Roster battles amid loss
Let’s take a look at the players on the bubble for roster spots after a 9-5 Reds loss to the White Sox:
*Jason Bourgeois — Played whole game in left field and went for 2-for-5 with a ninth-inning RBI double. In the fifth, he was thrown out running from first-to-third on Chris Nelson’s RBI single to center field. The out at third base was upheld after Bryan Price’s challenge.
*Roger Bernadina — Nine innings in center field and went 1-for-4 with a single and stolen base. He is batting .409 for spring and has a seven-game hitting streak where 8-for-22 in that span.
*Kristopher Negron — Played entire game at second base and went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. In the sixth, Negron robbed Jose Abreu of a single by stopping his chopper up the middle, followed by a perfect throw to first base. Negron, batting .317 for spring, is 10-for-22 (.455) over his last 10 games.
*Neftali Soto — Entered the game as the catcher in the seventh and went 1-for-1 with a single in the eighth.
“I thought it was great. He was very comfortable back there,” Price said of Soto behind the plate. “His heart might have been beating a mile a minute, I’m sure, but he seemed very under control. It didn’t look like he hadn’t been back there in a while. He’s worked hard with Mike Stefanski all of Spring Training. I wasn’t surprised by it but it was certainly good to see.”
*Brett Marshall — The pitching staff contender for either the fifth spot in the rotation, or to be the bullpen’s long man, was hit around pretty hard in his final start of spring. The line: 5 ip, 12 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HB, 1 HR. During a four-run fourth inning, Marshall gave up Abreu’s wind-aided three-run homer to the left field bullpen. Price didn’t give Marshall too many breaks because of the windy conditions.
“He’s a better pitcher than he pitched today,” Price said. “They put some balls in play. They had some soft hits. They had some balls hit right on the screws. In the four-run inning, they had two outs and nobody on and the No. 9 hitter got a four-pitch walk, followed by hard base hit, a soft hit and a homer. It ends up being a problem.”
**That puts my Spring Training in the books for another year. I will be flying home on Thursday and not covering the split-squad games vs. Arizona and Milwaukee. They will be covered on MLB.com, however. I also won’t be totally off the clock as there are still roster decisions looming, obviously. Thanks for reading and following along throughout camp and I hope you keep coming back during the regular season.