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.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Adam Wainwright Show Reds Up In Front Of Packed House Price Show Frustration

The pattern of abuse continues when it comes to the St. Louis Cardinals against the Cincinnati Reds and Bryan Price is tired of it.

Seemingly, every bounce, every call, every move in the rubber game of this three-game series in front of a sold-out crowd and national TV audience went the Cardinals way in a 4-0 whitewash.

Adam Wainwright shut down the Reds' offense for the second time this year.  He bested Johnny Cueto on opening day with seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 win.  Yadier Molina homered to provide all the scoring that day but sat out this contest to take a rest.

It is not just Wainwright that Price is tired of talking about it.

"Wainwright is really good but I'm really tired of talking about the other team's pitching and how good they are to be honest with you," Price said with no trace of a smile. "I just to the point that I'm tired of talking about how well these other guys are pitching against us.  We have a really good pitching staff too.  There is no reason that we're not more competitive. I've said it for a long time and we can't talk about the injuries anymore.  We're almost completely healthy. We can't talk about what it's done to our lineup and so on and so forth but I do know that these guys (Reds) can hit and produce runs and hit situationally and more than we have at this point.  Baseball is a game of frustration. I get it. They get it.  Everyone gets it.  It's just been a frustrating the first couple months.  I just hope to go to LA and do some damage, do what we're capable of doing.  I have no idea what the lineup will look like. It may look different.  I don't know."

His mound opponent, Mike Leake, held his own but was nicked for two runs on seven hits in six innings.

"Leake is pitching winning baseball every time he takes the ball. He is not just competing. He's giving us a chance to win every time out. There is nothing he can do," Price said.

The first two innings were scoreless but in the third Molina's replacement, Tony Cruz singled.  Wainwright bunted him to second.  Leake struck out Matt Carpenter but Kolten Wong laced a single to centerfield to provide all the offense Wainwright needed.

Zack Cozart, who was hitting .350 over his last 10 games, singled one out into the third.  Leake bunted Cozart into scoring positions.  Billy Hamilton, who struck out in each of his first five appearances against Wainwright drew a walk.  Todd Frazier sent a hard grounder up the middle that looked promising to the Reds.  It took a big hop right into the glove of shortstop Jhonny Peralta who nipped Hamilton to end the threat.

"He never gives you a pitch out over the plate that you can drive," Cozart said of Wainwright. "He is like Johnny Cueto.  He works the corners.  You may get a single but nothing you can drive."

Leake matched Wainwright after that until the sixth.

"Wainwright is always tough.  He's one of the best pitchers in the league. It is always going to be a battle when you face him," Leake said.  "I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing.  You can't control any of this stuff.  All you can control is how you throw the ball and where you throw the ball.  I'll just keep plugging away."

Matt Adams singled to open the inning.  Allen Craig walked. Leake fanned Peralta and Jon Jay and was on his way to pitching out of trouble but Cruz drove Adams home with a single.

Manny Parra relieved Leake.

Matt Carpenter opened the frame with a hit to right and headed for second.  Bruce made a strong throw but secondbase umpire Bill Miller called him safe on a close play.  Reds' manager Bryan Price had used his challenge in the third, protested but the umpire used his right not to review the second play.  Price asked for a replay review in the third when Miller ruled that Wong reached around Phillips' attempt to block the base.  The ruling was upheld in New York.

Wong bunted Carpenter to third.  Matt Holliday topped a pitch that rolled just far enough that catcher Devin Mesoraco couldn't get to Carpenter racing home.  His only option was an off-balanced throw to first but the ball sailed into the stands.  Holliday was awarded second.  Holliday wasn't out of lives yet.  Adams hit a one-hop grounder to Parra on the mound.  Holliday was too far off and Parra ran right at him to make him commit as taught.  The problem was that he flipped too late and too hard to Cozart, who couldn't handle it and both runners were safe.  Sam LeCure replaced Parra and gave up a single to Craig to cap the scoring.

The Reds wasted a pair of perfectly good scoring opportunities against the Cardinals ace.

Brayan Pena and Cozart had back-to-back singles with one out in the fifth.  Leake bunted them up a base but Hamilton struck out again.

Mesoraco and Ryan Ludwick opened the seventh with singles.  Pena flied out to left. Cozart flied to right. Price sent former Cardinal Skip Schumaker up to try to get a run home but Wainwright made him one of his 12 strikeout victims, tying a career high.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cardinals Get Even With Reds In The Series

The Cardinals evened the weekend series with a 6-3 win over the Reds.

Tony Cingrani got off to a rough start.

Matt Carpenter opened the game with a double to the gap in leftcenterfield.  An out later Matt Holliday singled Carpenter home.

Cingrani settled in and kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard, while his mound opponent, Jaime Garcia retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced.  Only Brandon Phillips double with two out in the first inning smudged the left-handers outing.

"At times he was very, very good but he lost the feel for the strike zone," manager Bryan Price said.

With boos over a long ago grievance faded from his ears, Yadier Molina hit his fifth home run of the season in the fourth inning.

"He hit a change up," Price said. "It wasn't a horrible pitch. Tony is getting a feel for the change up again.  His velocity isn't there yet.  He's not vintage Tony Cingrani yet."

The 2-0 lead looked like Mount Everest to the Reds until Brayan Pena started a mini-rally in the fifth with a double to the gap in rightcenter.  The resurgent Zack Cozart singled to score Pena.

Cingrani lost his momentum and that of the Reds in the top of the sixth. Holliday hit his second single to lead off the inning,  Cingrani walked Allen Craig.  Molina hit a soft liner to left that Ryan Ludwick ran down for the second out with a sliding catch.  Cingrani lost a battle with Jhonny Peralta and walked him to load the bases.  With the bases loaded and one out, Mark Ellis gave Reds' fans pause with a deep fly to the warning track in front of the Reds' bullpen.  Chris Heisey, giving Billy Hamilton a day off, ran it down as Holliday scored.  Jon Jay singled past a diving Cozart to give St. Louis a 4-1 lead.

"I had pretty good command through the first five innings," Cingrani said.  "I obviously don't want to walk people. They took advantage like they should."

The Reds fought back and came within inches of tying the contest.

"We didn't put enough pressure on Garcia early in the game," Price said. "I liked the way we fought back. It showed what we've got but we aren't giving our pitchers any margin for error."

Heisey missed his second home run of the season, hitting a line drive off the top of the leftfield wall.  Todd Frazier singled hard to right with Heisey holding at third. Phillips nearly tied the game with a drive to rightcenter that bounced off the wall.  Heisey scored but Frazier held third.  Devin Mesoraco scalded a pitch by Garcia that looked like it was ticketed to rightfield but Mark Ellis snared the ball by jumping as high as he could go.  Garcia fell behind Jay Bruce but struck him out.  Carlos Martinez struck out Ludwick to end the threat.

J.J Hoover pitched a scoreless inning.

The Reds threatened again when Cozart singled with one out followed by pinch hitter Skip Schumaker's single. Martinez struck out Heisey and Frazier to protect the lead.

