Extra notes from first game

New manager Bryan Price has a 1-0 record in the Cactus League following an 8-3 Reds win over the Indians on Wednesday. Click here for the game story.

Here are some items of note from the day:

*Billy Hamilton had a nice first plate appearance as the leadoff hitter, and provided a possible glimpse of the fits he could give opponents this season. Hamilton worked a 10-pitch walk. Before the next pitch to Brandon Phillips, he stole second base and moved to third base on catcher Yan Gomes’ throwing error. Hamilton would be stranded at third base, however.

“He really had to battle,” Price said. “He fought off some tough pitches and got on base and kind of set the table for us.”

*Hamilton’s third plate appearance in the top of the fifth was a bunt. But it was too hard on the ground right to the first baseman for the out.

*Phillips appeared to be favoring his left thumb somewhat after sliding into second base during a failed steal attempt in the top of the first inning. Trainer Paul Lessard emerged from the dugout briefly in the bottom of the first but did not go out to look at Phillips.

“He kind of bent his fingernail back, his thumb back a little bit but didn’t have any complaints,” Price said. “We’ll certainly follow up and check in on him when we get inside but I think he’s fine.”

*Alfredo Simon threw two scoreless and hitless innings with one walk in a smooth first start.

“All of my pitches were working really good,” Simon said. “I just tried to throw the first pitch for a strike and then keep going. I worked on my two-seamer. It was working really good.”

*For his at-bats, Joey Votto asked the Goodyear Ballpark people to play new walk-up music — specifically Todd Frazier’s usual Frank Sinatra music. Instead of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black,” “Fly me to the Moon” was played. Before the first AB, Votto stepped out of the box to let the music play longer and pointed to Frazier.

“I’m going to talk to him about that,” Frazier said later.

*Johnny Cueto is all set to make his spring debut on Thursday vs. Cleveland. Because of the injury issues Cueto had last year, there might be some extra eyes on him.

“He came into camp healthy and we’re all optimistic he will have a healthy season and pitch well all year,” Price said. “But because he’s had some setbacks and his history here with the Reds, there certainly will be a collective sigh of relief when we get through Spring Training and he’s locked in doing what he does. We’re like every other team. You’re always an injury away from having to remap your rotation or your starting lineup.”

*Former Red Scott Rolen surfaced today at the Phillies-Blue Jays game in Clearwater, Fla. In this story with our Paul Hagen, Rolen says he misses playing but isn’t formally retired. Earlier this week, we learned that the Reds have reached out to Rolen to be a guest instructor.

9 Comments

Good start Billeee!

Bruce and Votto batting back-to-back – could we see that in the regular season? One of these years, bruce is going to earn the MVP. Could this be it?

There was a notebook item I wrote earlier in camp that said Price would likely bat Bruce fourth, especially against RHPs. Ludwick will probably bat there against LHPs though.

And not one word on Lutz’s triple. Dang, can that guy motor for a big man!!!

Unfortunately, I did not see it. Unlike the regular season, we get to do some interviews during spring games. Things will be missed at times.

What was up with the chick who kept yelling about Joey Votto every time he came to bat, was on deck, or scored a run? “Who just knocked in that run? JOOOEEEEY VOTTTTTTOOOOO!”

I am so glad we don’t HAVE to beak up Bruce and Votto in the order anymore. I love having Bruce hit 4th. I hope the Reds get Rolen in camp. What a great addition that would be.

Even though I have been following this game and the Reds since 1958, I do not pretend to know everything about this game. But recently I sent a letter to Mr. Price sharing my thoughts about pitchers on the staff over the past several years that have decided to throw one fastball after another without changes speeds. Homer is one of those guys. Homer has a tremendous arm, and a bright future. But he continues to throw fastball after fastball, instead of mixing in a straight change every 5 to 7 pitches. So when you look at pitchers like Pedro Martinez, one who knows how to change speeds in different situations, it works to the pitchers advantage in a big way of course. The hitter now has one more thing to think about at the plate. Learning to add and subtract is the name of the game. A pitcher who tries to throw fastballs past major league hitters will fail, that is fact. Look how successful Pedro Martinez was, and also Maddox who to me could be the best of all time because of the changing of speeds and location. Even though I grew up my first 8 years in Ohio, I moved to L A about 10 miles down the road from Dodger Stadium in 1961. I have seen them all from that era. I saw Koufax, Marichal and Gibson plus many many others, and it was the time to be a kid for sure. What talent those guys had. They were pitchers, not just throwers. Just wanted to make a point today, and that point remains to be seen whether or not something along these lines will be implemented. I hope guys like Cueto, Bailey, Chapman and Latos are taught the circle change. They would be unhittable for sure. Thanks Mark, you guys are doing a great job. I believe the Reds are going to have an exciting year. Enjoy!

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