Price impressed by Yo-Rod

Reds outfield prospect and September callup Yorman Rodriguez was given his third start of the month and his first one in left field on Sunday vs. the Cardinals.

Rodriguez has played only five games entering the night, but has impressed manager Bryan Price in that short amount of time.

“I think he’s performed well in his limited opportunities,” Price said. “I’m excited to see him out there and see him play. He’s really impressed me with his approach. Even if you’re out there for batting practice, he has that middle-of-the-diamond to right-center approach. For a guy who has enough power to think he’s a home run hitter, at this point in his development he could be a pull approach guy and he’s not. I’m kind of anxious to see a little bit more of it before the season is out.”

Rodriguez, 22, was signed on his 16th birthday out of Venezuela in 2008 for a then-record bonus of $2.5 million. He has five-tool ability and the potential of offering the Reds some things that don’t currently have — especially offensively.

“We think he can,” Price said. “He’s getting the opportunity to show the Major League staff what he can do at the Major League level. We’ve seen him in Spring Training once. Kind of like the showcase of Billy Hamilton last year in September, he didn’t play a lot but when he played, he impressed. I think it made us all feel better going into this season that he was ready to come up here and challenge for that spot in center field.

“I don’t know that Yorman is quite to the same place developmentally because he hasn’t played any Triple-A yet but this is a great opportunity for him to kind of give us an idea of what he offers at this point in time of his development. He does provide us with a guy that we’re all organizationally we are very excited about being an impact player for us in the near future.”

Game 156: Reds at Cardinals

Reds are 10-20 all-time on Sunday Night Baseball and 2-5 vs. STL in those games.

Hamilton 8
Negron 5
Frazier 3
Mesoraco 2
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Rodriguez 7
Cozart 6
Simon 1

Game 155: Reds at Cardinals

Hamilton 8
Negron 5
Frazier 3,
Mesoraco 2
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Cozart 6
Leake 1

Latos status in limbo

Reds pitcher Mat Latos, who missed his last two starts with a bone bruise in his right elbow, played catch from a short distance the final two days in Chicago, still does not have a target date to return to the mound this season. However, a return before the season ends has not been ruled out.

“We’re hoping that there will be a chance to get him on the mound one more time before the season is over,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Friday. “But right now, that’s just optimism. We haven’t gotten to the point where we can say ‘yeah, he’s ready to throw a bullpen and if he gets through that ok, he’ll pitch on this date.’ We’re not there yet. I hope we get there but if we don’t, we’ll go with the five guys we have.”

To me, there really appears to be one more window in the final week of the season for Latos to get back into the rotation — on Wednesday or Thursday vs. the Brewers. That’s when both Daniel Corcino and David Holmberg are scheduled to start next, respectively. I don’t envision Price taking a final start away from Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake or Alfredo Simon before the season ends on Sept. 28.

Game 154: Reds at Cardinals

The final road series of the season…

Hamilton 8
Pena 3
Frazier 5
Mesoraco 2
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Cozart 6
Holmberg 1

New High Class A team

According to a tweet from Class A Daytona, the team has signed a four-year affiliation agreement with the Reds. The high-A team will replace Bakersfield in the Reds system after four seasons.

No official word has come from the Reds as of yet.

Daytona was known as the Cubs and was their previous affiliate. Obviously, there will be a new team name coming soon.

Note game time changes

This a reminder that Sunday’s game at St. Louis will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at 8:05 p.m. ET. It originally was scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. ET

And the Reds announced that the Saturday Sept. 27 home game vs. the Pirates has been changed to 1:05 p.m. ET to accommodate a FOX Sports 1 broadcast. It originally was scheduled for 4:10 p.m.

Here is a tidbit: While being swept by the Cubs, the Reds scored one run total for a three-game series for the first time since June 18-20 at Seattle. Those were 1-0, 5-1, 1-0 losses to the Mariners.

Games 151-153: Reds at Cubs

I’m not working this series. Back on Friday from St. Louis.

Mesoraco, Phillips among hot hitters

As the Reds have two weeks left in their season, Devin Mesoraco is one of the hitters who appears poised to finish up very strong. Mesoraco, who was in a 1-for-32 funk recently entered Sunday hitting .349 (15-for-43) with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

Overall, Mesoraco has 23 homers and 22 as a catcher. One more homer and he has the most homers for a Reds catcher since Johnny Bench hit 23 from that position in 1980. Remarkably, Mesoraco has had a strong season while seeming to fly under the radar among the top hitting catchers of the league.

In 105 games, Mesoraco is batting .282/.369/.545 with 23 homers and 74 RBIs — and had two stints on the DL. He has a .914 OPS and a .155 OPS+ (a stat that is adjusted for different ballparks). His WAR is 4.8.

“I can tell you we appreciate his numbers and the way he’s grown into being a really strong offensive performer this season,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Sunday. “I don’t know if the national baseball conglomeration fully appreciates Devin Mesoraco yet. I would hope the appearance in the All-Star game brought some positive attention to him.”

*Meanwhile, 2B Brandon Phillips seems to have turned the corner following an initially poor offensive return from the DL, after he missed 31 games with a torn thumb ligament repaired by surgery.

Phillips, who at one point was 0-for-20 and 2-for-27, is batting .321 (9-for-28) in his last nine games. On Saturday, he drew a walk with the bases loaded and hit an eighth inning single. Overall, it’s been a down year for Phillips, who is batting .260/.303/.364 with seven homers and 48 RBIs.

“We saw that taking six weeks off and going to face Major League competition coming off a hand surgery wasn’t as easy to return from as we thought it might be, or hoped that it might be,” Price said. “He looks normal. I didn’t think he looked terrible when he came back but his timing had to have been affected.”

Game 150: Reds at Brewers

Hamilton 8
Negron 5
Frazier 3
Mesoraco 2
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Cozart 6
Leake 1

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