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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.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cubs Sweep Reds In Rain Shortened Series

The case of the missing Cingrani was solved but so was the pitching mystery of rookie Anthony DeSclafani in the Cubs 5-2 win on Sunday

The Cubs scored on the 100th career home run by Miguel Montero. It was the first allowed by DeSclafani as a Red and snapped his streak of 16 scoreless innings.

The Cubs were aided by an error by Todd Frazier to score four unearned runs off DeSclafani in the fourth. The big blow was a three-run double by rookie Addison Russell after he was down in the count 0-2.

"That's a pitch that I want back," DeSclafani said. "The situation never changes whatever it is, I am going to attack the strike zone. I need to locate those pitches better.  I could have bounced it in the dirt to get him to chase it."

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta got the first 12 Reds' batters out, three by strikeout.

Frazier partially atoned for his miscue by lofting his fifth home run into the leftfield stands.

Arrieta seemed to lose his edge. Brandon Phillips and Brennan Boesch singled but Marlon Byrd struck out after an eight-pitch at bat.

Zack Cozart singled to leadoff the fifth and Brayan Pena walked.  Manager Bryan Price sent Devin Mesoraco to pinch hit and he drew a walk.  Billy Hamilton forced Mesoraco at second as Cozart scored. Arrieta being cautious with Joey Votto, walked the Reds' firstbaseman.

Frazier with another chance to shed the goat's horn popped up to Cubs' firstbaseman Anthony Rizzo in foul territory.  Phillips forced Votto to end the threat. Hamilton tripled with two out in the seventh but Votto struck out.

The Reds are hitless in its last 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-5 today.

Cingrani had not pitched in 13 days before throwing two perfect innings.  His absence in games had been a mystery.

"I felt good. I felt fresh," Cingrani said. "I threw four times in the last 12 days. I was jacked up. We are only 16 games in the season. I will get plenty of opportunities to pitch."
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Price is trying to re-acclimate Cingrani into a bullpen role.

"Modern baseball has evolved so that guys are used to pitching in certain roles," Price said. "You used to have guys like Pedro Borbon who threw 500 innings over a three-year period.  My concern with Tony is how he is going to bounce back.  We've had him up (warm up) and not gotten him in a game. There are a lot of things that go into using Tony.  We needed length but you also have a lefty that can pitch later in games. We have to get him used to getting up and not being used.  We need to see how he reacts to shorter stints over a couple days.: We have to create durability with Tony."

The other Reds bullpen pitchers getting off to a slow start prevented Price from using Cingrani to pitch in shorter stints.

"We are going to need (Kevin) Gregg, (Burke) Badenhop and (J.J.) Hoover to throw the way they are capable," Price said. "Their slow start affected how we use Tony. We are going to need those guys. There are not a lot of alternatives.  We are going to need those guys. You can't tell guys they lost their role after they struggle the first time out."

"The alternative is to stretch every one out if we are going to go back to the way pitchers were used in the 70's or 80's," Price said.

Slump Riddled Jay Bruce Sits Against The Cubs

Jay Bruce is off to a slow start.

The Reds' rightfielder will get the day off after a slow start as far as batting averages are concerned.

Bruce has been a streaky hitter in his career and April has been hard on him over the years.

For his career Bruce is a .244 hitter in April with 27 home runs and 86 RBI. Next to July (.222 17 65) it is historically his worst month of the season.

See year by year chart below.

2009 .258 5 13 16 k
2010 .263 4 11 18 k
2011 .237 4 11 27 k
2112 .296 7 17 21 k
2013 .252 1 11 40 k
2014 .220 3 14 27 k
2015 .164 3 9 24 k

Bruce's power numbers are normal but his average is way down. The shift employed more often by Reds' opponents may be the culprit.

"I am getting tired of seeing Jay smoke the ball right into the shift," manager Bryan Price said. "You can't change a guys approach at this level. You have to start in the minor leagues."

Bruce's slow start is not the only reason that Price is sending Brennan Boesch out to replace the rightfielder, who was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012, Boesch needs to play to stay sharp. Price is also getting his starters a day off early.

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"I have gotten everyone a day except for Joey (Votto) and Zack (Cozart) and they are going to get one soon," Price said.

Boesch made the team with an outstanding spring with a .361 average, four home runs and 14 RBI. He rebounded from injury to lead the Pacific Coast League with a .332 average last season.

