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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, April 16, 2014

Johnny Cueto Shuts Out Pirates In Win Over Amigo Francisco Liriano






Johnny Cueto got the support that he was looking for last October as he pitched the Reds to a 4-0 complete game win.

Cueto struck out a career-high 12 while crafting his third complete-game shutout and seventh career complete game.

Cueto and Francisco Liriano, who are amigos from the Dominican, hooked up for a rematch of the Wild Card game between the Reds and Pirates on October 1.

The Pirates won 6-2 as Liriano pitched seven innings, allowing one run. Cueto, who had just returned from an injury that plagued him all season, lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned).

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Both pitchers were sharp on Wednesday.

The Reds scored in the first without a hit.

Billy Hamilton walked and stole second on a pitch that was in the dirt and bounced away from catcher Tony Sanchez.  Hamilton raced to third but the ball went into the Pirates dugout.  Hamilton was required to go back to second.  He didn't stay long. As Joey Votto was being walked, Liriano threw the first of two wild pitches.  The second during Brandon Phillips at bat allowed the Reds to score the lone run of the game through six innings.

The Pirates got nothing off Cueto.
It was Cueto's game no matter what.

"He was going to go out there either way, whether we added on runs or not," Price said.  "Welcome back Johnny Cueto."

"I felt really strong and confident," Cueto said through interpreter Tomas Vera.  "I believe that Brian know us because he was our pitching coach.  He trusts us."

Tony Sanchez reached on an infield hit in the third after six straight batters were retired.  Andrew McCutchen doubled with one out in the fourth. Jordy Mercer reached on an infield hit after initially being ruled out by firstbase umpire Gerry Davis.  Phillips fielded a ball in the hole between him and Votto.  Votto had to rush to get back to first and missed it, replay cameras revealed.

Cueto, who started the game with an 0-2 record in spite of a 2.14 ERA, finally got the elusive run support.  He had to jump start the rally himself.  His teammates scored a total of four runs in his three starts.  Cueto singled one out into the seventh.  Hamilton forced him at second with a slow roller to short.  Votto unloaded his fourth home run of the season to give Cueto the luxury of a three-run lead.

Cueto's single ended a bit of personal frustration.  He was called out when he made contact with the ball in fair territory outside the batter's box in the second inning.  He was called out trying to sacrifice Zack Cozart to secondbase.  This time he stayed in the box and interfered with Sanchez's effort to field the bunt.

The Reds added a fourth run on Brayan Pena's double that scored Chris Heisey, who was 1-for-3, was hit by a pitch, had a  stolen base and a run scored.

It was the Reds' first series win of the year.

Cueto and Liriano have been friends since both came to the major leagues.  They come from different towns in the Dominican. Liriano is from Santo Domingo. Cueto is from San Pedro.

"When he got to the Pirates we started to be more friends," Cueto said.


Johnny Cueto Shuts Out Pirates Beats Amigo In Matchup






Johnny Cueto got the support that he was looking for last October as he pitched the Reds to a 4-0 complete game win.

Cueto struck out a career-high 12 while crafting his third complete-game shutout and seventh career complete game.

Cueto and Francisco Liriano, who are amigos from the Dominican, hooked up for a rematch of the Wild Card game between the Reds and Pirates on October 1.

The Pirates won 6-2 as Liriano pitched seven innings, allowing one run. Cueto, who had just returned from an injury that plagued him all season, lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned).

http://www.wiedemannbeer.com/
Both pitchers were sharp on Wednesday.

The Reds scored in the first without a hit.

Billy Hamilton walked and stole second on a pitch that was in the dirt and bounced away from catcher Tony Sanchez.  Hamilton raced to third but the ball went into the Pirates dugout.  Hamilton was required to go back to second.  He didn't stay long. As Joey Votto was being walked, Liriano threw the first of two wild pitches.  The second during Brandon Phillips at bat allowed the Reds to score the lone run of the game through six innings.

The Pirates got nothing off Cueto.
It was Cueto's game no matter what.

"He was going to go out there either way, whether we added on runs or not," Price said.  "Welcome back Johnny Cueto."

"I felt really strong and confident," Cueto said through interpreter Tomas Vera.  "I believe that Brian know us because he was our pitching coach.  He trusts us."

Tony Sanchez reached on an infield hit in the third after six straight batters were retired.  Andrew McCutchen doubled with one out in the fourth. Jordy Mercer reached on an infield hit after initially being ruled out by firstbase umpire Gerry Davis.  Phillips fielded a ball in the hole between him and Votto.  Votto had to rush to get back to first and missed it, replay cameras revealed.

Cueto, who started the game with an 0-2 record in spite of a 2.14 ERA, finally got the elusive run support.  He had to jump start the rally himself.  His teammates scored a total of four runs in his three starts.  Cueto singled one out into the seventh.  Hamilton forced him at second with a slow roller to short.  Votto unloaded his fourth home run of the season to give Cueto the luxury of a three-run lead.

Cueto's single ended a bit of personal frustration.  He was called out when he made contact with the ball in fair territory outside the batter's box in the second inning.  He was called out trying to sacrifice Zack Cozart to secondbase.  This time he stayed in the box and interfered with Sanchez's effort to field the bunt.

The Reds added a fourth run on Brayan Pena's double that scored Chris Heisey, who was 1-for-3, was hit by a pitch, had a  stolen base and a run scored.

It was the Reds' first series win of the year.

Cueto and Liriano have been friends since both came to the major leagues.  They come from different towns in the Dominican. Liriano is from Santo Domingo. Cueto is from San Pedro.

"When he got to the Pirates we started to be more friends," Cueto said.


Sean Marshall Tested Tonight Aroldis Chapman Progressing






The Reds bullpen has been out of sync since the start of the season.

Now that Jonathan Broxton has been assigned the closer role, until Aroldis Chapman can return.  That will be awhile.

Sean Marshall needs to pass one more test tonight when Louisville takes on Toledo.

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It will be Marshall's second straight day of work, a test he needs to pass to return by the end of the week.  If he feels good on Thursday, the Reds are more likely to take him off the disabled list this weekend.

Marshall pitched a scoreless inning against the Mudhens Tuesday night and struck out two batters.

"Mack Jenkins (the Reds assistant pitching coach) saw him on the live video feed last night," Bryan Price said. "It looks like he threw free and easy.  There are no impediments to his delivery. He was sharp with his breaking ball and fastball. He will throw again tonight then we'll make an assessment whether to continue his rehab or activate him on the road."

The "road" is a 10-game trip through Chicago, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

Marshall will provide another left-hander to take some of the workload off Manny Para, who has been the lone lefty in the bullpen.

"It will be a huge boost," Price said. "Manny has been our do-it-all guy.  Manny leads our team in appearances. He's pitched the ninth inning.  He's pitched the eighth inning. He's pitched multiple innings. He's had to close, get left-handers out, get both left-handers and right-handers out, which he's done very well.  Having Sean back will give him a reprieve."

