Red Lenny Harris put up the stop sign as the thirdbase coach.  DeSclafani got Marcel Ozuna to fly to shallow right with no movement by the baserunners.  Justin Bour's slow ground ball to secondbase allowed Yellich to score.  J.T. Realmuto doubled to bring Stanton home.

"I fell behind.  I made a mistake to Dietrich. I have to do a better job," DeSclafani said.

""DeSclafani made some pitches he'd like to have back. He walked a couple of guys the next inning. I didn't think he was on top of his game," Bryan Price added.

Nicolino was in trouble once in the third inning.  His pal DeSclafani hit a fly to center but Ozuna slipped and the ball fell for a single.  Hamilton singled but Brandon Phillips hit into a 6-3 double play.

Nicolino pitched a nice game," Price said. "We didn't put a lot of balls on the barrel. Give him credit."

"We found out at 2:30-3:00 that they were making the switch," Price said.  "It was before batting practice. It wouldn't have changed our lineup at all."

Jay Bruce singled in the fourth but was erased when Bryan Pena hit into a double play.  Eugenio Suarez hit a double one out into the fifth but got no nearer to home.

Dietrich lined a home run off Manny Parra with Dee Gordon on base to push the lead.  It was the first time in his career that Dietrich hit multiple home runs in a game.

Nicolino, who finished with seven scoreless innings,  got another double play to extract him from a seventh inning jam.  Suarez grounded to third with runners on first and second.

Carter Capps relieved Nicolino and pitched a perfect eighth.

A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth.

DeSclafani got a hit off his friend and struck him out to at least win bragging rights.

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"I think he was mad at me. He kind of stared at me when I was on base.I hit it good but I don't know what happened to Ozuna. I just saw the ball fall in. I was lucky," DeSclafani said.

As for whiffing his friend,."I think he was mad at me for throwing him three sliders. You have to do what you can to help your team win, " DeSclafani said.

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Devin Mesoraco To Have Hip Surgery

Devin Mesoraco will have surgery on his hip in New York on June 29 by Dr. Bryan Kelly.

The hip has limited Mesoraco to pinch hitting and designated hitting roles.  He tried to learn the leftfield position but the pain became too much and surgery was planned.

"I'm not going to help the team in leftfield if I'm not feeling good," Mesoraco said.

With the hip impingement, both he and the team were hoping that he could contribute without squatting into the catcher's position by pinch hitting or as the designated hitter in American League parks.

"I don't regret not having it earlier and trying to play.  The only thing I would have done differently was not trying to catch in Kansas City when I could help at DH," Mesoraco said. "I was feeling good and was anxious to try it"

Mesoraco, who last caught in a game on April 12, was hitting .178 with no home runs.

His experiment in leftfield at Louisville was scrapped when pain became too much.
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"The time to do it is now," Mesoraco said. "I will be able to do my normal off season workouts in early November, like I always do."

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Twist Of Fate Pits Roomates Against Each Other At GABP

Justin Nicolino wasn't supposed to be in Cincinnati, making his Major League debut.

Tom Koehler was supposed to start but a stiff neck that didn't respond to treatment put Nicolino on the mound against the Reds.

The Reds' starter Anthony DeSclafani was with the Marlins last year for five games after starting the season a Double A, Jacksonville. Nicolino spent the entire season at Jacksonville, where he roomed with DeSclafani.

The pair were both drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays.

DeSclafani was taken out of the University of Florida with the Blue Jays' sixth pick in the 2011 draft. Nicolino was taken by the Blue Jays in the second round of the 2010 draft.

Both pitchers were traded to Miami in a deal that sent Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, John Buck and Emilio Bonafacio to Toronto.  The Marlins also got Ynenel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jake Marisnick and Jeff Mathis in the deal.

Nicolino made 13 starts at New Orleans with a 4-3 record and a 2.87 ERA, which was good for seventh in the Pacific Coast League at the time of his recall.
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Nicolino is trying to become the 10th pitcher in Marlins' history to win his Major League debut. The last Marlins pitcher to do it was DeSclafani on May 14th last season.

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