The Cardinals added on against Logan Ondrusek. Molina singled and Peralta walked.  Ellis bunted them in scoring position.  Sean Marshall came on and gave up run scoring singles to Jay and pinch hitter Matt Adams.

Ryan Ludwick opened the top of the ninth with his third home run of the season off Jason Motte.

The Reds haven't won more than three in a row, nor lost more than three in a row.

"We're treading water," Price said.  "We have to start stringing some wins together."

Joey Votto Hopes To Play On June 1 Jack Hannahan Has A Setback


Joey Votto hopes to be ready on May 31, the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list, from his recent discomfort in his left quad.

"I have input but I have to pass a lot of tests," Votto said.  "The organization will make that evaluation. It had the final say when I sat out to get treatment.  I'm getting stronger. All of us play through stuff, it depends on what you can take.  Ultimately, I needed to take some time."

The forgotten man in the clubhouse, Jack Hannahan, has had another setback.  He had one in spring training.  Hannahan injured his shoulder in spring training last season but played with it the entire year.  He had an operation as soon as the season ended.

He has not responded well to rehab.

"I just had a little setback," Hannahan said. "I'm in a down period. I have some capsulitis (swelling in the capsules of the shoulder.  I won't do anything until the team comes back from the road.  It's been frustrating. I have to start over.  I haven't been able to bounce back after I throw.  I had a setback in spring training but it didn't bother me to swing the bat.  Now it does."

Mat Latos will go out on a rehab assignment in Louisville.  The Reds would like him to build up to six innings roughly 90 pitches.  It will take about three starts to get to that point.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Reds Rattle Rivals Give Cardinals A Taste Of Cincinnati

The Reds and Cardinals really didn't need a perfect night of weather or fireworks to add incentive to attend the first game of this heated rivalry.

Todd Frazier, batting second in the order, broke a scoreless tie with a two-out three run home run, his ninth with Brayan Pena and Billy Hamilton on base.  The 419 foot blast off Shelby Miller, set the tone for the 5-3 Reds' win.

"Two out RBI's are pretty huge.  Bryan (manager Price) is a genius.  I've hit second a couple times before.  The first inning I didn't see the ball. The second inning is when I usually bat. The old saying is early and often.  I like early and I certainly like often," said Frazier.

Homer Bailey, the Reds' starter, promptly gave two of the markers back to the dastardly Cardinals.

"It is weird with me and them (Cardinals).  It is either really good or really bad.  We play each other so often there are no secrets between us.  An in-between game like this is weird. There were a couple walks that I'm not happy about but I'll take eight singles against them any day."

After facing the minimun nine batters through three innings, Matt Carpenter singled and Kolten Wong walked.  Bailey got Matt Holiday to roll over a splitter, grounding slowly to shortstop to advance the runners.  Allen Craig cut the lead to one with a single to left.

Jay Bruce, back in the lineup two weeks after knee surgery, doubled to lead off the Reds' fourth. Ryan Ludwick singled too hard to allow Bruce to score but Pena delivered a sacrifice fly.

The Cardinals clustered three hits to tighten the game in the sixth.  Bailey was able to limit the damage by picking Jhonny Peralta off secondbase with two outs and runners on first and second.

"I saw daylight when Zack (Cozart) broke for second.  I knew if I made a good throw we would get him.  With the Cardinals you have to limit the damage," Bailey said.

Devin Mesoraco's fifth home run off Seth Maness rebuilt the lead.

Jonathan Broxton had to navigate through the heart of the St. Louis lineup in the eighth and did so by helping turn in a defensive gem, that made portly men all over the sports planet proud.

"It was one of those plays that just happen," Pena said.  "It was like the defensive line was coming after me.  Jonathan is a pretty good athlete, I just decided to make the flip."

The Cardinals have come from behind so many times in this rivalry that the play was bigger than a mere first out of the inning.

"That was big out," Price said.  "Aside from the home run there were a lot of things that had a huge affect on the game.  Homer picking off Peralta and Brayan's play were as big as the home run."

The play ended the inning with pinch hitter Jon Jay in the batter's box.  Not only did it end the threat, it forced Cardinal manage Mike Matheny to take centerfielder Peter Bourjos out of the game so that he didn't waste another pinch hitter or pitcher.

Price took Pena out for a defensive replacement in rookie Donald Lutz.

Pena took it with a smile.

"Bryan's a genius.  He knew the odds of me making more plays like that were pretty small," Pena said.

Pena, subbing for the injured Joey Votto made a diving stop down the line.  From his belly he back handed a flip to the plus-sized Broxton covering to retire Holliday.  Pena made a stop on a hot smash by Craig for the second out.  Yadier Molina topped a weak ground ball in front of the plate that Mesoroco scooped and threw to Pena to end the inning.

Aroldis Chapman allowed a two-out single before closing out the Cardinals for his fourth save in five chances.

The Reds expect over 100,000 fans to attend games this weekend with the Taste of Cincinnati drawing people downtown.

"Coming home to a packed house got me excited," said Frazier, who cheers the sunrise every morning as if it is the dawn of Christmas Day.

Reds Tweak Their Bench For Cardinals Series - Jay Bruce Is Back

Jay Bruce is in the starting lineup after having surgery on his left knee on May 6.  Bruce missed 14 games.  He returns with a .216 batting average with three home runs and 14 RBI.

"They said the recovery time would be three to four weeks," Bruce said. "I've had three weeks of utter rehab. So we're right around that mark. As a professional athlete we have a team of professionals to help us cut the recovery time."

Bryan Price doesn't want to get too excited about Bruce's return but feels that Bruce will have an impact.

“I don’t think I’ll discuss expectations," Price said. "What I am happy about is how quickly he rebounded from the injury, No. 1, and No. 2 how badly he wants to come back and help the club. He’s hitting fourth in the lineup because he’s an impact bat. That being said, he hasn’t played for a couple of weeks. Got some at bats against Latos in that simulated game in Washington, so we’re looking forward to him getting hot and doing some damage in the middle of our lineup.”

The Reds sent little used Neftali Soto to Triple A Louisville and recalled left-handed power hitter Donald Lutz from Louisville.

Soto appeared in 19 games and had three hits in 28 at bats, including a double with on RBI.

Lutz played 23 games at Pensacola, hitting .360 with six home runs and 16 RBI. On April 21, Lutz hit for the cycle at Jacksonville.  He was promoted to Louisville on May 17.  In five games for the Bats, Lutz hit .200 with a home run and one RBI.

“Lutz’s a young hitter. Look, he’s got power. He’s got speed. He’s got good youthful aggression and he brings all the right type of energy that we want to the ballpark," Price said. "He’s a good corner outfield defender. He’s played first base. He’s got a lot of raw power. We’ve seen what he’s capable of doing, and he’s also gotten off to a terrific start here in our player development system in Double A and Triple A. The other part of this, of course, is we’ve had Neftali Soto pretty much sitting on the bench. He’s had a small handful of starts and a few pinch-hit appearances, and it just wasn’t possible also to allow him to really be able to perform at all. It’s very difficult for a young player to come up and be a bench player. The same goes for Donald. In order for him to be effective, he’s going to have to play, so we’ll see how that unfolds.”

