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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Adam Duvall Makes Reds Opening Day Roster







Adam Duvall made an opening day roster for the first time in his career.

The still muddled Reds’ pitching roster is less muddled, after early morning meetings in Goodyear. The makeup of the outfield, most prominently leftfield, is a bit clearer.

The Reds optioned Tyler Holt to Triple A Louisville. This removes him from the competition between left-handed batting Scott Schebler and Jake Cave and right-handed hitting Yorman Rodriguez. Adam Duvall was told he made the team by manager Bryan Price and is likely to be the opening day leftfielder. Price is planning to platoon players in left.

Duvall leads the team with 20 hits, four home runs and 17 RBI.

Schebler is hitting .288 with hits and at least one RBI in the last four games.

Rodriguez is hitting .225 with one double and one RBI.

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Cave has a .224 average with a double, a home run and three RBI.

Rodriguez is out of options and Cave would have to clear waivers and be offered back to the New York Yankees if he is not on the 25-man roster.

RHP Drew Hayes, Ryan Mattheus, Pedro Villarreal and J.C Ramirez were re-assigned to minor league camp. All of them were on minor league contracts. LHP Chris O’Grady was a Rule V pick. He cleared waivers and was offered back to the Los Angeles Angels, who have three days to decide to reclaim him for $25,000. RHP Blake Wood is out of options.

There are 35 players remaining in the major league camp. There are 38 players on the 40-man roster and three players, who would need to be added. RHP Dyan Diaz, RHP Tim Melville and C/INF/OF Jordan Pacheco are the last three non-roster invitees left.

Melville is available to start the third game of the season against Philadelphia. The Reds would have to add him to one of the open roster spots to do so or they can recall Robert Stephenson or allow Keyvius Sampson to make the start.

Melville pitched six strong innings against the Indians on Saturday. Melville has allowed 11 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings but the Reds like his stuff and his change up has come along during camp.

Dyan Diaz has a 3.86 ERA in nine appearances.

Wood led the International League with 29 saves in 57 games with a 3.53 ERA for Indianapolis last year. This spring Wood gave up 10 runs in his first seven appearances but has not been scored upon in his last two.

Hayes was the surprise in the roster moves today. He pitched the best among the non-roster pitchers but his status cost him a opening day spot.

“He pitched well and put himself on the map,” said Price of the reliever, who pitched 10 innings in eight appearances. He allowed one earned run. Hayes walked four, three in one outing and struck out 13. “Roster considerations affected him but he put himself in position to be called up early in the season, like De Jesus did last year.”
The late signing of veteran right-hander Ross Ohlendorf took up a roster spot that Hayes could have filled.

“When he gets his fastball down, he is really good,” Price said.

The last bench positions come down to Jordan Pacheco and Jose Peraza.

Peraza hit .305 and Pacheco .319 this spring. Both can play multiple positions with Pacheco providing the luxury of a third catcher. There is internal debate on whether Peraza would benefit more from playing everyday in Louisville or filling in three or four times a week in Cincinnati. He can play all of the infield and outfield positions and in particular centerfield to back up Billy Hamilton. Peraza could allow Zack Cozart extra days off as he builds endurance after his knee injury.

INF Ivan De Jesus Jr. was also informed that he will be on the roster.



Monday, March 28, 2016

Raisel Iglesias Reds Opening Day Starter





Raisel Iglesias will be the Reds’ opening day starter; manager Bryan Price announced on Monday.

Iglesias will face the Philadelphia Phillies on April 4, taking the place of the early favorite and logical choice Anthony DeSclafani, who is sidelined with a mild strain in his left oblique.

Iglesias started late this spring because he was shut down in mid September last season with fatigue in his right shoulder.  The Reds put him on a program with flexibility exercises this winter.  He started behind the other pitchers in camp and didn’t get into a game until March 14.

DeSclafani’s injury was one of many that paired down the original list of a dozen pitcher that Price mentioned the first day of camp as starters.

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The Reds knew that Homer Bailey and John Lamb would not be ready opening day.  Michael Lorenzen and Jon Moscot suffered setbacks that took them out of the competition.

Brandon Finnegan is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday April 6.  The Reds’ are undecided who will start on the 7th.  Alfredo Simon is scheduled for Friday the 8th against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Iglesias is set to come back on Saturday the 9th.

The Reds expect DeSclafani to be ready to take the ball against Pittsburgh on Sunday the 10th.

“We will go through a short throwing progression in long toss and be able to throw a simulated game in Cincinnati," Price said.  “He felt it in his start against Texas (March 24). He felt a little stitch the start before (March 18) ,not anything to be concerned with. He pitched his bullpen and completed his workload without issue to the point he didn’t get any treatment.”

Dr. Timothy Kremchek examined DeSclafani on the 26th and confirmed that is was a mild strain.

“It was tolerable when I was pitching against Texas but it was getting worse every inning,” DeSclafani said.  “I want to be healthy all year. As much as I want to pitch opening day, the oblique can be one of those nagging injuries that last all year.”

Iglesias will become the first Cuban born pitcher to start on opening day for the Reds since Adolpho Luque started the game in 1921 and 1928.

I want to thank the team for having confidence in me,” Iglesias said through interpreter Tomas Vera. “The news the manager gave me today is the best news I’ve had in the last few years. I’m proud to be the opening day pitcher in the Major Leagues. I want to thank my family for their support.”

Iglesias was on the opening day roster last year but was in the bullpen when the game began.

“I was part of opening day but in the bullpen,” Iglesias said.  “I was there in case they needed me to pitch.  It was a beautiful day.  Now when I’m pitching on opening day, I’m going to enjoy it the most.”

Iglesias will pitch in a minor league game on the 30th.

“We want him to pitch in a controlled environment where he can get up and down six times,” Price said.  “We need to stretch him out to 90-95 pitches so we can reasonably expect him to pitch six innings on opening day.”

The Reds are deciding who will start the third game on Thursday. It could be Tim Melville, who pitched six strong innings Saturday. It could be Robert Stephenson, who was optioned to Triple A Louisville on March 18.

It will not be Jon Moscot, who pitched in a minor league game on Monday morning.  Moscot pitched two innings without pain from a left intercostal strain in his rib cage.  Moscot is expected to be stretched out and ready to start by April 17.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Jake Cave In Crowded Outfield






Leftfield Still Undecided

Jake Cave is leaving fate in the hands of others. He just once to play baseball and would love to play it in Cincinnati.

Cave was picked up by the Reds’ in the Rule V draft.  He has to be on the Reds’ roster the entire season or be offered back to the New York Yankees, who picked Cave in the sixth round of the 2011 draft.  Like many young players in that organization he had to wait out veteran free agent signees an long term contracts that kept him in the minor leagues for the past six years.

The 23-y
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ear old missed the 2012 season after right knee surgery.

Cave is competing in the wide open race for the starting job in leftfield.  Manager Bryan Price is in the unenviable position of sorting through, Yorman Rodriguez, Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall, Tyler Holt and Cave for the position that will be a platoon.

“Everybody is playing well.  I don’t worry about the competition.  It will take care of itself. I just go out there and play baseball,” Cave said.  “I’d love to stay here. I love the Reds. My dream since I was a little kid was to play baseball. If they keep me, I’ll be able to do that.”

“I keep waiting for someone to separate themselves,” Price said.  ‘I haven’t told anyone whether they made the team or not but it will be soon.”

Cave, who can play centerfield as well as left, would also serve as insurance for the health and development of Billy Hamilton. He started in centerfield on Sunday against the Dodgers. It is his 15th appearance in center.  He has started three games in left.

