May 2009

In the desert…

Quite a warm day out here…more than expected even. Nothing like a little 100 degrees with eight percent humidity. I guess you call that the ol “dry heat.”

Just some lineups for now…more news later from the clubhouse.

As expected, Joey Votto is starting.


Taveras, cf
Hairston, ss
Votto, 1b
Phillips, 2b
Bruce, rf
Hernandez, c
Nix, lf
Rosales, 3b
Arroyo, rhp

Lopez, 2b
Young, cf
Upton, rf
Reynolds, 3b
Byrnes, lf
Tracy, 1b
Snyder, c
Ojeda, ss
Garland, rhp

8:08 pm ET update:

As a prank, a lineup was posted that had Jay Bruce hitting third and Votto fifth. Bruce did well in the three-hole while Votto was out with the flu.

“They were messing with me,” Dusty Baker said. “Joey knew it. Bruce knew it. I knew something was up. Jay walked by and spoke to me four times – ‘Hi dusty how you doing. Hey, skip.’  [I knew] something is up.”

Votto claimed he didn’t know anything about it.

“It’s a pretty lousy joke. It didn’t work,” Votto said. “Hey I wish I had seen it. It would have gotten me pretty good. But it didn’t.”

SS Alex Gonzalez (oblique) was about to go hit in the indoor cage but it’s unclear how much closer he is to returning.UPDATE: Gonzalez hit soft tosses, took BP and threw without pain. Another examination is scheduled for Tuesday.

Micah Owings was still charged up about his ninth inning homer Sundayt. Funny thing is he headed to first base on a low 3-1 pitch he thought was ball four. It was called a strike and Owings sent the full count pitch out.

“Looking back, of course. I still think it might have been down,” Owings said. “I’m not going to look at it anymore. I will take that. It had been a little while since I hit a home run.”

“I think as a kid growing up, I can remember doing that stuff with my little brother and I think we even put it on more of a grand scale like in a World Series.”

Owings is the starting pitcher against his old team on Tuesday.

Note from the Elias Sports Bureau: It was Owings’ sixth career home run and his second career pinch-hit HR…both of his pinch-hit homers tied games…the only other pitcher to do that even once over the last 50 years was Brooks Kieschnick of the Brewers, who did it in 2003 and 2004.

(One big difference though from Owings — Kieschnick was a MLB outfielder that converted to a pitcher.)

Triple-A outfielder Drew Stubbs was named International League Player of the Week for 5/4-5/10…in 7 games for the week, Stubbs batted .423 with a .615 slugging pct…he led the league with 5 doubles and 6 steals (7 attempts)…for the season,he’s batting .329 (27-82) with 10 doubles, a .409obp and 10 stolen bases.

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Crazy, crazy game

An 8-7 loss to the Cardinals prevented a sweep but the Reds gave 27,664 fans a lot to enjoy…just not a win.

Too many highlights to catch them all…

Micah Owings 9th inning homer on a 3-2 pitch that tied the game and sent into extras — that got the crowd going.

Joey Votto — ravaged by the flu since Wednesday and homers in the bottom of the seventh during his first at-bat in his return after entering in a double switch.

Hot hitting Jay Bruce has homered in four of his last five games and has an 11-game hitting streak. Bruce’s big two-run shot came at a big moment, a half inning after the Cardinals had just taken a 4-1 lead.

Adam Rosales continues to win hearts and minds among Reds fans. Rosales, who snapped a 0-for-18 skid on Friday, hit his first big league homer and sprinted around the bases like his hair was on fire. (Fox Sports Ohio timed him at 15 seconds) The fans gave him a nice ovation when he returned later for his next plate appearance and walked. He also hustled to first base for that.

The Reds didn’t get the sweep but they are only 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals. That’s a great place to be considering the alternative. With all the injuries and a shorthanded bench, the Reds could have easily dropped three in a row and fell to 6 1/2 games out. That would have been a little demoralizing.

After running off a career-high 16 scoreless innings over his last two stellar starts, Edinson Volquez had a so-so day. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed seven earned runs and six hits. He walked three guys and all of them scored, including two in the seventh inning. Two other mistakes were particularly costly. His first one was as a fielder on Colby Rasmus’ first inning sacrfice bunt. Volquez threw the ball away, which allowed a run to score.

