July 2012

Phillips on calf: ‘No bueno’

Brandon Phillips won the game for the Reds, with a seventh-inning solo homer in a 7-6 win over the Padres. But it wasn’t all good news for Phillips, who left the game with a strained left calf — the same one that cramped up on him in Colorado Sunday. The club announced it was a mild strain, but Phillips revealed it was more serious

“The calf is no bueno right now,” Phillips said. “I tried to play [Monday] because the win streak was gorgeous and I wanted to keep it going, so I tried to man up and go out there and play. I hurt it [Monday] just playing, period. The thing is, when I hit, I’m always on my toe and it tightens the calf up a little bit. It just wasn’t feeling good. I hurt it in the first inning. [Marquis] threw me an inside pitch, and I turned and and my front foot didn’t turn all the way. It’s kind of hard for me to pivot on my front left leg when it comes to hitting. The next thing you know, I aggravated it again on the double play.

“To tell you the truth, I’m not going to be playing for a while. Dr. [Kremchek, Medical Director] looked at it and he said it was worse than what they expected. I didn’t know. I just knew it felt bad. I just feel like I let people down, especially because we’re in first place and the race is real close. You already have one person out, so I don’t want to be the person coming out. It just really [stinks].”

Coupled with the loss of Joey Votto, this is a very big blow. The Reds have played great without Votto. Can they keep it up without Votto and Phillips?

Click here for more on Phillips and Devin Mesoraco, who left the game with dizziness.

Click here for the game story on MLB.com.

The Three Stars:

No. 3 stars: Sam LeCure/Sean Marshall… LeCure: 2 1/3 ip, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K…Marshall 2 ip, 2 K. After Homer Bailey blew a 6-0 lead in the fourth, it was LeCure who stopped the San Diego momentum. It was huge as was Marshall, who got the win with two perfect innings in the seventh and eighth.

“It’s what you don’t want two days in a row and an already depleted bullpen,” Dusty Baker said of using his already taxed bullpen again. “I called on some guys to overextend some but you’ve got to do that to win. Sam LeCure did a great job. He got us through those innings.”

No. 2 star: Ryan Ludwick — 2-for-3, HR, 4 RBIs. Ludwick hit a two-out RBI single in the first inning and a three-run home run in the third inning. He is batting .356 with five homers and 16 RBIs in his last 14 games.

“He’s got that swag back. He’s feeling it,” Baker said. “He’s swinging the bat great for us. You have to have somebody hot in there, hopefully in the middle of the lineup.”

No. 1 star: Brandon Phillips — 2-for-4, game-winning HR.

“It was funny, because Dusty was like, ‘Hey B, if they keeps turning out the way it is, I’m going to take you out early,” Phillips said. “Next thing you know he’s like, ‘Hey B, just go out there and hit a home run, you don’t have to worry about running the bases. I’m going to take you out if you hit a double or a single.’ I said, ‘Alright, I’ll see what I can do.’ Next thing you know I end up hitting a home run and I just looked at him and just smiled. I think that’s the first time I smiled all day. I’m just glad I could go out there and tough it out and try to be a hero.”

Broxton deal, moves

Reds announced that they got RHP Jonathan Broxton from the Royals for two minor leaguers — LHP Donnie Joseph and RHP JC Sulbaran.

Broxton is 1-2 with a 2.27 ERA with 23 saves, 14 walks and 25 strikeouts in 35 games as Kansas City’s closer. A big 28-year-old right-hander, he is making $4 million this season and can be a free agent this winter.

LHP Bill Bray was placed on the 15-day DL with lumbar muscle strain. RHP Todd Redmond recalled from Louisville. RHP Andrew Brackman was designated for assignment. Redmond, who has yet to pitch in the big leagues despite two callups to both Atlanta to Cincinnati, is here to be insurance in case a long man is needed after the bullpen was used for 7 1/3 innings Monday.

Sulbaran, 22, is 7-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 19 starts with Double-A Pensacola this season, with 111 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings. He was rated by MLB.com as the Reds’ No. 5 prospect. Joseph, 24, is 8-3 with a 1.72 ERA in 44 games between Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville this season. MLB.com had him as the Reds organization’s No. 7 prospect.

The Reds were efforting a leadoff hitter throughout the day but did not pull the trigger. They were rumored to be after Denard Span of the Twins and Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre from the Phillies. Span and Pierre stayed put while Victorino went to the Dodgers.

“Very hard,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty classified the efforts on pursuing leadoff guys. “We worked very hard on a couple of those guys. In the end, we felt those deals weren’t what we were comfortable doing right now.”

Dusty Baker on Broxton:

“He’s a guy that closed in L.A. and was a closer because [Joakim] Soria got injured in Kansas City,” Baker said. “Here’s a guy that can setup. On days Chapman goes two or three days in a row, he can close. It gives us some more strength and a power arm in the bullpen.

