July 2010

Hernandez out again

Thurs lineup vs. PHI

Phillips 4
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Nix 7
Stubbs 8
Miller 2
Cueto 1

*This is Ramon Hernandez’s fourth game in a row out with a sore left knee. Whether he can be back by Friday is unknown.

“Maybe, but we possibly have to make a decision here soon too,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “The All-Star break is coming up. He hasn’t caught in a few days. If he’s not better, we can still backdate stuff. It’s tough duty with one catcher and Janish as the backup. We’ll make a decision probably tonight after the game.”

 

*Ryan Hanigan was 2-for-3 last night for Triple-A Louisville on his rehab assignment. He is likely ready to be activated from the disabled list if the club had to DL Hernandez.

*It was an off day for Jonny Gomes, for a couple of reasons:

“It’s been hot out there and Jonny has been struggling a little bit. Kendrick gets right-handers out a lot better than left-handers, especially in this ballpark,” Baker said. “It’s a perfect time and Jonny will play the next three days.”

*Baker views these next four games and the ones right after the All Star break as prime opportunity to make a move in the division.

“You can’t start thinking about vacation before vacation gets here. This is a time you hope everybody else is thinking vacation and you’re thinking through the break vs. to the break…The teams I’ve been on or had, it’s something I’ve stressed to them. Most jobs, those last couple of days before you go on vacation are non-productive days. Then when you come back, you’re still in vacation mode and you have a couple of more non-productive days.”

*Several players were having a good time watching the Rockies-Cardinals game this afternoon in the clubhouse. Many on the bus were watching last night’s Colorado walkoff win on their iPads while bussing from New York to Philadelphia.

 

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Live from Amtrak, Votto leads

I am writing to you from an Amtrak train in New Jersey as I head south from New York to Philadelphia…it’d be cool if we had more access to this type of travel in Ohio and Kentucky.

Anyway, got the last update for Final Vote. Joey Votto is still leading.

Ryan Zimmerman is in second place, Carlos Gonzalez is third and Billy Wagner is fourth. Heath Bell was removed since he was added to the roster yesterday.

The All-Star Final Vote continues until 4 p.m. ET on MLB.com and Reds.com. Results will be revealed at 6 pm on MLB.com and MLB Network. There is no limit to the number of times fans can vote.

There is a chance that the “Vote Red” campaign hatched by the Reds and Red Sox could get both Votto and Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis into the July 13 All-Star game at Anaheim.

According to a MLB.com press release, Youkilis was in a “virtual tie” with Nick Swisher.

In the past, people have made last-minute surges to leapfrog a guy and win. So if you want Votto to get into the All-Star game, keep voting.

 

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Postgame extra: Arroyo heating up

Besides having every reason to be encouraged about a 5-2 road trip so far, the Reds could also start looking at Bronson Arroyo and think about feeling good. Arroyo came to Citi Field last year and rolled a complete game shutout. Then he went on to have a big league best 2.07 ERA over his final 16 starts.

Arroyo is off to a 9-4 start with a 4.04 ERA. In the 3-1 win over the Mets Wednesday, he had eight mostly smooth innings and needed only 99 pitches (72 strikes). He could have finished the game, and in fact, wanted to.

“This time of year, I always physically feel good and feel like I have good stuff,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo said tonight was the best he has felt all season.

“For sure. I knew I had decent stuff coming out of the ‘pen today, which was nice,” Arroyo said. “I feel like I’m getting a little bit stronger as time goes on. I knew my sinker was going to be really good. They ran a decent number of lefties at me but I felt I had so much movement, I had a chance to get a bunch of groundballs.”

Other items of note —

*Nice game by Chris Heisey — made a super-long running catch on Jason Bay in the sixth and then slugged a homer in the seventh for the go-ahead run.

*Also a solid night for Brandon Phillips. Besides a homer in the third, he made a super bare-handed pick and throw while running to his right on Alex Cora’s grounder in the seventh.

*The Mets had won six-straight home series since May 10-12. They are 29-14 this season at Citi Field.

More quotes —

“Other than that home run to Angel Pagan, he was throwing quality strike after quality strike. He had them off balance. He got one big double play when we needed it.” — Dusty Baker on Arroyo.

“When it was hit, my immediate reaction is I took two steps and looked over at Stubbs. I could tell he was not going to get there. So at that point, I tried to go catch it and lucky enough, I got there and made the play. I caught it and thought I’d be right next to the fence. I still at about 10 feet of grass before the warning track. It’s 415 [feet] to the gap out there. There’s hardly any places that are as big as this field.” — Chris Heisey on his long catch in the sixth.

“I was laughing with David Wright at third base, telling him I was working on that since spring. Sometimes, the ball bounces your way. That’s why you play 162. You never know what can happen on any given night.” — Bronson Arroyo, on his strange bunt single in the seventh. It was blooped over pitcher Jon Niese’s head in square in the middle of the infield. No one could make a play.

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Votto on Vote Votto shirts

A few hours before today’s game with the Mets, Reds clubhouse manager Rick Stowe walked in with a giant box filled with six dozen Red T-shirts.

They say ‘Vote Votto” on the front — to promote Joey Votto for All-Star Final Vote.

Every player wore one during batting practice — as did manager Dusty Baker and the coaching staff.