Aroldis Chapman will pitch four more bullpens, spaced three days apart.  If the bullpens go well, Chapman will pitch live batting practice.

"His arm is in good shape.  He just needs to build his endurance," Price said.  "He wasn't able to do any conditioning. Now with his running program.  He will do some PFP (pitcher's fielding practice) after he passes some tests and is cleared by (Reds' trainer) Paul Lessard.  Those tests haven't been scheduled yet."






Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Leake Goes Long And Deep






Mike Leake plugged the dike for the Reds.

After dropping the suspended game earlier in the day, Leake pitched and hit the Reds to a 7-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Leake wasn't perfect.  His throwing error in the fourth inning  may not have cost him a run but made him get two outs him to get two more outs.  He also walked the leadoff hitter in the second, Pedro Alvarez, who eventually scored on a single by Gabby Sanchez.

Leake helped get the run back.  He doubled to the left centerfield gap against Pirates' starter Gerrit Cole.  The second of Joey Votto's four hits sent Leake home with the tying run.

"He is real competitive," Bryan Price said. "He comes out early and hits.

Andrew McCutchen singled to leadoff the fourth.  Alvarez bounced a single through the hole at firstbase to put runners at first and third with no outs.  On a one-hop comeback to the mound by Russel Martin, Leake threw too high to Brandon Phillips covering for what should have been a double play.  The Pirates had runners on the corners again with no outs.

Leake worked out of it with no more runs scoring.

"That early in the game that was the plan; get two outs and let the run score," Leake said. "It was my fault. I was supposed to go to Cozart  he couldn't get there as fast as I expected.  I saw them both converge. I double clutched and threw to Brandon.  I am gaining more confidence as the years go by. When I get hurt, I get hurt on the first couple pitches of an at bat.  So, I've been falling behind in the count more than I'd like."

Jay Bruce singled and stole second, starting the sixth inning.  Todd Frazier hit his second home run in as many games and his fourth home run of the season. Leake homered off Cole to cap the four run inning.

Frazier's home run is his team-leading fourth of the season. He is tied for second on the team with eight RBI.

"After losing the first game, it showed some character to come back and win the second one," Frazier said. "I wasn't sure it was a home run. Sometimes you surprise yourself.  I knew it was in the gap because I saw the two outfielders (rightfielder and centerfielder) running that way. It was a slider. It is nice to know I have some power the other way. They have been throwing me a lot of breaking pitches. It was big that I hit it that way. I'm coming."

Leake couldn't finish the seventh.

"We'd like to see him go deeper in the game but he'll get there," Price said. "He did a nice job of getting out of trouble."

Leake's eight strikeouts tied a career high.

Neil Walker singled and rested at third on a double by Sanchez.  Jordy Mercer hit a sacrifice fly. Leake struck out Travis Ishikawa, the pinch hitter but hit Sterling Marte who struck out three times against Leake.

Manny Parra got the final out of the inning.

Votto led off the bottom of the seventh against Justin Wilson with his third hit to go with a walk.  With Votto on second, Wilson walked Frazier intentionally.  Roger Bernadina beat out a slow roller to second.  Devin Mesoraco singled two runs home on his third hit of the game.  In only his seventh game since returning from a strained oblique, he leads the team with nine RBI and hitting .500.

Since Votto has moved into the second spot in the lineup the Reds have scored 26 runs.  After being shut out the first game since the move, the Reds have scored 12, 7 and 7 runs.

"I'm not saying he is going to hit there the rest of his career," said Price of the shakeup for "the sake of newness."

"Sometimes in baseball there is no rhyme or reason to what happens," Price said.

"Hitting is contagious. I believe that through and through," Frazier said.

The Pirates cut into the lead against Parra.

The left-hander walked McCutchen.  Alvarez hit a groundball to Votto who threw to second to get the lead runner. Zack Cozart's return throw appeared to beat Alvarez with Parra covering.  Firstbase umpire ruled Alvarez out. Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle asked for a review and the call was overturned.  Walker hit his fifth home run of the season and third of the series to make the score 7-5.

Only five of Walker's 59 career home runs have come from the right side.  It was the first he's hit from that side of the plate, since May 6, 2011.

The Reds got three hits in the bottom of the eighth but couldn't score.

Billy Hamilton hit a pinch-hit single but Martin threw him out trying to steal.  Votto singled for the fourth time and Phillips collected his second single but Bruce bounced out to Sanchez at first.

Jonathan Broxton came on for the save.

Jordy Mercer doubled to lead off the ninth.  Princeton High School grad, Josh Harrison, flied out to right with Mercer moving up a base.  Marte grounded out to third. Jose Tabata walked to bring McCutchen to the plate representing the go-ahead run.  McCutchen fouled off three two-strike pitches before he popped out to Phillips.

"I had to hold onto the lead, the way Leake pitched.  We battled so long," Broxton said.  "McCutchen hits me good. I wanted to keep the ball down and let him get himself out."

Having Broxton back makes the job a little easier for Price.

"With one left-hander the bullpen gets a little unbalanced.  Having Jonathan back, gets us closer to how we wanted to set up the bullpen," Price said.

Pirates Score A Run To Take Suspended Game




.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen scored the seventh inning run that allowed the Pirates to win the suspended game, 8-7.

The game was halted by ran at 9:38 p.m. Monday with the score tied, 6-6 after six innings.

Sam LeCure was told just after 5:30 that he would start the seventh inning by pitching to Travis Snider.

"We knew what we wanted to do last night," first year manager and former pitching coach, Bryan Price said.  "Relievers usually don't like to know that they're pitching. They are used to being told just before it happens. He had more notice than he usually does."

McCutchen doubled after Snider took the called third strike.  Pedro Alvarez struck out but Russel Martin singled to drive McCutchen home.

Ramon Santiago was placed in the ninth hole and at shortstop as part of a double switch that removed Zack Cozart from the game.  Santiago singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice by Billy Hamilton and went to third when Joey Votto grounded out to firstbase unassisted. Brandon Phillips struck out swinging against Tony Watson.

LeCure pitched a scoreless eighth after Clint Barmes singled and Travis Ishikawa walked as a pinch hitter for Watson.  LeCure got Starling Marte on a swinging third strike and Snider on a ground out.

Jay Bruce walked with one out against Mark Melancon in the eighth but was stranded at second base.

Nick Chrisitiani allowed McCutchen's third hit of the game but held the Pirates scoreless in the ninth.

Roger Bernadina batted for Christiani to open the ninth.  He struck out.

Heisey popped out for Santiago, leaving the Reds without a shortstop.  The only position player left was catcher Brayan Pena.  Billy Hamilton struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch by Jason Grilli, who recorded his fourth save.

Had the Reds' tied the game, Price would have had to come up with a shortstop.

"Hamilton would have moved to short," Price said. "We have confidence in him even though he hasn't played there in awhile.  You have to do what you need to do to try to win there.  We were hoping Bernadina or Heisey would hit a home run or double to tie it up."

Reds Win First Replay Review






The suspended game is about to restart in the seventh inning, in part, because Bryan Price was successful in his first replay challenge.