Coming into the game, Cave is hitting .244 with a home run and three RBI in 21 games.

Scott Schebler makes his 12th start in left against the Dodgers. He has five starts in center.

Schebler is tied for the team lead with three home runs.  He is hitting .250 in 18 games with nine RBI.

Rodriguez has played in 21 games and is hitting .225 with no home runs and one RBI.  He is out of options and will be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t make the team.

Adam Duvall leads the team in at-bats (53), hits (17), total bases (31) and RBI (13).  Duvall, who has starts at thirdbase and firstbase, is hitting .321.

Holt played 13 games in center, four in left and two in right. He is hitting .220 with no home runs and three RBI.

“There will be a little bit more clarity over the next three days,” Price said.

Minor League and Major League Pitchers Switch

Jon Moscot will start his first game since March 11 on Monday but it will not be against the Milwaukee Brewers as expected.  That honor will go to Robert Stephenson, who was optioned to Louisville earler.  Moscot and Raisel Iglesias will start in minor league games.
A.J Morris and Josh Smith will start against the Brewers and White Sox respectively.  Brandon Finnegan will start in the last game in Arizona as scheduled.  Alfredo Simon will start in Indianapolis April 2 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“We’re going to do a few things coming down the stretch,” Price said. “We need to get some of our guys stretched out with five or six up and down.  It is part of the conditioning program as much as the pitch count is.  You can’t guarantee that will happen in big league games.  We can ensure that in a minor league game.”

Far too often this spring, Reds’ starters have exhausted their pitch count before their innings were complete.

“It hasn’t been pretty,” Price said.  “We’ve given up a lot of runs.”

Newcomer

Ross Ohlendorf is an important signing.  He’s done everything in the major leagues from starting to closing.

The Reds’s starters are young and due to various injuries haven’t been stretched out other than Anthony DeSclafani and Finnegan.  Ineffective starters will tax the bullpen. The Reds need more bullpen guys who can pitch more than one inning.

“Ross being a starter in his career can certainly pitch more than one inning,” Price said. “Once I know who is on the team, I can start to define roles.  It sounds silly and of course pitchers will say they’ll take the ball whenever you give it to them but they do prepare differently for different roles.  The long guy knows he has to be prepared early in the game or if there are extra innings. If I call down there and tell Hoover to get up in the third, he will be caught off guard. He’s going to be physically and mentally unprepared.”





Friday, March 25, 2016

Jon Moscot Back Tim Melville Gets Shot At Indians Cody Reed Shall Return






There are still question marks for the Reds’ pitching staff.  Bryan Price delayed rubber stamping Anthony DeSclafani as the opening day starter until some of the questions are answered.

One question surrounds right-hander Jon Moscot, who hasn’t pitched since March 11.  Moscot was one of the front runners for the starting rotation before he strained his rib cage swinging a bat.

It happened two days before his scheduled start March 16 against Arizona.

“We thought he would still make that start,” Bryan Price, the Reds’ manager, said.

With rest, the Reds thought Moscot would make his start on the 21st but it took longer for the injury to heal.

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“It was bruising and just wouldn’t go away,” said a pain free Moscot Friday morning.  Moscot threw a bullpen and reported no pain afterward.

“If I’m o.k., I’m going to start on Monday,” Moscot said before the session.

Moscot pitched in three games covering 8 2/3 innings and allowed eight runs on 12 hits and a walk. He struck out six.

Tim Melville will start against the Indians in a split-squad game on Saturday.  He has been penciled into the rotation while Moscot’s situation is unclear.

“There are still too many variables to name a starting pitcher or our rotation,” Price said.

DeSclafani Roughed Up

Anthony DeSclafani, who is the logical choice for the opening day starter, was roughed up by the Texas Rangers on Thursday.  He gave up two home runs to Justin Ruggiano, one to Mitch Moreland and one to Adrian Beltre.  Altogether he allowed eight earned runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out six.

“I thought he threw the ball fine,” Price said.  “I’m not a game-to-game guy unless you see something in attitude or lack of preparation.  As far as results go, I would have to see a guy that was struggling.  The mistakes he did make were hit out of the ballpark but I was not concerned with his stuff.”


Cody Reed Will Return

Cody Reed the Reds’ prized left-hander from the Johnny Cueto trade was sent to the minor league camp to work on a change up.  He is expected to start the season in Triple A Louisville as part of the Bats rotation.

Reed gave up five runs on nine hits and two walks in 11 1/3 innings over four starts.  He struck out 10.

“He couldn’t have been more impressive,” Price said.  There was zero criticism. Having to make the tough decision about the immediate team. He was certainly one of our best starting pitchers. What is in the best interest of his longterm development. The feeling was, having a half season in Double A, touching Triple A, being better than the league. He can touch on developing his change up more liberally at that level. He should expect to be pitching in Cincinnati in 2016 and there is no time limit but it could be any time.  He is a guy that could be effective in the bullpen but we want him to develop that change up. I believe that is the pitch that allows him to be a long tenured starting pitcher.”

Cozart, Mesoraco, Hamilton Healthy At Last

Zack Cozart has played in back-to-back games and will DH on Saturday.  He has shown no ill effects from knee surgery last June.....Mesoraco had his hip repaired in June.  He has played in four games and is hitting .444. His workload is increasing.  He is expected to catch seven innings on Saturday....Billy Hamilton (shoulder) has also played in back-to-back games in the field.



Homer Bailey To Be Ready By May






Homer Bailey Getting Ready

Homer Bailey fans have until May first to purchase their number 34 jerseys.

From the naked eye it looks like Bailey, who threw his second live batting practice on Thursday, is ready now but caution and rehab protocol have his ETA set around May 1 and no later than the middle of the month.  The Reds start a long homestand on May 2 if all goes well he could be activated at the start of the homestand or by the end of it.

“He’s coming along really nicely,” Price said.  “He had two bullpens under his belt when he got to Arizona. He wasn’t that far behind.  He just had endurance stuff and the protocol from a guy coming off surgery. He looks strong. He doesn’t look like an injury rehab guy at all.”

The idea was to simulate two innings.  Bailey threw 15 pitches then sat for two minutes and threw 15 more pitches.

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Scott Schebler, Tyler Holt and Kyle Skipworth took swings against Bailey.  Holt put the first ball in play in Bailey’s second simulated inning and broke his bat.

“That was a good way to start,” Bailey said. “I feel good.  It’s been a long time. All things considered my command was pretty good.”

The surgery and the rehab has been a pleasant surprise.

“The surgery went smoother than I expected. I haven’t had any discomfort,” Bailey said.

Many teams have shown a propensity to take surgery patients more toward the back end of the 12-18 month prognosis that commonly accompanies elbow surgery but Bailey isn’t concerned that it is too soon.

“You would have to ask doctors and trainers about that.  I do whatever they tell me to do,” Bailey said.  “All I can do is report how I feel and that has been pretty good.”

The Reds want to build Bailey to 95 - 100 pitches which will be about six starts.  The plan is to leave him in Arizona and pitch in extended spring then move him up when the minor league season gets started.

“We want him to get him up to the higher levels of minor league baseball so he’s facing better hitters toward the end,” Price said.

Melville In Starting Rotation

Tim Melville has been penciled in by Bryan Price to start the season in the Reds’ rotation.

Setbacks to Michael Lorenzen and Jon Moscot provided an opening for Melville, who has pitched 11 1/3 innings in four games, one start.  Melville has allowed nine runs, seven of which were earned. He’s walked five and struck out nine.

Lorenzen was examined last week and is prohibited from throwing until Dr. Kremchek sees him again in a week.  It is too late in the spring to get him stretched out in time.