Boesch hasn't been able to stay sharp off the bench, hitting 167 with one double. He has yet to drive in a run in 13 plate appearances and struck out five times.

He needs some consecutive at bats to get the edge and hold it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tony Cingrani's Time Is Coming

Reds fans and media have been questioning the whereabouts of Tony Cingrani.

The left-hander, who was expected to fill one of the spots in the starting rotation, hasn't pitched since.April 14.  It has been 11 days since he pitched 1/3 of an inning against the Cubs.

"His time h
as come," said manager Bryan Price Saturday morning. "He made the team as a long guy."

Price has been saving the left-hander for games in which the starter was knocked out early or extra-innings.

It was an element of the bullpen that has been missing since Afredo Simon was given a shot at the starting rotation.  The rotation was good last year but the bullpen suffered with one-inning pitchers.  The remaining members of the pen were one-inning pitchers, two at most.

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"I have been reluctant to get him out there where he only faces a couple of hitters," Price said.

The other members of the bullpen pitching staff have not been very good in the first month of the season.

"He should be provided with the opportunity to pitch," Price said. "I can't worry about length."

1990 Reds Red Hot Rap

The 25th anniversary of the 1990 World Champions Cincinnati Reds.


Below is the team's Red Hot Rap:

Read about this team in Hal McCoy's new book which you can order from Amazon with the gadget to the right of this blog.

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Anthony DeSclafani Lets Pitching Speak

Anthony DeSclafani is all business on the mound, saying little besides, "Yes Sir" and "No Sir"

The 24-year old right-hander, obtained in the trade for Mat Latos, has been outstanding in his first three starts.

DeSclafani has gone progressively deeper in each of his three starts. He allowed two runs in six innings in a no-decision against Pittsburgh in his first start. Since then, he has rolled off 15 straight scoreless innings.

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"It would have been impossible to expect this type of start in the first three games," manager Bryan Price said.  "You can't go three times through a lineup without great stuff."

The native of Freehold, New Jersey, who pitched at the University of Florida, has an intensity about him.  He looks like he is focused all the time and locked in.

"Anthony is all about the job at hand," Price said. "He says very little during the game. He is very focused. He is a really good kid. He has things to say but knows when to speak up.  He is a rookie and knows his place. I really like that."

The demeanor is the same as Cory Kluber of the Cleveland Indians, who won the American League Cy Young Award last season.

"I've never met Kluber but it is a good comparison," Price said. "Maybe he can be as successful."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cubs Score Four In The 11th To Beat Reds

Jonathan Herrera singled home one run and former Red David Ross doubled home two off Burke Badenhop to send the Cubs to a 7-3 win in 11 innings.

The Reds showed the sabermetrics crowd that outs can also be valuable as long as you put the ball in play.

The Reds scored three runs on two ground outs and a sacrifice fly to stay even with the Cubs, who got home runs from Anthony Rizzo and Chris Coughlin.

The Reds were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Jay Bruce left six runners stranded in his 0-for-5 night with three strikeouts.

"We had opportunities and didn't get it done," Bruce said. "We're playing well but we need to lace em up tomorrow and be prepared."

Billy Hamilton singled off Cubs' starter Jon Lester and stole second in the first inning. He went to third on a wild pitch and scored when Joey Votto grounded out.  Hamilton singled again in the third then stole second and third, giving him 11 steals in 11 chances.  Phillips ground out scored Hamilton this time.

Reds' starter Mike Leake retired the first nine Cubs batters in order.  Dexter Fowler doubled and trotted home on Rizzo's second home run of the season and second against the Reds.

"Leaker gave us a chance," manager Bryan Price said. "We just didn't get it done. We have to work real hard the next couple days to win the series."

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The Reds went up a run in the fourth.  Marlon Byrd drilled a leadoff double, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Zack Cozart's long fly to deep center.  Cozart led the National League with 10 sacrifice flys in 2013.

Coughlan's solo opposite field home run off Leake in the seventh tied the game.  It was Couglan's third of the season.

Coughlan was 8-for-8 against Leake coming into the game.

"He was definitely someone I focused on," said Leake, who got Coughlan out the first two times in the game. "I executed the pitch I wanted on the home run but it probably wasn't the right pitch."

Leake finished with seven strong innings, allowing four hits, walking one and striking out nine.

Lester pitched six innings allowed three runs on five hits and a walk. The veteran struck out 10.

The game was placed in the hands of the bullpen.  Phil Coke, Gonzalez Germen and Zac Rosscup kept the Reds off the board.