“We said in spring, you can never have enough pitching.”

FYI — Broxton will wear No. 50 once he arrives on Wednesday. That means another roster move will be pending to add him to the 25-man.

I will have a full story on the Trade Deadline shortly on Reds.com/MLB.com


According to Foxsports.com, the Reds made a trade with the Royals to acquire reliever Jonathan Broxton with less than an hour to go before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. Broxton is 1-2 with a 2.27 ERA with 23 saves, 14 walks and 25 strikeouts in 35 games as Kansas City’s closer. It is not known who is going from the Reds to the Royals in the deal, first reported by Ken Rosenthal.

A 28-year-old right-hander, Broxton is making $4 million this season and can be a free agent this winter.

It is a stunning move for the Reds, considering their already strong bullpen depth and performance this season. Cincinnati’s bullpen entered the day leading the Majors with a 2.66 ERA and 20 victories.

7/31 vs. S.D.

Reds lineup vs. Padres

Heisey 8
Valdez 6
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Rolen 5
Frazier 3
Mesoraco 2
Bailey 1

*Not sure what to make of Stubbs being out of the lineup today and if that’s significant regarding the 4 p.m. deadline.

**UPDATE — Stubbs is 1-for-6, with five Ks lifetime vs. Padres starter Jason Marquis, so a day off is understandable, even with the small sample size..

Deadline day

As of this post’s writing, we’re at 4 1/2 hours until the 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. It looks like we can just about cross Shane Victorino off of the Reds search for a leadoff guy. My MLB.com colleague Todd Zolecki, and others, are reporting that the Phillies and Dodgers are close to a deal that would send Victorino to L.A.

UPDATE — Victorino is done deal

Last night, 1B Lyle Overbay was designated for assignment by the D-Backs. Overbay, batting .292 this season would fill the perceived need for a left-handed bat off of the bench. But Overbay was in a 2-for-18 funk in July and the Reds seem to be pretty pleased with Xavier Paul at the moment. It probably wouldn’t take much to get Overbay, however.

There have also been reports from Ken Rosenthal that the Reds are talking to the Cubs about Matt Garza. However, Garza is shelved until after the Deadline because of a fluid in his triceps and he’s making $9.5 million this season and third-year arbitration eligible this winter. At 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA this season, would he be a big enough upgrade over what the Reds currently have to give up the prospects or more in return? I don’t think so.

Stay tuned…

11 walks, end of win streak

You knew the winning streak would end at some point but I did not think it would be on Monday with a 11-5 Reds loss to the Padres. After all, Cincinnati was off to a quick 3-0 first inning and seemed to firing on all cylinders like in Houston and Colorado.

A five-run top of the second inning came immediately vs. Mike Leake and he got a quick hook after a career-short start of 1 2/3 innings. Read the rest of the game story by clicking here.

On to the Three Stars of the Game:

No. 3 star: Jay Bruce — 2-for-3, HR. Bruce hit homer No. 21 in the bottom of the third inning.

No. 2 star: Yonder Alonso, SD — 4-for-5, 3 doubles, 1 RBI.

No. 1 star: Will Venable, SD — 2-for-4, triple, 4 RBIs.

News and notes:

*Devin Mesoraco was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes with HP umpire Chad Fairchild, and is likely looking at a suspension for both touching Fairchild’s chest and going around Dusty Baker and making contact during the heated argument. Fans have pinged me saying Fairchild instigated the contact but I didn’t see it that way after watching the replay four times. Even if the chest touch was accidental, and likely was, Mesoraco went around Baker to keep arguing and bumped the ump — and that is the big no-no. Contact with the umpire like that is never OK.

*Reds pitchers combined for 11 walks, smashing the previous season high of seven. It was the staff’s highest total since they walked 12 batters on 5/16/09 in a 16-inning game at SD (16 innings) and their highest total in a nine-inning game since they walked 11 vs. the Cubs 9/27/04 at Wrigley Field.

*Alfredo Simon, who had been so good and came in with a 1.41 ERA, gave up five runs over 2 1/3 innings. He hadn’t allowed an earned run over his previous 14 innings.

*Bill Bray gave up three walks to load the bases in the fifth but got out of it and worked a 1-2-3 sixth. Bray has 14 walks and six strikeouts in only 8 2/3 innings this season.


“It definitely didn’t go the way that we planned. I think you want to get that early lead and go out there and throw strikes and get some easy outs that next inning. After a team scores, that’s a very big inning for a pitcher. You want to shut them down the next inning and keep the momentum going for your own team.” — Devin Mesoraco

No timetable for Votto

Joey Votto, who had arthroscopic left knee surgery on July 17 to repair torn meniscus, began a little baseball activity on Monday — very little. Votto played catch for a little while and took some throws at first base.

