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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, March 19, 2017

Reds Rattle Fences To Punish Padres

The Reds used the home run ball to down the San Diego Padres, 9-4, on Sunday.

Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker  hit their first home runs of the spring  Patrick Kivlehan hit his second to keep pace with his teammates grinding it out for the open bench jobs for the Reds.

Garrett Goes Five

Amir Garrett was the first Reds’ pitcher to complete five innings but he had to rally to do it.

Garrett  allowed eight hits, including Hunter Renfroe’s two-run home run in the first inning.  Garrett gave up a run in the third but settled in to finish with three scoreless innings.

Garrett walked one and struck out one.

‘I felt really good about the outing,” Garrett said. “I didn’t have all my best stuff today. I was able to limit the damage as much as I could to help my team stay in the game. I was pounding the zone really well, getting a lot of ground balls. I limited the damage as much as I could. I felt I could pitch another one but it’s spring training and get stretched out slowly.

Garrett made some good plays in the field.  With runners on first and third, he fielded a bunt, checked the runner and made the play at first.  Travis Jankowski hit a sacrifice fly to score the runner but the play was solid.

“It was a mixed bag. He didn’t have quite the same stuff but he had the competitiveness. We’re evaluating that too,” Bryan Price said. “He got into a second and third and he kept pumping strikes. He didn’t walk anyone. He ends up utilizing his defense. The next thing you know we make a couple of good plays and the next thing you know he gets out of the inning without giving up a run.  That’s a sign of maturity.”

Stephenson Follows With Four

Robert Stephenson is starting to string good outings together.  He followed his housemate with a spring-long four inning finish against the Padres on Sunday.

Stephenson allowed three hits and a walk.  The only run off him was a home run by Hector Sanchez.  He struck out five.

“With Robert it’s finding the best way to utilize his stuff,” Price said.  “He’s developed that split as an out pitch. We want to make sure that he doesn’t rely on that split so he can’t find an out with a well located fastball or breaking ball.”

Bailey’s Weight Loss Causes Wait

Homer Bailey started a throwing program.  Bailey had bone chips removed on February 2 and is currently on the 60-day disabled list which will keep him out until at least Jun 1.

“He got sick. He caught the stomach bug and lost some weight,” Bryan Price said. “That cost him a couple of days.  He’s back to the throwing program.”

Iglesias Sore

Raisel Iglasias had a little stiffness in his elbow.  He was scheduled to pitch in a minor league game but the Reds’ decided against it.

“It is not a major concern,” Bryan Price said.  “From a practical standpoint there was no reason to send him down.  We decided to scrap it.”

Schebler Starting To Swing

Scott Schebler started slowly (2-for-17) .117 in his first seven games this spring but has begun to hit the ball with authority.  In his last six appearances, he is hitting .500 (8-for-16), including a three-run home run off San Diego’s Andre Rienzo. He also bunted for a base hit.

“It is just a matter of getting his at bats and trusting things are going to happen in a good way,” Price said.  “He gets a but base hit. He absolutely smokes a ball they turn into a double play. Then he hits the home run which was a difference maker.”

Winker Wows

Winker has a history of hand injuries that have kept him from showing his natural power. The last in 2015 was the result of an auto accident.

This spring after a subpar start in which he faced a steady diet of left-handed pitching, the 23-year old first round pick in the 2012 draft is getting his swing together.

The left-handed hitter was 1-for-7 early in spring but in his last 12 games, Winker is hitting .416 that included his first home run,

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