About Me

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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, 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.

"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.

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.

Johnny Cueto Reds Opening Day Starter - Devin Mesoraco Likely DL

Johnny Cueto gets the call opening day. It was expected that he be named but the road to get there was far from the straight and narrow.

First-year manager Bryan Price named Johnny Cueto to start opening day.
Cueto will start against the St. Louis Cardinals, his third straight season opening assignment.
Price had to sort through a series of minor injuries, including Cueto's tender shoulder before making the final determination.
Cueto missed a turn with soreness near the scapula of his right shoulder. Every starter except Tony Cingrani, who will start game two had a minor injury.
Homer Bailey was skipped with a sore right groin.
Earlier this spring Mike Leake had slight pain in his abdomen.
Mat Latos will miss at least one start after minor elbow and minor knee surgery. He is expected to miss just one start while building his pitch count.
Either Bailey or Leake will start the third game.

 Alfredo Simon will start the fifth game in place of Latos in New York.

Brett Marshall suffered a strained tendon in his middle finger. Marshall was under consideration to start the fifth game of the season.

Devin Mesoraco last played 10 days ago. He has a strained oblique which has relegated him to light duty.

"He is likely going to go on the DL, but we haven't signed off on that yet," Price said. "He needs to play and make up for missing 10 days. He has to hit, catch and throw.  I don't know if he can do all that is such a short time."

If the Reds disable him, he will stay in Arizona and play in minor league games at the Reds' facility in Goodyear.

"He missed time getting more familiar with all the pitchers but the silver lining is that (Brayan) Pena got a chance to catch them all," Price said.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ramon Santiago Earns Reds' Bench Role

The Reds' have answered one question during the 40 days they've been in Arizona and it is not who will start opening day.

Ramon Santiago earned a place on the Reds' roster as a non-roster player. The Reds will have to remove one player from the 40-man roster and that has not been answered.

Santiago has been performing the role for a long time, including with the Detroit Tigers last season.  He appeared in 80 games for the Tigers, who played in the ALCS against the Red Sox.  He hit .224 last season and is a career .243 hitter.

Santiago will get more playing time in the National League with pinch hitting and double switches. He has played second, third and shortstop, his natural position and has worked in the outfield this spring.

"We felt we needed to have that type of a player," manager Bryan Price said. "Ramon has been in a tough spot as a big leaguer as a utility infielder. He doesn't put up offensive numbers but does a lot of little things that help you win games."

Santiago is a reliable sure handed shortstop but can go anyplace.

"He won't drive in a lot of runs but he moves runners. He bunts well.  He is a scrappy guy with two strikes. He knows how to play the situation," Price said.  "He's a guy who can not play for awhile and still go out and give you a good performance. That's a skill in and of itself."

Santiago wanted to play for a National League team, knowing he will get on the field more.

"I'm happy. My main focus was to make this team. I will do my best to help teams win ballgames," Santiago said. "The interesting part is the National League, I will have more opportunity to get into a game."

Not playing for stretches has a way of eroding skills in a game where timing is key. It is difficult to come of the bench and hit 90 mph fastballs after seeing nothing but batting practice pitches for a week.

Santiago has learned how to stay ready, it is something that younger players, who have been starters all their lives struggle with.

"I do a lot of preparation in the (batting) cage," Santiago said. "I take a lot of extra ground balls. Whenever, I'm not playing, I take ground balls in three positions. Preparation is very important because you have to be ready when people aren't playing. Between innings I go to the cage a lot. I hit soft toss. I get there early and take ground balls before the other players get there. A lot of young players ask me how I do it. I am always watching the game and doing my homework. You never know when you are going to get in a game."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Reds To Risk Future With Roster Moves

The Reds injury problems are testing the depth of the teams roster, not only the opening day roster of 25 players but the 40-man roster.

Each team can only protect 40 players at any one time.  If a player is signed to a minor league contract, he is obligated to play in the organization somewhere in the minor leagues.  To appear in a major league game, the player has to be added to the 40-man roster which means that another player has to come off. The player taken off can either accept assignment or become a free agent.

The risk of taking a player off is that a team will lose a player.

There is a chance that Devin Mesoraco will need to start the season on the disabled list.  To replace him the decision is Corky Miller, who has major league experience, of Tucker Barnhart, who is being promoted to Louisville.   Barnhart is on the 40-man roster.  Miller is not.

Adding Miller would mean possibly losing a prospect with a bright future, but is not quite ready to compete in the major leagues.  As an example, the Reds could remove Ismael Guillon, a left-handed pitcher the team believes to be an ace in the making, to add Miller.

"My philosophy on this is," first-year manager Bryan Price said. "Whatever is going to happen, we're going to have 25 guys here at the end of spring training. It is going to be the hand that we're dealt. We are going to compete and bust our tails to be excellent. Whoever, those 25 guys are I don't know."

Price and general manager Walt Jocketty have other decisions that will impact the Reds' immediate future and its long-range future.

