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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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jumbo Diaz Starts Career While Sean Marshall's Is In Doubt


The Reds brought a big, big man in from Louisville before the game with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jumbo Diaz made the trip up I-71 to make his first appearance on a Major League roster at age 30.

Tony Cingrani was sent back to Louisville to get straightened out.

Sean Marshall was moved from the 15-day the 60-day disabled list to allow the Reds to select the contract of Diaz and add him to the 40-man and 25-man roster.

Marshall, who is 18 months older than Diaz but is in his eighth year, will need surgery to his shoulder. Marshall missed most of last season and pitched ineffectively in 15 games (7.71 ERA) this season.

The Reds also moved Trevor Bell from the 15-day to the 60-day DL.  Bell pitched in two games in April after making the team out of spring training.  He pitched just 2/3 of an inning, allowing five runs. He was placed on the DL on April 8th.  Brett Marshall was removed from the 60-day DL and optioned to Louisville.

“You’ll have to remind me of some of them because there were a few," said Price of the roster moves. "Trevor Bell had started  rehab out in Goodyear. His elbow got sore again and they found that he’s probably going to need Tommy John surgery. Sean Marshall needs to have his shoulder cleaned out. There are some issues with his shoulder that need to be corrected through surgery. We also sent Tony Cingrani to Louisville to work on getting back on top of his game. We’re confident that he’ll be back here quickly because he’s a big part of this staff. Jumbo Diaz has been closing and doing a terrific job.”

Cingrani was removed from the Reds' starting rotation with the return of Mat Latos and worked two games out of the bullpen for the Reds.  He was the losing pitcher on Thursday in Pittsburgh, walking Russel Martin with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th inning.

Diaz is 6'4' but was on the Kentucky side of 348 pounds when he resigned with the Reds over the winter.

"I told my agent that I wanted to report in shape," said Diaz when he weighed in at 278 pounds at the Goodyear spring training complex in Arizona in March.

The news put a smile on the big man's face.

“Feel like I’m so excited," said Diaz Friday afternoon. "I was talking two weeks ago with my wife. I signed with the Dodgers in 2001 May 14. I said I’ve been playing for 13 years, fighting to get that call and working hard every day. This morning, when I got the call, I was in the shower. We had a flight at 10:30 in the morning. I got out and say I had three missed calls. I said, ‘Who’s calling me this early?’ Then when they called back, it was Teddy Power and he said, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to Cincinnati.’  I was so excited to get that call.”

Diaz was having another good year at Louisville. Diaz in 30 apps for the Bats went 2-2, 1.35 and converted 18-19 save opportunities (33.1ip, 25h, 10bb, 31k, 1hr, .208oba). He didn't allow a run in any of his last 8 appearances (9ip) Diaz last pitched Wednesday and stranded a pair of inherited baserunners to save the 12-8 Bats win vs Durham (0.2ip, 1k, 7 pitches).

“When they sent me to Louisville, they said, ‘Keep working hard. You’ll be part of the team,’ and I said, ‘I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to keep working hard in Louisville,’ and that’s what I did every day," Diaz said. "They gave me the ball in the ninth and I tried to do my best. I want to do the same here. When I get my opportunity, do my best – throw strikes, get ahead of the hitter. My family, everybody in town is excited that I got this call.”

Price has a lot of options for using Diaz.

"We had a lot of work in that Pittsburgh series, so he could pitch in any role tonight," Price said. "He could pitch in any role. He’s been used a closer, but I think we’ll have Chapman available tonight. We should hopefully have Broxton as well, but Diaz could be in a late-game situation. LeCure, Hoover and Parra – those guys have been pitching a lot.”

Cingrani has been erratic and the Reds want him to get enough work to get straightened out.

“Well, I do (think it's best for Cingrani). You could’ve asked me a couple of days before the Milwaukee game and the Pittsburgh if I felt like he needed to go down and get sharp and I didn’t but he’s transitioning back into the bullpen," Price explained. "With a healthy starting five, that’s where Tony can help us best this year. We’ve seen him pitch very efficiently at times out of the bullpen. He has a history as a college closer, so he’s done this before. He just hasn’t been sharp, and not just his two relief appearances, but over the course of several starts, especially after he came off the disabled list. He’s not pounding the strike zone with the regularity we’re used to, and we’d like to see the command get better, and that’s going to be very difficult to do pitching in long relief here for us at this level. We can get him down there, pitch him every fifth day, get him work days down in Louisville with Teddy Power, get some good work in, and we hope that it’s a very short stay, because I believe we’re better with Tony on our club.”

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