April 2011

Rolen to DL, Valiaka recalled

 After waiting a couple of days, the Reds placed 3B Scott Rolen on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder. Rolen received two injections on his shoulder Thursday and hoped to play after a couple of days.

To replace Rolen, IF Chris Valaika was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.  In 14 games for Louisville, Valaika batted .306 with one homer and six RBIs. He played 11 games at second base and two at third base.

Valaika will give the Reds some extra offense. While strong at second base, he has little experience at third base. If Rolen is out long term, it would be a big blow.

Also — OF Fred Lewis’ rehab assignment was transfered from Double-A Carolina to Louisville.

Maloney down, Fisher up

 Tough break for LHP Matt Maloney. He pitched long relief and was needed in long relief to help save the bullpen three times in a week. But he is the one that got optioned to Triple-A Louisville because he has options left and the Reds needed an extra arm. Carlos Fisher was recalled from Louisville and is on site.

Maloney made the spot start last night afte the rain delay and pitched two-plus innings with three runs and eight hits allowed. He also threw 73 pitches. Jordan Smith (three innings) and Nick Masset (two innings) were all used pretty heavily. Dusty Baker said Masset could be available for a short situation.

Fisher had a 7.71 ERA in six games for Louisville, but had four saves in four chances. He last pitched Tuesday at Columbus and saved the 4-2 Louisville victory (1.1ip, 0h, 0r, 1bb, 1k, 20 pitches). He was in Toledo last night and flew this morning to Chicago and then to Evansville before making the two hour drive to St. Louis since Lambert Airport is closed because of tornado damage.

*For those wondering, Dontrelle Willis (2-0, 0.53 ERA) last pitched five innings on Wednesday. He would not have been available this quickly. It came down to Fisher was on the 40-man roster and available to give the Reds a little length if they needed it.

*Dusty Baker is not revealing, yet, is plan for Edinson Volquez and if he might start Sunday. He only said he’d announce a decision “tomorrow.” As for current Sunday starter Sam LeCure’s availability for today, Baker said “we’ll see.”

Another wet day in STL…

 Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Cairo 5
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Wood 1

*It looks like Lambert-St. Louis Airport is closed after a tornado struck it last night. It could affect getting a Triple-A Louisville pitcher up here from Columbus. No moves have been announced so they just might be going with what they have. Needless to say, Travis Wood will be counted on to go very deep into this game. Very deep.

*It’s raining again here at Busch Stadium.

More soon…

Renewing the rivalry

Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Renteria 6
Cairo 5
Hernandez 2
Volquez 1

*Scott Rolen is out of the lineup today because his surgically repaired left shoulder has been bothering him, and has also led to neck and back soreness. Rolen saw medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek Thursday morning had his shoulder X-rayed. He was given two injections to try and relieve the pain. An MRI on his neck showed no issues.

“I got to the point when I played Wednesday, I’m trying to figure out how to catch up to 87, 88 [mph]. I’m thinking ‘I’m trying to finish the game,'” Rolen said. “This is what I’m thinking. This is going the wrong way.”

Since his eight-game hitting streak ended on April 11, Rolen is batting .138 (4-for-29).

Rolen said it usually takes a couple of days to stop feeling sore from injections. It might put him out for this three-game series. But he didn’t rule out playing either.

“I think anything is feasible. I’m not sure where we are,” Rolen said.

Rolen missed most of 2005 with a torn left labrum in his shoulder. It took two surgeries to repair it but he’s continually had to monitor the shoulder and adjust his hitting style to play through it.

*Jared Burton is having arthroscopic surgery today to debride his right shoulder. Prognosis will come after the operation is done. It’s another bad break for someone who’s had health problems galore the past few seasons.

*Johnny Cueto’s second rehab start for Triple-A Louisville didn’t sound promising. He gave up eight runs, five earned runs on 9 hits over 1 2/3 innings with 2 walks, zero strikeouts and one home run. Louisville lost the game at Columbus, 19-3

*Homer Bailey is now slated to pitch for Louisville on Sunday vs. Toledo. His second rehab start was originally supposed to be today.

*The weather is iffy for tonight. Already had hail and thunderstorms earlier today after getting into town. Hearing a bunch of more storms could blow through later today. Guess we’ll see what happens.

Bad homestand ends well

For Reds pitcher Mike Leake, that went about as well as could be expected. The crowd supported him (I didn’t hear any booing) and he pitched well. And most important, there was a 7-4 Reds win that snapped a four-game losing streak and ended a rough home stand at 2-5.

Leake: 7 ip, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. He had first pitch strikes to 16 of 26 batters and retired 16 of his last 17 batters. He couldn’t talk at all about his arrest on shoplifting allegations or the details of his case but he shared a little of his feelings. See more later on MLB.com/Reds.com.