Moscot strained his rib cage swinging a bat and hasn’t pitched since March 11.

Melville was signed to a minor league contract in November.  He was the Kansas City Royals fourth round pick in 2008.  He spent last season in the Detroit Tigers organization.

“We scouted him and saw that his stuff is better than his statistics showed,” said Price of 26-year old with a 31-54 record and a 4.75 ERA in seven minor league seasons.  “We are trying to catch lightning in a bottle with him. If he can perfect his change up, it might change his career.  There are Hall of Famers that have turned their career around once they developed a good change up.”


Final Push

The Reds had their day off on Wednesday, leaving eight more games.  Some of the regulars, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce were given the day off on Thursday.

“We wanted to give them either the day before or the day after off to give them consecutive days,” Price said.  “We want to let them do things with their family or friends if they wanted to.  We will be pushing for opening day from here on out. The polish goes on.”

The Reds regulars will be playing longer into games and more back-to-back days.

The diminished playing time for players still competing for jobs is becoming scarce.

“We will get the guys competing for platoon positions or final bench spots to play in minor league games. It is a challenge for those guys to stay sharp,” Price said.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Raisel Iglesias Excited About Tampa Bay and Cuban National Team Game







The Tampa Bay Rays went to Havana to play the Cuban National team and Raisel Iglesias is working out in Goodyear, Arizona but with an eye on his homeland.

The 26-year old defected from Cuba in 2013 and hasn’t seen his father since.  When he was asked about the game today in Havana, his eyes lit up.  Iglesias answered questions about the game through interpreter, Tomas Vera, with enthusiasm.

When he arrived in Goodyear back n February, he said that he had no reason to return to Cuba.  With this historic game being played today, Iglesias seems to have second thoughts.

“If the opportunity comes true, and the Reds play in Cuba,” Iglesias said. “I would like to be the first to be there.   Going back to my homeland and playing against the National Team in Cuba would be something incredible.”

The game’s impact goes beyond the final score.


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The Reds  had a farm team in Havana from 1954 until 1960 in the Triple A International League, when Fidel Castro led a successful revolution to overthrow the regime of Fulgencio Batista with the 26th of July Movement that began in 1953.  Castro was still frequently seen at Sugar Kings games.  As a boy Castro sent a letter to the Reds front office requesting a tryout.  Castro nationalized all US owned businesses and the Sugar Kings owners moved the team to Jersey City, New Jersey.

The United States cut off diplomatic ties to Cuba in April 1961. Until President Obama went to Cuba for the game, no U.S. president has been to Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.


“I believe that this is something incredible,” Iglesias said. “It is good for the people from Cuba as well as the baseball players.  It is good for the players who are going to be part of the game today and the Cuban players in this country.  It is something really beautiful.  I would love to be part of that right now.”

Cuban players have defected from Cuba in increasing numbers over the last 20 years. It was a decision that meant choosing between family and baseball.  That is likely to change soon.

“I still have family.  It has been about four years since I left Cuba. I believe that they way things are going, the Cuban players can go back to Cuba and play for the National Team.”

The Reds because of its connection through the Sugar Kings have had several players from the island, 90 nautical miles from Miami.

Leo Cardenas, Tony Gonzalez, Cookie Rojas, Elio Chacon and Mike Cuellar came through the Reds system.  One of the main pieces of the Big Red Machine, Tony Perez, came to the U.S. around that time. Perez didn’t play for the Sugar Kings but was in the Reds farm system at lower levels at the time of the revolution, he played in Geneva, New York in the Reds’ system in 1960 before the relationship between the countries broke down.
Tony’s son, Eduardo, is at the game in Havana with a crew from ESPN.  He is sending back pictures on Facebook. He met cousins for the first time in his life.  It was natural that Iglesias and Perez became friends because of the common background.

“Eduardo is a great person,” Iglesias said..  We have a good friendship. I have really, really good relationship with his dad. I was able to talk with him for an hour when he was in Cincinnati for the ceremony when they built his statue.”

Iglesias was aware of the Perez and the Big Red Machine even though communication with the United States was discouraged.

“In Cuba, when you achieve glory in the sport, everyone will recognize you,.” Iglesias said.

Iglesias still has contact with many of the players on the National Team with the internet obliterating international boundaries. Now he sees opportunities that were unthinkable there years ago. Iglesias excitement about the improved relationship between the countries is evident.

“Almost every single one of those playing here today were teammates on the National Team. And the others played in the National League and we played against them,“ Iglesias said. “I talked to my Cuban teammates when they came over for the Caribean World Series and through the internet, facebook and instagram.  I have a good relationship with the guys on the team.”

“I will be watching.  I have to workout but I will be watching as much as I can.  I think it will be a beautiful game.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reds Have Tough Choices Over Next 10 Days







For Jake Cave and Chris O’Grady, the game against the San Diego Padres will go a long way with determining where they will be the rest of the year/

Both are Rule V draft picks that must be on the 25-man regular season roster all season or be offered back to their original team. The pool of players that have been left unprotected or not placed on the 40-man roster within the first three or four years after signing, depending on the players age when they are signed.  Roberto Clemente was a Rule V draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates off the Los Angeles Dodgers roster in 1954. Most recently the Reds got Josh Hamilton in the Rule V draft.  It is designed to keep teams from stockpiling players in the minor leagues like the Yankees did in the 40's and 50's.

Cave was selected from the Yankees farm system and O’Grady from the Angels system.

Cave, a 23-year old left-handed hitting outfielder, was drafted by the Yankees in the sixth round in 2011.  He is one of the group attempting to win the leftfield job on opening day.  He has the ability to play centerfield that gives him a leg up on the competition and the Rule V advantage is in his favor.  His competitors for the role, Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall have options and be sent to the minor leagues without being exposed to waivers.  Yorman Rodriguez would have to clear waivers and accept assignment or become a free agent.

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This spring Cave is hitting .278 with one home run and three RBI.  He adds the element of speed to his mix of talents.  While he doesn’t have a steal yet this spring, he stole 47 bases in 380 minor league games.

O’Grady is a 25-year old left-hander, who was drafted by the Angels in 10th round of the 2012 draft.   He has a 10-13 minor league record with a 3.21 ERA in 38 games, all but two in relief.

The Reds are looking at him as a second left-hander in the bullpen along with Tony Cingrani.

O’Grady pitched in six games this spring and five of them have been scoreless outings.  He had a horrible outing against San Francisco in which he gave up five runs on three hits in 1/3 innings.  Aside from that disaster, he’s pitched six innings and allowed just two other hits and one unearned run.  Equally important he’s issued three walks and two of those were in the debacle against the Giants.

Manager Bryan Price laid it on the line recently.

“Performance will be extremely important from here on out,” Price said.  “We can’t tie up a roster spot for the future.  These guys need to make the team.”

Peraza in Centerfield

Jose Peraza is getting the start against the Padres tonight in centerfield.  Perraza has impressed Price at secondbase and shortstop already.

“I’ve already formed my opinion on Peraza as a secondbaseman and shortstop.  He plays both very well,” Price said.

The Reds coveted Peraza and traded ru for him twice. Once for Aroldis Chapman in a deal that fell through when the Dodgers discovered that Chapman had legal problems.  They finally obtained him in a three team trade, giving up Todd Frazier.  The original plan was to trade Brandon Phillips and insert Peraza at secondbase.  Phillips vetoed the trade as a 10-year, five-year player.

“We see Peraza as a regular rather than a utility player,” Price said.  “It will give us flexibility if he can play centerfield.  He has played more centerfield than most people probably realize.  He has closing speed, like Billy Hamilton, where he can make up ground if he mis-reads the ball or sets up in the wrong spot in the outfield.”