Do you risk losing Juan Duran or Yorman Rodriguez to add Roger Bernadina, who has had a great camp and is major league ready right now.

 The Reds have nearly seven years invested in their development after signing them at the age of 16.  Rodriguez is 21. Duran is 22.  Both are still two years away from being ready to help. Both have an abundance of talent.

It would be difficult to see that work go down the drain but winning now is so important.

"Walt's been great about it. What we're really trying to do is start the season with our best 25-man squad," Price said.  "We know that along the way that would be adding several non-roster players to our club and risk losing some players off our 40-man roster.  There are some challenges there.  We wouldn't want to lose anyone who is currently on our 40-man roster but inevitably we are going to have to. When push comes to shove those games in April are as important as any other game in the season. To think we are going to just hold down the fort with guys who are currently on the 40-man roster, would not allow us to put the best team on the field."

The Reds feel like they can win.  Part of the dilemma is that some players are close to returning but shouldn't be rushed.  Jonathan Broxton may need just a couple days.  Mat Latos maybe a week.  Devin Mesoraco with a sore oblique is close enough that he could still open the season on the roster or he may have to stay in Arizona to work in minor league games.

Homer Bailey, Broxton  and Latos pitched in minor league games yesterday.  Johnny Cueto will pitch in a minor league game today.  By appearing in a minor league game as opposed to a major league exhibition game, the Reds could back date the 15-day disabled list and have them come off sooner than that should they have a setback.

"We feel that this is a team that can win," Price said. "We're optimistic that we have an outstanding team. I wouldn't want to forfeit the first two weeks of the season, trying to get healthy."

The Reds 40-man and roster of players remaining in camp are below:

Cincinnati Reds 40.pdf

Camp Roster 032514.pdf

Monday, March 24, 2014

Reds Getting Pitchers Back

The Reds lost to Cleveland in the rubber match of the Arizona version of the Ohio Cup, 8-3.

Cleveland won three of the five games.

The Reds sent three pitchers to get their work in minor league games.

Mat Latos recovering from elbow and knee surgery and Jonathan Broxton, who had more serious elbow surgery pitched for Pensacola on Monday.

Latos - 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (43 Pitches)

Broxton - 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (13 Pitches)

Homer Bailey pitched for Louisville.

Bailey 4.2ip, 8h, 5er, 0bb, 4k, 43 pitches

"Homer's line wasn't great but it sounded like the ball was coming out of his hand good," Price said. "Latos and Broxton threw the ball well from the reports I got. If we get through today and they come out of it feeling good, then it will be a good day."

Johnny Cueto will pitch in a minor league game on Tuesday.

Alfredo Simon will pitch in the rotation as a starting pitcher at least once.

He pitched five innings and allowed two home runs.

"I am excited about starting," Simon said. "I just want to show them I can start games. I like to throw a lot of innings."

Jay Bruce had two hits, including a double.  Joey Votto had two hits.  Ryan Ludwick had two hits. The middle of the Reds' lineup had a good day.  Zack Cozart doubled in a run.

J.J Hoover along with Manny Parra and Sam LeCure could be used as a closer while Aroldis Chapman is out with his head injury.

Hoover gave up a three-run home run to Jason Kipnis.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Aroldis Chapman Returns To Reds Clubhouse

Aroldis Chapman, with two black eyes, has returned to the Cincinnati Reds' clubhouse four days after being hit in the face by a line drive.

 The 26-year old left-hander had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. A night earlier, he was hit by a ball off the bat of Kansas City's Salvador Perez.

 "I feel a lot better than I thought I would," Chapman said.

 Chapman knew immediately after impact that he was going to be fine in spite of the pain.

 "You don't have time to think about it but even when I was on the ground, I didn't have any bad thoughts in my mind about what I was going through," said Chapman through interpreter Tomas Vera. "I didn't bother me until they told me that it would be two months before I could pitch. That was what made me mad."

 Chapman will begin cardio and throwing off flat ground in eight to 10 days. Chapman is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

Chapman's face began to swell and he didn't know the consequences immediately after impact. It was questions about playing rather than healing came to him on the ground while paramedics attended to him.

 "It was the first time in my life that anything like that happened to me," Chapman said. "I haven't thought
about what will happen. I will have to get over it. My first thoughts are I will have to throw more inside. I can't leave the ball out over the plate."

The Cuban native had a great deal of support from teammates, opponents, other Cuban players in the United States and many people around the world on social media.

"I feel happy that this many people came to me. All my teammates came to see me. All the Cuban players in this area came to see me. A lot of people prayed for me and contacted me on social media, that made me proud and happy. I didn't see my father on the mound that night but I saw that he was there when I saw the video. You couldn't asked for more than to have your father there. I chose not to send for the rest of my family. I didn't want to put them through stress."

Chapman watched the video several times.

"After watching the video many, many times, every time I see it I feel happy. This could have been something worse. The way I feel now, I have no pain right now. I put a picture on Instagram. So many people around contacted me to see how I was. I couldn't contact them all so I put out the picture to let them know how good I felt."

