March 2013

3/26 at CHC

Reds lineup vs. Cubs

Burriss 6
Heisey 7
Bruce 9
Phipps 8
Frazier 5
Lutz 3
Donald 4
Hanigan 2
Cueto 1

Rough day for the Redlegs

It was pretty rough day at the yard for the Reds, which were pounded and blanked during a 16-0 loss to the Mariners.

“We didn’t play well in any facet of the game,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I hope that game doesn’t come back for a long time. We were kind of pitiful. We didn’t catch it, we didn’t hit it, nothing.”

*This was a day that began on the wrong foot almost from the get-go. Second batter Robert Andino skied a high pop up to short right field. Brandon Phillips ran back to make a catch but pulled away as Xavier Paul came in. Both fielders let the ball drop between them for a single.

*Homer Bailey was tapped for nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings with two walks and five strikeouts. Bailey wasn’t too upset with his day.

“I feel good. That’s the most important thing,” Bailey said. “Most of my pitches were working today. They hit the one home run but other than that, I didn’t think they really squared a lot of them. … It was their day and not mine.”

“Homer didn’t throw the ball that bad,” Baker said. “He had some two-out hits. We didn’t help him on defense. That shows the importance of defense is because then it opened innings.”

*It was definitely not LHP Wilkin De La Rosa’s day. After replacing Bailey, De La Rosa gave up six runs (five earned) and five hits with three walks over 1 1/3 innings.

*Roster bubble alert: J.J. Hoover had another fine outing with two strikeouts in his one scoreless inning. Hoover has 16 strikeouts compared to one walk in eight games. I don’t see how he doesn’t make this team. He definitely deserves to.

*Roster bubble alert No. 2: LHP Manny Parra let an inherited runner score in the fifth inning but returned with a 1-2-3 sixth inning. It was possibly an important outing since Parra hadn’t fared well his previous two times out.

*Devin Mesoraco saw his eight-game hitting streak end with a 0-for-4 game. Mesoraco is still hitting .361 this spring.

*I saw Bronson Arroyo this morning, who was pretty happy that his right hand felt better after it was drilled by a line drive on Sunday. Arroyo still had the stitches from the ball imprinted on his hand but felt good.

“It feels great. I can play catch right now,” Arroyo said. “Sometimes you get surprised.”

3/25 vs. SEA

Reds lineup vs. Mariners

Choo 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Ludwick 7
Paul 9
Hannahan 5
Cozart 6
Mesoraco 2
Bailey 1

X-rays negative for Arroyo

For the second day in a row, a Reds starting pitcher was struck by a comebacker by a Rangers hitter. On Saturday, it was Mat Latos that was hit on the left ankle. On Sunday, David Murphy smoked a shot off of Bronson Arroyo’s right hand in the sixth inning. Arroyo looked in pain right away and immediately exited the game.

Like Latos a day earlier, Arroyo was fortunate. X-Rays were negative. The ball hit the outside portion of Arroyo’s hand and not near his middle or index fingers.

“I thought this knuckle had exploded. But none of it is broke,” said Arroyo, who wore a wrap on his hand.

Arroyo is next supposed to pitch on Friday vs. Arizona at Chase Field.

“I’ll pitch,” Arroyo said. “I have some work to do. It’s going to be a few more hours in the training room, contrasting it and taking a few more drugs.”

Arroyo pitched 5 1/3 innings with three earned runs and nine hits with no walks and no strikeouts. He allowed one home run. Jose Arredondo took his place after he exited.

“He hit it right on the screws,” Arroyo said. “My hand was just dangling down and it just squared me up and then ricocheted off of my left forearm and left a mark over there. I knew the game was over for me for the day. If it was the regular season, maybe it’d be a different story. I needed to come get some treatment.

“Luckily my hand was kind of relaxed and my fingers weren’t up. It just hit so hard. I thought for sure this knuckle was shattered. I don’t know if I could pitch like that or not.”

Berry has cancer

Reds 3B coach Mark Berry just came out and said it on Sunday morning.

“I have cancer,” Berry said. “I know it sounds bad, the word ‘cancer.’ Plenty of people in this clubhouse have had it. I know people around the game that have beaten it. My sister had it and beat it. That part doesn’t bother me.”

Berry, 50, returned to Cincinnati last week for tests and scans came back as positive for cancer in his tonsil and lymph nodes. But according to Dr. Tim Kremchek, it was detected early and has not spread from the left side of Berry’s neck.

After returning to work, Berry plans to remain with the club this week for the final week of camp. He is still deciding whether to undergo radiation or surgery. If he had radiation, his schedule with the club could be limited and he would not be able to travel.

Bench coach Chris Speier had been filling in for Berry on the third base line.

Berry told the players during this morning’s clubhouse meeting.

I will have more soon…but Berry is very, very optimistic he will be able to beat this.

**Berry first detected something was wrong in December.

“My left tonsil swelled up and was kind of red,” he explained. “But I had a history of that when I was a kid. Most of us get a sore throat or whatever. You look in the mirror and it stopped. Two or three weeks went by and it never changed and I didn’t get sick. In January, the thing that concerned me is I started playing with my neck and it was a little bit swollen and puffy. It felt like there were two marbles in my neck and they’re still there. I’d play with them and like ‘man, what the heck are those things?’ They were the lymph nodes that had swelled up and hardened.”

A needle biopsy taken in Arizona twice came back negative. But since his sister had the same thing happen to her, she recommended more testing. A surgical procedure in Cincinnati to remove some tissue from the left tonsil verified that it was cancer. Berry said he was told the cancer in his tonsil was the side of a small thumb.

