August 2013

Cueto begins throwing

Injured Reds ace Johnny Cueto (straight right lat muscle) wasn’t expected to begin a throwing program until getting the results of a MRI test on Friday. But things were apparently moved up because Cueto played catch on the field Wednesday under the supervision of head trainer Paul Lessard.

Cueto made 40 throws.

“I feel good,” Cueto said. “I didn’t feel bad. I didn’t feel nothing. I wanted to throw. They said OK.”

As basic and the early stages as it was, Cueto couldn’t contain a smile when talking about throwing again.

“I’m happy now,” Cueto said.

“Tossing is a long ways from being in the game,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “But Johnny told me he felt pretty good. Before, he used to feel it when he was running and doing a lot of things unrelated to pitching.”

Cueto has been on the disabled list since June 29 and it’s getting close to time running out before he could conceivably head out on a rehab assignment with Minor League seasons close to ending. There’s plenty to do before it even gets to that, however, and Baker wasn’t worried at this point.

“Right now, we’re just glad Johnny is throwing again,” Baker said. “We’ll get to that when we get to it.”

**UPDATE: Click here for a full Reds notebook item on Cueto, which includes comments from trainer Paul Lessard.

Game 127: vs. ARI

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Marshall resumes throwing

Reds LHP Sean Marshall didn’t totally start from scratch but was close to it. For the first time in over a month, Marshall was able to resume his throwing program. He played catch on Monday from a distance of 60 feet.

“He’s been down for a while,” Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said. “If all goes well, we might speed it up vs. the off-season throwing program.”

Marshall, who has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a sprained left shoulder, did not throw on Tuesday but will throw again on Wednesday, assuming there are no issues.

“We might bump [the distance] back a little bit,” Lessard said. “It’s adding reps to it vs. distance for strengthening purposes.”

Marshall was shut down in July after he felt soreness following a bullpen session. Until then, he had been making steady progress.

Meanwhile, Reds rotation ace Johnny Cueto is scheduled to undergo a MRI exam on Friday to see if he has shown any improvement. Cueto, who has yet to resume throwing, went on the DL for a third time on June 29 because of a strained right lat muscle.

“If it shows improvement, he may start throwing as well,” Lessard said. “But it all depends. His strength numbers are better than they have been. His last scan [last Friday] still showed the strain was maybe 75 percent healed. We’re hoping it’s a little closer to zero before we start a throwing program.”

Game 126: vs. ARI

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Top uniforms in MLB

Over on his Uniwatch blog at ESPN.com, Paul Lukas ranked the Major Leagues’ best uniforms and I found myself to be in agreement in some spots, and total disagreement in others (Really, Oakland No. 3?).

Just for fun, here is my quick Top 5:

1. Los Angeles Dodgers: I grew up in New York disliking the Dodgers since they were the Yankees’ regular World Series foe and that they beat New York for the title in 1981. But man, those uniforms are classic. Every time I go to Dodger Stadium, I admire the look that’s simple and clean. Nothing looks better than a white home Dodgers uniform with the blue script and red number on the front.

2. San Francisco Giants: I like the black and orange, what can I say. The cream-ish home uniforms are pretty slick too. I also like that they don’t have names on the backs at home.

3. Detroit Tigers: Gotta love the old-English ‘D’ on the chest. And on those those hats. Thomas Magnum chose the right hat to chase down bad guys while in that Ferrari.

4. New York Yankees: It’s timeless and iconic. If I had a complaint, I’d like to see the Yankees return to the number font they had before the 1970s when Mantle and Maris were in the lineup.

5. Seattle Mariners: An odd choice but I like the blue and white look. I was never one for the yellow and blue and the trident.

Honorable mention: Blue Jays, Red Sox and Royals.

Bottom 3 submitted without comment: Marlins, Brewers and Indians.

Game 125: vs. ARI

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Wrigley like home away from home

Wrigley Field is ancient, lacks modern amenities and has the smallest visitor’s clubhouse in all the land. But the Reds have certainly made it feel like home the past two seasons.

On Wednesday, the Reds cruised to a 5-0 win to sweep the three game series.

This season vs. the Cubs: the Reds have won nine of the 10 games played at Wrigley. They have been the victor in 15 of the last 16 games played at “The Friendly Confines.”

“When you get some good pitching and timely hitting, it happens,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I really enjoy coming here and winning. I enjoy winning anywhere. We didn’t hear that ['Go Cubs Go'] song much here, which is a sign we played good ball.”

In the 2013 season series, the Reds are 13-3 vs. the Cubs. They have not won 13 or more games in a season against the Cubs since 1962.

“It’s just good to come in here and get on a roll. We’ve played well here in the past and it’s nice to continue that. In the position we’ve been in for a while, we’ve been just spinning our wheels – six and seven and 5 ½ games back. It’s nice to kind of get some traction and hopefully take that to Milwaukee.”

Some post-game notes:

*Todd Frazier hit a solo homer to left field in the top of the first inning. It was his first homer since July 1 vs. the Giants. Four of Frazier’s 11 homers this season have come against the Cubs.

*Pretty soon, my final version of today’s game story will be up and you can click here to read it. Baker and Arroyo talk about the team’s momentum and how important it is at this point of the season.

*Included in my notebook are things on Choo getting the day off, the notion of Johnny Cueto being used this season as a reliever and the signing of a 20-year-old Cuban outfielder. Click here to read those items.

*I have the series at Milwaukee off. I will be back on Monday for the start of a new home stand vs. the Diamondbacks.

Game 120: at CHC

Reds lineup vs. Cubs

Heisey 8
Frazier 5
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Cozart 6
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

The percentages

From time to time, I like to take peek at Baseball Prospectus and see how they have calculated their playoff odds. As you might have gathered, postseason berths are looking good for the top three clubs in the NL Central.

Just for fun, I’ve posted them. As of today, based on the simulations of BP:

The Pirates have a 98.9 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 54.3 percent chance of winning the division.

The Cardinals have a 96.7 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 27 percent chance of winning the division.

The Reds have a 93.6 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 18.7 percent chance of winning the division.

Anyone encouraged or discouraged?

While the Reds have two games vs. the Cubs and four more vs. the Brewers on this trip, Pittsburgh and St. Louis begin a three-game series tonight. Click here for an overview of that series.

Game 119: at CHC

Reds lineup vs Cubs

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

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