February 2013

2/24 at CLE

Reds lineup vs. Indians

Hamilton 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Ludwick 7
Bruce 9
Izturis 5
Cozart 6
Hanigan 2
Ashley DH

LeCure 1

Game time: 3:05 p.m. ET

Another barnburner in Goodyear

Here are some points of interest following the Reds 13-10 defeat against the Indians on Saturday:

*Shin-Soo Choo watch: Choo had one tough play in the game and it came in the first inning when he ran and caught Jason Giambi’s long drive to right-center field. For the second day in a row, Choo started the Reds’ first inning off by getting on base. This time, it was a lined-single to right field followed by a stolen base. He’s been on base three times in two games and scored three runs.

“That’s what he’s here for. We like that,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Imagine if he gets on like this the year Brandon is going to have, Joey, and Ludwick and Bruce and Frazier. It would be exciting.”

*Billy Hamilton watch: Hamilton, who was 1-for-4, entered the game to replace Choo in the top of the fourth. He bunted to the pitcher grounding out in the bottom of the fourth in his first at-bat. In his second and fourth at-bats, he looked at a called third strike both times.

In he seventh, Hamilton lined a single to right field. He was well on his way to stealing second base when Emmanuel Burriss slashed a RBI single into center field. A smattering of fans booed when Mark Berry held Hamilton at third base. There was a chance he might have scored but then again, no sense having your top prospect involved in a potential home plate collision. In the top of the ninth, Hamilton had the only fly ball hit to him all day and it was routine.

*Prospect Donald Lutz was hit by a Brett Myers pitch in the bottom of the first. Lutz glared a stinkeye Myers’ way as he headed to first base and exchanged a word or two with catcher Lou Marson. It ended there, however.

“I said something to the umpire,” Myers explained to the Cleveland reporters. “I said, ‘He’s got to get out of the way of that, doesn’t he?’ Because he didn’t move at all. The umpire came out. I don’t know if he said anything to Lou or whatnot. It wasn’t anything. Maybe he thought I said something to him, but I was talking to the umpire. It was a changeup. It wasn’t a fastball. If I was trying to hit him, I definitely wouldn’t choose a changeup.”

*Through two games against Cleveland, there have been 44 runs scored and 62 hits. The Reds are 0-2 and their pitchers have walked 12 batters in the two games. I wouldn’t read a ton into this, as most pitchers that have worked these games will likely not be on the big league roster come April. The only two “name” pitchers were the starters — Tony Cingrani and reliever Alfredo Simon.

“Well, a lot of guys are getting action,” Baker said. “We had some good things but there were a lot of hits, 35 hits. They hit some balls out of the ballpark on us and we walked quite a few (six) of them. Young guys, we’re giving them a chance to play.”

*Indians utility player Ryan Raburn has worn the Reds pitching staff out in these last two days. Raburn was 3-for-3 on Saturday with two home runs, giving him three homers in two games.

*I talked with a familiar face in the press box today. It was former Reds pitcher Justin Lehr, who had his career end with an elbow injury. Lehr is now scouting for the Astros. The only throwing he does is when working the occasional private lesson.

2/23 vs. CLE

Sorry this is very late…a flat tire on the ol’ rental car wrecked the morning.

Reds lineup vs. Indians

Choo 8
Phillips 4
Hannahan 3
Lutz 7
Frazier 5
Olivo 2
Donald 6
LaMarre 9
Heisey DH

Simon 1

*Billy Hamilton is expected to see action in CF after Choo exits today’s game.

Summing up Game 1 of spring

Here are some takeaway items out of the Reds’ 11-10 loss to the Indians in the exhibition opener on Friday:

*For one game at least, the new-look top portion of the order worked to perfection. New leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo started the game with a walk, setting the stage for a five-run first inning as nine men came to the plate.

*Joey Votto was 2-for-3 with a RBI single on the ground to left field in the first. Votto’s second hit was roller up the middle. He didn’t appear to have any obvious issues with his knee.

“Joey looked great, actually,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He was running the bases well. You didn’t see any signs of anything. He swung the bat well.”

