Smith up, Del Rosario down

In an effort to get bullpen help, the Reds reached down to Double-A Carolina and called up RHP Jordan Smith on Tuesday. Enerio Del Rosario was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

At 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA in 27 games with 38 hits allowed over 28 1/3 innings, Smith’s numbers don’t look all that impressive but is a hot hand right now. In his last six appearances for Carolina, Smith posted a 1.13era (8ip, 1er). Dusty Baker also liked Smith in Spring Training.

Del Rosario had a 2.08 ERA in nine games but allowed seven of his nine inherited runners to score. Not good.

*Before this season, Smith had 74 Minor League games since he was drafted in 2006 — all were as a starting pitcher. The Reds told Smith he was becoming a reliever in Spring Training. Much of lofty numbers might reflect the adjustment.

Smith felt he was starting clicking once he improved his pitch selection and not just offering a first-pitch fastball.

“Since I’ve taken on the reliever role, I had to adjust my game just a little bit – different pitches at certain times,” Smith said. “I was trying to be too aggressive with my fastball at certain points. If you look at my hits, if you were there, probably half of those hits were infield hits, bloop hits that I was kind of getting unlucky. I started getting into a rhythm a couple of weeks ago and kept the ball down real good and it was moving. I feel better now.”

Smith got the good news of his first big league promotion from Carolina manager David Bell. He was napping and missed the call and had to call back.

“I called him back and he said ‘I have some good news but I can’t tell you over the phone. I have to tell you in person,'” Smith said. “I actually met him at a bank close to my apartment in Carolina. I got out of my truck and he said ‘you’re going to the big leagues.’ It was one of the most exciting feelings I’ve ever had. It was great.

“It’s starting to sink in now that I’m here. Yesterday, I couldn’t sit down. I was pacing so much. I couldn’t sleep. I finally fell asleep at six in the morning and woke up at seven to pack my stuff up in the clubhouse. I’m running on adrenaline right now.”

*Here’s what Dusty Baker said about Smith:

“We liked him at spring training. David Bell said he was throwing the ball real well, especially lately. We don’t know if this is temporary or permanent. It depends on him and depends on how we might revamp our rotation some in order to strengthen our bullpen some. We’re still at the drawing board on some of that stuff.”

My hunch is they’re considering either Sam LeCure or Homer Bailey for that spot. I asked Baker what options were on the table though.

“I can’t tell you that. We’ll see,” Baker said. “Some depends on how Smith fits in. Most of the pitchers are going six and a fraction. That seventh inning, it’s so very important. We’re looking for somebody to close that gap there. [Logan] Ondrusek has done a good job closing the gap but he can’t do it by himself.”

*Brandon Phillips was back in the lineup after being diagnosed on Monday with a mild strain of his right hamstring. Phillips came in during the off day for treatment and it didn’t take any great lobbying to get back in the lineup after being scratched Sunday.

“He came in with the trainer,” Baker said. “A lot of it depends on what the trainer says. He says he

was feeling a whole lot better. He was playing with this for a while. I told him to just play smart, that’s all.”

*Ryan Hanigan took batting practice with the pitchers today and had no trouble. But trying to catch has still been a problem.

“It’s getting better but it [the thumb] still rattles when I catch,” Hanigan said. He has not been able to fit a pad into the thumb of his mitt that works. He was hoping the pain would subside to in a few more days to where it only hurts when he catches a ball in the wrong spot.


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