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Padres Hit Three Home Runs To Take Series

The San Diego Padres have had a horrible time scoring runs but had enough offense to take the series from the Reds with a 6-1 win over the Reds.

The buzz from Johnny Cueto's electrifying performance in the first game waned as Tyson Ross was effectively wild.

Ross walked Billy Hamilton to start the game.  Hamilton stole second and third as Ross also walked Chris Heisey.  Brandon Phillips grounded to shortstop as Hamilton scored.

That was the offensive story for the Reds.

Jeff Francis was summoned to pitch the rescheduled second game of the day, a make up of the rainout on Wednesday.

Francis, who had 4-3 record for Louisville and a lifetime 7-14 record against the Padres, lasted five innings.  He allowed Renee Rivera's second home run of the season with Cameron Maybin on base to stake the Padres to the runs they needed.

Chase Headley, who turned an Aroldis Chapman fastball into a game winning home run on Tuesday night, singled to score former Red Chris Denorfia, who doubled.

The Reds bullpen needed innings and displayed a little rust.

Logan Ondrusek walked three in his 2/3 inning.  Bryan Price brought in Sean Marshall.  Former Reds' first round draft choice, Yonder Alonso, singled to drive in Headley.

Marshall surrendered Everth Cabrera's first home run of the season.

Alonso hit his first home run of the season off Sam LeCure in the eighth inning. The rhree homers was the most of the season by the Padres. Alonso started the game with a .191 batting average but has been hitting the ball hard.

"Yonder had the single to the left side and a couple of hard-hit balls in the series," San Diego manager Bud Black said.  "Hitting the ball to that side is a good sign for Yonder. That's his game.  He's starting to hit the ball all over the field.  In April we saw a lot of hard outs to the pull side.  In May we are seeing more opposite field hitting."

Alonso had talks with his friends on the Reds during the three days in Cincinnati.  He was the Reds first pick in the 2008 draft.  As a firstbaseman blocked by Joey Votto the Reds traded Alonso for Mat Latos along with Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandall and Brad Boxberger.

"It feels good anytime you can drive the ball," Alonso said. "It is fun like when you're a little kid to play against your friends.  I have a lot of friends over there (Reds' clubhouse) that I played with in the minor leagues. This is a special place for me."

Ironically a conversation with Votto helped Alonso to relax and focus.

"Joey told me that good hitters hit line drives," Alonso said. "He told me to keep doing it the ball will fall in. This is a hard game. It may look easy on TV.  We have to keep putting good at bats together.  We have good pitching."

The Padres are starting to get healthy too, which is something that has eluded them like it has the Reds.  The Reds started the season with eight players on the DL.  The Padres may not have had as many but Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley have all returned with in the last week to provide some missing offense to a team that is last in the National League in runs scored.

This is the first series the Padres have won on the road.  They have won five out of the last six games, sweeping Florida at home and taking two out of three in Cincinnati.

Ross allowed three hits and four walks but struck out eight for his second quality start in a row.

Ross allowed a double to Heisey and singles to Ramon Santiago and Todd Frazier, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.

Reds And Padres Expand Roster For Game Two

The mystery of the 26th man is over and no it is not Teddy Kremer.

The Reds recalled Nick Christiani for the second game to be started by Jeff Francis.

Christiani had to be optioned to allow Francis to be on the 40-man roster in order to be eligible to be used as the 26th man.

Christiani never left town and to my knowledge never left the clubhouse.

The Padres recalled Kevin Quackenbush, who had been called up to cover for Dale Thayer, who was on paternity leave. Thayer returned on Wednesday but the game was washed out. The game was scheduled for a day/night doubleheader for which teams are allowed a 26th player for the roster.

Quackenbush arrived without his luggage on Wednesday.  The 25-year old right-handed reliever was conveniently recalled.

Padres Get Cueto'd

Johnny Cueto is becoming a problem for the media.

The Cincinnati wordsmiths are running out of superlatives to describe his uniquely superlative pitching dominance.  The Reds' 5-0 win over the San Diego Padres revealed no additional descriptive words.

Bryan Price and Brayan Pena have been asked the same questions about what Cueto is doing and they have been very repetitive.

"I am sounding like a broken record," Pena has said over the last four Cueto starts. "He keeps getting better. He told me this spring that if he's healthy this will be a special year."

Pena should know good pitching.  He caught Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer with the Detroit Tigers last season.

Cueto completed his second shutout of the season.  He missed another shutout in the ninth inning at Pittsburgh when Andrew McCutchen homered with one out in the ninth.

As dominant as he was, Cueto didn't feel right coming out of the bullpen to start the game.

"When you have something interrupt your routine," said Cueto through interpreter Tomas Vera.  "Things feel heavy.  It was cold so I had a some trouble getting loose."

Cueto lowered his Major League leading ERA to 1.25.

"I think I am the best right now," Cueto said.  "My numbers talk for me. Everyone else has to worry about their numbers."

The unique aspect of Thursday's first game is the Reds gave its ace a little run support.  Reds' fans could have confidently turned their TV sets off when Brandon Phillips fifth inning line drive into the leftfield stands netted three runs. Single by Zack Cozart and Skip Schumaker preceded the blast by Phillips off Ian Kennedy.

Cozart, who collected three hits, broke an 0-for-15 season long drought with runners in scoring position by drilling a two-run single to score Ryan Ludwick and Pena in the sixth inning.

"I told B (Brandon Phillips) that it felt good to contribute something to a win besides defense," said Cozart, who was hitting .190 at game time but ended it with a .208 average.

Cozart wondered why Cueto is not getting national attention.

"I turned on the TV the other day and they were talking about.(Clayton) Kershaw and (Zach) Grienke and I was thinking, 'What about Johnny C?""

Kennedy had a pristine 3-0 record against the Reds coming into the game.

The Padres, last in the National League in runs scored managed just three hits off Cueto who has now pitched in seven or more innings in all nine starts, while never allowing more than two runs in any of them,

Fernandon Valenzuela had a similar eight-game, season opening stretch in 1981.

The only pitcher with a longer stretch of season opening starts like that was Harry Krause of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1909.  The Athletics have moved across the continent since then with a stop in Kansas City.

"I didn't know that but I thank God I'm the one to do that after 100 years," Cueto said.

Reds Add Jeff Francis To Pitch Second Game

The Reds added Jeff Francis to its 40-man roster and transferred Mat Latos from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list which is retroactive to spring training.

Latos will have a simulated game on the road, probably in Washington, then if all goes well three rehab starts before the Reds activate him in early June.

The teams are allowed to add a 26th player for the second game of this rain induced double-header but that player has to be on the 40-man roster.  The Reds therefore had to add Francis to the 25-man roster before the first game.

Nick Christiani was optioned to Louisville to add Francis.  The Reds will play with 24 players in game one but will add the 26th player for the second game.  They still have to designate the 25 active players for the second game.  It makes sense that Johnny Cueto, the game one starter, will be left off for the second game.

The Reds are holding back on the identity of the 26th player at this time.

"It was a stroke of good luck to have him available for this situation," Price said.