Peraza could be the answer to the Reds’ void as a leadoff hitter.

“We believe he will be an good offensive player,” Price said.

Peraza is hitting .361 and leads the team with five stolen bases.  He is among the best of the Reds running first to third.  In a game last week with Seattle, Peraza sped to third on a line shot to right by Joey Votto.

“That was impressive,” Price said.  “Joey hit a shot. Peraza made it to third easily.”

Dayton Dragons

A lot can happen after the Reds make the final roster cuts but it is a good bet that Dragon’s fans will see the top draft choice from last June, Tyler Stephenson.  The catcher, 19, caught 19 games in Billings last summer.  He hit .268 with one home run.

Brantley Bell, the son of former Reds’ bench coach, Jay Bell.  The younger Bell was in camp early and got some playing time in Cactus League games, making several dazzling plays in the field.

Jose Siri, 20,  is a non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic.  Siri is 6‘2“ and 168 pounds but he’s hit 10 home runs in his three years in the system with the Reds’ Dominican League team the Arizona Rookie League and Billings.



Friday, March 18, 2016

The Reds Find It Hard To Pick A Leftfielder, May Platoon






Maybe it's indecision but Bryan Price wants to play all the outfielders, who have had good springs.

Reds May Platoon in Leftfield

The competition for the open leftfield job in Cincinnati has produced no clear winner with two weeks to go.

Adam Duvall, Jake Cave, Scott Schebler and Yorman Rodriguez have battled hard this spring.  Tyler Holt has also turned some heads among the Reds’ coaches this spring.

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“I see it as a potential platoon. I don’t mean a strict platoon, like right, left. I mean two guys that get the bulk of the playing time,” Bryan Price said.  “With young players, you’ve got to do that. It’s tough to have guys sit on the bench like we’ve had in the past with Donald Lutz and Neftali Soto,  Where they have three at-bats a week and be expected to perform in those at-bats.”

“It’s been fun,” Price said.  “Schebler, Duvall, Rodriguez and Cave.  Another guy for me has been Tyler Holt. He has a lot of energy.  To me he is a tremendous defender. He can run, bunt. Historically, he’s hit left-handed pitching very well.  He’s had good at-bats against right-handers this spring. I’m very excited by the camp he’s having. The other part, we just sent down one of our best process in Winker, who is going to push for playing time this year.”

Sanchez Released

The Reds’ released left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez.  The Reds signed Sanchez on January 29, to add a veteran presence to the young pitching staff but the signing of Alfredo Simon, who will be in the starting rotation filled the need.

Sanchez, 33, last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2013.  He pitched for Pat Kelly in Puerto Rico and won the Comeback Player of the Year in Mayaguez.

“Jonathan was a real pro. We wish him well,” Price said.  “I’ve seen him when he’s been good when he was with the Giants.  We just weren’t going to have an opportunity for him when we’re giving our young pitchers the first crack at Louisville.”

Reds Trim Roster

Robert Stephenson

Robert Stephenson, one of the Reds’ top pitching prospects was optioned to Triple A Louisville along with RHP Steven Johnson and OF Kyle Waldrop.

Alfredo Simon’s signing on Friday foreshadowed Stephenson’s demotion.  His 2 1/3 outing against the Cleveland Indians in which he gave up six runs (five earned) didn’t help.

“Stephenson just needs to command his fastball,” Bryan Price said.  “The best part of Stephenson’s spring was that he was able to get his curveball over at a higher percentage and the development of that change up that came on last season.  When he had good outings he kept the ball down in the strike zone.  Yesterday it was back up a bit and he paid the price.”

The Reds expect to see their first round pick in 2011 in Cincinnati at some point.

“He has three above average major league pitches, the command of which will determine when he gets to the big leagues. I told him, I’d be disappointed if I didn’t see him back up here and not just as a September call up.”

Kyle Waldrop

Waldrop was bothered by a strained groin and didn’t get back into games this week.  He didn’t get enough at-bats to get himself into the running for the open leftfield job. He will join Stephenson at Louisville.

Stephen Johnson

Johnson came to the Reds’ in the trade for Marlon Byrd in August.  The 25-year old was the Giants sixth round draft pick in 2012.  He is also headed to Louisville. Johnson pitched in 50 games at Double A last season all in relief.

Jesse Winker

The Reds’ top outfield prospect was re-assigned to minor league camp. Winker, 22, was the Reds’ supplemental pick in the 2012 first round.  He has 144 games in Double A.  The Reds will determine soon whether he returns to Pensacola or is promoted to Louisville.

“My safe assumption is that he will start the season at Triple A,” Price said.  “He started out slowly last season at Double A and was better than the league in the second half.”

C Joe Hudson, RHP Tim Adleman and RHP Zack Weiss were re-assigned to minor league camp.

Weiss was hampered by a tender right elbow.  The 23-year old led the Southern League with 25 saves at Pensacola.

UD Pride

University of Dayton graduate and Versailles native, Craig Stammen, was keeping an eye on the UD/Syracuse game this morning in the Cleveland Indians clubhouse.

“It is making me nervous.  They have a great team and fun to watch.  Beating a team like Syracuse would be good for the Flyers,” Stammen said. “Archie Miller has been a good hire for the Dayton Flyers.  He’s changed the viewpoint of Dayton basketball.  You can tell the hold the true team mantra very seriously.  It makes the Dayton fan base very proud.”

Stammen is coming back from surgery on his right forearm.

“I’m getting better surely but slowly,” Stammen said.  “I’m going to pitch live BP soon.  I’m excited about it.”



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Reds Say Simon Come Back, Sign Alfredo Simon





The Cincinnati Reds pitching health combined with its youth, needed pitcher, who was durable.

Cincinnati Reds signed Alfredo Simon to a one-year contract Major League contract on Thursday.

The Reds plan to put him directly into the starting rotation according to Reds’ general manager Dick Williams.

“We’re excited to have him back,” Williams said.  “He is someone we can plug into the rotation while we continue to be very diligent about preparing our young pitchers to succeed in the future.”

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Cody Reed one of the candidates for the starting rotation has had just half a year at Double A.  Robert Stephenson, the Reds first pick in the 2011 draft, had half a year at Triple A with mixed results.

Homer Bailey, who had elbow surgery, and John Lamb, who had back surgery, will not be ready to start the season.  Michael Lorenzen was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.  Lorenzen was examined by Dr. Timothy Kremchek today.  Lorenzen is prohibited from throwing until Dt. Kremchek examines him again in a couple weeks.  The bullpen will be youthful as well.

Simon is a fit because of his durability.

“Our history with Alfredo made this an much easier decision. We know what we’re getting.  He is extremely resilient.  His durability is a huge bonus,” manager Bryan Price said.  “We know he’s a great competitor. He gives us depth in the rotation.  There are just too many question marks now with the readiness of some of our young guys that we don’t want to force to the big leagues too soon and there is the injury component.”

Simon has been throwing in the Dominican Republic at Bartolo Colon’s complex.

“I was here for three years and I know everybody here. I’m excited to be here,” said Simon, who turned down an offer from Toronto. “I am going to be ready as soon as I can. I’ve been throwing to hitters.  Everybody knows me here.  There are some new faces here but I will get to know them as soon as I can.”

The 34-year old right-hander spent three years with the Reds before he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Eugenio Suarez.  He was 13-12 with a 5.05 ERA in 31 starts.

“We’ve had our eye on the pitching market all spring and will continue to look at it if there is someone that can help us,” Williams said.  “Before we got to camp we did want to supplement the ability of our rotation to throw innings and not put pressure on any pitcher to have to ask to do more than he is ready to do.”

