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Eugenio Suarez was excited to be batting fourth on Tuesday vs. the Mets, it was the first time batting there in his brief career. It was needed by manager Bryan Price with Brandon Phillips needing a day off after being hit by a pitch on Monday.
“They trust me. I feel so happy because he has that confidence,” Suarez said. “I won’t try to do more than I can do. I’ll hit the same as in the second hole.”
Said Price: “Also to give some good coverage behind Joey. Joey, without a Phillips, a Bruce, a Mesoraco, somebody that’s capable of doing some pretty extreme damage, I think he’s an easier guy to pitch around if you don’t have someone like Geno behind him. I really don’t want Geno to go out there and try to do anything different. His approach has been good. He’s really staying on pitches in the strike zone. He’s back to swinging it well again, so I don’t want to see him try to force the power. He’s done a pretty nice job of doing things in the two-hole getting to his power without really much effort.”
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Bruce was placed on paternity leave …. RHP Layne Somsen called up from Triple-A Louisville.
Pre-game, I wrote about Joey Votto’s career-long hitless streak and season-long struggles to this point.
Read about it here: http://atmlb.com/1SeHJuQ
What I couldn’t get into the story was the answer to my question of manager Bryan Price about whether Votto could use a day off to reset himself. It didn’t sound like one was imminent.
“I’ve talked to him and Jay [Bruce’s] wife is pregnant. He could be gone at any point in time. I’ve talked to Joey about it,” Price said Thursday. “He feels like he really wants to see the pitches and get the at-bats and if I feel like it’s going to benefit him to take a day off, then I would do that for sure and just take the initiative. Right now, he really likes playing and figuring things out, like any competitive guy would.”
Not surprising, many fans were irate when it became known that the Reds sent Robert Stephenson back to Triple-A Louisville after his nice start on Tuesday.
7 ip, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 105 pitches/60 strikes.
The basic theme I got was “why send him down when he had one of the best starts of anyone on the team this season?”
Answer and a reminder: The Reds are looking at beyond 2016 with players like Stephenson. Not every decision is based doing whatever it takes to win, if it wrecks the long term plan in the big picture.
First — Stephenson only needs a little more than another week in the Minors to stave off free agency for an added year.
Second — Stephenson can return on Sunday without waiting the requisite 10 days in Louisville, if Alfredo Simon isn’t ready to go because of his biceps tendinitis and has to go on the DL. This way, the club can get a seventh reliever back in the bullpen in the meantime.
Third — The Reds feel that despite his early results, Stephenson still isn’t a finished product at the big league level.
“It’s a small sample size,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. “We have a lot more history with Robert – old past history than recent history. Our recent history is he’s had two nice games, one particularly nice game against the Rockies, which was yesterday. That being said, he doesn’t have a large sample size of Major League games, he’s got a couple. Coming into this year, our goal was to increase his overall strike percentage, increase his ability to command the zone with his breaking ball and change-up and improve his fastball command. I don’t want to be critical of his game yesterday, because he pitched beautifully. But he does have areas of his game to work on.
“I remember – I might have been pitching in Triple-A at the time when the Dodgers called up Ramon Martinez to make a start. I think it was his first major league start, he threw a shutout and was then returned to Albuquerque. The same with Mike Remlinger with Pittsburgh. The guy came up, pitched a shutout against the Giants, sent back down to the minor leagues. It’s not unprecedented. We’re going to have guys coming off the DL here pretty soon. I think it’s going to be more challenge for a guy like Robert to stay in this rotation long term at this point in time of the season. I’d rather him pitching regularly in Triple-A.”