Todd Frazier hit a 438' home run by hitting the ball on the nose. He reached on a double in the fourth inning by hitting a ball off the nose.

Frazier lofted a ball down the line in shallow rightfield.  Pirates' rightfielder Travis Snider was hit in the face by the ball as he slid across the foul line.  Firstbase umpire, Brian Knight, signaled foul.

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As the Pittsburgh trainer and manager Clint Hurdle went to check on Snider's well being, Price had a chance to review the play.  Replays showed that the ball hit Snider in fair territory.  The call was reversed and Frazier trotted to second with a double.  He later scored on home run by Ryan Ludwick.

"We couldn't see the play from the dugout," Price said.  "We knew we had time when they went to check on Snider.  By the time they were finished we got the thumbs up to challenge the play."

The Reds assigned Sam Grossman to monitor close plays.

"I thought it was fair," Frazier said. "I told (firstbase coach Billy) Hatcher that I thought it was fair. Billy said, 'It hit him in the head'. I said, "I'm not talking to you." I was yelling at Jay (Bruce) and I saw Homer saying something. The Pirates' catcher said, "That might be fair." I told Phil Cuzzi (the homeplate umpire) and he said that he didn't think so.  I said, "Ah you're from New Jersey. How would you know?""

Frazier thought he would get a single.

"They gave (Yadier) Molina a single and he hit it off the wall in center," Frazier said.

"I'm not in favor of instant replay," Frazier said. "At first I was but it takes the human element out of the game."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bizarre Game At Great American Ball Park Is Suspended , 7-7






Ryan Ludwick has been playing baseball since he was five, that's three decades and had never seen this many baseballs hit this hard.

As his two-run, fourth inning, home run lofted high and deep off the batter's eye in centerfield, some press box commentator quipped, "That'll bring rain."

Guess what?

It did.  What could have been a rain-shotened official game win for the Reds, if Homer Bailey could have shut the Pirates down in the fifth.  It didn't happen.

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The Starling Marte and Travis Snider hit massive home runs, back-to-back, off Bailey to put Pittsburgh in front 5-4.

Now Wandy Rodriguez had to put up a donut in the Reds' half of the fifth to make the Pirates a winner if the game was washed out.

That didn't happen either.

With one out Neftali Soto got his first major league hit a double down the thirdbase line as a pinch hitter for Bailey.  Billy Hamilton, all 145 pounds of him, flirted with a home run, sending a ball deep enough to centerfield to allow Soto to tag up and advance to third.

Joey Votto drilled his third home run of the season to put the Reds up again, 6-5.

The rain came down harder.

Now J.J. Hoover had a chance to finish off the Pirates.

Forget that, Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez went back-to-back leading off the sixth inning, just as they did leading off the second inning off Bailey.  It was the Pirates third set of back-to-back home runs.  That has only been done two other times in major league history.  The Reds of 1956 were one of the teams that did it.

Bryan Morris relieved Rodriguez.

With two outs, Devin Mesoraco hit his third home run of the season to tie the game at seven.

"If Mesoraco doesn't hit that home run, we're going home with a loss right now," Price said.

The Reds scored first when Todd Frazier homered with Votto on via a walk in the first inning.

There was a light rain at the time and it just got heavier.

"You'd think because it is heavy air: it's raining, it's cooler, you wouldn't think the ball would carry the way it did," Price said. "Some of them were hit really well but some of them weren't.  It made for a fascinating evening."

There were chances to stop the game that the umpiring crew led by Brian Knight had to consider.  They used drying compound over the last four, half innings.

"The umpiring was trying to do the best for both teams in the sense that both teams had the same opportunity," Price said.  "They thought the grounds crew had the ability to keep the field playable.  We talked about it between innings. They felt like the game was playable and there shouldn't be an advantage to either club.  But it started to get ugly out there, that's when Jerry said, 'enough is enough.' "

There was a lot of bad weather is coming in.

The Reds know will resume pitching when the game is resumed at 5:30 on Tuesday but wouldn't make it public.

This is Bailey's third start of the season and none of them have been exactly pretty.

Although he struck out nine, he gave up eight hits and set a career-high with four home runs allowed.

"If I had the answer to what was wrong, I'd have fixed it," Bailey said. "I have to go back to the drawing board.  I am making some good pitches but every time I make a bad one, I end up paying for it."

"There was an inordinate amount of bad pitches by both teams," Price said.  "They have a good pitching staff too.  The Pirates weren't missing any and neither were we."

The combined 10 home runs, six by Pittsburgh and four by Cincinnati is a Great American Ball Park record.  It is the most since Detroit hit eight at Wrigley Field on June 18, 2006 and the Cubs belted three.


Skip Schumaker Is Making Progress








Skip Schumaker is hitting off a tee and playing catch.

"Schumaker, who was signed as a free agent to improve depth on the Reds' bench, suffered a separated shoulder on March 21 when his glove stuck in the outfield grass at Goodyear Ballpark.

"It was anticipated the injury would take a month to heal.

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“He’s out there playing catch," Bryan Price said. "He’s hitting off the tee, doing some really good things in that regard. We’re optimistic that in relatively short order he’ll be getting into game action.”
The Reds will send him on a rehab assignment in the minor leagues before he is activated.

"He’ll definitey go and get at bats in the minor leagues. He definitely won’t be activated out of the batting cage,” Price said.

The Reds started the season with eight players on the disabled list.


Two, Jonathan Broxton and Devin Mesoraco have returned to action.

Sean Marshall, the left-handed curveball specialist is nearly ready to come back.

"Marshall going to start back to back outings with Louisvlle tomorrow/ “Then we’ll reassess where he is in his rehab,” Price said.

There is a chance Marshall will be ready this week.
“There’s a chance. We certainly don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse here. We want him to get through these outings. Going back-to-back for the first time is a step in the right direction _ a huge step in the right direction, actually. We’ll see how he comes out of it. Right now, he’s extremely optimistic.”

Aroldis Chapman Getting Ready To Return To Action








Aroldis Chapman finished up a 25-pitch bullpen.

"He threw the ball outstanding," Bryan Price said. "He threw all of his pitches, including his slider. He was sharp _ extremely enthusiastic and happy to be out there, as we all were. It was exciting.”

"Throwing off mound big step for Chapman, who was hit by a batted ball hit by Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals in a Cactus League game on March 19.

A titanium plate was surgically implanted above his left eyebrow to fuse bone fragments on March 20. He was inactive for two weeks before he could exercise or play long toss.

“Well, it’s a step," Price said. "It was an obvious and essential step to the next thing, which will be live batting practice and game situations, and I think facing batters will be the biggest hurdle for him initially, but we haven’t seen any reason to feel like he’s other than optimistic about getting back on the mound.”

What’s next? What’s timetable?

“He’s going to throw a handful of bullpens before we consider facing live hitters and game situations, so I don’t know an exact timetable. His next step will be another bullpen," Price said.