Jumbo Diaz and Aroldis Chapman kept the Cubs from scoring through regulation.

Jason Motte pitched out of a bases loaded jam to get the win.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Did The Reds Botch Its Roster Management?

Perhaps the biggest loss for the Reds over the off-season was assistant general manager Bob Miller.

It appears that the Reds' have botched the handling of its roster over the handling of the Devin Mesoraco.

Mesoraco had a problem with his hip during the end of the Reds homestand Saturday or Sunday.  He has not played since.  The severity of the injury is not public knowledge but he has been out of action now for over a week.

The Reds chose not to put Mesoraco on the disabled list. This caused them to play shorthanded but it is a must that two catchers are available every game because that position is more prone to injury and few players can play the position.  In an emergency infielders can play outfield and outfielders can be pressed into service as infielders. Catchers, however, are more specialized and affect pitching to a high degree.

The Reds needed another catcher immediately.  So call up Tucker Barnhart, the organization's third catcher.

Not so fast.  Barnhart was optioned late in the spring training.  He could only be recalled after 14 days unless there is an injury that required a trip to the disabled list.  Bob Miller has a reputation of an expert on the roster rules, exceptions and enforcement.  It is this circumstance that Miller's leaving the organization may have hurt.

The only way to cover for Mesoraco was to open a spot on the 40-man roster for another catcher in the system.  Kyle Skipworth, a former number one draft choice, was the other option but the Reds had to put a player on waivers to get him on the roster. 

The Reds also left spring training without a long reliever other than Rasiel Iglesias, who was the fifth starter that covered for Homer Bailey on Sunday.

Unusable for four days, the Reds' optioned Iglesias to Louisville. It was pretty clear through conversations with Bryan Price that he wanted to bring Michael Lorenzen to Cincinnati but the organization elected to develop Lorenzen at Louisville. Also they would need to clear a 40-man spot for him too.

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The Reds selected the contract of Josh Smith in case they needed a long relief man.  The move required the Reds to waive another player.

Left-handed pitcher Ryan Dennick and right-handed prospect Daniel Corcino were exposed to waivers and Chris Dominguez lost his spot on the Reds' bench to make these moves.

Dennick was claimed by the Dodgers, then waived.  Corcino was then claimed by the Dodgers.

Why not disable Mesoraco and recall Barnhart in the first place, saving either pitchers from exposure and keeping Dominguez to pinch hit?

In Bryan Price's tirade he railed about reporters tipping off Cardinals' manager Mike Matheny that Mesoraco was unavailable to pinch hit.

Is having Mesoraco available as a decoy in a situation that may not even come up worth losing a pitching prospect, who showed promise last last year?  Matheny knew at least the Mesoroco was less than 100 percent because he didn't start.  Do you think that he would change his pitching choices based on the threat of an injured player?

Maybe the Reds expected Mesoraco back sooner than the required 15-day stay on the disabled list but they have been playing short-handed for a week and lost a pitching prospect to boot.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bryan Price Upset By Reds Loss And Umpires

Bryan Price was fuming after the Reds' 7-5 loss to St. Louis.

He couldn't decide whether he was more upset with the umpires, the Cardinals or his own team but there was no mistaking he was upset.

"It was a game that was there to win and we didn't get it done. You don't win championships when you let games like this get away," Price said.

The Reds took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh with three runs off four Cardinal pitchers.

"We have to get more separation so the pitchers don't have such a narrow margin for error and we have to hold on to a lead when we get one," said Price, who called for a long relief man early in spring training. Tony Cingrani was moved to the bullpen to fill that role. Cingrani pitched two scoreless innings and was in line for a win before Jumbo Diaz gave up a game-tying, two-run home run to Jhonny Peralta in the eighth.

"It was a nice homestand but today was a game we should have won.  Since I've been here (2010) the Cardinals has been a team that has beaten us. At the end of the World Series no one cares how many times you beat a certain team  But to reverse that, yes, it's important to me," Price said after the Reds lost the 13th series out of the last 15 to the hated Cardinals.

"We have a lot of one inning pitchers. Situationally, we couldn't match up. They had Villanueva down there who could go three or four innings," Price lamented.
Then there was the frustrating eighth inning.

Price was upset the homeplate umpire Kerwin Danley did not signal that Jon Jay was hit by a pitch and did not want to use his challenge.