*Choo did a pretty good job getting to a deep hit to right-center field by Carlos Santana. Choo got it on one bounce to hold the non-speedy Santana to a single.

*The battle for No. 2 catcher could be interesting. Miguel Olivo whacked a 0-2 pitch to left center field for a solo homer. In the fifth inning on a 1-2 pitch, Devin Mesoraco tattooed a two-run blast to left-center.

*Pitching was not robust today. The first inning alone lasted 44 minutes after the Reds took a 5-0 lead on Giovanni Soto, who did not finish the first. Tony Cingrani gave up three runs in the bottom half. The Reds lost in a three-run bottom of the ninth against Carlos Contreras and Drew Hayes. The two teams combined for 27 hits.

“The offense was moving pretty good,” Baker said. “We had a lot of young guys out there. A lot of walks, untimely walks especially at the end of the game. You want to rescue them but they have to get their work in.”

*Earlier today on the practice fields, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman and Mat Latos were among the Reds pitchers that threw live batting practice. All of them faced Minor League hitters.

2/22 Reds Lineup at CLE

First lineup of 2013:

Choo 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Ludwick 7
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Cozart 6
Hanigan 2
Olivo DH

Cingrani P

Arizona food and fun: 2013

Coming out here for Spring Training – for both you and me – is about seeing baseball and the makings of what might be in 2013. But games and workouts only take up only a fraction of the day and we all need something to do while in Arizona.

Why not eat?

I’ve always liked to dine out and while I don’t have a dynamic palate, I appreciate good food and value. For the past two springs, I’ve tried to identify both as a guide for places to go during trips out here. I try to avoid chain restaurants, or at least the chains that can be found in Cincinnati.

This year has presented a new challenge for me. For a couple of months now, I’ve been trying to eat healthier and monitor my calories. Most of the selections below are contrary to that goal. Fortunately, I’ve increased exercising that burns calories and allows me to treat myself on occasion.

Hope you find this helpful.

(more…)

Votto on Canada roster, status TBA

With World Baseball Classic rosters being due Wednesday, Team Canada has added Reds 1B Joey Votto after he was left off of the original provisional roster. But whether Votto actually plays or not in the Classic remains unresolved.

“They’ll put me on the roster and we’ll decide in the future based on what myself and the organization decides,” Votto said on Thursday.

Votto missed 48 games in 2012 when he needed two surgeries to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.

“The games will be able to tell me whether or not I’ll be ready to go,” Votto said. “All of this practicing is just practicing.”

Team Canada will train for the Classic in Goodyear, but Votto will stay with the Reds at least until Canada’s first game.

“Joey is a big boy. Joey knows what’s best for him,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He also knows what’s best for us. He’s been in contact and communication with Walt [Jocketty] and myself. Joey is also a kind of a private dude – he’s not going to tell you. You have ot respect that. He’ll let you know.”

So far at Reds camp — everything has been normal for Votto. He does not wear a brace on his knee and has shown no outward signs of problems.

“I feel very good,” Votto said.

Cingrani opens Cactus League play

Here is the list of Reds probable starters for the first several days. You’ll notice something different, especially the first few days:

Friday vs. CLE: Tony Cingrani
Saturday vs CLE: Alfredo Simon
Sunday vs. CLE: Sam LeCure
Monday vs. MIL: Armando Galarraga
Tuesday vs. SD: Homer Bailey
Weds. vs ARI: Johnny Cueto
Thurs split squad: Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman
March 1 vs. KC: Mat Latos
March 2 vs. CWS: Bronson Arroyo

Most of the starters should get one or two innings of work the first time through. The days that Simon and LeCure start are essentially bullpen days.

“The young guys are probably more ready than the veteran guys,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We have an extra seven games. You want them to be sharp and ready but you don’t want them to get those extra innings on them. Early we’ll put a lot of it on the young guys.”

No World Baseball Classic for Cueto

Here is a Tweet from Reds ace Johnny Cueto’s agent, Bryce Dixon — who says that Cueto is unable to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican.

It does snow near Goodyear, too

These are the Estrella Mountains a couple of miles south of the Reds complex in Goodyear.

snow 022013

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