 The Reds are using the last week of spring training to find a closer to replace Chapman, who will be one of six Reds' players to start the season on the disabled list.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Reds Skip Schumaker Will Miss A Month With Dislocated Shoulder

Skip Schumaker dislocated his left shoulder and will miss about a month.

Schumaker left the game between the Reds and Royals on Friday after making a diving attempt to cut off a line drive hit by Angel Franco in the left centerfield gap in the seventh inning.

Schumaker's glove stuck in the hard ground on the Arizona field. The injury is similar to the injury suffered on opening day last year when Ryan Ludwick's hand stuck in the ground at Great American Ball Park while sliding into thirdbase.

The veteran utility player signed a two-year contract with the Reds on November 26. He is expected to provide backup at secondbase and the outfield.

Schumaker, 34, was hitting .441 this spring with a home run and seven RBI.

"It was good news actually," Schumaker said. "It is not like Ryan Ludwick. I don't need surgery which would be eight weeks of rehab.  Paul (Lessard) popped it back in."

Schumaker was the Reds' major offseason free agent acquisition.

Friday, March 21, 2014

DL Full For Reds

Skip Schumaker's injury is unknown.

The key Reds' free agent signing who has been in the middle of a lot of scoring this spring hurt his left shoulder hustling to cut off a ball in the outfield Friday.

If the disabled list is necessary, a lot of pitchers will be crowded by his presence.

Reds' manager Bryan Price doesn't expect right-hander Mat Latos to be ready for the start of the season, leaving Cincinnati's rotation in flux for the opening weeks.

Latos had surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee on Feb. 14, the day that pitchers and catchers reported for spring training. He is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Monday, a week before the opener. It'll be only his second appearance since the surgery.

Although his knee is fine, he won't have enough time to get for the first week of the season. Price said on Friday that it's reasonable to assume that Alfredo Simon will take his spot in the rotation at the outset.

 "We want to make sure that Mat has every opportunity to be ready when he gets that first major league assignment," Price said. "I think we are doing our due diligence by insuring that he gets at least five starts here."

The Reds have been getting Simon ready to start since they learned of Latos' injury. The right-hander went 6-4 with a 2.87 ERA last season in 63 relief appearances. He was a starter with Baltimore in 2011.

The move will further deplete the bullpen. The Reds will open the season without closer Aroldis Chapman, who was hit in the head by a line drive and had surgery on Thursday to have a plate installed above his left eye to help fractures heal.

 Reliever Jonathan Broxton hasn't fully recovered from surgery on his forearm last season. Left-hander
Sean Marshall has been slowed this spring by a sore shoulder. Both are likely to start the season in the disabled list with Latos.

"That's quite possible," Price said.

With Chapman, Broxton and Marshall out, the Reds don't have anyone with significant time as a major league closer.

"Any one of the guys that have been with us can close _ (Sam) LeCure, (J.J.) Hoover, (Logan) Ondrusek, (Manny) Parra," Price said. "I have confidence in the guys that we know can make our club.

"At this point in time, I won't name a closer. We may never name a closer. Broxton hopefully will be ready in short order, within the first week or two of the season, but then again we have to get him acclimated to be back in the big leagues also."

Chris Heisey Leads Power Surge Against the Royals

Chris Heisey's spring has turned Bryan Price's head.

Chris Heisey hit his sixth spring-training homer and tripled, helping the Cincinnati Reds to beat a Kansas City Royals' split squad 9-3 Friday.

Heisey, a backup outfielder, also made a perfect throw from the center-field wall to second baseman Kristopher Negron, who threw out Alcides Escobar trying to stretch an extra-base hit into a triple in the fifth.

"He's stayed with his approach. He's putting the barrel of the bat on the ball," Reds' manager Bryan Price said. "I'm very impressed with Chris and the way he's handling himself. He really trusts that he has an approach that will work. Chris is at the point where he can be an every day player. He is working very hard to get there."

Brett Marshall started in place of Homer Bailey, who threw a bullpen session and is expected to pitch in a minor league exhibition on Sunday. Marshall allowed two runs, two hits and three walks in four innings with four strikeouts.

Negron hit a two-run homer in the third. Neftali Soto had a three-run homer in the eighth against Donnie Joseph, Soto's third home run of the exhibition season. Roger Bernadina hit a long home run to centerfield off Shields.

Reds leftfielder Skip Schumaker left the game holding his left arm in the seventh after diving to try for Angel Franco's liner, which landed for a double.

"These guys are playing so hard," Price said. "It was a hustle play, trying to keep the ball from getting into the gap. He represents everything we want to do here. I hope he's not out a long period of time because he is really important to our team."

Brett Marshall started for the Reds in place of Homer Bailey, who has a tender groin. Marshall was claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs, two days before spring training started. With Mat Latos expected to miss the start of the season, Marshall, who was originally slated for Louisville, could stick with the Reds as a backup starter or long relief. This is Marshall's fifth appearance. He allowed one run in nine innings in his four previous spring appearances.