It has not been decided if live batting practice will mean throwing without a screen.

“I can’t say with certainty," Price said. "It will really end up with where he’s comfortable. If he wants to throw with a screen in front of him that first time facing hitters, that’s up to him. That’s an offer, a courtesy we would make to anybody doing the same thing. Sometimes, the screen forces you to try to throw the ball and then finish behind it, and it can affect in a negative way the pitching mechanics. That’s why I don’t like the screen as much. We’ll see. The big test will be when he gets back into game, facing live competition.”

His next bullpen has not been scheduled.

“We’ll see how he responds tomorrow," Price. "He was really leaning on it for 25 pitches today. Our protocol typically has been to put two days in between bullpens. However, he has been able to throw. He’s been very active in his long toss, so he may feel good enough to throw on an every other day schedule.”

Chapman was pleased to get a chance to throw the bullpen.

“I feel really good. Everything went well. My fastball was really good. My command was good, The breaking ball worked good Everything was great. I feel really well," Chapman said through interpreter Tomas Vera.

“I do whatever they decide to do with me. I have to wait for what the doctor’s decision is, for Brysn decision is. Whatever they tell me to do I do it. I feel (good) physically, mentally, and my arm feels really well,” Chapman said.







Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reds Pound Tampa Bay Pitchers







The Reds bats woke up this morning in a 12-4 win to salvage one game of the three-game series.

The Reds scored exactly one run against the Tampa Bay Rays in 18 innings.

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Zack Cozart, the Reds' player in the worst slump, broke through with a two-run double with the bases loaded after starting the season 2-for-31. The ground-rule double sent Devin Mesoraco, who walked to third.  Cingrani grounded to short with the infield in.  Mesoraco running on contact was thrown out at the plate.  Cingrani tried to get to second during the rundown but was cut off by catcher Ryan Hanigan's throw to the shortstop.  Yunel Escobar threw out Cozart at home to end the inning.

The hit started the Reds on an eight-run feeding frenzy against Cesar Ramos and four other Rays' pitchers.

Tony Cingrani started for the Reds and pitched in his 21st game without allowing more than five hits, however one of the five he surrendered was a two-run home run to Ben Zobrist.  Cingrani walked the ninth batter in the Rays' lineup, firstbaseman Sean Rodriguez.

Rays' manager Joe Maddon elected to bat Ramos in the eighth spot in the batting order.

"We don't know how long he'll go until the game starts but we don't expect him to go too deep so we may have pinch hit for him sooner than later," Maddon said.

The hook came for Ramos, who was replacing Matt Moore (elbow) in the starting rotation, was removed in two batters into the third.

Billy Hamilton led off with a sharp single to left.  Joey Votto, batting second for the second straight day, homered to the smokestacks in right center.  It was Votto's second home run of the year and doubled his RBI total from two to four.

Brandon Gomes replaced Ramos.

Brandon Phillips singled.  Todd Frazier, batting cleanup, forced Phillips at second with a ground ball to short.  Jay Bruce walked.  After Ryan Ludwick struck out, Devin Mesoraco crushed his second home run of the season into the upper deck in left.  Bruce doubled and scored from third later in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Mesoraco.

"It is important to add on," said Mesoraco, who hit an 0-2 pitch 443 feet for his second home run. "I was surprised I got a pitch out over the plate. It was probably a mistake.  I think sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to do too much, telling yourself you have to do this or do that.  We have to bear down and not try to do too much."

Mesoraco is hitting a cool .500.

"Devin has plenty of pull power," Bryan Price said. "He also has power the other way and really battles.  He is a tough out with two strikes."

The 4-8 start has been filled with missed opportunities, stranding runners in scoring position.

"It is a small sample size. I don't know if you can say we aren't a good team with runners in scoring position."

The Reds have given away early leads also.  In two of the four losses to the Cardinals, the Reds held a 3-0 lead and a 4-0 lead.

"We've had games where we scored early and gave up the lead," Price said. "You never can feel you have the game in the bag. Dusty (Baker) used to say you want to keep adding on so that a grand slam won't hurt you.  I always remembered that.  Anything can happen in this game. A reliever could struggle with control or someone can lose a ball in the sun."

Cingrani gave up five hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings but he struck out six.

Nick Christiani allowed a double to pinch hitter, James Loney and Zobrist's second home run of the game from the other side of the plate.

Chris Heisey added a pinch-hit grand slam home run off Covington, Kentucky native Josh Lueke in the eighth inning.

It was Heisey's first career grand slam and his seventh pinch-hit home run.

"Heisey's with the grand slam was big. To me pressure is self induced. We know we have a good team. You would like to see the guys relax and play the game they are capable of doing.  Today is an indication that we are getting closer," Price said.


The Best 3-8 Team In Baseball?






To gain a new perspective on the Reds' 3-8 start.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was asked about slow starts and how to deal with them.

The Rays started the 2011 season 0-6.

Maddon bought the best whiskey, Charbay from the Napa Valley.

"We left Tropicana Field to go on the road.  I bought some great whiskey, not good whiskey, great whiskey," Maddon said. "I bought Charbay at the airport.  I took it on the plane.  We had a toast to the best 0-6 team in the history of baseball."

The Rays beat the White Sox the next day. Then lost two in a row before a five game winning streak settled things down enroute to a 91-71 record and a playoff appearance.

"You take one game at a time, man," Maddon said.  "It is Baseball Psych 101. It is. It is all about the moment. You don't want to analyze yourself or make crazy moves just because you had a bad start.  You will only hurt yourself. It would happen at some point anyway but if you're in a 4-8 stretch and you record is 40-23 you wouldn't feel it."

Maddon has a connection with Reds' first-year manager Bryan Price.  When Maddon managed Midland in the Texas league in 1985 and 1986, Price was one of his pitchers in the Texas organization.

"The only talks I had with him was the third or fourth inning on his second trip to the mound to take me out," Price said.  "I pitched my way back to the California League.  We didn't have a very good team but what I remember about him is that he always came to the park in a good mood and was always positive."

Maddon remembers Price.

"He was very intelligent," Maddon said. "You could tell even at that age that he would be in the game in some form for a long time."

Maddon likes the "vibe" in Cincinnati.

"Just be patient," Maddon advises Reds' fans. "I like this team. Once Hamilton gets his feet on the ground, he will be an absolute pain in the butt. You have a nice pitching staff."


Mat Latos MRI Results In Shutdown







Mat Latos will not throw for 10-12 days.

The layoff will push back his return for another month while he ramps up his pitch count to return to action.

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The MRI revealed, "a strained flexor mass" in his right forearm.

"I don't know if it's called a strain or a sprain, but there is more time off to let it simmer down," Bryan Price said. "He will work hard on staying in shape and doing all the other things he's capable of doing. It is a setback. His timetable will be pushed back fairly significantly."

The injury is different from Jonathan Broxton's in that surgery is not required.



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reds Revise Lineup But Not Results







Bryan Price shook up the lineup on Saturday but the offense allowed another well pitched game to be wasted in a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay.

