June 2013

Cingrani the ‘likely choice’

The Reds will be making a roster move on Tuesday for their game vs. the Cubs because they need a starter to fill in the spot vacated by Johnny Cueto, and then Pedro Villarreal.

All signs point to LHP Tony Cingrani. But the club is still officially calling the probable starter “TBA.”

“He’s the likely choice,” Baker said when asked about Cingrani. “I just can’t confirm or deny. It’s too early.”

At Triple-A Louisville, Cingrani last pitched on Monday and was the Bats’ scheduled starter tonight. However, Yohan Pino is now starting instead for them.

Cingrani was 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA in six starts in his previous call-up for the Reds. He walked nine and struck out 41 in 33 innings.

– Mark Sheldon

Game 61: vs. STL

Roster move: The Reds optioned RHP Pedro Villarreal to Triple-A Louisville and recalled INF Henry Rodriguez.

In 57 games at Louisville, Rodriguez batted .279 with three home runs, 26 RBIs and 11 doubles. He played 26 games at third base and 30 games at second base. He played 12 big league games for the Reds last season.

*I predict that the next move will be made soon to get a starter in for Johnny Cueto. It’s hardly a reach to expect a return of Tony Cingrani, but I will keep you posted.

– Mark Sheldon

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Reds take Ervin in First Round

With the 27th pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Reds took center fielder Phillip Ervin out of Samford University.

As a junior this season, Ervin batted .337 with 11 home runs, 14 doubles and 40 RBIs. He also scored 58 runs and converted on 21 out of 23 steal attempts.

The 20-year-old right-hander performed well for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League last summer, batting .323 with 31 RBIs, 29 runs scored and 10 stolen bases, all of which led the team. Ervin was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, as he helped lead the Mariners to the Eastern Divison Championship.

The slot value assigned to the 27th pick is $1,812,500. … but the club and player can negotiate another figure. Ervin is represented by agent Michael Moye.

Click here to read the story on Ervin at Reds.com/MLB.com.

Draft starts tonight

Hi there — this Mark Sheldon back on the case. I’ve got your Reds 2013 Draft covering coming later on Thursday night. While the Draft begins at 7 p.m. ET on MLB.com/MLB Network, the Reds and their first pick (27th overall) won’t come until around 9:15 or so. They also have the 38th overall pick and the second-round selection (67th overall) will also be made on Day 1.

If you want a quick Reds Draft primer, click here.

I wouldn’t expect many of the names taken by the 30 clubs to be of the household variety. It’s not like when the Bengals select QB Andy Dalton and make him their starter as a rookie. But considering that the Reds rely so strongly on homegrown players, there is a good chance you will know many of these names in a few years and be asking me when they will be in the Majors.

Here is a sampling of Drafted talent on the current roster:

First rounders: Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Mike Leake

Other rounds: Joey Votto, Sam LeCure, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Logan Ondrusek, Chris Heisey.

In the system: Billy Hamilton, Robert Stephenson, Nick Travieso, Jesse Winker, Jeff Gelalich.

Recent first rounders traded away: Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Drew Stubbs

Players acquired when dealing those first rounders: Mat Latos, Shin-Soo Choo

Look for complete Draft coverage from either Jeremy or myself over the next three days. For league-wide Draft information from MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and more, click here.

Game 60: vs. Colorado

Reds lineup vs. Rockies

Choo 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Paul 7
Hannahan 4
Hanigan 2
Villarreal

Yes, there’s a notable difference in that lineup than what was scheduled. Right-handed pitcher Johnny Cueto has been scratched, and right now there’s more questions than answers, as no official announcement has been made. Last night’s postgame press conference with Dusty Baker was delayed while he met with team physician Dr. Tim Kremchek, but that may or may not be related. Baker also talked about changing up the rotation yesterday, and with the Cardinals coming to town this weekend, it’s also possible he wants Cueto to pitch against the division leaders, but we’ll see.

What we do know is that Pedro Villarreal has been called up to start in place of Cueto. Villarreal has had a rough go of it with Triple-A Louisville this season, going 1-3 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 starts. He’s given up 67 hits and 15 walks while striking out 42 in 59 innings.

We’ll know more soon after Bake addresses the media.