Marshall pitched four innings. He pitched three scoreless innings but walked three batters in a two-run fourth inning.

"I was cruising for three innings," Marshall said. "I kind of just took it for granted instead of pounding the zone."

With injuries all over the pitching staff the door is open for Marshall to make the team as a starter or reliever.

"I'm excited. My command is getting a little better," Marshall said. "It doesn't matter. Whatever helps the team whether it's as a closer or starter, is all right. I just want an opportunity."


Pitchers Mat Latos, Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall appear to be headed for the disabled list to start the season. The trio are currently on throwing programs but manager Bryan Price doubts that they will have enough work in to be ready for the start of the season... Aroldis Chapman had surgery above his left eye on Thursday, is expected to miss six to eight weeks after being hit by a batted ball in a game Wednesday...Johnny Cueto shoulder and Homer Bailey groin skipped a turn but are scheduled to make their next starts...Catcher Devin Mesoraco has been held out of games since Monday with a sore oblique...


Reds' training camp was treated by a visit from former St. Louis manager Tony La Russa and former Army, Indiana and Texas A&M basketball coach Bobby Knight.


Former Reds' pitching stars, Jim Maloney and Jack Billingham watched batting practice. They are here for the Reds' owner's weekend. Billingham was the Reds' pitcher that gave up Hank Aaron's 714th home run on opening day 1974. Maloney pitched two no-hitters while with the Reds. Billingham recalled being in the Houston Astros dugout when Maloney and Houston pitcher Don Wilson pitched no-hitters on back-to-back nights, April 30 and May 1 1969.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chapman To Have Surgery Today

Aroldis Chapman will have surgery today to stabalize the fracture above the left eye according to Reds' team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek.

Chapman was hit above the left eye by a line drive hit by Salvador Perez in a game with Kansas City at Surprise, Arizona on Wednesday night.

"They are going to stabilize the anterior cable of his frontal sinus around the eyebrow of his left side," Kremchek said. "They will put a plate, maybe a little bone graph."

Chapman will have the titanium plate in his head the rest of his life.

Chapman suffered a mild concussion.

After the fracture is stabalized with a week or two, he can begin to exercise and start throwing. He can get back to pitching within six to eight weeks.

"The eye is fine," Kremchek said. "You just don't want to get him back to pitching too soon in case he gets hit again."

Test Indicates Fractures Above Aroldis Chapman's Left Eye and His Nose

Aroldis Chapman was taken to Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City, where tests indicated fractures above his left eye and nose. He has been transferred to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he will undergo further testing. He will be kept overnight for observation.

He was struck above the left eye by a line drive off the bat of Salvador Perez in the sixth inning of a game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Arizona.

The game was called at that point with the Reds trailing 6-3.

Aroldis Chapman Taken By Ambulance To Hospital - Hit By Line Drive

Aroldis Chapman is taken to a hospital after he is hit with batted ball.
Aroldis Chapman was hit above the left eye by a line drive hit by Salvador Perez in the sixth inning of a game between the Reds and Kansas City Royals.

Chapman suffered a laceration above his left eye but did not lose consciousness.  He was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital in Surprise, Arizona.

The extent of the injury is not known at this time.

Umpire Chris Guccione met with Royals' manager Ned Yost and Reds' manager Bryan Price. Both decided to call the game on the spot with the Royals leading 6-3.

"When Chapman got hit and the paramedics were on the field, Ned Yost and Bryan Price got together and along with the umpires, we agreed for everyone's safety. We decided to just be done with the game and focus on Chapman," Guccione said.

Chapman's father, who was expatriated from Cuba quietly last winter, rushed to his son's side.

Royals players did not want to talk about it after the game.  Players for both teams showed grave concern.  It would have been difficult to continue a spring training game with the image of Chapman being hit directly and writhing on the pitchers mound.

Chapman was down for several minutes and surrounded by teammates as paramedics converged on the field.  An ambulance with sirens blaring were heard rushing to the scene.

Reds' general manager Walt Jocketty rushed to the scene as well.

Chapman was loaded into the ambulance and taken to a yet undisclosed hospital accompanied by Reds' spanish speaking trainer Tomas Vera. Chapman was down for nearly 11 minutes from the time of the hit until he was loaded into the cart to take him to the ambulance.

Bryan Price spoke briefly with the media after gathering his composure as best he could.

"He's not good. He took a line drive just above his left eye. He had a contusion and laceration just above the left eye.  He never lost consciousness. He was able to communicate He could move his hands and feet, his legs."

The shock of the impact affected every player on the field.

"You can't imagine it. It is not as uncommon perhaps as we'd like it to be. It was frightening. It was certainly a frightening moment," Price said.

Players, coaches, umpires and fans stared on in disbelief and shock.  No one uttered a word in the stands for several minutes.  Fans from Cincinnati's group from Provident Travel on a spring training junket were concerned and the thought of continuing the game was the furthest from their mind.  They knew when the umpiring crew met the game would be called.  There was almost an unspoken unanimous consensus.