With two weeks left the Reds are confident that Simon can be ready given his makeup.

“Simon sent us video of his last bullpen,” Price said. “He threw 50 pitches on the side. He will throw a couple bullpens most likely and get slotted into games to build him up for the first five starts.  In the three years he was with us, he was the most durable arm on our staff.”

Simon worked out of the bullpen for two seasons in Cincinnati before moving to the starting rotation in 2014.  He was 15-10 that season and was selected to the NL All-Star team.


Notes:

Jon Moscot was scratched from his Wednesday night start with soreness in his right rib cage. He felt is swinging the bat in batting practice.  “This isn’t a setback,” Price said. “We just want him to take a couple days to get the soreness out.  He can toss right now.”

Michael Lorenzen will not be ready for the season.  He was examined on Thursday morning by Dr. Timothy Kremchek.  Lorenzen will be restricted from throwing until Dr. Kremchek can examine him in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Billy Hamilton Satisfies Reds' Need For Speed




Billy Hamilton needed to run. On Tuesday the Reds got him to the plate as a designated hitter for the first time since March 2, he wasted no time showing off his speed.

Hamilton bunted on the first pitch from Ian Kennedy of Kansas City. Zack Cozart fouled out in the rightfield corner of Goodyear ballpark, Hamilton sprinted to second. A pitch rolled a few feet after it hit off the mitt of Royals’ catcher Tony Cruz. Hamilton was on third before Cruz could retrieve it.

“I love to run,” said Hamilton, overstating the obvious. “If I can get on base, I can make things happen. My job is to get into scoring position, like on the ball to the outfield. I’ve got to run.”

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Hamilton’s scoring position is farther away from home plate than most players. His legs lifted him to the big leagues. Last year, his shoulder let him down.

The 25-year old speedster from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, had a six stolen base lead over eventual NL stolen base leader, Dee Gordon, when his season was cut short by an injury to his right shoulder ended his season on September 24.

It was the converted shortstop’s second stint on the disabled list after he was initially injured making a diving catch against Kansas City on August 18. He sat out 19 days and aggravated it by making throws, leading to surgery, September 29.

“Billy is a Major League defender and a game changer defensively,” Bryan Price said.

Hamilton, along with Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Trout, led the Major Leagues with perfect fielding percentages. Hamilton had no errors in 281 chances and erased eight baserunners with throws.

“We need to find out if he is a leadoff man or should he bat somewhere else in the order,” Price said.

Hamilton hit .226 and walked just 28 times in 412 at bats for a .274 on-base-percentage. Once on base he stole the next open base 88 percent of the time.

The Reds used the downtime this winter to fine tune Hamilton’s approach at the plate. He with coach Billy Hatcher to that end.

“In season it is so difficult to make a significant change to your stance or your approach,” Price said. “To me the commitment to be in Cincinnati to make an adjustment is a sign of maturity. It was a willingness to say that what I’m doing isn’t working to the degree that he was satisfied with. We believe he has a much higher ceiling offensively and that he needs to address it aggressively. I think he’s done that.”

“I was working to hit the ball better to get on base,” Hamilton said. “I was working on different setups and thought processes. There are all kinds of different things that I learned from Hatch being around the whole off season.”



The Reds would like to see fewer balls in the air and a better eye at the plate.

“I did a lot of things. I took some swings but I watched tape,” Hamilton said. “We talked about what I wanted to do as a hitter. We talked about what I did last year and what I could’ve done better. We talked about situations and what I did and how pitchers were going to pitch me. We had a lot of cameras set up to show me what I was doing last year and how to handle it better.”

Against the Royals though, Hamilton hit fly balls in his next two at bats. The ability to bunt will keep the infielders honest, if Hamilton can hit the ball on the ground, the ball will find holes.

“He was that offensive weapon that makes pitchers force pitches and lose their patience,” Price said after Tuesday’s game. “It was a beautiful bunt. Now we have to get him in the field. It will be soon.”

Patience is foreign to Hamilton but he understands spring training is the time to make sure he’s ready.

“I was awesome as much as I want to get out there every single day,” Hamilton said. “It was a blessing getting out there with the guys. I was so excited, kind of nervous. It was like making my debut again. I’m real close to playing in the field. We didn’t want to rush things. I’m going to keep working to get to 100 percent.”








Michael Lorenzen Gets Good News






Good News For Lorenzen

Good news for the Reds and Michael Lorenzen followed the drum roll in the Reds clubhouse on Tuesday morning.

An MRI revealed that Lorenzen has a mild sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow and some tendonitis.

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The candidate for multi roles on the Reds’ pitching staff will rest for now. He will be examined by Dr. Timothy Kremchek on Thursday.

“It’s not good news or bad news,” Lorenzen said. “It’s just news. I knew God was in control of the situation. All he cares about is how went about it. It is good news because I get to help out the Reds, this year.”

Until Lorenzen sees Kremchek, he doesn’t know how his treatment will go.

“You won’t see me playing catch,” Lorenzen said.

The pain lingered a couple weeks and wasn’t getting better.

“You never feel 100 percent when you pitch,” Lorenzen said. “Throwing baseball is so unnatural. It just doesn’t happen. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t dealt with before but it wasn’t getting better. It wasn’t worth being a spring training all-star. It is better to rest it in spring training.”

Lorenzen plans to watch film and observe other players during camp.

“The mental side of the game is more important than the physical side of the game. There is a lot of things that I can do mentally. Just because I can’t do anything physically doesn’t mean that I can’t get better.”

Mesoraco Ready

Devin Mesoraco has two more days to wait for a “can’t wait” event. The ailing catcher has done all the drills, checked the boxes. He will be in the lineup on Thursday when the Reds play the Indians.

Unlike Billy Hamilton, who is sharing DH duties with Kyle Waldrop against the World Champion Kansas City Royals, Mesoraco is going to catch in his first game back.

“He will by Cozart. He’ll start with a light workload in regard to innings played.” Bryan Price sais. “He will catch a few innings on the front end and work up to back-to-back days and be ready for the season.”

Mesoraco is ready.

“I feel great. I’ve done everything, the catching drills, running the bases, hitting,” Mesoraco said. “It’s been a long, slow process and not a lot of fun. I miss being on the field with the guys.”

Hamilton and Waldrop DH

Billy Hamilton will start the game against the Royals as the designated hitter. He has been slowed all spring by aches and pains in his surgically repaired shoulder. The Reds are trying to make certain the speedster is as free of pain as possible.

“Billy’s pain free now,” Price said.

Kyle Waldrop had a strained groin that has kept him out of games.

“Waldrop will share the DH with Billy today. Kyle will get in the outfield in the next day or two,” Price said.

Duvall Plays Thirdbase

Adam Duvall is squarely in the mix for the open leftfield spot but the Reds are giving him a chance to diversify.

Duvall played mostly thirdbase in the Giants system but switched to firstbase, then leftfield.

“The Giants moved me from third because they had Pablo Sandoval,” Duvall said. “While I was up with the Giants, Brandon Belt with a series of concussions was hurt and I got a chance to play firstbase.

Duvall played secondbase and shortstop for the University of Louisville Cardinals as a collegian.

“Last year I played a lot of third and a lot of first. I started mixing in some outfield,” Duvall said.

Duvall has been taking ground balls at third but has mostly worked in the outfield.

“I feel really good out there it kind of came natural. I’m excited about it,” Duvall said. “I’ve been working more in the outfield because that’s the position is open right now, that I’m competing for. Versatility always helps. I hope I can play well wherever they need me.”


