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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.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Frank Sinatra, Robert Stephenson And Complete Games Extinction

There was an "old school" feel in the Reds' clubhouse Thursday morning.

Sam LeCure is not only back in the Reds' bullpen, he is back in his capacity of clubhouse DJ. That means out with "The Stanky Leg" and in with Frank Sinatra and the 60's and 70's hits.

The mood carried over into the manager's office where the nostalgia turned into complete games and innings pitched.

Michael Lorenzen will be back with the Reds when the rosters expand September 1. He may make one or two starts when he comes back but is reaching a limit set on his innings. This is just Lorenzen's second full year as a pitcher. He played mostly centerfield at Cal State - Fullerton.

Bryan Price hinted but couldn't commit to the possibility that Robert Stephenson, the Reds' top pick in the 2011 draft, could also make an appearance for the Reds, although he would have to be added to the 40-man roster. That move will cost another player his job.

"Lorenzen is bumping against his limit," Price said. "We're trying to figure out how to use the innings he has left. I think it is important that he pitch in September." The minor league season ends in early September. Young pitchers need to learn to pitch later in the year, which reduces recovery time heading into the next season.
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Stephenson is scheduled to pitch on Thursday in Louisville against Indianapolis.

"He has room on his limit," said Price of the 22-year old, who is coming off the seven-day minor league DL.
"He has 120 innings now. He pitched 136 last year. He needs more innings."

Stephenson could possibly get three more starts for the Bats which at most would put him at 147 innings. If, he completed all of his starts. Complete games, however, have become a thing of the past in baseball and even more so in the minor leagues.

"I look at the complete games in the minor leagues and they are seven inning games. (Minor leagues play one seven inning games when they have double headers.)," Price said. "Stephenson needs to get those inning. He will definitely be considered (as a call up). I can't tell you he'll be coming up"

When Raisel Iglesias struck out 13 batters on Sunday, it was the most strikeouts by a Reds' rookie in a game since Gary Nolan did it in 1967.

One writer's research revealed that Nolan pitched 220 innings in his rookie year. Dwight Gooden had to pitch through October in his second year, 1988.

"I read a book about the greats of the game and one chapter was about Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal facing each other and both pitched 16 innings until Willie Mays hit a home run off Spahn, who was considerably older," Price said. "Those days are gone, unfortunately, I don't know if we can put a finger on why guys break down more now."

"We've created this issue as an industry. I think agents have something to do with it. I think the game has improved in some ways but in some ways it has regressed. When I started to play professionally there weren't a lot of guys that had chronic arm problems. You can go to any baseball spring training camp where guys go to rehab and it is filled with pitchers who had major surgery"

"In the old days if a guy blew tore the ligament in his elbow, he was finished. When the arm injuries started to shoot up in the mid-80's and 90's, then we pay closers $10 million and setup guys $7 million. We have to use them. You know how I feel.  We used Johnny Cueto for 240 innings last year because he was pitch efficient."

Jeff Brantley commented on the 50th anniversary of Jim Maloney's 10-inning no-hitter in which he struck out 12 batters, hit one and walked 10. He threw 187 pitches.

"Now if a pitcher walks five batters in five innings, he's not around for the sixth inning," Brantley said. "We have specialists now. The first time I remember the use of specialist was Tony La Russa when he was in Oakland. He would use five pitchers to get six outs with lefty, righty match ups and guys designated for certain innings. It caused other baseball people to take a look at it. Someone may have done that before but that's the first time I noticed it."

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