Bruce leading off

Reds vs. Rangers, 4:05 p.m. ET, FS Ohio/WLW/MLB.com

Bruce 9
Valaika 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Stubbs 8
Hanigan 2
Janish 6
Wood 1

This is the second time this spring that Bruce has led off, I believe.

*Baker could be taking a look at contingencies for a Plan B leadoff hitter since Stubbs has struggled all camp.

“There’s a chance,” Baker said. “”I keep hoping Stubby will come around.If it’s not working, you have to go with something else. In a perfect scenario, you’d hope that it would be better than it is. Especially if you’re making contact, you have a chance with his speed. If you don’t make contact, nobody has a chance. We’re just trying to find it.”

Stubbs got seven at-bats in a minor league game Wednesday and got 4 or 5 hits, he said.

**Update from medical staff***

*Ramon Hernandez (sore right elbow) is swinging and throwing comfortably. He will be back in a couple of days.  Baker indicated Hernandez could play a minor league game tomorrow.

*Johnny Cueto (shoulder inflammation) has seen his symptoms subside. They are working on a strengthen program now.

 

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6 Comments

All of these contortions regarding a lead off hitter are due entirely to Baker’s stubborn insistence that Jonny Gomes has to play LF every day. If Baker were willing to play Heisey or Fred Lewis in LF, either one could be a lead off hitter. When Lewis was signed, Jocketty said publicly that part of the reason was his experience leading off. Baker has NOT EVEN GIVEN THIS A TRY. What a waste of nearly $1 million to sign Lewis. This is such an obvious possible solution, yet Baker won’t even give it a try. Instead, he experiments with putting one of the premier power hitters in all major league baseball, Jay Bruce, in the lead off spot. I wish someone would ask Baker why we signed Lewis if we weren’t going to give him a look at lead off.

Lewis hasn’t exactly raked during this camp.

Ok, but Heisey was pretty strikeout prone last year too. Once the pitchers get a book on him, then he might be in trouble too. Remember how hot Bruce was when he first came up? Once they got a read on him and found his weaknesses opponents were striking him out pretty easily. I think Heisey is good and I don’t see him declining but you never know. Also, you’re right, give Lewis a try, but he is batting under .200 against not entirely major league pitching right now. I’m not a guy that roots for Gomes to be in there every game, but I don’t think he should be a platoon guy. He should get 120 games and Heisey and whoever else can get the rest. Stubbs will have to figure it out, if not, what is the harm in a good contact basehitter like Janish getting a chance?

Curt

Exactly Mark. If Lewis gets the starting nod over Gomes and struggles, you are going to get comparisons to Taveras and Patterson pretty quickly, and that is NOT a good thing.

Speaking of not raking. Lewis has a higher batting average, higher on base percentage and more RBI than Jonny Gomes does this spring. Maybe Lewis would do better if he was in the lead off spot, maybe not. My point isn’t that he’s our lead off hitter. Only that Baker should give it a TRY. I prefer Heisey as the LF and lead off hitter. But apparently Baker has Heisey in the “nice pinch hitter, back up CF” box and isn’t even comparing him to Gomes as the LF. Heisey is having a great spring (twice the HR and RBI as Gomes, with an OBP of .383). And he clearly plays better defense than Gomes. I carry no brief for Fred Lewis. My main issue is how Baker is just handing the LF job to a player who is bad defensively and had one great month last year.

I don’t disagree at all, Im not on the Gomes bandwagon. In fact, if it wasn’t for the money they pay homerun hitters, I would rather have kept Dunn here then Gomes, his numbers are clearly better than Gomes and the defense is almost a wash. But the money always comes in to play.

Curt

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