Joey Votto hit in the second spot in the batting order for the first time since, 2008.

The revised lineup made no revision on the team's ability to score runs.

The first seven Reds were set down in order by young Alex Cobb of the Rays.

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Zack Cozart, who had a lonely one hit coming into the game, doubled over the thirdbase bag and down the line in left.  Reds' starter Alfredo Simon, who has one hit in three at bats this season, battled Cobb by fouling off four pitches before grounding out to secondbaseman, Ben Zobrist, advancing Cozart to third.  Billy Hamilton flied to left to end the mild threat.

Votto hit a ground-rule double on a fly that David DeJesus had trouble tracking.  The ball bounded off the warning track and into the stands.  As if to illustrate, the Reds' two-hole hitter, has none of the speed the leadoff hitter, Billy Hamilton has, Votto was thrown out at home on a single to center by Brandon Phillips, who took second on Kevin Kiermaier's perfect peg.  Phillips was caught by former teammate Ryan Hanigan trying to steal third.  Jay Bruce struck out.

Thirdbase coach Steve Smith is taking his decision hard.

"We are a good offensive team that is struggling," Bryan Price said.  "When you struggle, you try to do things to compensate.  Smitty is beating himself up right now.  He is aggressive by nature. I've known him a long time. I'm happy to have him on my staff.  We don't want to do things out of the ordinary but we want to stay aggressive."

Kiermairer was called up temporarily because the designated hitter is not used in National League parks.  Manager Joe Maddon wanted an extra position player.

"The way we had the shift, I knew if a ball was hit up the middle, I would have to be on it to have a play.  Defense is my bread and butter," said the Indiana native, who grew up a Cubs fan.

The play and the Phillips caught stealing gave Cobb a second wind.

"I try to leave emotions out of it," Cobb said. "It was huge.  When the defense picks you up like that you can't help but get excited. Ryan (Hanigan) made it even better.  A couple of times I was going to shake him off but thought to myself, 'What am I doing?' If anybody knows how to pitch these guys it's Ryan."

Meanwhile Alfredo Simon was mowing down the Rays' hitters, save James Loney, who hit a home run halfway up the rightfield pavillion to lead off the second innings.  Simon retired 12 straight fro the second inning into the sixth, when Zobrist singled. Simon was aided by fine plays from Votto and Phillips during the stretch.

Simon pitched eight innings, allowing just five hits and a walk.

"He is seizing the opportunity," Price said.  "He sees himself as a starter and he has kept us in both games.  That is big with Latos out."

"He (Simon) was amazing," catcher Brayan Pena said.

Votto walked against closer Grant Balfour but Phillips grounded into a game-ending 5-4-3 double play on a 3-2 pitch.

The Reds held a meeting after the game.

"It was just a reminder," Price said. "We're pressing. We're trying to create success. We're all pressing trying to do too much. It will turn around."

"We're not happy," Pena said. "We trust each other. It was a very positive meeting. We're not scoring. It's no secret.  The scoreboard is out there. We need to relax a little more and execute."

Mat Latos Has Forearm Pain From Bullpen Session






Mat Latos felt something in his elbow during his abbreviated bullpen session on Friday.

Mat obviously didn’t feel very good yesterday," Bryan Price said. "Everything started out fine, then he threw a pitch that bothered the inside of his right elbow, and we’re smart enough to know that we needed to shut him down. They’re doing some testing on the area to see if there’s some swelling and tightness in the area. We’re hoping that’s all it is. We’re optimistic that’s it, but it is a step back.”

Latos was frustrated and surly when asked about "the news."

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“I didn’t get any news. Nobody told me anything, I just knew it,” Latos said “It’s frustrating to take care of a problem you had at the end of last year, to make everything better, and to not be able to get out there and throw. It seems like every time I take a step forward, I take eight steps backward. The back of my elbow feels fine. That was the problem in Arizona. Now it’s the forearm.”

The team ordered an MRI which took place at 9:00 a.m.

“They think they’ve kind of got it pinpointed. They want to be 100 percent sure. I’ll find out later today what’s going on with it,” Latos said.

Latos doesn't know how the current problems relate to his past injuries.

 “I throw a baseball or  living. I’m not a doctor. I couldn’t tell you. All I know is it sucks not being able to play. It sucks not being able to go out there and throw the ball and be on the field. We’ve played the Cardinals (in two series). We’ve got a pretty good schedule first month, and it sucks not being out there. It’s definitely bugging me. I’m definitely not getting a good night’s sleep – actually many nights. I’m in the dark, as much as you guys are,” Latos said.

Mat Latos Suffers A Setback Will Be Out Longer Than Anticipated







Mat Latos felt something in his elbow during his abbreviated bullpen session on Friday.

Mat obviously didn’t feel very good yesterday," Bryan Price said. "Everything started out fine, then he threw a pitch that bothered the inside of his right elbow, and we’re smart enough to know that we needed to shut him down. They’re doing some testing on the area to see if there’s some swelling and tightness in the area. We’re hoping that’s all it is. We’re optimistic that’s it, but it is a step back.”

Latos was frustrated and surly when asked about "the news."

“I didn’t get any news. Nobody told me anything, I just knew it,” Latos said “It’s frustrating to take care of a problem you had at the end of last year, to make everything better, and to not be able to get out there and throw. It seems like every time I take a step forward, I take eight steps backward. The back of my elbow feels fine. That was the problem in Arizona. Now it’s the forearm.”

The team ordered an MRI which took place at 9:00 a.m.

“They think they’ve kind of got it pinpointed. They want to be 100 percent sure. I’ll find out later today what’s going on with it,” Latos said.

Latos doesn't know how the current problems relate to his past injuries.

 “I throw a baseball or  living. I’m not a doctor. I couldn’t tell you. All I know is it sucks not being able to play. It sucks not being able to go out there and throw the ball and be on the field. We’ve played the Cardinals (in two series). We’ve got a pretty good schedule first month, and it sucks not being out there. It’s definitely bugging me. I’m definitely not getting a good night’s sleep – actually many nights. I’m in the dark, as much as you guys are,” Latos said.

Twitter Gets Its Wish Votto Batting Second


“No messages being sent. Just trying to be creative in what we’re doing. More than anything, just rolling out the same philosophy and going down the same road doesn’t resonate with me. I want us to perform better. I want us to core more runs. I’m willing to do what it takes to change the lineup and get us going.”

When the Reds posted its lineup early Saturday, I could hear the "twitteratzie" yell a collective, "It's about time."

It seams like every fan, whoever graced a couch, wanted the Reds to hit Votto in the second spot. Most of them have their playing days if any so far behind them, they can tell you they were all-stars without fear of a person checking the facts.

The Reds are batting Votto in the second spot today for the ninth time in his career and the first time since, August 8, 2008 against Houston.  I those days of course the fans were screaming, "What's he doing in the lineup? Why are we giving this game away?"

Billy Hamilton will lead off against Tampa Bay Rays' right-hander Alex Cobb.