The alternative would be to have Alfredo Simon pitch the second game.  The Reds would have needed a starter on Saturday, which would have probably been Tony Cingrani off the DL.

"I prefer to do it the way we're doing it," Price said. "There is no reason to believe that Tony won't be activated when we need him.  His condition must be pristine before we activate him.  He is doing great."

The Reds just prefer to give Cingrani extra time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

They Are The Padres For A Reason

For those with little exposure to the Spanish language, Padre is the word for father.

The San Diego baseball team that goes by the name of Padres has been living up to the name.

 Little Layla Thayer was born to San Diego pitcher Dale Thayer and his wife Lisa. It was the third birth for one of their players.
Everth Cabrera and his wife Connie had a daughter on Saturday.

Jedd Gyorko and his wife Karley had an addition to their family on April 30.

San Diego manager Bud Black said there are four other players who will have children at some point this season.y

Conveniently, Black's wife, Nanette, is a pediatric nurse.

Reds To Have Recharged Battery In Philadelphia

Tony Cingrani threw 25 pitches in the bullpen and Devin Mesoraco went 2-for-3 with an RBI playing for Louisville in Norfolk, Virginia last night.

If all remains well, the pair may be the pitcher and catcher in Philadelphia on Saturday, facing Cole Hamels.

"I feel fine. I feel strong," Cingrani said of today's bullpen session that followed and 80 pitch session on Monday.  "I can't wait to get out there against the Phillies.  I didn't want to go on the disabled list but it is good to get a break.  I didn't want to take the break it put too much pressure on the other four guys.but I think it helped."

Cingrani was upfront about is disagreement with the Reds' management about going to the DL.

“He did throw on the off day with more aggression," Bryan Price said. "It sounded like it went very, very well. We’re optimistic. You know what we’re looking for? We’re looking for a stronger shoulder and a pain-free delivery, and I think we’re close, but we want to be all the way there before he’s activated. We anticipate him being able to pitch on the road trip. That being said, until we get through that last stage, we won’t make a commitment to him starting.”

Mesoraco will play at least on more game for Louisville and possibly two.

“Everything’s good with Meso," Price said.  "We’re going to increase his workload each game, and we don’t anticipate any reason to think there should be any setbacks, but you know hamstrings are tricky things, and I think a 2-3 game look will give us a pretty good idea of whether he’s ready to go.”


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Homer Bailey And Aroldis Chapman Returns To Form

A 100 mile an hour fastball to the hottest hitter in baseball announced Aroldis Chapman's long journey back from injury was complete.

Chapman made his first major league appearance since being hit above the eye by a line drive during spring training, striking out the side in the ninth with his 100 mph fastball to close out the Cincinnati Reds' 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies 4-1 Sunday.

"I am really happy to get out there for the first time," said Chapman after he walked Troy Tulowitzki, who started the day leading the National League with a .405 batting average. "They are a good team but I was mentally prepared to face them. Facing those type of hitters make you feel better, than if you just break the ice."

Todd Frazier hit his second 400-foot home run in three days to back Homer Bailey's shutdown pitching as Cincinnati won the rubber match of its three-game series with Colorado.

"It was great to see Aroldis. The confidence and determination he had was very cool," said Frazier without a thought to his second home run of the series or his 11-game hitting streak.

Chapman was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd of 33,143. He reached 100 mph with his first pitch and topped out at 102 mph in earning the save. Chapman had been out since being hit above the left eye by a line drive during a spring training game on March 19.

 "I was excited to get back but I was even more excited when I heard the fans," said the 26-year old Cuban through interpreter Tomas Vera.

Chapman was hit hard in his hard in his last two rehab starts in Louisville, allowing eight earned runs in one inning over the two-game stint.

 "As much as you want guys to treat those assignments like a normal game, they don't always have the same focus," Reds' manager Bryan Price said. "The reports we had said he was throwing the ball well. He made some big pitchers to get some good hitters out."

Skip Schumaker drove in two runs and the Reds capitalized on two Colorado throwing errors to send the Rockies to their third loss in four games.

Besides contributing two sacrifice bunts, Bailey (3-2) limited a Colorado offense that produced 11 runs and 16 hits on Saturday night to one run _ Charlie Blackmon's ninth homer of the season and second in two games _ and four hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings.

"Homer worked with Jeff Pico to raise his hands above his head during his wind up," Price said.

Bailey, who signed a $105 million contract in March, struggled through his first seven starts. He began the game with an ERA at 5.36.

"I had to do something," Bailey said. "I had to figure something out. There was no where else to go but to be better."

Manny  Parra got the final two outs of the eighth inning.

The Reds snapped Nolan Arenado's streak of getting on base at 30 consecutive games, two days after his hitting streak was stopped at a franchise-record 28 games.

"Chapman threw the ball very well," Rockie's manager Walt Weiss said. "He used his splitter well to left-handed hitters. He was on today."

Juan Nicasio (4-2), who'd won his previous two starts, allowed five hits and four runs _ two earned _ with one walk and three strikeouts.

Billy Hamilton, making his first start since spraining two knuckles on his left hand while making a diving catch on May 1, led off the first inning with a bunt single up the first base line and went all the way to third on first baseman Justin Morneau's throwing error. Hamilton scored on Schumaker's groundout to second baseman DJ LeMahieu.

The Reds made it 2-0 in the third on Ramon Santiago's leadoff bloop single to left field, Bailey's sacrifice, a Nicasio balk while facing Hamilton and Schumaker's soft, two-out liner to center field.

Blackmon became the first Rockie to reach base when he led off the fourth with an estimated 380-foot shot into the right field seats on a 2-2 pitch.

Frazier got that run back with his seventh homer of the season, an estimated 421-foot drive to center field on a 2-2 pitch with one out in the fourth inning that extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games (13 for 42, .310). Frazier reached an estimated 485 feet with a home run on Friday.

The Reds used another throwing error to take a 4-1 lead in the fifth. With Santiago on third base and Hamilton on second and two outs, third baseman Arenado's high throw to Morneau on Brandon Phillips' two-out grounder pulled the first baseman off the bag. Phillips slid under the attempted tag while Santiago scored.

After some rough starts, Homer Bailey held down a hot-hitting Colorado Rockies team for a 4-1 win in the deciding game of the three-game series.

Bailey retired the first nine batters in order, then gave up a home run to Charlie Blackmon, who hit one for the second consecutive day.  Corey Dickerson followed with a single but Bailey struck out .400 batting Troy Tulowitzki.

"Homer worked with (pitching coach) Jeff Pico to get his hands above his head," manager Bryan Price said.  "It was totally new to him but it was impressive that he could work on it during the week and carry it over into the game."

The return of Chapman was a huge boost to the bullpen that started the game at the bottom of the league statistically.

"It settles us," Price said.  "We went into the season wondering what we were going to do at the back end of games.  That included, Broxton, Marshall as well as Chapman.  Now we have depth in the late innings. We know that Broxton can save games if Chapman needs a day off.  We know that Marshall and Broxton can get us out of late inning jams and we have LeCure and Parra for those same roles."