“It was nice to go out there and be able to erase some things and go out there and pitch and I don’t know, let some things go,” Leake said.

Notes:

*Arizona scored a run in the top of the first, making it the fifth-straight game Reds pitchers have given up at least one run in the first inning. Cincinnati leads the Majors with 23 first-inning runs allowed.

*This time the deficit was mitigated by the Reds scoring four in the bottom of the first and sending nine to the plate. It helped that Daniel Hudson walked three (including two with the bases loaded) and hit a batter.

*Jonny Gomes walked for the 16th time in the top of the first. His 16th walk last season did not come until June 9.

Quotes:

“I respect him. I love him to death. Regardless of what happens, he’s family. He’s not a distraction to the team. He had nothing to do with it [the losing streak]. We got the win today. I’m very proud of him. He kept his head up, went out there and pitched like he normally pitched and did a good job.” — Brandon Phillips on Mike Leake.

“I didn’t want to back down so I just went after them. I wanted them to hit my pitch. They got a pitch every once in a while but they didn’t really do much damage with it. I just attacked them.” — Leake on what he did to pitch well vs. Arizona

“That’s the most runs we’ve scored in an inning in a while. It’s seems like it’s been a won a game, seemed like a month. That’s the way to end a homestand. It wasn’t a good homestand but it was a good ending. Hopefully it can be the start of some big things on this very important, tough road trip.” — Dusty Baker

Rolen, Stubbs rested

Reds lineup vs. D-backs

Heisey 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Cairo 5
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Leake 1
*Scott Rolen gets a break coming off a night game. Although he has hit safely three of his last four games, it’s also a 3-for-17 stretch (.176).

“I could see he was a little slow the last couple of days,” manager Dusty Baker said.

*Drew Stubbs also is being rested despite batting .313 (10-for-32) with three homers his last eight games.

“You hate to give Stubbs a day off but you have to do it sometimes. Whenever I do, he seems to come back real strong,” Baker said.

***Just saw this after posting, but Stubbs is also 1-for-9 with 6 Ks vs. Arizona starter Daniel Hudson.

*I will be very curious to see what kind of reception Mike Leake will get when he takes the mound today.

Reds have .500 record

There will no doubt be hemming and hawing throughout Greater Cincinnati tonight. After the uber hot start, the Reds are suddenly 9-9. A 3-1 loss gave them four-straight losses and a 1-5 homestand.

Some things I looked at for my postgame story:

*Through 18 games last season, they were 7-11.

*Through 30 games last season, they were 15-15.

I’m usually pretty pragmatic about winning and losing skids. At the moment, obviously, this team is not getting it done. But maybe it’ll be OK to keep the glass sealed over the panic button a little while longer.

Notes:

*Joey Votto went 2-for-4 with a RBI double to keep his reach safely streak to all 18 games.

*Ryan Hanigan snapped a 0-for-12 streak with his one-out single in the fifth inning.

*Bronson Arroyo threw first pitch strikes to 20 of the 25 batters he faced. He retired 15 in a row at one point, with eight of them strikeouts. Arroyo did give up a run in the first inning, which has become all too familiar lately for this rotation.

*The Reds have been outscored 22-12 in the first inning this season. The 22 runs allowed leads MLB.

*Aroldis Chapman hit 100 a couple of times during 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He had two walks — one with two outs in the seventh and the other with two outs in the eighth.

Quotes:

“You don’t like where you are. It adds to sleepless nights when you’re losing but the reality of it all, our best days haven’t even gotten here yet as a team. As long we don’t listen to people, as long as we don’t panic, and we continue to work hard, things are going to be great. I’m as positive now as I ever was. I’m not as happy as I was. Our start spoiled people. It spoiled us. It spoiled everybody.” — Dusty Baker.

“You think about the first series of the year against Houston and what those guys were feeling like when everything was going our way, all the big hits at the right time and making all the pitches when you needed to. It’s such a long season and that’s the ebb and flow of the game. That’s why you cherish every win you get in the game. There are times when they come easy and seems like they’re just going to keep coming. You know eventually you’re going to go down the other side of the mountain. Those are the times you have to come to the ballpark and try to simplify things.” — Bronson Arroyo

Through the storm?

Reds lineup vs. Diamondbacks

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

 *Homer Bailey’s second rehab assignment start for Triple-A Louisville vs. Columbus has been pushed back from Friday. It could be either Saturday or Sunday now. Bailey, who has been on the DL with right shoulder impingment since late in Spring Training, was scheduled to throw his side bullpen session today but pushed that back as well.

“I was just a little tired, a little tight,” Bailey said. “Instead of throwing a bullpen like that, it’s better off waiting a day or so.”