Votto will bat second with Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Ryan Ludwick, Brayan Pena, Zack Cozart and starting pitcher Alfredo Simon following in that order.

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This isn’t really a 10-game look, even though we started out the season 3-7," Bryan Price said. "We look at things over recent history as an organization and we’re just trying to get more guys on base in front of the middle of the lineup and try to create some newness to it. Maybe for no other reason than we need some newness. We’ve been at times a very productive offensive club, but we’ve gotten off to a slow start and I just don’t feel like a sit-on-my-hands-type of approach is the way to get these things turned around. I think we’ve got an outstanding group here, but we haven’t really hit on all cylinders yet, and I think we need to try something different.”

The Reds have been notorious "slow starters", a glaring example of which was the 4-8 start the 2012 team had.  That team won 97 games and then manager Dusty Baker stayed the course and brought the team in as Central Division Champions.

Price communicated the move to Votto before he made the decision.

Talked to Joey," Price said. "I don’t think anybody’s going to be too disgruntled going from second to third in the lineup. It’s a little different going the other way. Joey understands it. Joey and I had a great conversation in spring training. His willingness to do whatever is best for the club is outstanding. It’s a necessary part of what we’re trying to do here. Right now, we need to shake something up. We need to make some changes. We need to try to find a way to take a great group of baseball players and actually start to play to our ability. I don’t know if this is going to make a huge difference. I think it can. I’m optimistic about that.”

The move was not to send a message.

“No messages being sent," Price said. "Just trying to be creative in what we’re doing. More than anything, just rolling out the same philosophy and going down the same road doesn’t resonate with me. I want us to perform better. I want us to core more runs. I’m willing to do what it takes to change the lineup and get us going.”

It is somewhat.slike a slump busting method used by Davey Johnson, Billy Martin and others, just putting names in a hat and filling the lineup with a blind draw.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wrong Price Wins







The Price was wrong.

Manager Bryan Price did not get his fourth win as the Reds' manager because Tampa Bay's David Price threw 8 1/3 innings of shutout baseball at the Cincinnati Reds in a 2-1 loss.

Reds' ace Johnny Cueto was solid again. He pitched seven strong innings, allowing just five hits. One of those hits was a home run by Matt Joyce and another was a ground single to left by Evan Longoria in the first inning.  Cueto did walk four, including two that set the table for the Rays' thirdbaseman.

"I didn't feel right in the first inning," Cueto said. "I'm human and reacted to some close pitches that went against me but I was careful not to let the umpire see it."

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It was Cueto's third good outing and he has made his starts in three straight turns, something he could not do last year.

He has pitched seven innings in all three of them, allowing just five runs for a 2.14 ERA but is 0-2.

The Reds wasted a leadoff double by Mesoraco in the third and Brandon Phillips in the fourth.

"You hate to waste good pitching," Bryan Price said. "We've played good defense and made some big pitches.  We're not built just to move runners along.  We may do some things at the bottom of the lineup and the top but the middle of our lineup is built to drive in runs. They will be driving them in at some point."

The Reds managed just four hits off Price, the Vanderbilt grad, now has the highest winning percentage of any pitcher active pitcher with at least 150 starts.

Joey Votto hit his first home run of the season off Price with one out in the ninth.  Rays' manager Joe Maddon replaced his starter with Grant Balfour, who was in the Reds' organization in 2006 but never pitched in the majors.  He was rehabbing his shoulder when he met his current wife Angie Kist from Colerain.



Balfour had trouble closing out the Reds.  He struck out Ryan Ludwick looking. It was Ludwick's fourth strikeout of the night. Balfour walked Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco but caught pinch hitter Brayan Pena looking for the third out to end the game.

The Reds On Pace For Division Title





The Reds 3-6 start this season may be a good sign.

All three of their previous playoff teams got off to a slow start.

The 2010 team won the Central Division with a 91-71 record.  The team's record after nine games was 5-4 but then dropped five straight games. They were 5-7 after 12 games.

The 2011 team missed the playoffs with a 79-83 record.  That team started faster but faded.  The Reds were 6-3 after nine games and 8-4 after 12.

The 2012 team was 3-6 after nine, just like the Reds of 2014.  They were 4-8 after 12 but rallied with a phenomenal July and August to win the Central with a 97-65 record.

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Last season the Reds started out with a better 5-4 record but lost the next three to post a 5-7 record after 12.  The Reds earned a wild card spot with a 90-72 record, in spite of losing the last five games of the season. They were 2 1/2 games from the top record in the National League after 157 games.

The 2014 team takes the field against Tampa Bay with a 3-6 record four games behind the 7-2 Milwaukee Brewers.

The team is starting to get back some of its missing pieces.  There were eight players on the disabled list to start the season, including Jonathan Broxton and Devin Mesoraco.  Both are back from injury.

Mat Latos had a setback on Tuesday.  He was supposed to pitch for Louisville against Columbus but was scratched with inflammation in his elbow.  Latos threw a bullpen on Friday.

Skip Schumaker, who separated his shoulder in Goodyear, AZ, is rehabbing on the disabled list..

"We hope he can help us sometime in May," Bryan Price said.

Aroldis Chapman will throw off a mound on Monday.

"He had the staples removed," Price said.  "We won't put him in harms way but we'll start to do other things like fielding practice before he starts throwing to hitters."

Sean Marshall is expected to be back on the 18th of April.

Jack Hannahan is on the 60-day disabled list.  He had shoulder surgery last October.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cardinals And Reds Turn To Offense In The Deciding Game






The Reds and Cardinals hooked up in the rubber game of this three-game series after the teams traded 1-0 wins.

The bats came our blazing for both teams and the defending National League champions prevailed, 7-6.

The Reds' offense scored three runs in th first off Lance Lynn, two on Jay Bruce's two-run home run off Lance Lynn.  Bruce belted the Lynn pitch 449 feet on his 27th birthday.  Todd Frazier hit one even farther, 474 feet into the upper deck in leftfield immediately following Bruce.

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"We need to keep doing that," Frazier said. "We have a team that can hit. We just need to finish."

Joey Votto had two singles, a double and a walk, scoring on Bruce's homer and Frazier's three run blast.

"It is good to see Joey swinging the bat," Price said.  "We had better at bats.  We put some pressure on their pitchers."

Homer Bailey, making his first start, couldn't hold the lead.

With two-out and no one on base in the second. Matt Adams poked a single to left against the shift.  Jhonny Peralta lined a pitch into the leftfield corner to make it a 3-2 game.

Bailey wasn't sharp before he could finish the fifth, Price had to replace him with Nick Christiani by then St. Louis took the lead.  Bailey missed some spring starts with a slight groin injury.

"Homer wasn't as sharp as he will be as the season goes on," Price said.  "He can usually get his breaking ball over for strikes when he is on.  He wasn't able to do that.  You have to give some credit to the Cardinals. They fouled off some tough pitches and took some close pitches, until they got something they could square up."

Bailey knew he was off.

"I got behind a lot," Bailey said. "I was missing be just an inch or two. I think the layoff came back to bite me a little bit."