NOTES: Blackmon's homer was Colorado's 20th of the season with two strikes. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos threw a bullpen session before the game, the next step in his comeback from a flexor mass strain in his right elbow that has kept him out all season. Latos had surgery to remove bone chips from the elbow shortly after the 2013 season and needed surgery on February 14 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He has won 14 games in each of his first two seasons with Cincinnati. ... Colorado and Cincinnati both have Monday off. The Rockies are scheduled to open a two-game interleague series at Kansas City on Tuesday, the same day the Reds are due to open a three-game home series against San Diego.

Jocketty Builds Experienced Bench

If you listen to the radio sports talk hacks, Walt Jocketty, did nothing to improve the team during the off-season.

It appears to some folks that only a marquee name is an upgrade.  Sometimes marquee names bring major league headaches and distractions.  The group that Jocketty brought in brings an attitude that is often lost on jaded stars in Major League Baseball.

Ramon Santiago, Brayan Pena and Skip Schumaker are not marquee, recognized names.  They bring a team effort to supplement the young rising stars on the Reds' roster, Billy Hamilton, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco have a bright future.  The three veterans bring a been-there-done-that know how to the team.

"We have a group of guys that are team oriented, team first.  Santiago, Pena and Schumaker are good at situational baseball.  All of them were brought in to fill backup roles.  Ramon is the only won that hasn't had significant playing time but he's in there today," Bryan price said on Sunday morning.

"Pena is such a positive guy.  That is extremely helpful especially the way we started.  We're playing better baseball now but the first 11 games were painful."

"We are all blessed to be here.  We are doing exactly what we wanted to do when we were younger.  If you're playing or coaching in the major leagues, you have to embrace it.  Professional sports or show business can cause people to lose perspective on how fortunate we are to be where we are."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rockies Roll Reds

It was bound to happen.  Alfredo Simon had an off day which led to a 11-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson greeted Simon with home runs to open the game, then it got worse.

Joey Votto homered on the first pitch he saw, opening the second inning. It was his sixth home run.  He hit number five to walk the Reds off with a win in his last at bat.

Make no mistake Colorado can flat hit.

Dickerson doubled to lead off the second.  He went to third when Troy Tulowitzki reached base for the 22nd consecutive game with an infield hit.  Carlos Gonzalez hit a rocket on one bounce to Brandon Phillips, who turned it into a double play with Dickerson scoring to make the score, 3-1.

The Rockies merely restarted the rally.  Nolan Arenado, who had his 28-game hitting streak squelched by Johnny Cueto on Friday, doubled.  Justin Morneau hit the third home run of the game off Simon.  It was the most home runs allowed in a game by Simon since he was the starting for Baltimore in 2011.

Arenado, who walked and scored the tying run in the ninth inning on Friday, has reached base in 30 straight games.

It signaled the most runs that Simon has allowed after allowing three or fewer runs in his first six starts of the season.  He lasted just three innings after pitching at least six in his other starts.

Nick Christiani and J.J. Hoover were hammered too.

Christiani surrendered two runs in his two innings with Blackmon and Dickerson hitting back-to-back doubles this time.

Hoover gave up a single to Blackmon, then back-to-back home runs to Dickerson, his fourth and Tulowitzki's 11th.

The Reds scored a second run off Colorado starter Jordan Lyles at the scene of Lyles' first major league win in 2011 as a member of the Houston Astros.

Brandon Phillips doubled and scored on a two-out single by Ryan Ludwick.

Devin Mesoraco Back Next Week.

Devin Mesoraco is ready for a rehab assignment which is likely to occur at the beginning of the upcoming week.

Mesoraco ran "simulated" bases this afternoon.  He was going to run the real bases but it was raining at the time he was scheduled to run.

'I had no problems," Mesoraco said.  "I'm ready to go."

Mesoraco went on the disabled list the second time with a strained left hamstring.  He is eligible to come off Sunday May 11.

"He is close but we want to make sure he's ready.  I won't say for sure, he won't come off tomorrow but I'm close to saying it."

Aroldis Chapman Completes Comeback

The Reds have a Cuban Missile in their arsenal once again.

Aroldis Chapman was reinstated from the disabled list.

Curtis Partch was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

Chapman made his return 51 days after he was hit above the right eye by a line drive off the bat of Salvador Perez on March 19.

Chapman completed a four-game rehab assignment this past week.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Reds Rework Lineup Win On Votto Blast

The Reds tried something new in a 4-3 win.

Bryan Price tried to shake up the lineup to shake some runs out of Colorado's Jhoulys Chacin.

Joey Votto in the end made it work with a 437 foot home run off Boone Logan to leadoff the bottom of the ninth.It was his fifth of the season and came on a 3-0 pitch.  It was his fourth career walk-off home run.

Brayan Pena was moved to second in the batting order.   Votto dropped to fourth. It worked early then lost luster quickly but the Reds had Votto at the plate at the right time.

"It is really fun to watch guys have moments like this that they'll never forget,"  Price said.

"The older I get and the more I play, the more I become one with the organization," Votto said. "All you care about is winning."

Skip Schumaker, who has batted leadoff since he has returned from a dislocated shoulder injury, doubled to leadoff against Chacin.  Pena moved him to third with a ground out to secondbase.  Brandon Phillips hit a sacrifice fly to center.

Todd Frazier's 485 foot blast to the Pilot House in straightaway centerfield, his sixth put the Reds up 2-0 after two innings.

Johnny Cueto, who has been the best pitcher in the National League so far, kept the hard-hitting Rockies off the scoreboard until the fourth inning.

Cueto is the first Major League pitcher to throw at least seven innings in each of his first eight games to start a season while allowing two runs or fewer.

He did it against a lineup that has 39 and 157 RBI.

"They have a good team but i have to do my job," Cueto said.  "I thank God that I am feeling well."

Troy Tulowittzki, who is at or near the top of the league in every offensive category hit his 10 home run of the season. Tulowitzki has reached base in 21 straight games.

D.J. LeMahieu singled to leadoff the fifth.  Chacin hit a chopper to second, advancing LeMahieu to second. Charlie Blackmon lined a single to center to tie the score.

Cueto retired the last 11 batters he faced.

Billy Hamilton has been out with jammed knuckles on his left hand for eight days. Hamilton doubled to the rightfield corner batting for Cueto leading off the bottom of the eighth.  Schumaker bunted Hamilton to third. Pena hit a fly to medium rightcenter.  Hamilton easily beat Blackmon's throw to give the Reds the lead.

The Rockies appealed to the thirdbase umpire, Chris Segal, claiming Hamilton left early but Segal signaled safe.

Jonathan Broxton gave up his first run of the season and it cost him his first blown save in six attempts. With one out Nolan Arenado, who had a 28-game hitting streak coming into the game, walked after nearly striking out on a checked swing.  Broxton got ahead of Justin Morneau, 1-2, but the firstbaseman doubled to deep leftcenter to the game with Arenado scoring easily.

Aroldis Chapman Poised For Saturday Return

“They have a decent Triple-A lineup down there, and they gave him some tough at bats and put some balls in play. He threw some good fastballs and sliders and got hit a little bit, but they said his stuff was good. He didn’t shy away from contact. Other than giving up some runs, he was fine.”

