More banged up Reds
The Reds are in some ways, literally, limping to the finish with several player injured and either limited or completely unavailable.
“Never have I seen a team with so few options in September as we have right now. It’s something to see,” manager Bryan Price said on Saturday morning.
*Billy Hamilton remains out with a mild concussion. While feeling better, he still has symptoms.
“Right now, it seems somewhat unlikely that he’ll be able to play this weekend,” Price said.
*Devin Mesoraco is back in the lineup. He missed the last two games with a left intercostal (rib) strain.
“He could have hit,” Price said. “He was on deck [Friday] if Barnhart or Cozart would have gotten on. He could have given us an at-bat yesterday. It was really receiving that was more of the challenge. I wanted to give him the one more day to make sure, because I want him today and I want him tomorrow to catch. I want him to catch Johnny [Cueto].”
*Brayan Pena is limited because of an undisclosed injury. When asked, Price would not reveal what Pena was dealing with.
“He’s more of an emergency option right now behind the plate,” Price said. “I’ll tell you after tomorrow’s game. He’s a little banged up. He might have to still end up getting back there. Like a lot of guys, he has some physical maladies here at the end of the year that are making what they do a little more challenging. I have to pick my ways on how to use them.”
*Via the teams’ media relations departments, Price reached out through channels to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to explain why many of his regulars weren’t playing vs. the Pirates — including closer Aroldis Chapman, who also couldn’t pitch Friday with a stiff shoulder. St. Louis is trying to hold off Pittsburgh for the NL Central title.
“I felt it was fair that they understood that. We’re not going ‘hey we’re taking a look at our younger guys’. There are guys that cannot play or will not play or are limited in their ability,” Price said. “That was just three players. There are others on there that can’t play but I wasn’t going to announce to Major League Baseball who is an active player on our roster and who isn’t. I felt like it was the right thing to do simply because I think we’ve really honored this September. We utilized the Baltimore and Chicago series to play more of the younger guys. In the other series, I feel like we’ve played it as straight-up as we possibly can and tried to put the best team on the field based on the matchups and based on who was healthy enough to play. I did want them to know that we’re not trying to just play out the season and take a look at our younger players. We’re trying to put the best team on the field with what we have to choose from.”
“I value the relationships I have with the other managers. As a first-year manager, I don’t want these guys to think I don’t have any understanding of the teams that are in a playoff chase are going through.”
Matheny appreciated Price’s gesture.
“That was a professional move and I’d hope I’d do the same thing,” Matheny told St. Louis reporters on Friday night. “They have to take care of their guys and do what they have to do.”
As for missing so many players all season, Price was asked if he ever thought about what his team could have done if it had only an average number of injuries.
“I don’t,” Price replied. “I played for Rich Morales, who was my Double-A manager with the Mariners. One time in a meeting, he said to our farm director – Jim Beattie … he said ‘Jim, you deal the cards and I’ll play ‘em.’ What I got out of that was whoever I have, give me whoever you want and I will play that hand. I’m not going to complain about it. It is what it is and we’ll manager whoever I have on my roster. I always admired Rich a great deal and appreciated it. We can all complain about it but it doesn’t make you any better.”