The Cardinals built a four-run lead in the seventh.  Trevor Bell walked two and gave up a bizarre single that loaded the bases with no outs.

Matt Holiday hit a ball to centerfield that Billy Hamilton attempted to catch.  It was unclear whether the ball hit off his glove or the wall.  Bruce fielded the carom on the fly which would have been an out. The firstbase umpire, Mark Ripperger, signaled out.  Secondbase umpire, Gary Cederstrom, signaled safe.
Crew chief Cederstrom decided to review the play without a challenge by either manager.  The replay revealed the ball was off the wall and all hands were safe.

Logan Ondrusek entered and gave up run-scoring singles to Allen Craig and Yadier Molina.  Holliday scored on a wild pitch.

Todd Frazier hit a three-run home run to get the Reds within a run.

Trevor Rosenthal got the last four outs for his second save.


Reds Opening Day Better Than New Year's On Time Square





Steve Watkins talked to the Sports Illustrated writer, who got to observe Opening Day Cincinnati style.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade or the New Year's Ball Dropping in Times Square has nothing on our celebration of spring and a new beginning.

Clik below to read Watkins story.....

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/blog/2014/04/sports-illustrated-writer-blown-away-by-cincinnati.html?ana=fbk







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Chris Heisey Come Through In The Pinch





The Reds opened the season without scoring in its first 17 innings, yet they have traded 1-0 games with arch-rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.

The win was the first for new manager Bryan Price.

"It feels great from a selfish standpoint," Price said. "From a team standpoint it feels even better. It's important to get that first one and get the ball rolling."

The Reds had a great outing by Johnny Cueto on Monday but lost on a Yadier Molina home run.

On Wednesday young Tony Cingrani pitched just as well, shutting down the Cardinals on two hits over seven innings.  In his 19 major league starts, Cingrani has given up no more than five hits in any of them.

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"They just told me that stat," Cingrani said. "I've felt that good before but I don't always get to seven innings because I throw a lot of pitching.  I like to win.  You have confidence, I guess.  You just try to be more confident than the hitter in the box."

Cingrani struck out Matt Adams with runners on first and second and two outs to end the seventh with a slider that locked Adams up,

"It was pretty good, one of seven good ones I threw," Cingrani said.

Cardinals starter Michael Wacha was just as good.

He pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and a walk.

Both bullpens kept up the pitching dominance.  The Reds were shut out on Monday.  During modern baseball the most innings the Reds have gone was 13 innings to start a season without scoring.  They failed to score in the first 13 innings in 1909 and the first 13 in 1934.

The Cardinals nearly scored against Manny Parra in the eighth Kolton Wong doubled over Billy Hamilton's head in centerfield with one out.  He was there with two outs when Cardinals' lead off hitter Matt Carpenter was up.  He hit a soft fly into shallow right center.

Zach Cozart went a long way for it and made the catch to end the inning and save a run.  Parra was pumped up and clenched his fist upon seeing the catch.

"I knew Manny was going to try to get him out with sliders so if he hit it on the ground it was going to be up the middle. I shaded him that way,"  Cozart said.  It was one of two such catches the Reds' shortstop made in the game.

The Reds finally broke through in the bottom of the ninth.  Ryan Ludwick hit his second single of the game between short and third.  Todd Frazier followed with a single in the same spot.  Cozart moved them with a bunt.  The Cardinals walked Brayan Pena to load the bases with hard throwing Carlos Martinez on the mound.

Matheny moved outfielder Allen Craig to the infield up the middle at second base.

Pinch hitter Chris Heisey singled to leftcenter to give the Reds the win.

"I didn't even see what Matheny was doing," Heisey said.  "I saw him moving guys around but I was concentrating on hitting the ball hard."

"That was a good matchup for Heisey," Price said. "Chris can hit a fastball no matter how hard they throw it.".



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Brownsburg High School Day at Reds Cardinals Thursday






Tucker Barnhart will get his first major league start against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, weather permitting.

It may be new to the 23-year old from Brownsburg, Indiana, a town of 21,000 plus people, 138 miles from Cincinnati.  There will be a familiar face on the mound, not Homer Bailey the Reds starter but Lance Lynn, the Cardinal's starter.

Lynn pitched for Brownsburg High.

Barnhart started for the Bulldogs as a freshman, he caught Washington Nationals pitcher Drew Storen.  Lynn was a 2005 graduate while Barnhart graduated in 2009. The Reds chose him in the 10th round.

Lynn was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the sixth round of the 2005 draft but elected to attend the University of Mississippi instead.  The Cardinals picked him with a supplemental first round pick in 2008. He was the 39th player taken in that draft.

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Barnhart was slated to go to Louisville for his first year of Triple A ball.  An oblique injury that will keep Devin Mesoraco out of action for a short period of time, gave Barnhart an early chance to catch in the major leagues.

Barnhart was on the 40-man roster while Corky Miller was not.  The Reds had a choice to go a week with Barnhart rather than risk losing a player from the 40-man roster by adding the more experienced Miller.

Barnhart, who is a switch hitter, hit .260 for Pensacola last season with three home runs and 44 RBI.

This spring, Barnhart's third big league camp, he appeared in 10 games 5-for-18 (.278) with no home runs and 3 RBI.

Reds Expect Re-enforcements Soon





The Reds expect to have Jonathan Broxton back to close before the end of the Reds' series in St. Louis next Wednesday.

Until then Bryan Price will mix and match to close out games.

If the Reds had scored on Monday, J.J. Hoover was ready to come in to close.

"(Manny) Parra had already pitched and Logan (Ondrusek) was a good matchup with (Matt) Holliday," Price said. "I won't name a closer. Broxton will be back soon, hopefully by the St. Louis series."

The Reds play a weekend series in New York, then open a three-game series on Monday in St. Louis.

Broxton is in Arizona pitching in minor league games.

"There are things he needs to do," Price said.  "He has to pitch back-to-back games.  We can't guarantee him a day off after he pitches."

Mat Latos is expected back by either the end of the Tampa Bay series on April 13 or the start of the Pittsburgh series on April 14.

Latos is schedule to pitch tomorrow at Double A Pensacola, then five days later for Louisville at Columbus.
Devin Mesoraco, who is hitting in minor league games in Arizona will catch Latos in Pensacola.

Sean Marshall pitched a simulated game.

"Marshall came out of it just find. We expect to see him April 18 to 20, somewhere around there," Price said.

Price told 23-year old catcher Tucker Barnhart that he would be the starting catcher on Thursday afternoon.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Yaddy Wins Beats Reds And Boos With Bat And Mitt





Matt Holliday jogged in from leftfield to shake hands with teammates after they St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 win over the Reds on Opening Day.  "Yaddy wins," Holliday said.

Public enemy number one at Great American Ball Park, Yadier Molina, hit a solo home run off Johnny Cueto for the only run of the game.

While it was the glaring winning moment, there were other influences that his teammates, manager and opponents are tuned to.