Aroldis Chapman may be activated on Saturday.

Chapman finished a four-game rehab stint in the minor leagues with two scoreless appearances for Dayton and finished with appearances on back-to-back days on Tuesday and Wednesday in Louisville.

"We’re going to go out and watch him play catch and see how he feels," Bryan Price said.. "It’s more likely that there’ll be an activation on Saturday. He threw back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday, and from a practical standpoint, it would be better to go into a series with a fresh arm.”

In the two appearances at Dayton, Chapman threw two scoreless innings with one walk and three strikeouts.  Louisville was different story.  Chapman pitched one inning in two games, allowing eight earned runs on seven hits and two walks. He mixed in two strikeouts.

“They have a decent Triple-A lineup down there, Price said. "They gave him some tough at bats and put some balls in play. He threw some good fastballs and sliders and got hit a little bit, but they said his stuff was good. He didn’t shy away from contact. Other than giving up some runs, he was fine.”

The lefthander was hit above the right eye on March 19 with a batted ball hit by Kansas City's Salvador Perez.

Jay Bruce Is Pain Free

There was no one incident responsible for the torn meniscus in the left knee of Jay Bruce.

The rightfielder was scratched from the Reds' lineup on Sunday May 4 against Milwaukee.

Bruce had athroscopic surgery on Monday.  Friday afternoon Bruce reported that he has no pain from the surgery.

"I feel great," Bruce said. " This is my second day without crutches.  The pain is completely gone. There is still swelling but there is no pain."

"It happened gradually.  It has been off and on for a year. It was manageable  before. But it got to the point that is was less manageable.  So I said something. It was hard for me to say something because I take pride in being out there."

It is the just the second time that he has been missing from the team due to injury.  Bruce broke his right wrist on July 12, 2009 and missed two months.  He was leading the team with 18 home runs at the time.

"This week was brutal.  I was on the couch watching on TV.  I hadn't been away from the team since 2009 when I broke my wrist.  I can remember vividly being in a Buffalo Wild Wings in Houston.  It was before you could get games on your phone. I had to go somewhere where they had the package."

He is expected to be back in three more weeks.

"I told Chris Heisey to go out and make me look bad," Bruce said. "I watched every pitch of the two games in Boston. It was two tough losses. That's what hurts the most not being able to contribute.  I have confidence in the guys taking my place."

Some players have said that the game looks easier on TV than it does when they're playing. Bruce adamantly disagrees.

"No way does this game look easy on TV.  After being out there and knowing how hard it is.  It is a very difficult game.  I was watching the NFL draft and realized that these guys that are drafted go directly into the big time.  When you get drafted in baseball you go to where ever it is they send you for three or four years.  This game is hard with all the intricacies."

Reds Move Joey Votto To Cleanup, Pena To Two Spot.

Joey Votto has been moved to cleanup with catcher Brayan Price.

“We’re missing a couple of big run-producing pieces, guys that have been providing us with RBIs and things of that nature," manager Bryan Price said.. "Brayan gives you a good at bat, especially from the left side. He’s hit a lot from the left side this year in particular. It would be nice to get some guys on base, put Joey back there behind Brandon and give Joey an opportunity to drive in some runs. It’s not like me to be stagnant. There’s some things I think we can do to kick the offense back into gear. I’m just trying to make things happen and create some opportunities to score more runs.”

Votto hit second in the batting order for 22 games.  The Reds were 12-10 in those games.

The firstbaseman hit .263 with three home runs and eight RBI from the second spot in the batting.

"I think certain things happened when we put him in the two hole," Price said. "We haven’t put him in a lot of situations to drive in runs. That position is a challenge in and of itself. Billy’s been out of the lineup, and that has affected our ability to have more guys in scoring position. I don’t know. I really don’t. I feel optimistic and good every time Joey’s at the plate. He still gives us a great at bats. He still finds a way to see a lot of pitches and fight off a lot of tough pitches. You certainly expect him to go out there and do what he’s capable of doing moving forward.”

Both Brayan Pena and Votto are fine with the move.

"This is all to help the team,"Pena said. "We are 100 percent behind the decisions of our skipper. I was in here at 12;30 doing some cardio.  The MLB Network was on and someone twittered the lineup.  (Neftali) Soto was working out with me.  I asked him if it was true. He looked it up and found out it was."

"It makes no difference where I bat in the lineup."

"At the end of the year, you'll look up and I will be about the same," Votto said. "Baseball-Reference has been very good to me during my career.  My goal is to stay on the field, stay healthy and be a part of some wins. I have done relatively well.  The frustrating part is that my struggles coincide with a number of close losses."

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Todd Frazier Makes The Most Of His Second Chance

Todd Frazier got a second chance and made the most of it.

Chris Heisey scored from first base on Frazier's double into the left-field corner as the Cincinnati Reds came from behind for a 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers in 10 innings on Sunday, erasing the frustration of three missed scoring opportunities.

Frazier's soft line drive resulted in an inning ending double play that squelched a promising sixth inning rally.

"Fortunately, I got another chance," said Frazier after showing the frustration of wasting a bases loaded situation against Kyle Lohse. "The best thing about baseball is you get another chance tomorrow. This time I only wanted three innings."

Heisey drew a two-out, four-pitch walk from Tyler Thornburgh (3-1), and Frazier followed with a line drive that one-hopped the wall. Heisey beat shortstop Jean Segura's off-target relay to the plate to give the Reds three wins in their four-game series against the team that has the majors'  best record at 21-11.

"Heisey grinded out a walk and then had to bust it," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. "They played the ball perfectly. Steve Smith (thirdbase coach) made the right call to send him."

Smith had been taking criticism for having runners thrown out at home several times this season.

"I'm not known for my eagle eye at the plate. The key is not to get caught up in the moment and swing at bad pitches" said Heisey, who was a last-minute replacement in the lineup when Jay Bruce was scratched with a sore left knee. "Anytime the ball is down the line or in the gap, I'm thinking of scoring."

 Brandon Phillips greeted reliever Brandon Kintzler with a game-tying 425-foot blast to center with one out in the eighth inning. The homer was Phillips' second of the season and first since April 5.

Sam LeCure (1-1) pitched the 10th for the win.

Brewers starter Kyle Lohse allowed a season-high eight hits, including Brayan Pena's home run, but the right-hander still managed keep the Reds at bay. Lohse lasted 6 1-3 innings, giving up two runs with one walk and two strikeouts.

"It was a weird outing for me," Lohse said. "They did a good job mixing it up. At first, they were super aggressive. I tried to use that, and they starting taking. They made me work for the outs that I got."

Cincinnati starter Alfredo Simon, who hadn't allowed more than two runs in any of his first five starts, gave up three in seven innings, along with five hits and one walk with no strikeouts.

Before 32,953 fans _ the third straight crowd of at least 32,000 _ Scooter Gennett hit Simon's third pitch of the game 357 feet into the right-field seats for his second homer of the season, giving Milwaukee a 1-0 lead. The Brewers made it 2-0 in the third on Carlos Gomez's one-out double to the warning track in left-center and Jonathan Lucroy's two-out single.