"Danley said he should have made the call and everyone assumed the call. I felt the umpires should have reviewed it since no one called it or the Cardinals should have used their challenge. It may be sour grapes on my part but I'm (pissed off) about it." Joe West tossed him for delaying the game.

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"Well, I really shouldn't comment because he was ejected for delaying the game. That's basically why he was ejected," West said. "He didn't challenge it. You'll have to ask him why, because [home plate umpire] Kerwin [Danley] asked him three times, 'do you wanna challenge?' He says 'no, I don't wanna challenge.' So he got mad, evidently didn't like the way we called time or something. For the official report, he was ejected for delaying the game."

The Cardinals successfully challenged a play at thirdbase later in the eighth inning. With runners of first and second, Yadier Molina chopped a ball right at the plate. Catcher Devin Mesoraco reached to tag Molina and umpire Danley gave the safe call. Mesoraco threw to third, Frazier stepped on the bag and threw to first seamingly to compete a double-play. Mike Matheny challenged saying there should have been a tag at third.

The Replay Official determined that the catcher tagged the runner on the leg, thus removing the force at 3B. No offensive or defensive player reacted to the call on the field. Per the replay regulations, the Replay Official placed both teams in the same situation they would have been in had the call on the field been correct. The batter-runner is out, runners on 2B and 3B.

"There was no call on the tag," Price said. "If Todd would have seen the call, he would have made the tag."

Price did not like Jason Heyward's slide in the fifth inning when he was thrown out at thirdbase trying to stretch a double."It was a dirty slide by Heyward. We didn't like it," Price said. "They aren't a dirty team and don't play like that but we didn't like the slide. Todd (Frazier) could have been hurt."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto Combination Cause Pitchers Ageda

Ageda is an Italian word for anxiety with fewer key strokes and befitting Votto's ethnic background, it is appropriate.

Billy Hamilton, getting on base in front of Votto has allowed the Reds' former MVP the opportunity  to drive in runs that have eluded him the last two years.  Votto was criticized for taking too many walks in RBI situations when the reality was there was no reason to pitch to him.

Now with Hamilton such a threat to steal, the pitchers concentration has been divided.

"Billy is the most exciting player, I've seen," Votto said. "He creates chaos. I've never seen anything like it."

Hamilton worked with Delino DeShields, the manager of the Louisville Bats, on being more selective and hitting the ball on the ground more, which is accomplished by better pitch selection.  Hamilton has been on base at a .444 clip in the first four games.  While hitting .286, he has drawn four walks. Hamilton walked just 34 times in 152 games last year. He has seven stolen bases in seven attempts.

"Billy is more aware of what pitchers are trying to do to him," Bryan Price said.

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The combination has worked with pitchers wary of Hamilton and not being able to concentrate on Votto.

"Anybody would benefit with a speed guy like Hamilton on base," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's why we are trying to quicken guys up in general. You have to find a happy medium where you don't sacrifice stuff.  The best pitchers in the game are all quick to the plate."

The catcher has to worry about both.  If the best pitch to Votto is a slow curve,  the catcher can't worry that the pitch is easy for Hamilton to steal on.

"The job of the catcher is to make the pitcher aware and just do what you can," said Matheny a former catcher. "It is obvious to us if they sacrifice their best pitch to throw a guy out. That has diminishing returns. The good catcher fight that urge."

Urge or not, pitch selection or not, Votto hit three home runs already, driven in eight runs and hit at a .412 clip.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Reds Beat Arch Rivals With Speed And Power

The 1869 Reds were also undefeated after four games but given the 2014 Reds lost so many close games, 38 one-run losses, these first four are extra satisfying.

"It was one thing we didn't do last year," Billy Hamilton said after the Reds edged the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4

Hamilton has been a key to giving the Reds' offense the extra push it needs to win close games. He has seven stolen bases in four games and been able to disrupt pitchers while they are facing a finally healthy Joey Votto.

Hamilton was on base when Votto launched his second two-run home run in as many days.

"Billy is the most exciting player I've ever seen," Votto said. "He creates chaos."

Votto hit another two-run home run with Jason Marquis, the starting pitcher, on base.  Votto had three home runs, eight RBI and a stolen base before he drew his first walk of the season, an issue in some areas of Reds' country that said he was too passive at the plate.

Jason Marquis had a rough start, walking two batters in the first inning, including Matt Carpenter who scored on a double by Jhonny Peralta.  After Votto's first inning two-run opposite field home run, Randall Grichuk hit a two-run home run off Marquis to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead.

