Sampson Weds; Hoover’s slump

Although it looked like the Reds were considering alternatives, manager Bryan Price revealed Monday morning that Keyvius Sampson would return to start on Wednesday vs. the Pirates.

“[He had] the three-inning start and so he seems to be the best set to come back and pitch,” Price said.

Sampson has a 9.00 ERA over his last five starts and has not pitched more than four innings in any of his last four games.

“It’s getting acclimated to the big leagues and also trying to define where he’s best situated,” Price said. “Our current circumstance is we have a real need for starting pitching here. We’ll be bringing up, I’m sure, some of the guys that were in the rotation at Louisville. I think Keyvius has the stuff and the pitch assortment to start. He just needs to harness his command as he did the first couple of times out because that would work as a starter. We’ll be adding enough arms to where we feel if any of these guys get off to a slow start and need to go to the bullpen, we can do that with the depth we’ll have here by [Tuesday].”

**Eighth-inning set-up man J.J. Hoover has had himself a nice 2015 season after a lousy 2014. He has a 2.25 ERA entering Monday and a team-leading 62 appearances — seven shy of his career high. But Hoover has allowed a home run in each of his last three outings and at least one walk in five of his last six games. Hoover had never previously given up a homer in three-straight appearances.

What’s been the issue?

“I think that he’s missed some locations and they’re seeing the ball a little bit earlier than usual,” Price said. “I would say that a lot of about pitching is deception and when you’re giving up consistently good swings, typically it’s location mistake and the fact that hitters are seeing the ball fairly well. It means he’s open a little early and you can see the ball a split-second earlier which is more time to make the decision whether it’s a good pitch to hit or not.

“You guys know where I stand on pitching, so much of it is just like hitting, we wish we had guys that had had stretches like J.J. had. If we had had everyone in our bullpen pitch with the type of consistency J.J. has, we’d be in a little bit better place than we are right now, I can tell you that. I think it’s simply a stretch, just like a hitter gets struggling a little bit.”

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