Regulars play whole game

In a game that had the feel of the regular season in terms of the lineup’s participants, the Reds took a 7-3 loss the Rockies on Sunday at Salt River Fields.

“We left a lot of runners on base. We out-hit them (11-8) and they hit us out of the ballpark,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*The starting lineup used today (see earlier blog post for the order) just might be the one you see on Opening Day.

“It could be,” Baker replied when asked if this was his opener lineup. “Today was the day I sent [Ryan]  Ludwick over to DH in the Minor Leagues. I don’t know if it’s going to be Mesoraco or [Ryan] Hanigan. For the most part, it’s probably it.”

*All the position players stayed in the game for nine innings for the first time this spring.

“We’ve got a couple of nines this week for endurance and they’re off tomorrow,” Baker said. “Then the next group goes nine. We’ll alternate every other day and…then we’ll cut back again.”

*Chris Heisey had a very good day, going 3-for-4. It raised Heisey’s average to .214.

*Joey Votto was 2-for-5 with a RBI single in the third inning.

*Zack Cozart remains a fire offensively…2-for-4 with another double. He has an eight-game hitting streak.

*Johnny Cueto’s line was: 6 ip, 6 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 3 HR. Todd Helton dialed up on Cueto for his first two homers of the spring — both solo shots. The other long ball was a two-run shot by Casey Blake.

“What happened with Helton was I always under in the count the whole time,” Cueto said. “He was sitting there waiting for the good pitch. Other than that, I feel really good. I feel strong, really strong and really healthy. I’m ready for the start of the season.”

*About this time last year, Cueto was shut down with irritation in his right biceps and triceps. That cost him over a month in the regular season, so he’s not taking his good health this spring for granted.

“It’s really important to be healthy,” Cueto said. “I worked hard in the Dominican. I worked hard when I got here and I am continuing to work to make sure I’m healthy and start the season in good shape.”

*I didn’t get to this earlier, but the Reds made eight cuts this morning. Right-handed reliever Andrew Brackman, infielder Chris Valaika and outfielder Denis Phipps were optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Right-handed relievers Carlos Fisher and Kanekoa Texeira and left-handed relievers Ron Mahay, Clay Zavada and Clayton Tanner were re-assigned to the Minor League camp. There are 33 players left in camp.

*In an odd moment, a swarm of bees converged in some seats behind home plate and sent fans away from the area. Bees have been an issue at Salt River Fields in the past and there were concerns that they might delay the game if they drifted on the field. The game went on without a hitch, however.

*First-pitch temperature: 79 degrees

*Attendance: 12,482.

*This was my first time out here to this ballpark. It’s the second year it has been open, and it’s a very nice place to watch a game. If you’re ever out this way, check it out.


Can you explain why Chris Valaika was sent down? His numbers looked impressive so far.

The likely roster was nearly a foregone conclusion going into Spring Training, barring a rash of injuries, and Valaika was never a part of that conclusion. Besides, he has options and will remain part of the organization’s depth. Of course, the one devastating injury that will manage to shake things up a bit occurred to the pitching staff without impact on the 13 position player slots!

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