"I don't know if it was excitement or what but I was rushing a little early on but I made an adjustment," said the veteran right-hander who pitched to both Cardinal manager, Mike Matheny and Yadier Molina while he was with the Cards.

"I don't know if it was adrenaline, his first game after a year, a game against his old team. There are plenty of reasons to be excited no matter what your age," Bryan Price said.
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Marquis, one of the best hitters in the game singled to start the third.  Votto hit his second home run of the game the 10th time in his career, he's done that.

Kevin Gregg put two runners on in his third of an inning. The Cardinals tied the game on a single by Heyward.

That set up Hamilton for the exciting finish. He walked for the second time, stole second and watched as the Cardinals walked Votto intentionally.  Hamilton scampered to third on a pitch in the dirt that Molina couldn't locate in time.  Votto stole second.  Hamilton scored on a fly to Heyward in shallow right.

"I was going no matter what," said Hamilton who slid home head first with the winning run.

Reds Starter, Cardinals Manager Were Batterymates

Jason Marquis is making his Cincinnati Reds debut while trying to defeat an old friend.

Marquis and Cardinals' manager Mike Matheny were teammates with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. Matheny was the catcher on many of Marquis' 32 starts that season.

"I remember he came from Atlanta in his second when he rescued his career the second time," Matheny said. "He was a power guy, who reluctantly bought into the sinker."

After spending part of three seasons, bouncing up and down between the Braves and the minor leagues, Marquis was involved in a trade to the Cardinals along with Adam Wainwright and Ray King for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero.  The trade was engineered on the Cardinals side by current Reds' general manager, Walt Jocketty.

Marquis had his best season to date with Matheny behind the plate. He was 15-7 with a 3.71 ERA in his 32 starts.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Struggling Marlon Byrd Delivers The Winning Run Sans Credit

Official scorer Ron Roth ruled it an error and no RBI but Marlon Byrd's sinking line drive to rightfield with Todd Frazier on third could not be handled by Gregory Polanco and the Reds completed a sweep with a 3-2 win.

Frazier doubled to open the ninth.  Devin Mesoraco hit a slow ground ball to shortstop to advance Frazier to third.

"Devin got his first hit today but his groundball to allow Todd to move up was set up the ending," Bryan Price said.  'He could have tried to hit a home run but he gave himself up."

Rob Scahill walked Jay Bruce intentionally to pitch to Marlon Byrd, who came into the game with one hit in nine at-bats, hit the ball to rightfield with authority.

It hit off Polanco's glove and Frazier, who slipped was able to score as the ball got behind the disgusted Polanco.

"Everyone wants to get off to a good start but that doesn't always happen," Price said. "Marlon wanted to come here to be part of a winner."

Byrd admitted that he was struggling with his sixth strikeout of the season recorded in the fifth inning.

"Yes I felt like I was struggling," Byrd said. 'I don't usually strikeout like that.  That was the first bal I hit to rightfield.  If I keep doing that, the hits will come."

Anthony DeSclafani pitched in his Reds' debut.

"There were no more nerves than any other game. It was fun," DeSclafani said. "I'm glad everything was working. I'm glad we won."

The 24-year old, who pitched at the University of Florida, pitched six strong innings and might have gone even farther if not for the 1:14 rain delay.

The Reds kept him active by getting him up every 15 minutes to throw underneath the stands.

"To his credit, he came back with even better stuff," Price said.

The Pirates scored a run in the fifth when Polanco was able to beat a long throw by Zack Cozart with the bases loaded.  Pedro Alvarez hit a solo home run to leftfield to stake the Pirates to a short-lived 2-0 lead.

Billy Hamilton, who has been on base nearly 50 percent of the time in the early going ans has stolen six bases, including two in this game, was on secondbase when Joey Votto hit his first home run since May 10 last season to tie the game off A.J. Burnett.

"We have a good combination at the top of the order," Price said. "We have a speed guy at the top and a guy who can get on base and hit exrra-base hits behind him."

Teddy Kremer Strikes Again

Honorary bat boy, Teddy Kremer, was with the Reds on Opening Day.

There is no mystery as to why Todd Frazier hit a home run.  Teddy asked him to.

Kremer has been a good luck charm to the Reds and he asked his buddy, Frazier to homer.

Frazier lifted the game winner into the upper deck in leftfield to lift the Reds to a 5-2 victory over the Pirates.

