The Reds announced Tuesday afternoon that right fielder Jay Bruce was placed on the bereavement list. RHP Curtis Partch was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take Bruce’s spot on the 25-man roster.
Bruce is allowed to be away from the club for a minimum of three days to a maximum of seven days.
This is Partch’s fifth call-up to the Reds this season. He has only appeared in five games over those call-ups and allowed no runs, two hits and seven walks.
Bruce is batting .215/.300/.379 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 87 games this season.
Reds manager Bryan Price hasn’t been afraid to juggle the lineup to find a spark this season. With the team losing eight of nine and several players not hitting well, he made another change. Right fielder Jay Bruce, struggling most of all during the season, is batting second.
It is the 82nd different lineup Price has written this season (not counting the pitcher’s spot). Bruce hasn’t batted second since doing it six times in 2011. He did it 15 times in 2008 as a rookie and a handful of times in between 2009-10.
“I think it’s no secret that personally, I’ve been struggling, and as a team, offensively, we haven’t been doing so well, so shaking it up a little bit can’t hurt,” Bruce said. “As Bryan said, when you’re put into a different spot in the order you don’t change your approach to hitting, you just go up there with the same approach and you really try to focus on what makes you successful and don’t get tentative and don’t get indecisive. You just keep moving forward. It hasn’t been a pretty year for me, but there are no excuses. I expect to do better and you can’t stay in a place of the past; you have to continue to move forward and I look forward to today because the opportunity to turn it around is there for me to take and I look forward to doing that.”
Bruce wasn’t given advance word of the change in the order. It could benefit him in getting more fastballs, and could benefit leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton if defenses employ a shift for Bruce.
“But I can imagine that the way teams focus on Billy, it’s definitely something that’s noticed. I’ll be ready, Pitch One,” Bruce said. “If they are shifting over too much, [Hamilton] can take two bases on a steal; he has the best opportunity of anybody out there.”
Got a few tidbits of information for you this Saturday afternoon …
*INF Jack Hannahan is back from Triple-A Louisville and here at Great American Ball Park today. Hannahan took batting practice and infield work at first base with the club. The decision on whether to activate him has not been made yet. He would be a lefty bat off the bench and part of the rotation at first base that’s been filling in for Joey Votto.
“He had a nice three-hit day yesterday for Louisville,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “That’s seven hits in his last three games. So he’s been swinging the bat well. We want to make that when he’s activated, he’s able to be a regular part of what we’re doing and we’re not trying to rehabilitate him at this level on a 25-man roster.”
*RHP Logan Ondrusek, on the DL with a right shoulder strain, has not resumed a throwing program yet. Ondrusek is slated to begin playing catch on Monday. With his transaction from Friday backdated to July 13, he is eligible to be activated on Monday. That appears not to be happening.
*RHP Alfredo Simon, who is 0-2 with a 4.82 ERA in his last two starts including a 4 1/3 inning outing on Friday, has not hit a wall of some sort in Price’s mind.
“I get the question,” Price said. “I think we need to see a few more starts to come up with that interpretation. I just felt like he was up in the zone. I thought he had good velocity. He a good little slider and threw some really good splits. From what I’ve seen, he’s been getting hurt a lot more on his off-speed stuff.
“I don’t anticipate that being an issue, only because he’s an older guy and I think he’s conditioned to be the type of pitcher we’re using him as now. Time will tell what type of season he finishes up with. I think it’s going to be very good.”
*LHP Tony Cingrani, who has been on the DL at Louisville because of a shoulder injury, still has not resumed a throwing program.
“There still is a little bit of soreness and some shoulder impingement, I believe it was the diagnosis is,” Price said. “Other than the strengthening stuff, he hasn’t quite gotten to the point where he’s been cleared to start throwing yet.”
*On TV or at the ballpark, you might have noticed some different colored grass patches in the outfield. It is the remnants of the stage from the Jason Aldean concert held here a week ago. A couple of weeks before that, Beyonce and Jay-Z also had a show here. Price felt the outfield is holding up fine and hasn’t gotten any bad reports from his players.
“I thought that [head groundskeeper] Doug Gallant and the staff did a great job,” Price said. “They basically had to go out there and re-sod that center field portion. You can see the differential between the old grass and the new grass but got it in there with enough time for it to kind of get rooted.”
One thing about Reds manager Bryan Price is he doesn’t brood for days and weeks during the rough stretches. Nor does Price get too up when things are going well. While he certainly can show his displeasure after a loss, he doesn’t carry it to the next day or next series.
Therefore coming on the heels of a winless six-game road trip, Price was in a pretty positive mood on Friday. He was asked by one reporter if he had to do anything to keep the spirits of the players up to keep the season from getting away from them.
“Other than the early part of the year, I haven’t had to do anything at all. I don’t make a lot of trips through the clubhouse to pick up the spirits of the guys,” Price replied. “You have to realize that what’s happening isn’t uncommon. It’s standard practice in a Major League Baseball season that you have periods where you play very, very well and other periods where you tread water like we did the first couple of months. And then there are periods where you struggle to win games on a regular basis. The last six have been a real struggle for us.
“[But] it’s a stretch in the season. We’re going to get back. We’re going to have other stretches where we play better than we have here. What we need is to play well enough to get ourselves to the top of the division and into the playoffs and hopefully be one of the hotter teams going into the playoffs so we can do more than we’ve done in the past few opportunities.”
*In other news, SS Zack Cozart (bruised right fingers) is back in the lineup after missing Wednesday. Cozart was hit by a pitch while bunting Tuesday night. He showed he could hit or throw without issue. Price said Cozart could have probably played on Wednesday but it made more sense to give his swollen fingers two days of rest to be right.