He turned one dribble in front of the plate by Joey Votto into a double play.

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"That's not an easy play for a catcher to make," said Cardinal manager Mike Matheny, who was known as a very good defensive catcher during his playing days.  "He was so quick to the ball and threw a laser to second."

Before the game, there was anticipation of a matchup between the swift Billy Hamilton and Molina but Adam Wainwright, who picked up his 100th career victory was able to strike out Hamilton four times.

"Because pitchers have confidence in Yaddy's ability to block balls in the dirt, Adam (Wainwright) and the others can throw that big curveball," Matheny said.

Hamilton led off the third inning.  He struck out chasing a ball in the dirt and took off for first. Molina blocked it and threw him out.  Phillips walked.  Votto made contact with another low sweeping curve and topped it in front of the plate, almost like a sacrifice bunt.  Molina pounced on it and fired to second to start the double play.

"It was a big emphasis to keep Hamilton off base," Wainwright said. "In a 1-0 game, that's a big deal.  He stole two bases off us in September against the best catcher in the game."

After a good spring, Hamilton had a tough day at the plate. He struck out nine times in 61 plate appearances this spring.

"He went against Adam Wainwright who is pretty good," Reds' manager Bryan Price said. "I know he wanted to be a bigger influence in our offense but he will be out there the day after tomorrow."

It was Price's debut as manager that ended in disappointment.

"I was thinking there was a win at the end of it," Price said. "I was trying to keep this from being about me but about what we do as a team.. There were a lot of positives. The end results wasn't great. I spent 15 years as a pitching coach."

The frustration built for the Reds.  They had runners on first and third with no outs in the eighth.

Wainwright was gone but the St. Louis bullpen is young with a lot of hard throwers.  Newcomer Pat Neshak has an unorthodox underhand delivery.  Neshek walked Phillips to start the inning.  Matheny brought in left-hander Kevin Seigrist, who throws about 98mph, to face Votto and Bruce back-to-back.  Remember this is what former Reds' manager, Dusty Baker, tried to avoid.  Baker broke up Votto and Bruce to force the opposing manager to use two pitchers.  Votto rolled a ball up the middle that should have been turned into a double play.  Rookie secondbaseman, Kolten Wong, tried to rush it and missed the ball completely putting Phillips at third and Votto at first with no out.  Matheny could leave Siegrist in to face Bruce.  Bruce hit a one hop grounder to Matt Adams at firstbase.  Phillips was running on contact.

"We had Brandon running on contact.  If they turn a double play we still score but Adams made the play," Price said.

Adams threw home to get Phillips in a rundown.  Phillips stayed in it as long as he could but neither runner advanced.  Matheny went to Carlos Martinez, who is the youngest player on the Cardinal roster at 22 to pitch to Ryan Ludwick.

Ludwick grounded one to second to give Wong a chance to redeem himself. He flipped to Pete Kozma at shortstop. Adams flat out dropped the relay to give Frazier a chance to drive in the tying run.  Martinez struck him out looking.

"We didn't get the hit we needed," Price said. "It was disappointing but we're going to have disappointments along the way."




Thursday, March 27, 2014

Injured Reds Limp Home With Balls In The Air




If Bryan Price would have know it was this difficult, would he have taken the job as Reds' manager..  As many as eight players, including newcomer Brett Marshall on the disabled list to start the season.

"We have a lot of balls in the air right now," Price. "I wish I could be more direct right now but I really don't know who will be on our team, right now.  I just don't want anyone crossing the street."

Tony Cingrani was the only starter that didn't have any visible aches or pains this spring.

Cingrani pitched seven solid innings, Billy Hamilton hit two triples and the Cincinnati Reds topped the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-1 Thursday in a split-squad game.

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Both players will be on a major league roster for the first time.

 "I'm beyond excited. It is a dream come true," said Cingrani, who hadn't had a chance to call home with the news. "It is unbelievable for me and Billy. I played with Billy a lot (in the minor leagues). It will be unbelievable for both of us.

Cingrani found out earlier that he will start the second game of the season against St. Louis on April 2. It's his first time on an opening-day roster.

The 24-year old left-hander allowed one run and five hits, including a homer by Nick Evans. Cingrani walked one but picked off two runners.

"Cingrani is the confident kind. He's not emotionally fragile," Reds' first-year manager Bryan Price said.

 Hamilton also singled. The speedster is expected to be in the opening day lineup, leading off in center field.

 Hamilton almost hit his second homer of the spring. His drive bounced high off the wall and got past right fielder Jordan Parraz, and Hamilton took a wide turn at third but held.

On deck batter, Brandon Phillips, got excited. He was jumping up and down while waiving Hamilton on.

The Reds' speedster left no doubt in Price's mind from his play this spring.

 "He's been terrific," Price said. "His approach has been impeccable. He has kept the ball out of the air except for two sacrifice flys he hit the other day. His defense has been impeccable too."

Cingrani allowed 14 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings in five prior spring starts. Minor injuries to Homer Bailey and Mike Leake created an opening for Cingrani, who has earned his first opening day roster spot, to move up in the rotation.

 "Statistically, it hasn't been a good spring, but he has improved his change up and breaking ball," Price said.

Reds: Devin Mesoraco hasn't played in 10 days with a strained oblique.

"Devin has to play. He has to catch, throw, hit and run. It is unlikely that he will join us but we haven't signed off on putting him on the disabled list," Price said...Brett Marshall is slowed by a strained tendon in his middle finger. He strained it in the game on Wednesday against the White Sox. "Marshall is seeing a hand specialist in Phoenix today," Price said.

Brett Marshall and Devin Mesoraco may join, Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, who pitched in a minor league game today, Sean Marshall, Mat Latos, Jack Hannahan and Skip Schumaker on the disabled list.

The Reds named Johnny Cueto to start opening day against the St. Louis Cardinals.

 "When Johnny's been healthy, he's been our number one starter legitimately, for four years" Price said.

Cingrani will start the second game against St. Louis on April 2. Homer Bailey will pitch against the Cardinals on April 3. Mike Leake will open the first road series against the New York Mets on April 4.  Alfredo Simon will pitch against the Mets on April fifth.  The Reds expect Mat Latos to return in time to start when his turn comes around on April 11 against Tampa Bay.

The Reds will leave injured players behind to get some work in minor league games while the team breaks camp with several non-roster players, Roger Bernadina, Chris Nelson and Jason Bourgeois. The Reds have to make 40-man roster moves by Monday.

"We've discussed it already just trying to figure out what to do with the 40-man roster and what moves to make to accommodate the players we're going to need to add to the roster are very, very painful decisions to make," Price said. "Certainly there's a chance we could lose some players over the course of these transactions with the guys moving to the 40-man, 25-man roster. I don't think we're going to take it all the way up to Opening Day. But I can answer your questions right now."

The Reds play against their minor league affiliates in Pensacola on Friday night and Louisville on Saturday afternoon. There will be no workout on Sunday by major league rule. Mike Leake will start Friday. Homer Bailey will start Saturday.