When asked Wednesday evening what he would do for an encore, Frazier replied, "Same thing."

Sure enough in his first at-bat Wednesday against Garrett Cole, Frazier launched his second bomb of the season into the upper deck in the first inning.

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While not a game-winner, it helped the Reds to extra innings, where Joey Votto ended the 11-inning marathon with a single to right, scoring Zack Cozart with the winning run.

Run Billy Run Billy Hamilton Running At Will

For the fourth time in a 24-hour period, Billy Hamilton stole a base.

Three games into the season, Hamilton has five.

Up to the moment, being the Reds' third rain delay in as many games, Hamilton is hitting .400 and has been on base 50 percent of his plate appearances, giving him plenty of opportunity.

In three instances, he stole a base without a throw.
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The sample is small and no one expects him to keep up this pace but for now, the Reds at 2-0 have taken advantage of this offensive weapon. He has scored three of the Reds' 10 runs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Josh Harrison Princeton, UC Grad Signs Extension With Pirates


Josh Harrison had to earn playing time in the Major Leaugues.

Originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the sixth round of the 2008 draft out of the University of Cincinnati where he played for three seasons

Harrison was a three-year letterman at Princeton High School as was his older brother Vince, who played professional baseball for five seasons.

Harrison had to prove that he could hit Major League pitching everyday. He was type cast as a utility player and the Pirates traded for him in July 30, 2009.  He toiled in the minor leagues for two seasons then made his debut against the New York Mets on May 31, 2011.

On Wednesday, Harrison signed a four-year extension guaranteed for $27.3 million with options in 2019 and 2020 that could pay him up to $50 million.

"We have extended the contract of a tremendous player and tremendous human being," Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said. "It took us time to realize that he could hit at this level. We moved him all around and he did everything we asked.  We think we have found a home for him (at thirdbase). He shows up with energy and grit and made the most of his opportunity."

Harrison always believed in himself and his family believed in him also.

"I'm excited to be a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates," Harrison said. "I'm blessed to play this game. I'm excited to sign with the Pirates in my hometown, so my family can be here."

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Harrison's father and mother attended as did his brother Sean.  His little daughter Mia Jade, kept calling for her daddy in the lap of her mother Brittney.

"I dreamed of this day since I was a little kid," Harrison said. "To be sitting here on the day I dreamed of in my hometown with my family, WOW!"

Harrison spent two season as a utility player for the Pirates. He was up and down between the big legues and the minor leagues in 2011. He spent the entire 2012 season with the big club, hitting .233 in 104 games. The next season he split time between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, playing 60 with the Pirates, hitting .250. He played 64 at Indianapolis and hit .317.

Last season Harrison kicked the door down.

He began the season as a part-time player but by mid-season was in the lineup everyday. He hit so well and played such good defense that he was selected to play in the All-Star game, an announcement that also came while the Pirates were in his hometown.

Harrison finished second in the National League batting race with a .315 batting average. Justin Morneau of the Colorado Rockies edged him with a .319 average.

The 5'8' 195 lb, 27 year old, earned a starting job on opening day for the first time in his career. The Pirates and Harrison reached a deal on the off-day Tuesday.

"I have had doubters but I don't play for them, so they don't affect what I do," Harrison said. "I play for my family who have been behind me in good times and bad.  They've always had faith in me which gave me confidence. I love playing this game but it doesn't define me. My family does."

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sam LeCure and Michael Lorenzen Sent Out Reds Complete Roster

Fan favorite Sam LeCure cleared waivers and has been sent outright to Louisville.  The Reds optioned Michael to Louisville.

Homer Bailey, Jason Bourgeois and Sean Marshall will start the season on the disabled list.

Four non-roster players made the team; Kevin Gregg, Chris Dominguez, Brennan Boesch and Jason Marquis, who is in the starting rotation.  The fifth starter will be Iglesias, who can go to the bullpen or be sent to Louisville when Bailey comes off.

The starting rotation will be Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Anthony DeSclafani, Jason Marquis and for one start Raisel Iglesias.

The starting position players are: Devin Mesoraco, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Malon Byrd, Billy Hamilton and Jay Bruce.

The bench: Kristopher Negron, Skip Schumaker, Brayan Pena, Brennan Boesch and Chris Dominguez.

In the bullpen lefties: Manny Parra, Tony Cingrani and Aroldis Chapman..right-handers J.J. Hoover, Jumbo Diaz, Kevin Gregg and Burke Badenhop