March 2011

Friday at Mesa

Lineup vs. Cubs

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

*Homer Bailey will be starting in a Minor League game today.

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Nice days for Leake, Willis

More than a few highlights today from a 5-1 Reds win over the Indians.

*Mike Leake provided four scoreless innings and allowed three hits in a strong performance. A few of the balls that went for outs were sharply hit into the outfield. But Leake also picked up five outs on the ground, which is generally his bread and butter.

“I felt good,” Leake said. “It’s been a progression. I’m trying to slowly get back into it and get stronger.”

*Hustle award of the day for Dontrelle Willis. He ripped a liner into the right field corner. He could have easily coasted into second base but never slowed and lumbered to third base with a head first slide for a triple. More importantly, Willis worked a scoreless inning with one hit. His chances of making the team are looking better and better. It was also his first game since spraining his ankle on Saturday. He didn’t appear to have trouble.

“If he makes the team, he might be in that long relief role,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He always could hit. Him and Leake can both hit. I want Willis to get some at-bats in case in the season we leave him in there. He can still run and hit. He threw the ball well too.”

*Aroldis Chapman survived a one-run ninth where he started out with a single, a walk and a RBI single from Lou Marson. Chapman received a mound visit from Bryan Price and head trainer Paul Lessard.

“He’s OK,” Baker said. “We thought we saw him limp a little bit. He said he was fine.”

*Todd Frazier notched his first homer of spring and knocked one the opposite way to right field for the game’s first run.

*The drumbeat from fans for the Reds to have Dave Sappelt make the club will only grow louder. In his first at-bat in the seventh, Sappelt had a RBI triple to right field. This spring, Sappelt is batting .538 with a team-high tying seven RBIs. Sappelt also leads the club with 14 hits and 24 total bases this spring.

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One unique lineup, and no DH

Reds lineup vs. CLE

Negron 5
Cozart 6
Heisey 8
Frazier 9
Hermida 7
Cairo 3
Valaika 4
Miller 2
Leake 1

As you may have noticed, this is the first time that the Reds have gone without the DH in a game.

*This should be a big start for Mike Leake as the corner turns to the final two weeks of camp. He’s coming off two rocky starts and Travis Wood has pitched well. If Leake can pitch well today and his next start, it would get pretty interesting around decision time. 

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Back to work…

I’m back on the job after taking about four days of R&R back in Cincinnati. I think I returned to the warmest day of the spring thus far with a high of 91 (not complaining, it’s nice). I will try to get caught up and add some more stuff in a little while.

Obviously the Reds are also back to work after their lone day off of camp.

Lineup vs. KC

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Renteria 6
Hanigan 2
Lewis DH

Arroyo 1

Among those also scheduled to pitch are Arredondo, Cordero and Ondrusek.

*Edinson Volquez threw 74 pitches in yesterday’s Class A minor league game. His line wasn’t stellar vs. the Diamondbacks (5 ip, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3 HBP, 2 WP). He was also pitching while feeling under the weather.

“Twice, I hit the same guy. One was a fastball and the other was a changeup,” Volquez said.

Overall, Volquez got the work in he needed and wasn’t worried.

“Everything was good,” said Volquez, who will start a big league vs. the Brewers on Sunday. “I’m on schedule right now.”

*Johnny Cueto, who had stiffness in his right biceps and forearm, long tossed in the outfield during the off-day. Cueto is scheduled to start on Saturday vs. the Rockies.

*Bronson Arroyo and Matt Klinker are also sick. Dusty Baker still expected Arroyo to make his start tonight.

 

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Cueto has sore forearm

Scheduled to work four innings against the Rangers, Johnny Cueto lasted only two innings while throwing 40 pitches. Cueto was lifted as a precaution because he had tightness in his right forearm. He allowed two earned runs, four hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

The injury, which Cueto first felt warming up in the bullpen, is not currently believed to be serious.

“It was sore when I threw the breaking ball. I feel it. I’m fine,” Cueto said.

Cueto is scheduled to be examined by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek on Saturday.

“He has some tightness in his mid-forearm,” head trainer Paul Lessard said. “It’s not his elbow, which we were happy about. He just felt like he couldn’t loosen up when he was pitching. We said instead of keep sending him out there, why not just sit him down so it doesn’t turn into anything.”

 

Leading off…Drew Stubbs

When asked if he had settled on a leadoff man with three weeks to go, Reds manager Dusty Baker took a long pause before answering.

“Probably Stubbs, still,” Baker said. “If it doesn’t work, I can go to somebody else. There’s a chance I was going to go with somebody else sooner or later anyway. So far, our best leadoff hitter isn’t quite ready for the big leagues.”

Baker was likely referring to Dave Sappelt, who actually led off on Friday vs. Texas. Stubbs batted second.

Stubbs has the speed but his offensive numbers didn’t lend to the leadoff spot last season. In 34 games in the top spot, he batted .220 with a .324 OBP. Overall, he had 22 homers, and 168 strikeouts.

*Coming into the day, Joey Votto was batting .125 with eight strikeouts in 16 at-bats. Baker had zero concern about Votto.