Monday, March 14, 2016

Michael Lorenzen To Have MRI On Right Elbow








Michael Lorenzen will have an MRI on his right elbow.

The right-hander is a candidate for several roles from starting pitcher to closer but after a three days of rest, he felt discomfort when he tried to play catch on Sunday.

“Lorenzen’s not great,” Bryan Price said.  “We’re going to have an MRI done, just to verify that there’s no structural damage.  Then we’ll re-assess the rehab.  He will not be pitching as scheduled.  I will probably be able to tell you  more tomorrow.”

Lorenzen pitched two perfect innings in his lone start this spring, striking out two.

The Reds lose a pitcher and get one back.

Raisel Iglesias will make his first start on Monday.

The 26-year old Cuban native was shut down in September with fatigue in his right shoulder. After a winter of rest and flexibility exercises, Iglesias is scheduled to pitch two innings against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Reds may have an innings limit on Iglesias as well as other members of its young staff.

“I try to stay away from numbers because it paints me into a corner,” Price said. “Sometimes you have to look at guys and see if they can pass the smell test.  If we say this guy’s only going to pitch 180 or 165 innings and he’s locked in and throwing as well as he has all year, that might be something that we re-visit.   We have an area where we want to be.  Very rarely do we exceed that by a large number of innings.  There are a lot of guys on that board (roster) who have parameters on how many innings we want them to throw.”

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The Reds are more concerned with Iglesias growth as a pitcher.

“We want to see him manage a game,” Price said.  “We want to see him find outs without reaching back for more velocity.  In the past he’s been vulnerable in the early innings, that three run inning.  We want him to find quick outs that allow him to manage the third time through a lineup.”

Jose Peraza was in the lineup as a centerfielder against the Angels.

The 21-year old was the key in the trade involving Todd Frazier.  He has played shortstop and secondbase this spring.

In his last two games, Peraza was 6 for 7 with a home run.  He goes into the game against the Angels with a .400 batting average, a home run and three stolen bases.  Peraza impressed Price by going first to third on a single by Joey Votto Saturday night.

“We knew he was going to play center this ,” Price said.  “With Zack Cozart out we had the opportunity to see him at shortstop and at second every other day for Brandon.  With Billy Hamilton out, I’ve had a chance to see (Tyler) Holt, (Jake) Cave and (Scott) Schebler quite a bit. So, it’s a good time to get him out there.  I’ve already formed an opinion on him at shortstop and secondbase. He plays both rather well.”

Peraza has taken ball off the bat in batting practice and worked with Billy Hatcher in the outfield but not as much as he’s worked on the infield.  “Jose played quite a bit of centerfield at Triple A,” Price said.

Peraza may also be a solution for the Reds’ long standing desire for a table-setting leadoff hitter.

“One of the considerations that we had when we were trying to get him from the Dodgers, was this is a guy that can really hit.  He can hit for a high average and bunt and steal bases.  He can do things with his speed.  That is the kind of guy you want to get at the top of the batting order.”

The Reds made the first round of reduction in the major league clubhouse.

RHP Carlos Contreras was optioned to AAA Louisville...RHP Rookie Davis, LHP Amir Garrett and RHP Sal Romano  were optioned to AA Pensacola...RHP Nick Travieso,C/1B Chad Wallach, 2B Alex Blandino, SS Calton Daal, 3B Eric Jagielo, OF Phillip Ervin and RHP Matt Magill  were re-assigned to minor league camp.

Ervin put himself on the Reds’ radar with a .391 batting average, two home runs and a stolen base. He played very good defense that is very difficult under the Arizona sky.

The rest were no surprise except for Contreras, who has Major League experience in the group.

“That decision was really challenging because we have a room full of people, who love his stuff, including me,” Price said.  “He has a fastball, curveball and change up that are all Major League quality.  The biggest challenge we put in front of Carlos, is he have to manage the game better. He has to command the strike zone better.  We wanted to see improvement in that and we really haven’t.”

Friday, March 11, 2016

Zack Cozart In A Game, Passes First Test In Spite Of A Slip








Zack Cozart passed the biggest test on his reconstructed knee.

Cozart had a single in two at-bats in his first game this spring. Cozart had knee surgery in June.  Cozart injured his knee by extending his leg to reach for firstbase in a game with Philadelphia on June 10.  He had surgery six days later.

Cozart slipped trying to get to a ground single by Renato Nunez to raise eyebrows in the Reds’ dugout.

“We had a moment of pause when he slipped on the backhand,” Reds’ manager Bryan Price said. “It wasn’t a concern to him but it was to us.”

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Cozart was nervous during his first at bat.

“My first at bat I couldn’t calm it down,” Cozart said. “I did things I hadn’t done in nine months, I slipped and fell, got up. I went back on a fly ball. I ran bases, touched the base and hit and ran out of the box.  All the things that are tough to emulate.  It’s been so long, nine months and a day.  On the slip, I was just upset that I didn’t get to the ball. Mentally, I feel good and I’m glad it’s over.”

"On the hit by Schebler, I stopped thinking about touching the base," Cozart said.

"I have never been away from playing in a game for nine months in my life,"

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Homer Bailey Studies A.J. Allmendinger's 47 Car At Reds Camp



 

Reds players got a good look at Fry's  #47 driven by A.J. Allmendinger.

Fry's is a subsidiary of Kroger's and has a tribute to Reds' longtime clubhouse manager Bernie Stowe



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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Jumbo Diaz Still Growing With Reds




It took Jose Diaz 12 1/2 seasons to finally make it into the big  leagues.  He won’t take it for granted now after establishing himself in the Reds’ bullpen the last two seasons.

“I don’t want to take that way, that I have made the team,” Diaz said.  “In my mind, I’m still fighting for one spot in the bullpen for this year.  There is a lot of opportunity for a lot of young guys.  Everybody here is trying to make the team. I’m not going to feel comfortable.  I have to come in here working hard like it’s the last day.”

The 370 lb man became Jumbo Diaz while gaining weight and minor league experience with the Dodgers, Rangers, Orioles and Pirates before the Reds signed him to a minor league contract in November 2012.

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Diaz threw hard enough in spite of his girth to maintain interest in him.  The big man, who turned 32 last week, pitched for Louisville in 2013, then decided to make a life change.

Jumbo reported to spring training at 275lbs spread over his 6‘4“ frame with the same 95-98 velocity but with better command of the strike zone.

“Mini” Jumbo was re-assigned to Louisville on the eve of opening day, the reduced his ERA to 1.35 in 30 games with the Bats and led the International League with 18 saves. Diaz was .

The Reds promoted Diaz on June 20 that year, making his debut that night against Toronto. He pitched in 36 games and logged 34 2/3 innings with an 0-1 record and a 3.38 ERA.

The native of La Romana, Dominican Republic made his first opening day roster at the age of 31 last season, getting his first Major League win on opening day against the Pirates.

Diaz struggled with his command and was sent to Louisville on June 6 to work with Ted Power.  He spent pitched in 13 games and fashioned a 1.13 ERA with eight saves to earn a trip back to Cincinnati on July 17.  Diaz earned his only Major League save on September 15 at San Francisco.

This year the Reds are expecting Diaz along with J.J. Hoover, to help stabilize what promises to be an young, inexperienced bullpen.

The Reds want Diaz to use his slider and split fingered fastball more often.

“Hard throwers, trying to be consistent in the zone with big velocity is a challenge sometimes,” Bryan Price said.  “The velocity is there. It has been there for sometime.  The ability to pitch with the slider and the split are difference makers in his ability to elevate the quality of his performances.”

