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LeCure could be back this season

Since Spring Training ended, I’ve gotten the most questions — whether it was on Twitter, in person or wherever — about reliever Sam LeCure. And whatever is the second-most asked question isn’t even close to the LeCure volume of questions.

Lots of relievers have been called up this season ahead of LeCure, who was taken off of the 40-man roster when he was one of the final roster cuts in camp. He struggled at the end of last season and earlier this season with consistency issues and lowered velocity. His numbers for Triple-A Louisville haven’t been great — a 6.12 ERA in 35 appearances with 60 hits, 24 walks, 38 strikeouts and a 1.68 WHIP in 50 innings.

When manager Bryan Price was asked about LeCure on Thursday, he sounded encouraged about his progress.

“I think that I’d love to have Sam’s influence on our bullpen,” Price said. “He brings more then just his physical ability, but he brings a lot of character to the bullpen. He brings a leadership presence to the bullpen. I spoke him with a few weeks ago and just wanted to remind him that he doesn’t need to worry about his ERA, just needs to get to where he’s pitching more on a roll because as a reliever if you’re numbers get sideways on you it’s hard to pitch those numbers down. So it’s not a matter of numbers, it’s really a matter of just consistency of doing what he’s doing and he’s a lot closer now then he was at the beginning of the year.

“I do anticipate that at some time we will see Sam back here because I think we all want him to be throwing the way he’s capable of throwing and I think he’s a lot closer now then he was a couple of months ago.”

When asked about LeCure’s velocity, Price said it was creeping back upward.

“He’s a lot better then what it was in Spring Training,” Price said “And I think even more importantly then that everyone wants their maximum velocity, but more importantly than the the velocity is the fact that he’s starting to make the consistent types of pitches. Every now and again he’ll have a setback, he’ll have a tough outing but that happens anywhere. Stringing together the typical LeCure outings that we’ve seen here is going to get him back here.”

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Game 100: Pirates at Reds 

  

Game 99: Reds at Cardinals

First pitch: 8:15 p.m. ET

Reds:

Phillips 4
Votto 3
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Byrd 7
Suarez 6
Pena 2
DeSclafani 1
Hamilton 8

Cardinals:

Wong 4
Carpenter 5
Holliday 7
Peralta 6
Heyward 9
Molina 2
Grichuk 8
Piscotty 3
Lackey 1

Game 98: Reds at Cardinals

Reds:

Bourgeois 7
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Suarez 6
Barnhart 2
Leake 1
Hamilton 8

Cardinals:

Wong 4
Carpenter 5
Holliday 7
Peralta 6
Molina 2
Reynolds 3
Piscotty 9
Bourjos 8
Garcia 1

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Farrell takes the field trailer out

As you may recall back on March 12 during Spring Training, actor/comedian Will Ferrell joined the Reds for a half-inning as their third baseman in a Cactus League game vs. the Diamondbacks.

It was for a project called “Ferrell Takes The Field,” an HBO special made by Funny Or Die in partnership with Major League Baseball. It was dedicated to helping the charity Cancer for College.

The comedy special follows Ferrell to five different Spring Training ballparks, where he played every position on the field for ten different teams in the same day.

Courtesy of HBO, here is the trailer:

Game 97: Reds at Cardinals

First pitch at 8:15 p.m. ET

Phillips 4
Votto 3
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Pena 2
Byrd 7
Suarez 6
Iglesias 1
Hamilton 8

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Skipworth called up

To take the 25-man roster spot from Johnny Cueto, the Reds recalled catcher Kyle Skipworth from Double-A Pensacola on Monday. Also, OF/IF Chris Dominguez was designated for assignment to clear space after Sunday’s acquisitions from the Royals.

Skipworth was up with the Reds in April, but did not get into a game. You may have seen this already, but check out the video below from his ejection on Saturday while playing for the Blue Wahoos. It was only topped by the ejection of manager Pat Kelly.

The Reds will have to make another move on Thursday to fill Cueto’s rotation spot, and start vs. the Pirates.

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Cueto traded to Royals

It’s official. Johnny Cueto has been traded Sunday to the Royals for three young left-handed pitchers. Cincinnati is getting Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed.

Cueto, 29, is 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts this season and will be a free agent following the season. The Royals will not be able to extend him a qualifying offer. In his eighth big league season — all with the Reds — Cueto has a 92-63 career mark with a 3.21 ERA.

Walt Jocketty holding press conference soon. Will have more on MLB.com/Reds.com.

**UPDATE** Here is a snippet from my story:

“I know it’s a good trade but I’m very sad,” Cueto said with Reds catcher Brayan Pena translating. “I’m very thankful to my teammates, my fans and my coaching staff. It’s a very emotional time for me. But I understand it’s part of the game. I’m just excited about my next step.”

With the Reds entering the day with a 43-52 record and way back in the National League Central and Wild Card races, the team has been looking to move pricey veteran players. Cueto, who will be a free agent after the season, is the first to go as the rebuilding process officially is underway.

“Obviously, this is a tough trade,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “Johnny has been part of the organization for a long time. We have great affection for him as pitcher and person. So it was difficult.

“We’re in a situation where this is the best thing for our franchise now. We got three left-handed pitchers — three quality left-handed pitchers — who we think very highly of. It was tough for Kansas City to give up all three.”

Full story here: http://atmlb.com/1LKqBuw

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Game 96: Reds at Rockies

First pitch at 4:10 p.m. MT

Phillips 4
Votto 3
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Byrd 7
Suarez 6
Barnhart 2
Lorenzen 1
Hamilton 8

Game 95: Reds at Rockies

Phillips 4
Votto 3
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Pena 2
Byrd 7
Suarez 6
Cueto 1
Hamilton 8

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