In a 7-5 Reds win over the Cubs on Wednesday, the big inning was the bottom of the fourth. It started when Kristopher Negron hit a single through the middle towards left-center field. Negron never slowed and ran to second base with a double. A small play at the time, it proved big when Negron scored on a Skip Schumaker single. Cincinnati would send nine to the plate and score four runs.
“It was a hustle double,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He never broke stride from what I saw. I thought he was thinking double the entire way. That’s how you do it. Even a base hit directly in front of the left fielder, you go hard until the outfielders make you stop. It’s a great habit, a great thing to do. Of course, it’s a great Pete Rose trademark right there to make the outfielder stop you. In that case, they weren’t able to stop Kris and it ended up being a really important play for us.”
Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos is also impressed with Negron.
“He also turned a really good double play [in the first inning],” Latos said. “He also made a nice dive at third on a left-handed hitter and he’s playing up. I like the way the guy plays. It’s about all I can say. When he does get a chance to be in the lineup on a consistent basis, he hasn’t let anybody down. Sure, he’s going to have his 1-for-4, 0-for-4, 0-for-3, everybody has that. But he takes full advantage of it. I like it. I like the way he plays. He’s scrappy. He knows the game real well and he’s a dirty player, I like it.”
Negron, who started at third base for the second-straight game, is batting .273 in 31 games since his July 10 call-up. Over his last 10 games, he’s batting .333 (9-for-27) with one homer and three RBIs.
*Devin Mesoraco had two hits and a HBP to snap his 0-for-11 streak and 1-for-32 stretch.
*Billy Hamilton stole his 50th bases of the season, becoming only the ninth player in Reds history to achieve the feat. Manny Randhawa wrote about Hamilton’s steal on Reds.com.
*Chris Heisey hit a pinch-hit, leadoff homer in the bottom of the eighth. It was Heisey’s third pinch-hit homer of the season and the ninth of his career.
Reds 1B Joey Votto, who has been on the disabled list since July 8 with a distal strain of his left quadriceps, had a bat in his hands and a glove under his arm. The glove had a ball inside of it. And he was wearing his spikes.
It was the first signs that Votto was engaged in baseball activity again.
“I’m taking some dry swings and throwing,” Votto said.
Dry swings are simply swinging the bat without hitting a ball. Votto says he’ll take a swing here and there during breaks in the weight room.
“You can’t go from zero-to-100 at once,” Votto said.
*Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco is getting his usual night off with Brayan Pena catching for starter Johnny Cueto. The day off might be a good time for Mesoraco, who is 0-for-11 on the home stand and 1-for-his-last-32. It’s dropped his average from .301 to .273.
“It’s not so much the day off, it’s really getting back to being himself at the plate,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He’s doing a nice job behind the plate blocking. I don’t know if anybody is taking a lot of notice but he’s doing a terrific job behind the plate blocking and throwing. He’s much improved, as is Brayan Pena, in large part to the work done with [catching coach] Mike Stefanski. I’m really happy with that. However, he has struggled with the bat here. A little bit more time addressing that with Don and Lee probably is helpful.”
I’m taking Saturday and Sunday off. Back on Tuesday.
Reds 1B Joey Votto has kept a pretty low profile since he went back on the disabled list July 8 with a distal strain of his left quadriceps. The information about his progress has been limited and no one heard much from Votto himself — until today.
While talking about his rehab on Thursday, Votto addressed the narrative of people questioning his inability to play and that he hasn’t come back sooner. (There is still no timetable on his return).
“Let’s make it clear here — I think there’s been a real gray area and I feel like I’ve been the one in the crosshairs — I’ve been injured,” Votto said. “I feel like this is something I’ve had hanging over me in the general population, the fans, I think it’s a toughness, or playing through pain sort of thing, or playing hurt sort of thing. I’ve been injured. I played injured. I went on the DL because I’m injured. I’m trying to be un-injured now.
“So the second I’m capable of playing and I’m no longer injured, I’ll be back on the field. In the meantime, you can assume I’m injured. I shouldn’t get some sort of different treatment, as if this is — I’ve noticed little comments here and there and just a general perception that this is something I elected to do. I didn’t elect to be injured. I am injured. People get injured. I am injured. What can I do? At some point I’ll be back playing like I was playing before.”
I will have more later on MLB.com/Reds.com.
As the Reds lousy 1-6 road trip was in its final woeful game vs. the Cardinals last night, the Angels got a huge bummer when top starting pitcher Garrett Richards went down with a knee injury covering first base. Richards, who was carted off the field, will be out for the season.
Read the story from MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez here.
What does this mean for the Reds? It could mean that the contending Angels might be calling GMs, including the Reds’ Walt Jocketty to inquire about starters.
Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon are all headed to third-year of arbitration eligibility with the Reds Deals after July 31 are harder to make. Players have to clear waivers, etc. But if there’s a deal to be had and the Reds can get some help for 2015 with 2014 looking as bleak as ever, it’d be smart to at least take a look.