The Reds bullpen coach Mack Jenkins has been analyzing the pitchers with video charting where their pitches are being hit. For example,  Does a pitcher get hit harder when he throws inside to left-handed batters or outside?  This has led the Reds to have Diaz work on his other pitches.

“Jumbo has three really good pitches but he has to access those pitches,” Price said. “Everyone knows he’s going to attack at 95-100 miles per hour but to then have to contend with that split as a right-hander hitter, or the slider is really tough.”

Jumbo is working hard to get better.

“I’m using my slider and change up more. Yesterday I struck out the left-hander with a slider,” said Diaz, who was so happy he executed the pitch that he gave a fist pump as he walked off the mound.  “I know I can throw the fastball but I want to be comfortable with my slider so I can throw it anytime.”


Notes:

C Devin Mesoraco, who had surgery to repair a hip impingement, is experiencing tightness in his quad muscle.  He is resuming baseball activities after few days rest.  “I’ve been doing catching drills the last day or two,” Mesoraco said. “I haven’t run the bases yet.  I don’t expect to wait much longer to get into a game.  I’m tired of sitting on the bench.” OF Billy Hamilton, who has had discomfort in his surgically repaired shoulder, took some “dry” swings without pain and will hit off a tee today... RHP Michael Lorenzen was scratched from his start with tenderness in his right elbow.  An ultrasound revealed he had inflammation.  Lorenzen will get a couple days of rest and is not expected to miss another start.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Votto's Bunt And Blast Lifts Reds







Small Ball, Long ball

The Reds hit three home runs off the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker in an 8-5 win on Monday but Joey Votte added a bunt to his blast and Jay Bruce singled to the opposite field and also bunted for a base hit.

“It has been a focus,” Bryan Price said.  “The way teams want to defend them with the shift, getting a bunt down will help them.  They’re working hard on it.  It is good to see them rewarded.”

Power Surge
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Jordan Pacheco, Votto and Adam Duvall hit their first home runs on Monday.  The wind had something to do with Duvall’s opposite field blast but Votto’s hit the roof of the right field picnic area the sits above and beyond the 345 mark in rightfield.

Pacheco started at thirdbase.  The former catcher is trying new positions to be a versatile bench player.  It will give the Reds a power right-handed bat off the bench, who is able to play three postions firstbase, thirdbase and catcher, a luxury that few teams can afford.

Pacheco played for Hamilton’s favorite son, Jim Tracy while he was with the Colorado Rockies.

Duvall, who also hit a triple is battling Scott Schebler, who came to the Reds with Jose Peraza in the three-way trade invoving Todd Frazier.  Schebler can play all three outfield positions. He chipped in with a single, double and two stolen bases.

Peraza Impressive

Peraza,who shifted from shortstop to second base in the Braves organization because Atlanta had Andrelton Simmons, who the Brave thought would be their shortstop for a long time.  Like the Reds, the Braves decided to rebuild and Simmons ended up with the Los Angeles Angels.  Peraza was shipped to the Dodgers after he was moved to secondbase.

The Reds wanted him to take Brandon Phillips spot in the field.  They made trades with the Diamondbacks and the Nationals but Phillips vetoed them as a 10-5 player.

On Tuesday Peraza had two hits and stole two bases.  He also made a nice barehanded play from shortstop with the bases loaded to retire Johnny Giovatella. Peraza has also played centerfield.

“We look at Peraza as an everyday player.  We think he can be a good offensive player too,” Price said.  “If he can play other positions, it may allow him to play in the big leagues this year as opposed to the minor leagues.





Sunday, March 6, 2016

Rockies Home Run Avalanche Falls On Reds





Mark Reynolds hit one of Colorado's three homers and Ben Paulson drove in three runs, leading the Rockies over the Cincinnati Reds 9-3 Sunday.

Reynolds singled in the first inning off Jon Moscot, one of the numerous pitchers competing for three open spots in the Reds' rotation. Reynolds hit his first spring homer off Pedro Villarreal in the sixth.

“Reynolds has big time raw power. He’s been doing this for a long time,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.  “When he clicks it, it really goes.”

David Dahl and Trevor Story also homered for the Rockies.

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“Dahl has power. You can say, sneaky power,” Weiss said. “He hits the ball well to all fields.”

Phillip Ervin, the Reds' top pick in the 2013 draft, homered for the second consecutive day. Eugenio Suarez, who is moving from shortstop to third base to replace the traded Todd Frazier, hit safely in his fourth straight game.

“As a staff we weren’t very sharp today,” Reds’ manager Bryan Price said. “We got a couple of good outings (Jumbo) Diaz was very good.  Stephen Johnson even though he gave up a solo homer, I thought was good and (Caleb) Cotham to finish was good, then Phillip Ervin with a homer and a base hit were the bright spots in an otherwise blah day.”

The Reds acquired Johnson from San Francisco for Marlon Byrd.  Cotham came from the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade.

Cincinnati's Tyler Holt ran into the left field fence while making the catch in the second inning. He appeared to be stunned but remained in the game.

FIRST TIME OUT

Reds:  Eric Jagielo, who came to the Reds from the Yankees in exchange for Aroldis Chapman, played in his first game for the Reds.  He struck out twice.  Jagielo had knee surgery in June.

STARTING TIME
Jon Moscot made his second start. He pitched three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits, including a home run by David Dahl.  Moscot struck out three.

“I need to work on pitch selection a little bit better,” Moscot said. “I threw too many fastballs and was opening up a bit. It’s something I’m usually good with.”

“Jon wasn’t sharp,” Price said.  “He couldn’t locate his fastball and got behind with it.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Billy Hamilton’s work load has been reduced after he reported pain in his right shoulder from swinging a bat.  Hamilton had surgery in September and was easing his way onto the field as a designated hitter.  Manager Bryan Price expects Zack Cozart (knee) to be playing in games  within five or six days.

UP NEXT

The Reds host the Angels on Monday.  Rookie LHP Cody Reed is scheduled to start for the Reds.  RHP Matt Shoemaker is the Angel’s scheduled starter.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Phillip Ervin Comes To Play In Reds Camp





The 23-year old from Leroy, Alabama sits quietly with his smart phone in hand while players get ready for the daily workouts.

Phillip Ervin sits quietly, already dressed and ready.

The Reds drafted Ervin with the first pick in the 2013 draft from Samford University in Birmingham where he majored in sociology.

“I’m enjoying this a lot,” said Ervin of his first big league camp. “I’m getting to know the guys and learning some things in drills and hitting approaches and stuff like that.”

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The quiet 5‘10“ 207 lb. outfielder, who was born in the same hometown, Mobile, as Hank Aaron, comes to work everyday with his eyes open.

“Everybody that I’ve heard from guys that have had him (in the minor league system) say he’s a guy that just shows up and plays,” manager Bryan Price said.  “He doesn’t complain. I know he’s had some issues with his wrist but still comes to play. He doesn’t make excuses. I think there is an element of toughness there.”

Ervin had a very good first year.  He .326 with eight home runs and 29 RBI in 34 games at Billings, stealing 12 bases without getting caught.  Ervin was promoted to Dayton f12 games of the 2013 season. He continued to hit with a .349 average, one home run and six RBI and stole two bases in three attempts. A wrist injury forced him to shutdown on August 14.

The 2014 season at Dayton was a rough one.  Ervin played 132 games but hit just ,237 with seven home runs and 68 RBI. He stole 30 bases in 35 attempts but struck out 110 times. A hamstring injury cost him some playing time.

Last year was a better year for Ervin.  He started at High A Daytona and was promoted to Double A Pensacola.