Afterwards while in the dugout, Votto said he has not started hitting and is not yet 100 percent when running.

“I feel like I’m making subtle improvements every day,” Votto said.

Votto would not put a timetable on a return, despite being asked multiple times.

“I’ve done nothing but try to get back as soon as possible,” Votto said. “It can be difficult sitting on the sidelines and watching the team play well or play poorly. Obviously, I think they’d like me to stay out another 10 games so they can have a 20-game win streak. It’s difficult watching the games and not being able to play. I miss playing so I do everything I can to put myself in a position where I can play as soon as possible. Some things you just have to let go. This is one of those instances. I have to let my body do all the healing it can.”

Votto was asked if he was pain free during his rehab activity.

“If it was pain free, I would be playing right now.”

I will have a little more later on MLB.com/Reds.com.

7/30 vs. SD

Reds lineup vs. Padres

Cozart 6
Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Rolen 5
Ludwick 7
Cairo 3
Mesoraco 2
Leake 1

*These are going to be some tense two days for a few guys in the Reds clubhouse. Some players will be worried about being traded before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. Trade Deadline. Others might be concerned even if they’re not dealt because if the Reds acquire someone, a player on the current roster could be affected with less playing time or a lost roster spot. Anybody called to the office will be jumpy…even if it’s just for something unrelated.

*Nothing has changed since Walt Jocketty and his inner circle met all weekend in San Diego. The Reds remained linked to leadoff type hitters like Denard Span, Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre. Ken Rosenthal added Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo to the mix. The Reds are in a tough spot as they’ve won 17 of 19 games and 10 in a row. Drew Stubbs has been white hot. Ryan Ludwick has become one of the team’s best run producers the last 5 weeks. If they add a leadoff hitter, that person would likely play LF or CF.

*I don’t think the Reds HAVE to make a deal by tomorrow, especially if it means giving up too much. The team, which is tied for the best record in baseball, can win the division with the current bunch. But can they go far in the playoffs with what they have? That’s an answer I do not have.

*Speaking of Stubbs, he was named the NL co-Player of the Week along with the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez. Stubbs batted .370 with 3 HR and 10 RBIs (.419 OBP, .778 SLG) last week.

*Jay Bruce on Sunday became the first Reds player since Frank Robinson (1956-60) to produce at least 20 homers in each of his first five seasons. Robinson and Bruce are the only two Reds to have achieved this feat.

Perfect road trip, adios Marty’s hair

Marty Brennaman will soon be bald because of a pledge he made. Brennaman said he would shave his head if the Reds won 10 in a row. That happened Sunday with a 7-2 victory over the Rockies.

The win total is 17 out of the last 19 games. Cincinnati is an NL best 61-40 and could have the best record in baseball depending on what the Yankees do tonight vs. Boston. The Reds have a three-game lead on the Pirates, who lost its game at Houston.

Click here to read the game story.

Here are the Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Zack Cozart — 2-for-5, triple, two runs scored. Cozart led off with a triple in the third inning and led off with a single in the fifth and scored both times.

No. 2 star: Drew Stubbs — 2-for-3, HR, sac fly, 3 RBIs. Stubbs finished the road trip batting .407 (11-for-27) with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

No. 1 star: Mat Latos — 8 ip, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 8 K, 117 pitches/79 strikes. After giving up a two-run homer to Josh Rutledge in the first inning, Latos had no issues.

“Other than that first inning two-run homer, he was lights out the rest of the game,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

“It’s a lot of pressure coming into the game knowing that we had won nine in a row. But I attacked and went after them,” Latos said.

News and notes:

*Brandon Phillips left the game in the fifth inning with a cramp in his left calf. It was considered a precaution but it’ll have to be wait and see if he plays on Monday. Click here for the story.

*Chris Heisey had a nice day with a leadoff triple in the second inning and a one-out double in the eighth. Heisey scored in both innings.

*Jay Bruce hit home run No. 20 in the fifth inning to chase Rockies starter Jonathan Sanchez from the game.

*Click here to read more about Marty Brennaman and his impending loss of hair.


“I’m always talking about the perfect road trip, finally had one. It’s been a long time. I can’t remember the last perfect road trip. The guys responded well.” — Dusty Baker

7/29 AT COL

Reds lineup vs. Rockies

Cozart 6
Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Heisey 7
Cairo 3
Hanigan 2
Latos 1

*Dusty Baker had indicated last night that Ludwick would get a rest today.

*According to Elias, the last time the Reds went 16-2 was July 30-August 18, 1975.

*In 12 games without Joey Votto, Drew Stubbs is batting .333 (15-for-45), Scott Rolen is batting .306 (11-for-36), Brandon Phillips is batting .364 (16-for-44) and Ryan Ludwick is batting .342 (13-for-38, 4 HRs). On the other hand, Jay Bruce is hitting .184 (7-for-38).

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