“He started out bad ever since I’ve known him,” Baker said. “The first year here, I didn’t know what to think. I liked what I saw in BP. I liked his regular season stats. It just didn’t equate to what I was seeing in Spring Training. It takes him a while to get his timing and zero in on his concentration. I’m not worried about him. I’ve seen guys every spring kill it in Spring Training but when they put that third deck on top, wouldn’t hit a lick.”

Headed back to Surprise

Reds lineup vs. Rangers

Sappelt 8
Stubbs DH
Votto 3
Francisco 5
Lewis 7
Hanigan 2
Cozart 6
Dorn 9
Valaika 4

Cueto 1

More later from the yard in Surprise…

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Arroyo on his start

It was one the hottest days we’ve had in Goodyear so far during camp came as temperatures reached the upper 80s on Thursday. No complaints at all, especially given all of the rain I’m hearing about in Cincinnati. Hopefully the Ohio River subsides soon before any really serious problems happen.

A bunch of Giants homers in the third inning — three to be exact — helped send the Reds to a 7-0 loss.

The highlights:

*San Francisco crushed three homers against Bronson Arroyo in the third, including back-to-back one-out shots by Andres Torres (2-run HR) and Freddy Sanchez. Cody Ross added a solo homer with two outs. Overall, Arroyo allowed four earned runs and five hits over four innings with one walk and two strikeouts.

“I felt the same as the first two times out,” Arroyo said. “I got a little tired after three innings but it’s probably expected this time of year. I haven’t felt great all spring but I haven’t felt bad at all. Command is good. They hit three off-speed pitches out of the park.”

*Arroyo said he threw all fastballs in the fourth inning to build his endurance.

*The much anticipated spring debut of Edinson Volquez finally came. Volquez, a bit jet-lagged from his long Wednesday flight from the Dominican lasted 2 1/3 innings with two runs (one unearned), two hits two walks, a hit batter and two strikeouts. There will be much more from him on MLB.com soon.

*Aroldis Chapman gave up one run and two hits in his two innings and struck out three. But he had better command than in his previous three outings.

“He looked pretty good,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He threw a real good changeup. He’s been working on that. That would give him a third pitch to keep them off his fastball. He threw strikes with it. He threw a couple of good breaking balls. He looked a lot better this time than last time and that’s the objective.”

*And it’s the not always “just spring” category, Giants starter Madison Baumgarner had a little extra motivation for the Reds. Baumgarner last faced the Cincinnati Aug. 25 when he allowed eight runs (seven earned) in 2 2/3 innings. The Giants ended up making a big comeback before the Reds won 12-11 in 12 innings.

“I definitely didn’t forget about it. It’s hard to forget about something like that,” Baumgarner said.

Today, Baumgarner worked a crisp four scoreless innings with six strikeouts. His only hit was a one-out soft single to right field by Brandon Phillips, who was caught stealing. The Reds had only five hits overall on the day.

*In part two of “it’s not just spring”, Jonny Gomes threw out Pat Burrell at second base trying for a double on a drive off the left field wall in the fourth inning. Gomes pumped his fist when Burrell was called out. Granted, Burrell isn’t fleet of foot, but it was a good throw.

*It was a busier than usual day with media and guests. Besides a slew of national writers that were over, a crew from “Rome Is Burning?” was shooting with Brandon Phillips, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo — formerly of WFAN in New York, was here with Sirius/XM radio. And James Denton of “Desperate Housewives” fame was watching the pre-game workout. Denton is friends with Sean Casey, who is here as a guest instructor.

*Finally, former Reds intern and current Triple-A Louisville employee Danny “Blue” Steele has started a new team blog called, “The Bats Signal.” It’s still getting started but it should provide ample updates once the regular season begins.

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Volquez back at camp

Reds lineup vs. Giants

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Francisco DH

Arroyo 1

Edinson Volquez is here and will pitch two or three innings out of the bullpen. Volquez got his work visa on Tuesday after it was held up on Monday morning.

“I was worried about it. I couldn’t wait anymore to get back to Arizona,” Volquez said.

“When they told Monday morning the visa wasn’t ready yet, I went to the complex and threw a little bit with the pitching coach down there,” Volquez said.

The Reds have a baseball academy in the Dominican.

Volquez expects no issues to prevent him from pitching on Opening Day March 31.

“I’ve had too many bullpen sessions, simulated games and live BP,” he said. “I’m going to be ready. Today, I will get to go 2-3 innings.”

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Phillips playing again

Brandon Phillips is back in the lineup today after being sick the past couple of days.

Reds at Padres, 3:05 p.m. ET.

Sappelt 8
Phillips 4
Francisco 5
Alonso 3
Heisey DH
Frazier 7
Hanigan 2
Dorn 9
Cozart 6

Reineke 1

Burton, Ondrusek, Smith and Thompson are among those in the bullpen today.

On the SD side, Aaron Harang is starting. You may remember him??…big tall guy that pitched the last five Opening Days. Obviously, he had hard times the last three seasons in Cincinnati but he was as class of a guy as they come. I will try to go to the Padres clubhouse after his start to interview him if I can.

More from Peoria later…

 

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