"You just can't find in you in your heart to go out there and play.  Baseball is a game that you have to play with a lot of joy in your heart," Price said.  "You need to play with heart, determination and focus and I don't think anyone was able to do that at that moment."

Rightfielder Jay Bruce heard the impact from his rightfield position.

"It's the most frightening thing I've ever been a part of," Bruce said, speaking for his teammates. "I didn't get close enough to see it but as hard as he throws and as hard as it came off the bat, I'm just hoping for the best."

The game was a secondary concern to the players.

"I believe the last thing on everyone's mind at that point was the game," Bruce said. "It's spring training so it doesn't hold a lot of weight anyway. There is not really words to explain what everyone's feeling right now.  It's terrible. It's dangerous. It may happen just every once in awhile but you never know.  It's completely inadvertent. None of that is happening on purpose.  It's just one of the dangers of the game. It was one of the most non-fun things I've ever been a part of."

Bruce kept his distance to allow the medical team to work aid Chapman as badly as he wanted to know of his teammate's condition.

"With the medical team all around, I let them get to him and do there job and get him to the hospital as quickly as they could. The fact that he was conscious and moving his limbs was definitely a positive sign. I'm no medical expert but I'm hopeful and wishing for the best."

"Baseball aside this is people's lives your talking about. It is so unfortunate. You hate to see it happen to anyone," Bruce said.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Beer, Baseball and Family Schatzie Specialties.

I can remember sitting on a couch in a small apartment in Norwood with a big box television showing Big Ted Kalewsky and his sleeveless uniforms.

My father Richard J. Schatz explaining the game in between sips of Burger, Schoenling or Wiedemann beers.

It was Ted Kluszewski but in the mouth of a four-year old Kalewsky was as close as I could get.

Right now I'm sitting in a pressbox in Surprise, Arizona watching my third baseball game in 24 hours.
My father Dick Schatz taken at Johnny Bench's wedding

Around March 1999, my dad's pain told him that the end of his baseball watching days were near. I had made arrangements to go to Sarasota to do some freelance writing about the Reds spring training.  I was going to cancel my trip. My father grabbed my wrist with the strength that he hadn't shown in years. "You go," he said. "I don't know whether I'll be here when you get back or not but you are not going to miss this."

I was sitting in Hal McCoys' rented condo on the Siesta Key Beach when I got the call. My dad's pain ended 15 years ago today.  I left two days later in time for services.  I left the pressbox that night as the Reds played the Red Sox.  I bought two beers which is not my drink of choice. In fact my dad would say, "Gar is my favorite son because I know he won't steal my beer."  I held to the heavens and drank them both.

It was my father and his friends Dick Blaylock, "Chopper" that started a tradition of following the Reds while they prepared for the season.  The first time I was able to join them, I flew out of Toledo, Ohio to Tampa. It was 1979 and the players went on strike so the Grapefruit League games were canceled.  It didn't matter we went to Al Lang field and watched the minor league players work out for two weeks.

When it was over, we jumped into Johnny Bench's white cadillac and drove it home.  My father, who got to know Bench through his baseball connections, made arrangements to fly to Tampa, stay two weeks and drive one of the players' cars back as the players traveled with the team.

You can guess who did most of the driving.  Yep, the one that is writing this.

As I look around the pressbox, I see Rob Butcher, whose father passed away near the start of spring training. Dick Butcher, like my father, Dick Schatz was outgoing and never met a stranger. They talked to anyone and everyone as if they had known them all their lives.

So soon I am going into the stands; buy a beer, lift it to the heavens and thank my father for teaching me the game in front of that big box TV in Norwood.  You know Kalewski was going deep.

Reds Offer April Pass For All 11 Games

The Reds have a great deal for fans on a tight budget.

For the price slightly more than an infield box for one game, a fan can get view level tickets for all 11 games in April.  View level is the 400 level seats from behind home plate down the firstbase line.

Those seats normally cost between $25 - $28 per game, depending upon the opponent or day of the week. The Reds use dynamic pricing which fluctuates up or down depending on the demand.

See the details below:


New APRIL PASS includes 11 Reds games for only $60

Enjoy an entire month of Reds baseball starting on Opening Night with the

new April Pass presented by Yokohama Tire

CINCINNATI (March 19, 2014) — Reds fans can attend all 11 home games at Great American Ball Park in April for only $60 with the new April Pass, presented by Yokohama Tire.