Pena hit the first pitch of the third inning 456 feet over the right field wall for his third homer of the season, all in the last five days. He left the game for a pinch runner with a tight hamstring in the seventh.

Khris Davis restored the two-run lead with a solo homer to right in the fourth, his fourth of the season.

The Reds again made it a one-run game in the fourth on Frazier's sacrifice fly after Phillips led off with a  double _ his fourth hit in five at-bats since getting Friday off _ and advanced to third on Heisey's groundout.

The Brewers had been a perfect 4-0 in extra inning games and a perfect 4-0 in one-run games as well as taking big early lead in the Central Division.

"Eventually, it's not going to be early. It is still early but if we get to June 1 and I say it's early you guys should kick me," said Price, who's team improved to 15-16. "We need to send a message that we're in this thing and we have to prove it to ourselves.  Being around .500 isn't what we're all about."

NOTES: Davis has 15 home runs in his brief two-year career, with five of them against the Reds. ... RF Jay Bruce was scratched from Cincinnati's original starting lineup with left knee soreness. Heisey replaced Bruce in right field and the fourth spot in the batting order. ... Manager Bryan Price expects LHP Aroldis Chapman to be activated for the Reds' homestand that is scheduled to start next Friday. The projected closer is due to take Sunday and Monday off before starting and pitching an inning for Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday, followed by an inning of relief on Wednesday. Chapman is coming back from surgery to repair injuries to his left eye suffered when he was struck by a line drive during a spring training game on March 19.

Jay Bruce Scratched From Sunday Lineup

The Reds scratched Jay Bruce from the starting lineup on Sunday with soreness in his left knee.

Chris Heisey was inserted into the lineup batting cleanup against Milwaukee starter and former Red Kyle Lohse.

At this time there are no details about the injury or how it occurred.  The Reds have an off day on Monday, fly to Boston for games at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then have a day off on Thursday before they return to play a weekend series against the Colorado Rockies.

The Reds are still without Billy Hamilton who jammed two fingers on his left hand.  He is available for light duty, pinch running, defense and should return to action shortly.

Skip Schumaker, fresh off the disabled list, is getting his first start as a Red.  Schumaker will lead off and play centerfield.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Johnny Cueto Dominates Brewers

Johnny Cueto gives up very few hits.  He allowed only four Brewers to reach base in the Reds 6-2 win.

The hits he does give up travel a long distance.  Two of the three hits Cueto allowed were home runs.

Aramis Ramirez broke an 0-for-28 slump with a leadoff home run in the second inning.  Mark Reynolds clubbed his seventh to start the fifth.

In between the two Cueto retired nine batters in a row and the Reds gave him some run support.

Cincinnnati parlayed four singles and a hit batter to score three runs in the fourth off Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo.

Brandon Phillips refreshed from a day of on Friday, laced a single to left.  Jay Bruce, who struck out in all four plate appearances on Friday lined a single to right.  Gallardo hit Todd Frazier in the ribs to load the bases.  Ryan Ludwick and Brayan Pena singled on consecutive pitches.  Ludwicks scored Phillips and Pena's scored Bruce and Frazier.

While Cueto continued to mow down the Brewers, the Reds mounted another assault on Gallardo in the sixth.

"He has the same mix of pitches that he's always had but he is attacking hitters differently," Bryan Price said.  "He can put any of his pitches on both side of the plate.  Balls look like strikes to the hitters and strikes look like balls when he throws his cutter off the plate and they come back over the plate when the hitter gives up on them.  He didn't even have to pitch from the stretch until the eighth inning."

Cueto believes this is the best stretch he has had in his career.  In the last four games he has two complete games and two games in which he completed eight innings.  He pitched seven innings in each of his first three starts of the season.

"It is important to me that I am able to pitch a lot of innings," Cueto said through interpreter Tomas Vera.  "I am working hard to say healthy. I am working for that endurance."

Brayan Pena caught Justin Verlander and compared the two.

"They are different in how they attack the hitter," Pena said. "Johnny is more of a cutter, sinker pitcher.  Verlander is more of a power pitcher.  They both work hard to stay healthy.  I may sound like a broken record but Johnny was unbelievable.  He gets ahead of the hitter then he can pitch backward.  They can't get comfortable against him."

Ludwick, rested from his day off Friday night singled to left off Gallardo.  Pena singled to right, sending Ludwick  to third.  Zack Cozart bounced back to the mound and caught Ludwick off third for the second out of the inning.  Cueto hit a hard groundball into right to score Pena.

"Johnny doesn't have the body of an Olympic athlete but he performs like one," Price said.

Ludwick had two hits and Phillips both had three, including a double after resting Friday night.

"It was good managing," Price joked. "I can't see anyone playing 162 games.  We have to have something left in September.  We have to keep the bench guys sharp when we need to.  It was Ludwick's and Brandon's turns last night.  I'm not a guy who take players out because the aren't doing something, so don't read into it.  It was just their time to take a game off."

Phillips greeted Tyler Thornburg with the double in the seventh.  He went to third when Bruce grounded to secondbase.  Frazier singled to score Phillips.  Thornburg threw two wild pitches that allowed Frazier to score.

"It is what it is," Phillips said.  "There are a lot of people hating on me but it is a long season.  We will hit."

Cueto pitched into the eighth inning for the fourth straight game.  Cueto struck out Caleb Gindl leading off the eighth.  Jean Segura got an infield hit on a slow roller over third that Frazier couldn't barehand.  Cueto caught Logan Schafer looking at a called third strike for his 10th strikeout of the game but walked pinch hitter Lyle Overbay on a couple close two strike pitches.

Phillips has been with Cueto his whole career with the Reds.

"Johnny is more of a pitcher now rather than a thrower," Phillips said.  "He always does something crazy on the mound.  He had me cracking up.  He keeps getting better.  It is fun to watch him pitch."

Manager Bryan Price visited Cueto but let him pitch to Carlos Gomez.  Gomez hit a ball to the right of the mound. Cueto deflected it to Phillips who through to Votto.  Gomez was called out on a close play that held up under review.

Sam LeCure finished off Milwaukee with a perfect ninth.

Skip Schumaker Activated From Disabled List.

The Reds activated Skip Schumaker, the team's lone off-season free agent signee, from the 15-day disabled list.

The veteran 34-year old utlilty player dislocated his shoulder diving for a ball in the outfield at Goodyear Ballpark on March 22.

Schumaker was hitting .441 with a home run and seven RBI with his new team when he was injured.

"It is tougher being injured when you come to a new team," Schumaker said. "You want to show your new teammates what you can do.  It was pretty frustrating being that late in the spring."

The Reds designated for assignment,  Roger Bernadina, who signed a minor league contract.  The Reds have 10 days to trade, release or place Bernadina on waivers.  He is out of options.

Bernadina hit .143 in 28 at bats for the Reds and was 1-for-11 as a pinch hitter with an RBI.

"I was a little surprised but I understand it," Bernadina said. "Schumaker is back.  I really didn't get into a groove here."

Bernadina hit .413 in the spring to earn a spot on the opening day roster.  He hit three home runs and drove in 11 runs this spring.