Below is a picture of some players in the shirts from Reds media relations director Rob Butcher:

votevotto shirt1 070710.JPG

I asked Votto what he thought of the shirts and the hoopla surrounding him for Final Vote: 

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Votto said. “I really appreciate all of my teammates wearing them. Stuff like this doesn’t happen every day. I think it’s a pretty cool experience.

“This type of stuff, it’s kind of embarrassing, but in a good way if that makes sense. I’m just too shy to get into this type of stuff. I just enjoy doing my job. I know that sometimes, there’s a little more to our job than just going out and playing ball. This is one of those situations.”

Another hot one in the city

Weds lineup vs. Mets

Phillips 4
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Heisey 9
Stubbs 8
Miller 2
Arroyo 1

Mets are starting LHP Jonathon Niese, which likely explains the night off for Bruce.

The East Coast heatwave is still in full force. Very similar to yesterday, when the evening’s first pitch was under 96 degree temperatures.

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Votto still leading

The “Vote Votto” “Vote Red” campaign is working for Joey Votto still. Kevin Youkilis will need some help.

In the third ballot update released Wednesday morning, Votto was still leading the NL. Youkilis was passed by first day leader Nick Swisher, who leads by less than one percentage point according to a MLB.com press release.

On the NL ballot Votto leads over Ryan Zimmerman (Washington Nationals), Billy Wagner (Atlanta Braves), Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies), and Heath Bell (San Diego Padres).

Voting runs until 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

Here is a link to vote:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2010/fv/ballot.html

 

Votto, Youkilis leading

A quickly formed alliance to get fans to “Vote Red” seems to be working during the All-Star Final Vote on MLB.com.

In the National League results released on Tuesday, Reds first baseman Joey Votto maintained his lead in the balloting over the other four players on day two. And in the American League, Red Sox first baseman and Cincinnati native Kevin Youkilis has passed the Yankees’ Nick Swisher for the lead.

Late on Monday, the Reds and Red Sox joined forces to co-promote their first basemen. The teams are using their own web sites, social networking sites and local television and radio game broadcasts to urge fans to “Vote Red” by picking Votto and Youkilis.

Voting runs through 4 p.m. ET on Thursday.

 

Pitcher is TBA for now.

Tuesday lineup vs. Mets

Phillips 4
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Stubbs 8
Miller 2
Pitcher TBA 1

*LHP Matt Maloney is here from AAA Louisville and ready to go just in case. I guess they’ll have to see how Aaron Harang is feeling before making a decision.

*I’ve made a decision about one thing — it’s really, really hot. The temperature as I write is 101 degrees. In a congested city full of giant concrete buildings, it’s an oven. Thankfully, the press box is air conditioned.

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Another rehab start likely needed

Edinson Volquez had a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Sunday that GM Walt Jocketty called “fair.”

The line against Indianapolis was: 5 ip ,4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K….87 pitches/46 for strikes.

“His command was not real good,” Jocketty said on Monday. “He didn’t throw a lot of strikes. He threw a lot of pitches early. They made the decision to take him out after five.”

A final decision hasn’t been made but it was likely another start in the Minors would be needed. That means Volquez won’t be up until after the All-Star break. The Reds wanted him to throw 100 pitches a couple of times before coming up. That hasn’t happened yet in his five rehab starts.

“I’d think probably not,” Jocketty said. “He only pitched five innings. We can’t have that up here.”

*Ramon Hernandez did not start today because of a sore knee. He was hurting after legging out a triple in Sunday’s game.

“He’s better. He’s got a little swelling in there today that he didn’t have yesterday,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s a little sore. Hopefully he’ll be better tomorrow. Hopefully, he’ll get treatment all day in case I have to pinch-run or pinch-hit for Corky late in the game.

“My trainer is probably tired of me asking him every 15 minutes, ‘how’s he doing?’ It was the same as he was 15 minutes ago.”

Baker wasn’t sure Hernandez could play today if he needed him. As for an emergency catcher?

“I’m not sure of that either,” Baker said. “Janish has been my emergency guy.”

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Votto takes early lead

Monday lineup vs. Mets

Phillips 4
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Stubbs 8
Miller 2
Harang 1

*This just came my way from our folks at MLB.com:

Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees and Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds topped the early returns from the more than 10 million votes registered in the opening 24 hours of the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

On the National League ballot, Votto grabbed the top spot out-of-the-gate over the other four candidates, narrowly ahead of Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals; Billy Wagner of the Atlanta Braves; Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies; and Heath Bell of the San Diego Padres.

*The exact numbers and vote totals were not revealed.

*From the Elias Sports Bureau: Votto’s streak of 41 consecutive games in which he reached base safely came to an abrupt end on Sunday when he was ejected after striking out in the first inning. Paul Janish replaced him and went 4-for-4 with a home run.  Janish was the first Major Leaguer to enter a game as a substitute and go 4-for-4 with a homer since the Reds’ Paul O’Neill did it against San Diego on April 18, 1990, a game the Reds won, 11-7.  Manager Lou Piniella sent O’Neill into the game in the third inning as a pinch-hitter for right fielder Rolando Roomes.

*The high today in New York is 97, and it feels every bit of that and more in the concrete jungle of Manhattan and Queens.
 

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