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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.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Robert Stephenson Back In Action In Dayton

The pain Robert Stephenson felt from being left out was worse than the pain in his leg'

Stephenson made his first appearance in a month for the Dayton Dragons.

Stephenson has been out with a strained hamstring since his last start on June 8.  Over his last six starts prior to the injury, Stephenson was 4-0 with a 0.93 earned run average.  He walked five and struck out 50 in 38.2 innings over those six starts.

"I felt so good to get back out there.  It was killing me not to pitch," Stephenson said after his Dayton Dragons teammates rallied for a 10-inning, 4-3 win.

Stephenson, 20, was the Reds first round draft pick in 2011 out of high school in Martinez, California.  Overall, he has made 12 starts for the Dragons this season, going 5-3 with a 2.97 ERA.

The 6'2" 190lb prospect, who has reached as high as 102 on the radar gun, topped out at 97 against the South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona Diamondbacks).  His pitch count was set at 65 and he reached that with one two out in the fourth.

"It could have been better," Stephenson said.  "I was a little shaky out there, a little rusty but overall I was pretty happy with it."

Stephenson felt nothing from his hamstring.

"Physically, everything was awesome," Stephenson said.  "I took it easy the first week and started throwing.  I wanted to make sure it was 100 percent.  The two walks I wasn't too happy with but I think the next start, I will be back to normal."

Stephenson finished with 3 2/3 innings, allwing three unearned runs on two hits, although one of the hits was a questionable infield hit that firstbaseman, Seth Mejias-Brean bobbled.  He struck out three and walked two.

Manager Jose Nieves brought in Jackson Stephens to replace Stephenson, who threw 40 strikes among his 65 pitches.

It was Stephens regular turn.  The 18th pick in the 2012 draft kept the Dragons in the game with 5-1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing two hits and two walks.

The Dragons took Stephenson off the hook by scoring one run in the eighth on a single by Joe Hudson, two in the ninth on a big two-out double by last year's second round pick Tanner Rahier.

Mejias-Brean singled off Jose Jose with two-out in the 10th to make a winner out of Oak Hills' Joel Bender, who pitched a scoreless 10th. 

The Reds' Single-A  also has the first pick in the 2012 draft, Nick Travieso and the supplemental pick from this spring, Michael Lorenzen.

Three errors in the Silver Hawks second inning led to three unearned runs.

Thirdbaseman Tanner Rahier couldn't handle a ground ball that opened the second, after Stephenson had an easy 1-2-3 first.  Stephenson gave up  a hit to Alex Glenn but struck out Mike Lang.

Stephenson fielded a bouncer to the mound but rushed his throw that hand cuffed Mejias-Brean.  Two runs scored on the play.  Catcher Joe Hudson later threw the ball into leftfield on an attempted pick off to allow the third run to score.

Stephenson hasn't heard anything about moving up but the presence of Travieso and Stephens indicate that he could be moved up the chain soon.

"They haven't talked to me at all about the plans.  Right now I'm just looking forward to going back out there again," Stephenson said.

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