*Reds manager Bryan Price may be “optimistic” that Mat Latos will start working from a mound this week. But each turn that Latos misses in the rotation makes it a little more realistic that someone else could take that spot when the season opens. Thus far, Alfredo Simon has looked like he could very well be that guy.
Simon’s line vs. the Mariners on Monday was a good one: 3 ip, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. 41 pitches.
“I did great today,” Simon said. “All my pitches were working really good. I’m happy to throw three innings. My two-seamer, my changeup and my breaking ball worked good.”
*Through his two starts, totaling five innings, he has yet to give up a hit. Meanwhile, he is gaining confidence.
“When I was a starter in Baltimore, every five days I just put my mind for that day and did the best I can every time I went out there,” Simon said. “I just try to feel the same way right now.”
The Reds wound up taking a 6-5 loss to the Mariners. The game story with more details will be on MLB.com/Reds.com.
Other items from Monday:
*Closer Aroldis Chapman replaced Simon in the fourth and worked two innings in his second outing of spring. Chapman gave up one run and three hits (all coming in the fifth) with three strikeouts. The plan is to stretch out Chapman but it has nothing to do with possibly making him a starting pitcher.
“The last two years, we’ve gotten him ready as a starter and we built his innings up,” Price said. “It gave us a chance to work more on his slider and change-up. You may have noticed he threw about eight change-ups today in the game, which is as many as he may have thrown at any point in time last year when he was starting in spring training. The repetition is really good for Aroldis, he enjoys it. So we’ll build him probably up to about three innings and start to work him back down.”
*Skip Schumaker was 2-for-2 with a RBI, hitting a double off the left field wall in the first inning and a single to center field in the third inning.
*Billy Hamilton did what Billy Hamilton does best — run and cause trouble. After drawing a leadoff walk in the fifth, Hamilton stole second base and catcher Jesus Sucre’s error throw into center field moved him to third base. He scored on a Schumaker sac fly near the seats in left field foul territory.
*Neftali Soto replaced Joey Votto at first base in the fifth inning and ripped two very hard doubles to the same area of the center field wall. Off to a nice start, Soto is 7-for-12 (.583) through his first five games.
*First pitch temperature was 68 degrees.
It was a pretty good day, all around, for the Reds during a 15-4 win over a split-squad Padres club. Game story to come on MLB.com.
*The Reds pitching staff carried a combined no-hitter for 5 2/3 innings. It was broken up in the sixth on Chris Denorfia’s two-out single through the right side against Daniel Corcino. The inning eroded quickly on Corcino, who had six-straight batters reach safely, including four hits, for four earned runs.
*Billy Hamilton continues to battle into deeper counts in the beginning of games. Leading off the top of the first, Hamilton hung in there for a nine-pitch at-bat. This time he didn’t reach base as he groundout to first base. Hamilton later doubled and scored in the third inning.
*Zack Cozart, who did not attempt a stolen base last season, swiped second base in the third inning as part of the running Reds initiative. It set it up for Roger Bernadina, who hit a RBI double into right field to get Cozart in for the game’s first run.
*In the bottom of the third, 2B Brandon Phillips made a nifty play. Phillips ran to his right on Denorfia’s grounder up the middle and made a leaping one-hop throw across his body. Joey Votto nicely scooped it to complete the inning’s third out.
*Donald Lutz hit his first home run of the spring with a shot to left-center field in the top of the ninth.
*Filling in for Mike Leake, Brett Marshall pitched two hitless innings with two walks and one strikeout. Marshall also picked up a double play.
*Overall, manager Bryan Price was pleased with the effort.
“It was nice to see Jay [Bruce] swinging the bat so well. [Neftali] Soto had a nice day and Lutzy. A lot of well-hit balls today. It was just good to see. We had a nice approach, moved some runners. We advanced some runners. Some good situational hitting, selfless approach. It was good to see. It was also nice to see Brett Marshall come in there and throw the ball well and [Tim] Crabbe did a nice job as well.
*On Saturday morning, Reds manager Bryan Price was asked about a quirk in this season’s regular season schedule. The Reds host the Cardinals in an 8:05 p.m. ET ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game on May 25. The next day, Memorial Day, the Reds have to be in Los Angeles for the start of a series against the Dodgers. First pitch for that game begins at 5:10 p.m. PT. That’s a pretty tough turnaround.
“We’ll have to get that Concorde jet out of mothballs and get ourselves cross country in a hurry,” Price joked. “I get it. We can complain all we want. A lot of times this is driving the economy of baseball and everyone benefits from it. We all benefit from it. You know what? It’s always fun to go to Los Angeles and play the Dodgers. I don’t think there will be any reason for us to complain about the travel. It’s an inconvenience but it’s our obligation to be ready to play.”