For just over $5 per ticket, fans get a View Level Line seat to see the Reds take on the division-rival Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs, plus a weekend Interleague series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

April’s games feature four fan giveaways, two fireworks nights and kicks off with Opening Night:

Opening Night – Wed. April, 2 – Reds vs. Cardinals, 7:10 pm

• Reds players and coaches walk the red carpet in the Kroger Fan Zone

• First 20,000 fans receive a 2014 Team Calendar, presented by Kroger

• 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Nick Goepper to throw out ceremonial first pitch and walk the red carpet

• Live music by The Rusty Griswolds

• Opening Night Fireworks, presented by Coca-Cola

April Fireworks Shows (start approx. 15 minutes after end of the game)

• Wed., April 2 – Reds vs. Cardinals, 7:10 pm: Opening Night Fireworks, presented by Coca-Cola

• Friday, April 11 – Reds vs. Rays: Fireworks Friday, presented by Tri-State Chevy Dealers

April Giveaways  

• Wed., April 2 – Reds vs. Cardinals, 7:10 pm: Team Calendar, presented by Kroger (first 20,000 fans)

• Sat., April 12 – Reds vs. Rays, 1:10 pm: Reds Fleece Blanket, presented by Duke Energy Retail (first 20,000 fans)

• Sun., April 13 – Reds vs. Rays, 1:10 pm: Magnetic Schedule/Mr. Redlegs Car Magnet, presented by PNC Bank (first 20,000 fans)

• Sun., April 13 – Reds vs. Rays, 1:10 pm: Kids Mascot Magnet, presented by DELTA (first 8,000 kids)

For a complete game schedule and to purchase an April Pass today, visit www.reds.com/aprilpass.

A limited number of April Pass packages are available. Offer ends Friday, April


Monday, March 17, 2014

Reds Roster Still Under Construction

Roster decisions aren't about statistics.

Track record and the naked eye count in the formation of a team's roster with opening day two weeks away.

Chris Nelson was signed to a minor league contract by the Reds on January 27.  Last season, Nelson was with three teams. He started the season with Colorado, was traded to the New York Yankees, then claimed on waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.

In 2012 Nelson played 111 games for Colorado.  He hit .301 with four home runs and 16 RBI.

The Reds like that he can play all of the infield positions and leftfield.

"I liked him over at Colorado. It looked like he had figured it out," manager Bryan Price. "It so common these guys look like they have figured things out, then they have a setback, whatever it may be and then he's become a journeyman."

"I think he's a better player than that," Price said. "He provides us with a depth element that could help our club."

It remains to be seen if he makes the roster out of camp.

"He's in the mix right now for sure," Price said. "He's had a good camp."

"It is really critical to see what our roster might look like if Hannahan can't make it.  We have to determine whether we'd be best served with another outfielder.  (Roger) Bernadina had a nice camp, Soto, Nelson," Price said.

There are players that have outs in their contract that can allow them to shop for another team if they don't make the team.

"Spring training isn't a free-for-all tryout," Price said. "If you have a good camp, you may not make the club. Just about every camp, you look at a guys numbers and say this guy's your regular leftfielder and he's hitting .143.  The stats for the guys you know is on your club are really irrelevant. Yet, we put tremendous relevance on 30 or 40 at bats.  All these guys have track records and you like to think that something happened in spring training to make them better but you don't really know until they make the club and go play."

In the Cleveland camp, Jeff Francouer, who was a one-time phenom in Atlanta and has been mostly a regular player in the big leagues, is being asked to take a bench role.

"It is hard to answer what kind of camp a guy has," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "You look at a stat sheet and a guy is hitting .400 in 15 at-bats.  What you looking for are things like bat speed.  Francouer has a good track record but he is being asked to do something different than he has in the past. "

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Christiani Ready To Establish Himself

Nick Christiani is having his best spring.

The former Vanderbilt University pitcher is starting his fifth professional season.  He appeared in three games for the Reds last season, pitching four innings in which he allowed one run on two hits.

For Louisville last season, the Elizabeth, New Jersey native appeared in 49 games, allowing 24 earned runs in 56 innings (3.86 ERA).  His record was 6-5.

The 26-year old has appeared in five games and worked six innings.  Christiani has allowed just one on two hits.  He struck out five and hasn't walked a batter.

"His ability to be a multiple innings guy and his ability to be a
groundball, strikeout combination guy are nice things to have," Bryan Price said.  "Historically lefties have given him a bit more trouble. He has developed a cut fastball and really improved his change up that makes him a better prospect for us. I really believe that given the opportunity, this could be a good year for Nick to establish himself as a big league pitcher."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Heisey Humbles Brewers

Chris Heisey the ever popular "backup quarterback" tore up another Cactus League team.

Heisey hit his fifth spring homer and Cincinnati had 18 hits in a 16-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday after Reds starter Homer Bailey was scratched with a sore right groin.

Brett Marshall subbed for Bailey and allowed one run in three innings. The right-hander has allowed one run in nine spring innings with 11 strikeouts.

Marshall, just 23-years old, hit a run scoring single too.  The Reds picked him up on waivers from the Cubs, who picked him up off waivers from the Yankees.

Heisey hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a double in the third. He is hitting .421 with 11 RBIs in 13 games this spring.

An unsuccessful pinch-hit at bat on Friday night snapped Heisey's five-game hitting streak.

Neftali Soto had three hits, including a solo home run off Milwaukee reliever Francisco Rodriguez in the fifth. Roger Bernadina and Chris Nelson homered in the eighth for Cincinnati.

Soto and Bernadina are making it difficult to keep them off the roster going into the season.