“To be honest, it is very early,” Kremchek said. “The bottom line is he caught it early rather than it spread. It was the smart thing to pursue it when he did that way rather than blow off the needle thing. It changes everything as far as his treatment and prognosis. He’s going to be just fine.”

“Now we grab a fungo and get to work,” Berry said before going to the field for the morning workout.

Click here for my story on Berry.

Latos day-to-day

Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos is wearing a wrap on his left ankle and got some treatment on Sunday morning. But he seemed to be doing OK after taking a one-hopper off of the ankle from the bat of Geovany Soto on Saturday.

“It doesn’t hurt too bad today but it did yesterday,” Latos said. “I can walk on it. I don’t have to use crutches.”

After exiting the game, Latos went to a local hospital for X-rays, which came back negative for a fracture.

Latos’ final spring start is scheduled for Thursday.

“I better be able to make my next start. I’m not one to sit out,” Latos said. “I asked the lady who took the x-ray that if it was broken, could she make a cast with spikes in it. It’s just sore. We’re taking it day by day and we’ll see how it goes.”

Latos said he was told by the doctor to keep moving today and he planned to ride the exercise bike.

After being struck by the ball Saturday, Latos said his ankle immediately went numb. He limped around the mound because he expected to keep pitching but was pulled anyway since he was at pitch-count limit for the day.

“It didn’t really bother me until I got here [at the complex],” Latos said. “It was black and blue… It hit me square on the ankle. Right on the bone. If it had been two inches above or below, it would probably have been a lot better. We’ll survive.”

3/24 at TEX

Reds lineup vs. Rangers

Choo 8
Burriss 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Lutz 3
Heisey 7
Izturis 6
Hanigan 2
Mesoraco DH

Arroyo 1

Latos leaves with injury

The Reds were handed a 6-2 loss by the Rangers Saturday afternoon. But the real issue from the day is the status of starting pitcher Mat Latos.

*In the sixth inning with two outs and two runners on, Latos took a Geovany Soto hard one-hop grounder off of his left foot. The ball ricocheted towards the first base dugout as Soto had a RBI single. Latos limped around for a few moments before exiting the game with the trainer. Latos went to a local hospital for an x-ray. I will update when I have more information.

***UPDATE: X-rays taken on Latos’ left ankle were negative.

*Over his 5 2/3 innings, Latos allowed four runs and nine hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

*Great sequence during bottom of the first inning: Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish froze Joey Votto with a 0-1 slow curveball for a strike as the crowd groaned. Darvish tried another fat curveball in a 1-2 count, but Votto knew exactly what to do and got all of it for a very, very, very long solo homer to right field that left the ballpark. As he left the batters’ box, Votto turned and said something to Soto. Meanwhile, Darvish was smiling as he rounded the bases. Votto gestured a ‘shhhh’ to the crowd behind the Reds dugout after he reached home plate.

“I was just fooling with the crowd,” Votto said. “It’s Spring Training and we’re having fun, there’s nothing really to it.”

“He put a good swing on the ball, that was good hitting,” Darvish said. “I don’t know what he meant by that but one of my teammates told me. I wasn’t too concerned about it. I was able to get him out the second and third time around.”

*Votto struck out during his other two at-bats against Darvish. No one is worried about Votto’s left knee anymore, are they? He is batting .359 (14-for-39) this spring with 10 RBIs.

*In the bottom of the fifth, Todd Frazier led off by hitting a 0-2 Darvish pitch over the left field fence for his fourth homer of spring, which is tied for the team lead. Frazier is hitting .333 (10-for-30) over his last 11 games.

*Shin-Soo Choo was 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his first game back since March 15.

“He was rolling before he got hurt,” manager Dusty Baker said pre-game. “We still have time to get him sharp again. We just have to be careful not to overextend him and it happens again.”

3/23 vs TEX

Reds lineup vs. Rangers

Choo 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Ludwick 7
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Cozart 6
Olivo 2
Latos 1

Chapman and Leake reactions

There were two pleased Reds pitchers in the visitor’s clubhouse after their outings on Friday vs. the Dodgers. Both Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman will be in the roles they want.

Leake is the fifth starter and Chapman is the closer. Both were given the news on Friday morning. I will have more details in the main story, but here are some quotes:

“I feel really, really happy to be the closer of the team,” said Chapman via translator Tomas Vera.

“They didn’t officially tell me until today. They kind of made gradual hints,” Leake said. “But I didn’t really want to believe it until they announced it.

“I’m glad the decision is finally made and I can just go out there and work on what I need to work on to get ready.”

Leake, when asked if his track record with the team helped him get back into the rotation:

“I didn’t feel like I necessarily deserved it but I think I feel I have somewhat earned it. Especially last year, we had five guys that went the whole season. I’m just glad that they’re giving it a chance again and allowing us to fail before they make a decision.”

The Reds did not shut the door on one day trying again with Chapman as a starter. Chapman didn’t close the door either.

“I think I’m still young and there are still a lot of years ahead in my career where I can be a starter again,” Chapman said. “I’m happy to be a closer now. I’m here in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is the team that I want and I will do what they want. If they want me to be a closer, I’m happy to be a closer. I will continue to do what they want me to do.”

Finally, Leake has a goal of joining the other four members of the rotation as a 200-innings pitcher.

“I won’t be upset but I would be disappointed if I don’t get to the 200-inning mark this year,” Leake said. “I expect that out of myself. It’s something you want to do for yourself and for others. I’m not going to put the pressure on myself but I’m going to go out there and give it the attitude and focus that is going to point me in the right direction of doing that.”

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