Schumaker feels that he is ready. He hasn't had to dive for a ball during his rehab but promises not to shy away from it.

"I'm not as worried about it as I was," Schumaker said.  "I'm not going to let a ball drop in.  I'm ready to go. I wouldn't jeopardize someone else's spot on the roster if I wasn't ready to go."

Schumaker provides more flexibility for manager Bryan Price. He is a left-handed hitter that can play multiple positions and has decent speed.

The Californias native played for the Los Angeles Dondgers last season. He played in 102 games divided between 2B (44gms, 34 starts), LF (35 gms, 14 starts), CF (29 games, 17 starts) and RF (18 gms, 8 starts). He hit .285 with two home runs (one off Bronson Arroyo) and drove in 30 runs.

Schumaker played eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, appearing in three playoffs and one World Series.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Force Against The Reds And Leake Skywalker On Star Wars Night

Wily Peralta became Darth Vader as he shut the Reds down on three hits in a 2-0 win for the invaders.

Mike Leake "Skywalker" pitched eight strong innings but Vader/Peralta used his bat as a light sabre to stroke a two-out, two-run double to provide the offense.

Peralta had to battle himself in the first inning after Leake disposed of the Brewers on eight pitches in the top of the first, Chris Heisey and Joey Votto put together seven pitch at bats.  Heisey singled off the glove of thirdbaseman Aramis Ramirez and Votto walked.

"I just started to locate my fastball better after the first inning," Peralta said.

With secondbaseman Brandon Phillips getting a rest, Todd Frazier batted third in the order.  Ramirez turned his one hopper into a rally killing double play.

The Reds next good chance to score came in the fourth.  Votto doubled off the very top of the leftfield fence to lead off the fourth.  "Home Run" fireworks went off prematurely as the umpires reviewed replays for a minute and 25 seconds to confirm the call on the field.

Frazier grounded to shortstop. Jay Bruce struck out and Brayan Pena flied out to left.

Lyle Overbay led off the Brewer's fifth with a single. Leake got Khris Davis on a called third strike butttt walked Caleb Giditndle.  Jean Segura bounced to first.  Votto threw to Zack Cozart for the forceout. Peralta doubled over the head of a drawn-in Bruce for his 10th career hit, Overbay and Segura scampered home to give Peralta his first career RBI.

"It probably wasn't the best pitch," Leake said of his pitch to Peralta. "It was a fastball down the middle and pitchers like to hack."

"I can't be upset about that," Price said. "When you get eight innings that's a good thing. Pitchers can be dangerous too.  Look at Leake when he is hitting.  You just have to give Peralta credit. He didn't give us anything to be excited about."

Francisco Rodtiguez saved the game with a perfect ninth that included Bruce's fourth strikeout of the game.

Carlos Gomez Robs Joey Votto For Second Time

Joey Votto gestured to the outfield fence in the direction of Carlos Gomez.

Gomez may not have stolen a home run from Votto but the Reds' firstbaseman was near secondbase when the Milwaukee centerfielder hauled in Votto's blast.

Votto held up two fingers, referencing Gomez's catch last July in the ninth inning that ended Milwaukee's 4-3.  That would have been a two-run go-ahead home run.

"It was just a product of having known him for awhile," Votto said Friday afternoon.  "I've known him since we played winter ball together in 2006.  We played against each other in the minor leagues and he was my neighbor in spring training.  He's just out there competing and having fun."


Reds fans can recall that Jim Edmonds robbed Adam Dunn at least twice on similar catches above the centerfield wall.

"We just have to do better," Votto said.  "If we don't like it, we just have to hit it farther.

Gomez stole a home run from Votto in the ninth inning with the Brewers leading 4-3 with two outs and a man on in Miller Park.  The catch secured the win for Milwaukee.  In September Gomez cheated Jay Bruce of a three-run home run in extra innings in a game the Brewers rallied to win in extra innings.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reds Catchers Power Reds Past Brewers

Reds catchers powered the Reds to an 8-3 win in the first game of the four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Homer Bailey dominated the Brewers for most of the game.  He allowed eight hits but six were bunched together to score three runs.

Billy Hamilton robbed Carlos Gomez with a diving catch of a gap shot on the first pitch of the game.  Hamilton stayed in for the rest of the inning but left with sprained knuckles on his left hand.
Chris Heisey pinch hit in the bottom of the first.

Gomez robbed Joey Votto of at least a double in the Reds' half of the first, leaping high against the centerfield wall.  Gomez robbed Votto of a game-tying home run last year.  He also robbed Jay Bruce of a game-winning home run in September.

With one out in the second, Khris Davis, Mark Reynolds and Jean Segura singled in consecutive at bats to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead.

Marco Estrada, the Brewers starter, held the lead until the fifth.

Tucker Barnhart hit his first major league home run to tie the score.  Barnhart, a switch hitter, had only 12 home runs in his first five years as a Reds' farmhand.

"Ir was awesome," Barnhart said. "I have the ball right here.  My family (Brownsburg, Indiana near Indianapolis) was here and got to see it.  This is a tribute to all the hard work we put in.  We push each other in spring training to get ready for this."

Todd Frazier hit a two-run home run in the sixth after Bruce walked. His team-leading fifth home run, put the Reds up 3-1.

Bailey got the first two Brewers in the top of the seventh but the Brewers bunched three more hits to tie the game at 3.

Segura singled.  Pinch hitter Rickie Weeks, who was 13-for-26 against Bailey with two home runs, hit a ball back up the middle that caromed off Bailey's ankle to Frazier at third.  There was no play.  Gomez doubled to score both runners.

The Reds had a chance to break the game open in the bottom of the seventh against Brandons Kintzler. Heisey singled. Votto walked.  Brandon Phillips advanced them with a sacrifice bunt. Kintzler issued an intentional walk to Bruce.  Frazier popped out to shallow right and Ryan Ludwick took a called third strike.

Bailey pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.

The Reds cast aside a months worth of frustration in the bottom of the inning against Jim Henderson.

Zack Cozart started the inning with a clean single to left, raising his average to .194.  It was his third straight two-hit game.  Barnhart put Cozart in scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.  Brayan Pena, who hit his first home run as a Red on Wednesday, pinch hit for Bailey.  On the first pitch Pena hit his second of the season into the bullpen, nearly the same spot as his first homer.

"I didn't want to let my teammates down or the skipper.  He had faith in me," Pena said.

"Pena doesn't try to do too much," Price said.  "He kind of scooped the ball and got it down the line.  That's why we got him.  He can do a lot for us off the bench."

The Reds weren't finished with Henderson.

Heisey singled and stopped at third when Votto doubled off the wall in left.  Bruce walked for the third time.  Frazier worked another walk to drive in his third run of the game and his team leading 15th run of the season.  Ludwick singled off the glove or Aramis Ramirez at third to score Votto and Bruce.

Bailey redeemed himself after a few rough starts this season by battling through eight innings against the hottest team in baseball.

""This team has picked me up all year.  Tucker Barnhart did a great job.  For a young guy he really knows what he's doing. This game was good for all of us.  We're fixing to turn things around. We've had a lot happen already this year. This one showe we're starting to come together as a group," Bailey said.