“He came out a bit in the (Arizona) Fall League last year,” Price said.  “I just want to get to see him. He’s a guy, who can not only play leftfield but we’ll play him in centerfield.  He can defend. He’s been a very successful base stealer. He’s shown some power and the ability to drive in some runs.  More than anything we want to see his maturity and growth so he can become a regular fixture in out outfield.”

Ervin pressed a little bit in his year at Dayton.  He decided to relax and let his ability take over.

“I stopped putting too much pressure on myself,” Ervin said.  “I tried to have fun and not over do it. I wanted good things to take care of themselves. I just want to have fun and enjoy spring training. I want to relax and learn from the other guys.”

Ervin had two hits in the 4-4 tie with Cleveland on Wednesday.

Not Pushing Stammen

Cleveland manager Terry Francona wants Versailles native, Craig Stammen, to let his arm dictate when he is ready.

“I don’t want to remotely push,” said Francona of the forme UD baseball star, who is recovering from elbow surgery.  “Opening day is not the finish line.  When his arm is 100 percent, he will pitch.  We would rather his arm dictate that.”

Francona is avoiding the temptation to rush the right-hander along, even when he is eager to see him pitch.

‘I just don’t want to put pressure on him by checking up every day,” Francona said.

DeSclafani On Schedule For Opening Day

There has been no announcement of the Opening Day starter but Anthony DeSclafani, who had more starts last season than anyone on the staff, is online for the honor.

If you count off every five days, it puts DeSclafani on schedule to be on the mound soon after the Findlay Parade ends on April 4.

DeSclafani retired all six Cleveland batters he faced on Thursday but wasn’t as sharp as his line.

Joey Butler was retired on a hard groundball to Alex Blandino at third.  Yan Gomes lined out to Brandon Phillips, who was shifted toward right.

“There were some hard hit balls. We were positioned well on defense,” DeSclafani said. “I need to work on my fastball command but I felt good.”

DeSclafani would like the honor of pitching on Opening Day.

“It means something to everybody. I want to continue to keep progressing and earn that right,” DeSclafani said.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Mr. Opportunity Knocks For Eugenio Suarez





As former Reds’ manager, Jack McKeon,  used to say,”When Mr. opportunity knocks, open the door and say come on in.”

Eugenio Suarez knows Mr. Opportunity when he comes-a-knockin and he is opening the door.

Todd Frazier was traded leaving the Reds with two shortstops and a gaping hole at thirdbase.  Suarez, a shortstop all his life, opened the imaginary door in the 5-6 hole and seized the opportunity.

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“It’s a lot easier for the player and a lot easier for us when a player is invested in making an adjustment,” manager Bryan Price said.  “Suarez understands that he has a big opportunity to be an everyday player in the big leagues by making this move.  We think the world of this kid.”

Zack Cozart was a finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2014 and was on his way to his best season in the Major Leagues in 2015 until a knee injury cut his season short.  It created an opportunity for Suarez, who came to the Reds from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Alfredo Simon.

Suarez played 97 games for the Reds at shortstop and showed he had a corner infielder’s bat.  The 24-year old from Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela hit a solid .280 with 13 home runs, 19 doubles and 48 RBI.

The downside is that he made 19 errors at shortstop and if you combine that with his error total from Louisville, he committed 30 errors in 154 games.

“We feel like he can do a really nice job at thirdbase,” Price said.  “He’s smart enough to see the big picture. We talked about it last year.  He’s been a shortstop all his life. He played a little bit of thirdbase, a little bit of secondbase. Relinquishing that spot to go someplace else to play everyday has been a selfless act on his part, but it’s also a smart decision.”

Suarez hit two doubles in the Cactus League opener against Cleveland and handled one groundball. Saurez doubled and scored in two at bats Wednesday.  He handled three chances without an error, including a nice backhanded stop off the bat of Roberto Perez to end the second inning.

Billy Hamilton DH

Manager Bryan Price put Billy Hamilton, who had shoulder surgery in September, in the lineup as a designated hitter.

“Billy is having fatigue issues consistent with the surgery,” Price said.  “I will flip him between DH and the outfield depending on how he’s feeling.  Some day’s he’s feeling really good throwing from the outfield.  Other days he’s feeling achiness. Shoulder surgery is a son-of-a-gun.  Just when you think you’re over the hump, it comes back to tell you that there’s a way to go.”

It is not expected to keep him from playing opening day.

Hamilton was 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

Bullpens

Three Reds’s starting pitchers, Raisel Iglesias (shoulder fatigue), John Lamb  (back) and Homer Bailey (elbow), are progressing with their throwing progams.  Iglesias and Baily threw 35-pitch bullpens this morning.  Lamb threw his fourth bullpen, 30-pitches, on Monday.

“I’m just going with the flow, getting my back and body ready to go,” Lamb said. “I’m going through the groups during team fundamentals.  Right now I feel good.”

Iglesias will face hitters in live batting practice this weekend and pitch in games around the 10th of March.  Bailey and Lamb will face hitters then pitch in games closer to the middle of the month.


Notes:

Robert Stephenson, the Reds’ top draft choice in 2011, pitched two scoreless innings. The right-hander is in the mix for a spot in the Reds’ starting rotation.  He allowed a hit and a walk.

“My nerves go the best of me in the first inning,” Stephenson said. ‘I was able to get on top of the ball in the second inning.  There is a lot of difference between starting a game and pitching the eighth or ninth like I did two years ago when I pitched in a game here.”

RHP Anthony DeSclafani will start for the Reds against the Indians on Wednesday.  RHP Layne Somsen, LHP Jonathan Sanchez, RHP Stephen Johnson, RHP J.J. Hoover, RHP Pedro Villarreal and RHP Sal Romano will follow for the Reds.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Scott Schebler Growing Into Major League Leftfielder





Scott Schebler was a runt in high school only, 175lbs with athletic ability

Schebler played everything he could at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Schebler played wideout and safety on his High School team but his size only got him walk on offers from Iowa and Iowa State.  He drew that much attention by setting school records in the 55-meter sprint.

"Football got the most attention and I'm a very competitive person, so it was my favorite," Schebler said.  'Any kid who can run can play soccer, it was my second choice."

Schebler didn't even play baseball in the summer until Dan Fitzgerald, a coach at Des Moines Area Community College, convinced him to play in a summer showcase.  Schebler grew into his body and learned to hit with power.

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"My dad apologized to me when I was younger," Schbler said. "He was a late bloomer too.  It wasn't until I was 22 that I started to gain muscle and strength. It was just a matter of getting noticed. I can thank Dan Fitzgerald for that."

Schebler now 6' tall and a solid 225 pounds.  He gained enough attention from the Los Angeles Dodgers for them to make take a chance by drafting him in the 26th round in 2010.

Schebler led the Southern League with 28 home runs and 14 triples while hitting .280.  Last year the Dodgers promoted Schebler to Oklahoma City where he hit 13 home runs.  He added three home runs in September when he was promoted to the Major Leagues.

The Reds obtained the 26-year old left-handed hitter in the three-way trade involving Todd Frazier.

"I'm enjoying this camp.  I'm becoming familiar with the guys here," said Schebler, who can compete with Billy Hamilton for speed in speech as well as running speed.  "I played with Jesse Winker's brother (in the Dodgers organization) and played with a lot of the players here in the minor leagues."

Schebler has a good shot at winning the leftfield job for the Reds and if not could be a fourth outfielder with his ability to play all three outfield positions although his arm is more suited for leftfield.

'"He has speed and is athletic," Bryan Price said.  "We could play him some in center but I see him as more of a corner outfielder better suited for left."