Jeremy Warnemuende

Game 59: vs. Col

Reds lineup vs. Rockies

Choo 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Lutz 7
Hanigan 2
Izturis 4
Bailey 1

Jeremy Warnemuende

Game 58: vs. COL

Mark has the series against Colorado off, so I’ll be handling the blog and everything else for a few days. My name is Jeremy Warnemuende, and I’m the associate reporter here in Cincinnati for the season. I’ve got the lineup for today’s game below. As expected, Brandon Phillips is out. Cesar Izturis is starting in his place for the second day in a row, but Dusty Baker said today that Jack Hannahan could see some time at second or shortstop with Phillips out.

Reds lineup vs. Rockies

Choo 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Paul 7
Hanigan 2
Izturis 4
Arroyo 1

The Chapman issue

The questioning and second-guessing of why Reds closer Aroldis Chapman isn’t used in situations of more than three outs is always sure to happen when a lead is blown in the eighth inning. Certainly it’s a valid question but it’s also a question that already has an answer, really, before it’s even asked.

Chapman, at least until it’s crunch time in a late-season pennant race will likely stay in the bullpen until the ninth inning. I don’t think it’s always so much because manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price are clinging hard to some cliched managerial text book that says closers can only get three out saves. I think it has a lot to do with the fact they have generally protected Chapman’s arm from overuse and been extra cautious. In 2011, Chapman missed five weeks with left shoulder inflammation and some shoulder fatigue last September had Jonathan Broxton filling in for four saves.

On Sunday during a bad loss to the Pirates — 5-4 in 11 innings — it was Broxton in the game for the eighth and he blew it. Broxton got a double play for two outs and faced lefty-hitting Garrett Jones. On a 2-1 cutter, Jones turned on it quick and hit a mammoth homer that actually landed in the Allegheny River.

“Well, it’s a manager’s decision,” Baker said when asked today. “You can’t put in Chapman all the time. I was saving Chapman [to save] the win. It’s easy now to say [he should have faced Jones].”

For Chapman to have been ready for Jones there, he likely would have had to be up from the start of that inning. To do that every time would be a lot to put on an arm they’re trying to protect from wearing out or breaking down.


Other items:

*The Reds had a 4-0 lead and never added on. The Pirates bullpen worked 10-straight scoreless innings. You can read more about that here in my game story. Click here.

*Lots of hit by pitches in this game as Shin-Soo Choo and Starling Marte were each plunked twice. But they did not appear atr all intentional. The same could not be said for when Mat Latos got Neil Walker in the backside with a two-out first pitch. Both benches were warned.

“Things happen, the ball slips,” Latos said. “I’ll say if you’re that type of person that’s counting that, it’s 6-2, them so far this series.”

Game 57: at PIT

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Choo 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Paul 7
Mesoraco 2
Izturis 4
Latos 1

*After Phillips got drilled two days in a row and was knocked out of this game with last night’s plunking, I’m very curious to see how the Reds respond. I thought FS Ohio stats guy Joel Luckhaupt posed a good point on Twitter last night which basically asked what would be better retribution: hitting one of the Pirates hitters or sweeping the series with three-straight shutouts? The latter could have more lasting and demoralizing effects. The first one could fire up the Pirates and make them tougher to beat in future series. I guess we shall see…

Phillips to miss Sunday

If you saw my pre-game notebook item on Brandon Phillips, you saw that he spoke about his being hit by pitches lately and feeling like the “fall guy” in retaliation.

During the 2-0 win by the Reds, it happened again. For the third time this week and second time in two games on Saturday, Phillips was plunked by a pitch. On this occasion vs. the Pirates, it had lasting consequences as Phillips exited in the eighth inning with a left forearm contusion. X-rays were negative.

Phillips was struck on the arm by a 1-2 pitch from Pittsburgh lefty reliever Tony Watson.

“He got me good,” Phillips said. “When he hit me, I thought it was broke for sure. That was the first thing that hit my mind. It made one of those sounds. I was like ‘oh man, I think I might be done.’ I can’t really close my fist all the way.”

Reds manager Dusty Baker expected Phillips to not play in Sunday’s series finale, possibly longer.

“It might be a couple of days. One thing that saved him was the wristband,” Baker said. “We’re just lucky it’s not broken. I asked the umpire when I went out to change guys on the lineup card. He said it sounded like it hit bone like it was plastic or something. I was just praying that he was OK. He’s been getting hit a lot lately. It hit him pretty good. I don’t know if he was trying to pitch inside or what was happening. You just don’t want to see people get hurt.”

Phillips declined to say that Watson intentionally threw at him.

“I had two strikes on me,” he said. “He tried to bust me in and maybe it was a good pitch. He just missed a spot and hit me. I don’t really know. All I know is I got hit and I had to go get an X-ray.”

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