I spoke with non-roster infielder Chris Dominguez Monday morning, before the latest cuts were made. One of the nice surprises to come out of this camp, Dominguez doesn’t know yet if he’s made the team. (although the latest moves suggest that it looks very good).
Dominguez leads the club this spring with seven doubles and is batting .458 (11-for-24) with three homers over his last 10 games. He is batting .340 in 21 games overall.
On Sunday vs. the Angels, Dominguez went 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs. He hit a three-run homer in the third inning to secure the victory. It’s been a good camp, but with it near the end, he is making a nice final impression.
“I try to go out there every day and do the best that I can,” Dominguez said. “Definitely, I can’t say it doesn’t help having good games here at the end.”
The latest Reds camp roster cuts were made:
Optioned to Louisville: RHP Pedro Villarreal.
Reassigned to minor league camp: RHP Nate Adock, IF Ivan De Jesus Jr., IF Irving Falu and C Kyle Skipworth.
Released: LHP Paul Maholm.
That leaves 30 players in big league camp.
Villarreal seemed to have a solid chance entering camp after his nice second half. But he posted a 12.38 ERA in his seven games this spring.
Maholm looked very good with a 2.19 ERA in five games but wanted to start. He was told a couple of weeks ago he would be in the bullpen if he made the team.
UPDATE: The club had until Tuesday morning to either put Maholm on the big league roster, release him, or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus and send him to the Minors for 60 days until he had an opt-out in his contract.
Sorry — new lineup is posted without Mesoraco.
Reds rotation candidate Jason Marquis had another decent outing when he started Sunday vs. the Angels.
The Marquis line: 6 ip, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 96 pitches. He is 3-1 with a 3.46 ERA in six spring starts.
“He’s really taken advantage of his opportunity,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I’m pleased with the way he’s thrown the ball. When he’s been down in the zone with that sinker and slider and split combination, he’s been pretty effective. He had another pretty good start today.”
Marquis gave up a very long two-run home run to left field by CJ Cron in the fourth inning. Overall, he was very pleased with the game.
“After the last outing, I felt pretty good with going deep into games,” Marquis said. “I responded really well after the last start. Today coming in, I didn’t know what my pitch limit was but I felt good enough to treat it like a regular season game. I was glad I was able to get that far.”
A non-roster invite who did not pitch in the Majors last season while trying to return from Tommy John surgery, Marquis’ chances of making the Reds rotation look good at this point. However, he has yet to be given any word from Price or the team.
“I came into this situation knowing anything is possible,” Marquis said. “I had a goal in mind to make the team. When they inform me of that, that’s when you guys find out. I’m excited about any opportunity. I felt like I put myself in a good position to possibly claim one of those spots.”
The Reds will break camp following Thursday’s Cactus League finale vs. the Indians. On Friday and Saturday, will be a pair of exhibition games vs. the Blue Jays in Montreal.
As expected, extra players will be brought along to help fill some of the at-bats and innings when the regulars are taken out.
But will the final 25-man roster be set before it’s wheels up from Arizona?
“Are we going to define? It’s probable that when we leave for Montreal, that guys will know they’re on the team,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “The only caveat, of course, is that in 2012, we got [Alfredo] Simon the day before, or two days before Opening Day on a waiver claim. You just never know in baseball, who is going to become available. If the scouts see someone who can improve our club a day or two, when you find a guy who is available a day or two before Opening Day, anything could happen. Any of these guys who are competing to make a spot on our bench or in the bullpen or the rotation, it can be a little precarious from time to time, because all teams are in the same boat trying to find that last piece that may stabilize their club.”
Have any players battling for spots, especially the non-roster invites, been told they made the team already?
“No. We have not,” Price replied.
Here is an updated Reds lineup:
M. Smith DH
While the headline above might likely raise a eyebrow or two, the grand experiment to try and put Aroldis Chapman in the Reds rotation again isn’t happening. Chapman is slated to start on Saturday vs. a Cubs split-squad club though.
Manager Bryan Price explains the decision to start with his closer.
“We have [Mike] Leake scheduled to pitch tomorrow in a Minor League game, so we’ll get our relief pitchers out of the way first,” Price said. “Then, I’m sure we’ll have some Minor Leaguers come up to pitch, to make up for the innings we’re not going to get from Leaker.”
Facing Minor League batters for the second time in spring on Friday, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey worked three innings in a Triple-A game.
Bailey allowed one earned run and three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Of his 41 pitches, 25 were strikes.
In a Double-A game, Johnny Cueto pitched five innings with two earned runs and five hits, no walks, four strikeouts and one wild pitch. He threw 60 pitches/47 strikes.
More on Reds.com/MLB.com later.
Also today: Homer Bailey is starting in a Triple-A game and Johnny Cueto is starting a Double-A game and will throw to Tucker Barnhart. Both games are vs. Dodgers Minor Leaguers.