That means it’s unlikely Bailey would be ready for that April 27 start at Milwaukee, which was a loose target date. During his first start for Louisville on Sunday vs. Indianapolis, Bailey threw five scoreless innings with two hits and one walk while striking out two. He threw 62 pitches, up from the 37 he had throw the previous outing at extended spring in Goodyear.

“I was doubling the pitch count. Just the one or two extra days [rest] will go a long way,” Bailey said.

The club had no concerns about Bailey in the big picture.

“To not have any setbacks and give him a couple of days is worth it,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We know we need Homer. We know we need Cueto. We need them both. But you can’t rush them and have something happening to them and you don’t have them for an extended period of time. We have to fight our way through where we are now and let their normal course of healing take its course.”

*Johnny Cueto is still on target to make his second rehab start for Louisville on Thursday.

*One of the reasons Jonny Gomes is not in the lineup is his 0-for-5 with three strikeouts career mark vs. Arizona starter Ian Kennedy.

 *Temperatures are about 30 degrees cooler from last night after some seriously nasty storms moved through. I hope everyone came out of that OK.

*Of course, the Reds are trying to work their way out of a different type of storm these days. So far, it’s a 1-4 homestand and 8 losses in the last 12 games.

Reds drop eighth of last 12

 Remember that 5-0 start? What happened since. The Reds have dropped 8 of 12, including a 5-4 loss to the D-Backs on Tuesday.

The ball was carrying in the muggy air and in the press box, it felt like Kramer and Elaine’s experience at H & H Bagels on Seinfeld.

Even the outs were loud against Sam LeCure, who also surrendered four home runs — a season high for a Reds pitcher.

Some notes:

*Brandon Phillips tested his sore right groin with a dazzling defensive play in the third inning. On Ryan Roberts grounder to the hole between first and second, Phillips made a running pick to his left and threw to first base on the run.

“I really didn’t want him to make that play going into the hole to turn and throw. He had the presence of mind to just keep running and not try to stop,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
*The Reds have rallies in the eighth and ninth innings where they had the tying run up. It was a killer in the eighth after Phillips’ RBI single when the heart of the order — Votto, Rolen and Bruce went down in order. Votto struck out on three pitches, Rolen popped a 1-0 pitch behind the plate and Bruce skied a long flyout to center field.

*The Reds have given up at least one run in the  first inning in the last three games. Roberts hit the first of his two homers in the top of the first inning.

*The Reds haven’t lost three in a row since Sept 22, 24-25 of last season.

*Joey Votto was hit by a pitch in the first inning and has now reached in all 17 games this season.

*Nice night for the bullpen. Bill Bray worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings with one hit and Logan Ondrusek had two perfect innings with two strikeouts.

*It’s been quite a workload for that bullpen of late. The Reds rotation has only 24 1/3 innings pitched in the last five games. They’ve allowed 24 runs in that stretch.

Quotes:

“I was frustrated I was not able to go deeper in the game to save the bullpen, more than the runs.” — Sam LeCure

“I got him on a slider. He had a great at-bat. Some of the splits I threw weren’t really where I wanted them. I had him just out in front enough for him to pull them foul. Couple of those made my heart stop. I thought they were down the line. We were fortunate to get out of this one”. — Arizona closer J.J. Putz on facing Paul Janish in the ninth. Janish fouled off four 2-2 pitches before grounding out in a key at-bat.

**
“You can’t get down. You can’t feel sorry for yourself. You just have to keep playing. We knew it was going to be a tough road sooner or later, especially when you have two of your main horses – Cueto and Homer out. Hopefully we can win some games until they come back and really get on a roll…and save my bullpen.” — Dusty Baker.

Leake to start Thursday

The Reds are still planning on having RHP Mike Leake make his scheduled start on Thursday vs. the D-Backs, even after Monday’s arrest on allegations of shoplifting.

“He’s still our guy,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday.

Leake still has not addressed the media, but media relations director Rob Butcher said that Leake would speak to reporters following Thursday’s game. He was court earlier Tuesday and requested a diversion program for first time offenders, something that would eventually expunge the misdemeanor crime from his record.

Did the club have thoughts about not starting Leake?

“There was consideration,” Baker said. “We talked about how he felt and could he handle the pressure of it. He said ‘yeah.’ Sometimes in times of trouble, it’s easier to go to work than not go to work.

The club realizes that fan reaction could be unpleasant for Leake in the coming days.

“You’re always concerned. It will happen sooner or later,” Baker said. “It will probably be less adverse fan reaction at home than there would be on the road. We considered that. I can’t say, but at some point, his story will come out with exactly what happened. It just can’t come out now.”

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