Volquez also made a mistake to the really wrong guy when the game was tied 4-4 in the fifth. Ryan Hanigan set up outside when Volquez left a 1-0 fastball over the plate or “right down Broaaaaadwaaay” as Jeff Brantley would say. Pujols mashed it a mile for a homer to center field. Until that long ball, Pujols was 0-for-11 in the series.


“Foremost is we were in line to get a sweep,” Dusty Baker said. “We could have been a half a game out instead of 2 ½ games right now. That’s why it was so big. We’ll be around for a long time.”

Bruce on Owings:

“It’s like what you do in your backyard – 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth. It’s crazy. It was a huge spot to do that. Joey and I were jumping around. It was awesome.”


To you: What did you think? You like what the Reds have done the past week?

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Happy Mother's Day

Good Sunday morning and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms that might be reading (or not).

The Reds are still without Joey Votto (flu) and are running the same starting eight in order from last night.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston SS
Bruce RF
Phillips 2B
Nix LF
Hernandez 1B
Rosales 3B
Hanigan C
Volquez P

News you can use:

Votto probably could have played, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday morning.

“He’s close. He’s real close,” Baker said. “If we weren’t play so well, he’d be in there for sure. I figured this way he can get all of his strength back.”

Votto will definitely be back on Monday at Arizona.

Alex Gonzalez (oblique) took more groundballs this morning and looked pretty good fielding and throwing. He said he has yet to hit.

Edwin Encarnacion (chip fracture, left wrist) is continuing to progress but isn’t doing much baseball activity.

“He’s working hard. We’ve been rolling him groundballs and he’s throwing them across the field,” Baker said. “He’ll probably in better shape when he gets back. He can’t do much baseball stuff. He can’t hit or really field but he can throw, run and workout.”

Encarnacion, who made the previous road trip, will also be making the trip to the west coast to continue working out with the team.

Lots of players will be swinging pink bats today in honor of breast cancer awareness/Mother’s Day — including Hernandez, Phillips, Bruce, Taveras just to name a few.

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Yes Phillips, No Votto

It appears the only Joey Votto that will be seen in great amounts is the bobblehead version being distributed tonight. The real Votto is missing his third-straight game because of the flu. As expected, fellow flu victim Brandon Phillips is back in the lineup.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston SS
Bruce RF
Phillips 2B
Nix LF
Hernandez 1B
Rosales 3B
Hanigan C
Harang P

I briefly talked to Votto, who still feels lousy but better than he had been doing. He was about to take groundballs and do some light hitting to see how he felt. Obviously, he doesn’t like missing time but wasn’t down in the dumps about it. After all, the makeshift lineup the Reds used went 2-0.

“You know what? It would bother me a whole lot more if we hadn’t won,” Votto said. “Then it could have been a what-if situation. But we won. I’m part of the team. My job is to help the team win. If I’m not part of the lineup and we still win, that’s all that matters.”

Votto could return Sunday, but definitely should be back on Monday for the road trip opener at Arizona.

Incidentally, Votto and Brandon Phillips both shot a television commerical together on Thursday — the day they became ill. Votto apparently had been sick longer than it was known and infected Phillips. The Reds were able to treat Phillips early enough that he could return sooner.

Alex Gonzalez took groundballs and swung the bat a little. He was deemed “better” by manager Dusty Baker but a decision on whether or not to DL Gonzalez could come soon.

A reporter brought up Albert Pujols going 0-for-4 for St. Louis last night and Baker made this potentially foreshadowing quote:

“When he goes 0-fer, it means something bad is about to happen pretty soon,” Baker said.

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If it's not broke…

Looks like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are still under the weather with the flu since Dusty Baker is running out the same lineup as the one that beat the Brewers last night. Hey, its got a 1-0 record.

Speaking of weather, the tarp is on the field. Storms are in the forecast.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston 2B
Bruce RF
Hernandez 1B
Nix LF
Rosales 3B
Hanigan C
Janish SS
Cueto P

News you can use:

Phillips is available to pinch-hit, most likely. Votto was due to arrive at the ballpark at 6 p.m.