*Price recalled that early in his big league coaching career, he appreciated the privileges of nice travel in the Major Leagues. He spent several years playing or coaching in the Minors so some of the tougher big league trips were no big deal, especially from Seattle.
“I was such a young coach at the time. You didn’t know any better,” Price said. “I was riding the busses from Bellingham, Wash. to Boise. This was a treat. I’m on a nice plane. We get in at 2 o’clock in Toronto? Great! You don’t care then. Of course, the players had to get up and play. They had a louder complaint than I did.
“There were times [in the Minors] that the guy at the wheel was falling asleep. One of our coaches was trying to stay up with him and talk to him … I guess someone saw him nod off again and they threw their book all the way to the front of the bus and it banged off the windshield. It kind of startled him and he pulled it back. You wanted to be asleep because you didn’t want to see how this guy was driving. It was classic.”
Other items following a 3-2 Reds win over the Rockies:
*We learned during the game that Mike Leake was scratched from Sunday’s start vs. the Padres because of an abdominal issue. More on that coming soon on MLB.com/Reds.com. Brett Marshall will start in Leake’s place.
*Rainy weather prompted Price to change his lineup and use many extra players. Three players also came over from Minor League camp to play. One of them, Mike Costanzo, played left field in the sixth inning. You might remember Costanzo briefly playing in the Majors for the Reds during the 2012 season. Mattair, who entered in the sixth at third base, went 2-for-2.
*Tony Cingrani looked pretty good during his first start of 2 ip, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Cingrani struck out the side in the second inning.
“Cingrani was sharp,” Price said. “The pitching as a whole was good. We threw the ball really well. The great thing about Tony is he got his changeup over, threw a couple of good breaking balls and got a strikeout on a breaking ball. He had good fastball location so it was a great start to his season.”
*The Rockies lineup featured ex-Red Paul Janish at shortstop. Former Reds RHP Matt Belisle was used in relief. Colorado also has Drew Stubbs and Nick Masset, but neither made the trip over here.
*First pitch temperature: 61 degrees. But it got colder and rainy as the day progressed.
Through three games, the Reds have yet to use LHP Sean Marshall. After his shoulder injuries last season, Marshall’s spring throwing program was already a little more limited than others so he would not peak too soon and get overworked.
Now it appears the Reds want to slow him down a little more.
“He’s just a little stiff,” Reds manager Bryan Price said Saturday. “We’re going to be on the front end of this thing. We’re going to back him off. He doesn’t need a full Spring Training to be ready for Opening Day. He did all of his offseason throwing. Slowing him down a little bit here, hopefully, will pay dividends later in the spring.”
Marshall isn’t expected to see game action the first week of Cactus League games, possibly the first two weeks.
“We’re going a lot slower with him, No. 1, to make sure he’s completely strong, he’s pain free and we don’t have any setbacks,” Price said. “We’re going to be cautious on the front end.”
Marshall was limited to 16 games last season after he spent May 24-Sept. 15 on the disabled list, first with a shoulder sprain and then tendinitis that developed when he was close to returning in July.
New Reds lineup for Saturday. With all of the rain this morning, they are being careful. The sun is out now and field looks to be in good shape.
Y. Rodriguez 9
It was a 4-0 loss for the Reds vs. the Indians on Friday. Story is on Reds.com/MLB.com but I’ve got some added information here to peruse.
*Manager Bryan Price was pleased overall with the pitching performances he saw today.
“That’s the common theme early in camp, just trying to get your delivery together and manage the adrenaline,” Price said. “Those are the big challenges. I thought for the most part, we were pretty good at it today.”
*Homer Bailey’s line: 2 ip, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. Bailey didn’t feel his sharpest out there. After a one-out walk to Lonnie Chisenhall, he fell into a 3-1 count on Ryan Raburn before allowing a home run to left field.
“I threw two pitches for balls that were just off. In the season, I’d probably make those pitches or get the groundball that I was looking for,” Bailey said. “I threw a slider down and away and a two-seamer down and in. Missed by about two inches. It’s Spring Training, I’m not going to hit those every single time yet.”
*Asked if he felt any different pitching after signing his six-year, $105 million contract, Bailey replied: “Nah, not really. Same as it was last year.”
*Aroldis Chapman looked really strong in striking out the side during the fifth inning. Price had this to say:
“One thing we do know is we keep tabs on our guys,” Price said. “They’re working out and they’re ready to go. We have a visual inspection on a lot of them and we had a pretty good visual on Chapman. We knew he would be ready when he got here — regardless of what was suggested otherwise.”
*Top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson took over in the sixth and made his debut. Stephenson got two quick outs and then encountered some trouble. First, there was a two-out walk and then a single with two strikes. He had Carlos Moncrief in a 0-2 count before allowing a RBI single. A second run scored when RF Juan Duran airmailed a throw meant for the plate into the third base dugout.
*First pitch temperature was 75 degrees.