Bernadina is hitting .476 this spring.  Soto is at .438.

Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez had two hits apiece for the Brewers, and Mark Reynolds added a two-run single

Homer Bailey Scratched From Start

Homer Bailey was scratched from his scheduled start against Milwaukee on Saturday.

Bailey has a mildly strained right groin.

"We just decided to be cautious," manager Bryan Price said. "He is right on time.  He's throwing the ball good, so we're just going to push him back."

The Reds have had various ailments and injuries to all five current starter since 2012, when none of the team's five starters missed a start.

"It is better now than when the season starts," Price said. "Optimistically, I think we can start the season with all five in tact.  A lot of these things, if it were during the season, they would have pitched through these injuries.  I don't think the Homer thing will be an issue. Johnny Cueto is feeling good. Mat (Latos) came out of yesterday; feeling good. Leake seems to be over the hump.  It doesn' t make sense to run these guys through."

Price didn't know for sure or when Bailey would be ready to pitch in a spring game agains.

Latos will pitch in his first Cactus League game this week, probably Wednesday.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Latos Expects To Pitch Wednesday Opening Day Still In Question

Mat Latos took the next step to pitching in a Cactus League game by facing batter's in live batting practice.

Latos threw 25 pitches to Brayan Pena and Chris Nelson.

Latos was unhappy that two pitches were in the dirt but overall was pleased after the session.

"Everything was good. I was a little anxious, a little nervous,, a little rusty.  I have to make a couple adjustments here and there," Latos said.  "I was a little amped up.  I probably shouldn't have had that Red Bull first."

When asked about opening day, Latos didn't want to say.

"I have no clue when I'm going to be back," Latos said. "Bryan Price was optimistic? That makes one of us."

Price did tell reporters before the session that he was optimistic about Latos starting the season as the fifth starter, who wouldn't be needed until April 6 in New York, giving Latos an extra week.

"Not that we have finalized any decisions, but we do know for sure, Mat barring setbacks will throw in a game early this week," Price said.  "I'm still optimistic that Mat could be the fifth starter
for timing reasons."

"Broxton and Marshall probably won't but we don't want to put the kabosh on Broxton.  We want them not only healthy but able to do the things we ask them to do.  If it's Mat its throwing 90 to 100 pitches.  If its Broxton and Marshall it is going back-to-back days.  Marshall is a little farther away," Price said.

New Manager Bryan Price Opposed To Loogie

The baseball lingo defines a loogie as the left-handed relief specialist assigned to get one key left-handed batter out (left-handed one out guy).

Bryan Price prefers pitchers that get both right-handed and left-handed batters out.

Manny Parra could be the only left-hander in the bullpen besides Aroldis Chapman if Sean Marshall is not ready.  That appears to be the case.  Marshall is throwing his first bullpen on Friday the 14th but will probably start the season on the disabled list.

Left-hander Lee Hyde is in the mix to take Marshall's place, along with Pedro Beato, Jumbo Diaz and Nick Christiani.

Hyde and the others will be expected to get batters from both sides of the plate out.

"Even if we have Parra and Marshall healthy with Chapman closing, my feellings about wear and tear on a bullpen. When you're trying to match up in the seventh and eighth innings before you get to your closer, it makes a lot of ups and downs for your bullpen," Price said.

It isn't that Price won't match up here and there but will be judicious with it.

"There will be times when you're going to go with a right-hander to get that right-hander out, based on the history of the pitcher that's been in there  at the time," Price said.  "I don't like match up situational bullpens because they get beat up.  I've never liked it. I'd prefer to have guys in my bullpen to get lefties and righties out.  I'm going to get some criticism when they don't do the job. But you don't come out and get Sean Marshall or Jonathan Broxton to get one hitter out.  I feel very strongly about that."

Price wants to avoid taking out a right-handed reliever to bring in a left-hander for one batter, then bringing in another right-hand as Tony LaRussa often did.  There were games when La Russa would use five pitchers to get three outs.

Price does not want to do that.

"Then you haven't got to your closer yet.  You've guaranteed you're going to use four pitchers. Four pitchers who came in got loose, aired it out, threw, got one hitter out or didn't.  Then you might want them to do that the next day and the next day.  There have been managers that have had great success doing that but to me for the longevity of the reliever and for the success over the course of a full season as a pitching coach I never liked it," Price said.

"You never want to lose a game because you don't have the right match up in," Price said. "If you're going to have the right match up every game, you're going to blow out your bullpen. I understand what it's like to be a pitcher.  So we don't have so-and-so available because we got him hot two times yesterday and he pitched two games before that.  It is not really a day off because he didn't get into a game.  Hitters can take 200 swings every day but pitchers can't throw pitches every day."

Bryan Price Demoted In Spite Of Win

The game on Thursday was a victory after all but Bryan Price was demoted this morning.

The Cleveland Indians optioned right-hander Bryan Price to Columbus.  He pitched in the Indians 12-6 win over the Kansas City Royals but was sent out this morning.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Red Hot Heisey Leads Road Warriors

Bryan Price looked at the notes for today's game and noted the Reds were 1-6 at Goodyear Ball Park and 3-6 in other parks.