“Brandon is getting better. He’s better than Joey,” Baker said. “They’re getting him an IV and all that. He and Brandon were both in the infirmary in different rooms during the game [last night]. We’re working on them.”

Without those two players, and Alex Gonzalez still out with an oblique strain, the Reds go into a game again with 22 players. Gonzalez threw again today but did not swing a bat, which he could do Saturday.

Because the Reds are so shorthanded, putting Gonzalez on the DL was considered just to add another healthy player. The pickings for Minor League infielders are currently slim. On the 40-man roster, Drew Sutton just returned from a bout with mono and catcher/infielder Wilkin Castillo is batting .196. Prospect Chris Valaika is also struggling and isn’t on the 40-man roster.

“Well, we’re weighing all the options, what our choices are with infielders,” Baker said. “That’s what it boils down to. You don’t like being short but you don’t want to put him on the DL and then he’s well enough. That’s where the dilemma comes in.”

From Jamie Ramsey’s Minor League report:

Triple-A Louisville OF Jonny Gomes last night vs Rochester homered for the third consecutive game. Gomes has a five-game hitting streak (6-for-19, .316)…with six HR is tied with IF/OF Wes Bankston for the team lead. 

Double-A Carolina CF Chris Heisey collected a season-high four hits last night vs. Mobile to lift his batting average to .378…he ranks among Southern League leaders in batting average (1st), slugging (1st, .653), extra-base hits (T1st, 16), hits (2nd, 37), on-base pct. (2nd, .479) and doubles (T3rd, 10)…he’s reached base safely in every one of his 27 games this season and is currently in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak (13-27, .481, 4rbi). 

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Owings hits, pitches for 6-5 win

It was all about Micah Owings tonight. Owings pitched six innings for the victory and looked better than his line indicated. He allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Most important — Owings RBI triple in the bottom of the fourth provided the go-ahead run that snapped a 3-3 tie. It came right after Milwaukee scored three in the top of the fourth.

Big win for the Reds, considering they were down to 22 healthy players. Only Darnell McDonald and Chris Dickerson were available off the bench.

Dusty Baker quote:

“I liked the way he started. He started calm and it was the best start of a game he’s had since he’s been here. He was determined and calm about it at the same time. I’m glad we got the victory for him because he gave it all he had. I’d hate to have him get a no-decision after pitching, hitting and running doing everything he did.”

Micah Owings quote:

“I say it all the time. I’m fortunate to be able to swing it and be blessed with God-given talent that I have. I take a lot of pride in it. I know a lot of guys are going to continue to bear down on me but I’m going to bear down too and keep seeing what I can do to help the team.”

Owings pounded the bag hard after he was called safe upon his slide into third base.

“For one, I was out of breath and tired. I don’t know if I was surprised that I made it and was safe and together from the previous half inning, it was a rush of emotions.”

Phillips joins Votto in sickbay

There is a new, new Reds lineup. A while after Joey Votto was scratched with the flu, Brandon Phillips was also taken out of the lineup vs. the Brewers. Jerry Hairston Jr. was shifted from shortstop to second base and now Paul Janish is in there too.

Here is the presumably healthy starting lineup for the Reds:

3          Willy Taveras – R           CF
15         Jerry Hairston, Jr. – R     2B
32         Jay Bruce – L     RF
55         Ramon Hernandez – R    1B
17         Laynce Nix – L   LF
23         Adam Rosales – R         3B
29         Ryan Hanigan – R          C
7          Paul Janish – R            SS
33         Micah Owings – R          P

Nix in the lineup

For those looking for a Laynce Nix start in left field, today’s lineup vs. the Brewers should placate you — at least for now.

Did anyone see the Manny Ramirez news coming? Despite today’s times, that’s still a stunner.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston SS
Votto 1B Bruce RF
Phillips 2B
Bruce RF Nix LF
Hernandez C 1B
Nix LF Hanigan C
Rosales 3B
Owings P

4:45 pm update: Joey Votto was scratched from the lineup because he is sick.

News you can use:

Dusty Baker had a meeting with Chris Dickerson about the move to put Nix in the lineup tonight.