"We're a much better road team," Price said noting the intended irony.

Well the Reds offered more proof in an 8-2 shellacking of the leaderless Los Angeles Dodgers, missing its manager Don Mattingly, who attended to a death in the family.

He was spared the carnage.

Todd Frazier hit is second home run and Heisey unloaded a three-run shot off Paul Maholm.

That was all Alfredo Simon, the Reds starter needed.

Simon allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings; his longest stint of the spring.

Lee Hyde gave up a home run to Hanley Ramirez but Trevor Bell, Curtis Partch, Pedro Beato and
Jumbo Diaz each pitched scoreless innings.

Heisey homered for the second straight day and leads the Reds with four home runs and nine RBI, all while sporting a torrid .400 average.

"Heisey has been terrific in all facets of the game," Price said. "He has played all the outfield positions."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Reds Rocked Again

New Reds' manager Bryan Price has a case of wine on a shelf next to his desk in his office.

The early riser gets up at 4:30 am every day to drive 40 minutes to work but comes in with a smile on his face and eager to go.

He keeps telling himself this is a process and tries not to worry about results but the Reds lost for the 10th time in 11 games on Wednesday when the Rockies prevailed 3-2.

An efficient Brett Anderson turned a scheduled three-inning start into a five-inning, one-run outing for Colorado on Wednesday as a Rockies split-squad beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2.

Pitching on short rest because Colorado plays five games in three days, Anderson gave up five hits and struck out two. He didn't hit 50 pitches until the fifth.

"I didn't feel like I had the fastball velocity I had the first two outings, but my command was pretty good, still," Anderson said. "Breaking ball, both of them were pretty good. Coming off three days' rest, that's pretty much all I could ask for."

Charlie Culberson had an RBI double off Reds starter Mike Leake in the third. It was the lone run allowed by Leake, who yielded three hits and a walk in three innings as he regains strength following an abdominal injury.

"Not my best," Leake said. "Could have been down in the zone a little better."

Charlie Blackmon and Matt McBride added RBI singles for the Rockies.

Rockies lefty Tyler Matzek walked four straight to start the ninth. Mike McClendon came on and induced a force play at home and a double play to send the Reds to their 10th loss in 11 games.

It was the first time manager Bryan Price got to see Leake, who pitched in a split-squad game Price didn't attend in his first start.

"He looked good. He moved around well, had a nice bunt. It kind of shows that he's healthy," Price said.

Chris Heisey robbed Michael Cuddyer of extra bases with a diving catch in right and threw to first for a double play to end the first. Heisey then doubled to start the next inning and scored.

Heisey went 2 for 3 and is hitting .370 (10 for 27).

"He's been terrific," Price said. "I've been around him as long as he's been in the big leagues, starting in 2010, and we've always felt like he's that guy who could be a dynamic player."

Mat Latos Close To Pitching In A Game

Mat Latos is behind for sure.

A real candidate to start on opening day for the Reds, he may be pushed back until April 6 against the New York Mets.

Latos threw a long bullpen in which he threw breaking pitches for the first time since elbow surgery on October 11.  He tweaked his left knee throwing long toss the day before pitchers and catchers were due in camp.  He had his meniscus repaired the next day.

In his latest bullpen, Latos threw 40 - 45 pitches.

"The next step in the protocol is for him to pitch live batting practice," manager Bryan Price said. "If he comes through that okay his next step is to pitch in games.  He was able to keep his arm in shape even with the knee."

Reds Release Henry Rodriguez

It was a difficult decisions for Reds' management but they released Henry Rodriguez on Monday.

Rodriguez, a 24-year old from Venezuela, has been in the Reds' organization since signing as an amatuer free agent in 2007.

Rodriguez, who the players called 'Pollo', played in 21 games for the Reds, 12 in 2012 and nine last season.  He hit .174 with no home runs and two RBI in those 21 games.

The infielder could hit but was a little deficient with the glove.  He hit .297 in seven seasons in the Reds' minor league system.  His best season was with Bakersfield in 2011. That season, Rodriguez hit .340 with eight home runs and 44 RBI.

His release was the biggest surprise among the 16 players who were either optioned, reassigned or released.

"The only surprise was Henry Rodriguez," manager Bryan Price said. "We all think very highly of Henry. He was well liked in the organization and is a great kid. We felt like he wasn't going to get the same kind of playing time, coming off the roster.  It wasn't right to ask him to change roles and be a support player.  I imagine someone will sign him quickly and get a chance to play in another organization."

Other prospects have passed Rodriguez in the system.  Those players will get the playing time.

Rodriguez played in 10 spring games with three singles in 16 at-bats.  The small spring sample doesn't tell the story.  Rodriguez can hit but his defense is not up to major league standards.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mat Latos Getting Close To Game Action

This is Mat Latos third bullpen.

He is getting very close to pitching in a spring game.