“I called Dickerson in and talked to him,” Baker said. “I said ‘hey man, you’ve got to go back to work and get it back together.’ Nix is going good right now. We have to win ballgames. I’m not saying it’s all his fault but Nix is doing his thing.”

Dickerson is batting .217 and is tied for the team lead with 21 strikeouts. Nix came in batting .353 and has one homer and six doubles during his limited chances.

SS Alex Gonzalez (left oblique strain) was scheduled to play catch today and said he would take some light swings with his bat on Friday. Gonzalez hoped he could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday.

“I will feel ready soon, maybe Saturday or Sunday,” Gonzalez said. “I do not want to go to the DL. Every day, I feel a lot better. Today, I feel a lot better than yesterday. I can move it a lot easier.”

Ramon Hernandez played the ninth inning at first base last night and is starting there in Votto’s place. Hernandez will be using Adam Rosales’ first base glove.

“I’ve got one but it’s not broken in,” Hernandez said.

One night after throwing 35 pitches of emergency relief in the ninth inning, SS Paul Janish felt the effects.

“Janish came out of it OK. He’s a little sore today,” Baker said. “I was worried about that after the number of pitches he threw. I remember that’s how Jose Canseco got hurt. He was throwing sliders. Paulie was throwing fastballs and changeups.”

Said Janish: “I’m a lot of sore today.”

Some info from the Reds game notes:

Reds Vice President and Assistant General Manager Bob Miller will participate in an online chat at tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. ET…fans can log on to that site and post their questions beginning at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Players of the Month
The organization’s Minor League Players of the Month for April were Louisville’s IF Adam Rosales (17g, .431, 7 2b, 4hr, 15rbi, 2sb) and LHP Matt Maloney (3gs, 2-0, 1.86, 19.1ip, 18h, 0bb, 15k).

Lunch with Micah
As part of the Share the Celebration program, 8 young fans will have lunch with Reds pitcher Micah Owings tomorrow from 11:00 a.m. to noon at the Kenwood Cheesecake Factory…4 of the kids attending the lunch will be Reds Head Kids Club members, while another child will be hosted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Tonight’s game is the 500th at Great American Ball Park…the Reds are 245-253-1 here since the ballpark opened in 2003, including 26-26 vs the Brewers.

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Blowout loss, Janish pitches

There isn’t much to say about a 15-3 Reds loss to the Brewers. All that was interesting in the end is that shortstop Paul Janish pitched the ninth inning. He was the first position player to pitch since Lenny Harris did it on June 1, 1998.

The game pretty much began and ended with the ineffectiveness of starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo. In an outing that was reminiscent to June 24, 2008 shelling at Toronto, Arroyo lasted one inning, plus four batters. In that time, he gave up seven hits, three walks and two home runs while throwing only 46 pitches.

That sent Arroyo’s ERA from 4.91 over two runs to 7.15.

And with that came the end of the Reds’ brief run as the pitching staff with the lowest ERA in the Majors. It’s now at 3.99 after it was 3.61 entering the day.

Reds have more road wins than anyone at 10-5. They are 4-8 at GABP.

“It’s like walking into a casino,” said Arroyo when asked to explain it. “You win one night. It’s a horseshoe. It doesn’t mean you’ll win the next night. It’s just the way it is in baseball.”

Dusty Baker quotes:

“With our situation, we were hoping that [Arroyo] would get it in the second inning because we needed some innings. We played 14 innings and used our whole bullpen two days ago.”

On using Janish — four relievers already used and Masset and Rhodes were not available. He wanted to save Burton.

“It boiled down to the process of elimination,” Baker said.

Janish gave up five runs and five hits after striking out first batter J.J. Hardy. He threw 35 pitches , mostly fastballs. His velocity was in the 88-92 mph range. At Rice Univeristy, he was a shortstop and a reliever.

“I think I had a little left in the tank but I didn’t want to risk running up into anyone’s gut,” Janish said. “I tried to run it across the plate. Unfortunately, that’s what they were looking for.”


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Showers are falling at Great American Ball Park. The tarp is on the field and the earliest the game is scheduled to start for the Reds vs. Brewers is 7:50 p.m. ET.


7:23 p.m. UPDATE: first pitch now scheduled for 7:55 p.m. The grounds crew are starting to work on the field.

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