Elmore is 26th SS

Jake Elmore entered Wednesday’s 6-0 Reds loss to the Orioles in the eighth inning and became the 26th different shortstop to play alongside second baseman Brandon Phillips since 2006.

Courtesy of the Reds, the full list:

Jake Elmore
Kristopher Negron
Ramon Santiago
Cesar Izturis
Didi Gregorius
Wilson Valdez
Todd Frazier
Zack Cozart
Edgar Renteria
Orlando Cabrera
Miguel Cairo
Paul Janish
Drew Sutton
Chris Valaika
Alex Gonzalez
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Adam Rosales
Jolbert Cabrera
Juan Castro
Jeff Keppinger
Enrique Cruz
Pedro Lopez
Rich Aurilia
Royce Clayton
Ray Olmedo
Felipe Lopez

*Danny Richar played shortstop for the Reds in 2008 but not while Phillips was playing second base.

Price supports slumping Phillips

Entering Wednesday’s game, Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was on a 0-for-16 stretch and batting only .148 (8-for-54) since returning from the disabled list after surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb.

That’s not exactly the production the Reds were hoping for when Phillips returned ahead of schedule after he missed 33 games on the DL.

“I think it all comes down to the inactivity, I don’t think there’s any question,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. “You take six weeks off and he jumps right back in like he did. That’s on us, he wanted — we knew Brandon wanted to play, but that was in large part our willingness organizationally and my willingness as a manager to say yes. Sure, come on back, you played three games after six weeks, come on back.

“We’re in a situation where our season was sitting there in the balance and we needed him. I was willing to take the risk that he might be ineffective when he came back, initially, swinging the bat. I love how he’s invested, I really do.”

Game 139: Reds at Orioles

Hamilton 8
Frazier 3
Phillips 4
Mesoraco 2
Bruce 9
Ludwick DH
Schumaker 7
Negron 5
Santiago 6

Axelrod 1

Camden Yards

Greetings from muggy Baltimore and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Oddly enough, I rarely hear the place referred to as Oriole Park and only as Camden Yards. I’ve been here four or five times, but this is only the Reds’ second visit here. The last time, was in 2011 when the Baltimore was the last city the Reds visited in Interleague Play and played here for the first time since the 1970 World Series. The Orioles took two of three in the series.

Also strange, this is 36-year-old Ryan Ludwick’s first-ever visit to Baltimore as a player. Very strange considering how long he’s played and that he’s played in the American League.

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I’m not surprised that none of the September call-ups are in the starting lineup and I wouldn’t expect that to happen in games that have meaning for the opponents. The Orioles are in first place in the AL East and battling for the postseason, of course.

Of the 10 call-ups, and the four players not previously up this season, I’m most interested in seeing Yorman Rodriguez play. He was a much-ballyhooed signing as a 16-year-old for $2.5 million and he just turned 22 a couple of weeks ago. I’ve seen him at Spring Training but now we’ll see how he fares in regular season games.
now

Game 138: Reds at Orioles

Hamilton 8
Frazier 3
Phillips 4
Mesoraco 2
Bruce 9
Heisey 7
Pena DH
Negron 5
Santiago 6

Latos 1

10 September call-ups

The Reds will add 10 players to the big league roster now that rosters can expand for September.

Recalled from Triple-A Louisville:

RHP Carlos Contreras (#53)
RHP Daniel Corcino (#64)
IF/OF Jake Elmore (#15)
LHP David Holmberg (#36)
RHP J.J. Hoover (#60)
C Tucker Barnhart (#16)
1B/OF Donald Lutz (#23)

Recalled from Double-A Pensacola:

OF Yorman Rodriguez (#33)

Contracts selected from Louisville:

OF Jason Bourgeois (#30)
LHP Ryan Dennick (#41)

Moved to the 60-day disabled list: RHP Homer Bailey. That means that Bailey’s season is over after he went on the 15-day DL Aug. 16 with a flexor mass strain in his right forearm, and hasn’t pitched since Aug. 7.

Broxton traded to Brewers

The Reds traded right-handed set-up man Jonathan Broxton to the Brewers on Sunday for two players to be named.

Sunday was the deadline for teams to acquire players that can be eligible for postseason rosters. Milwaukee is currently leading the National League Central division but struggling of late and in need of bullpen help to set up for closer Francisco Rodriguez.

The 30-year-old Broxton is 4-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 51 appearances. He has stranded 10 of his 14 inherited runners and has kept the opponent scoreless in 43 games.

Broxton has struggled some recently, however. In his last seven games, totaling 6 1/3 innings, he has allowed five earned runs 11 hits and four walks. That included giving up two runs and three hits in his final appearance for the Reds on Friday and taking the loss in a 2-1 defeat to the Pirates.

This is a move that could help the Reds with their off-season payroll flexibility amid carrying several large contracts. Broxton is owed $9 million for the 2015 season and had a $9 million club option for 2016 with a $1 million buyout.

A clause in his contract stipulated that Broxton’s option switches to a mutual option once traded with an additional $1 million added to the buyout.

We are still waiting for hear from Reds GM Walt Jocketty about the deal.

UPDATE: Read my story on MLB.com with what Jocketty had to say.

Lineup maximizing matchups

It’s currently raining, a lot, here at PNC Park and the tarp is on the field. It’s not a new phenomenon at all to have a rain and the threat of a delay in Pittsburgh — which is the most underrated on the list of rainy cities in America.

No word yet on delays, etc. One large issue is the Reds scheduled does not return them to Pittsburgh this season. The Pirates are not off Monday like the Reds, since they open a series with a Labor Day afternoon game at St. Louis, so that’s out for a makeup. I imagine we shall be here a while.

In today’s Reds lineup, both Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart are out and Chris Heisey and Ramon Santiago are in. Brayan Pena is behind the plate as he usually is for a Johnny Cueto start. As for Bruce and Cozart, they’re sitting because of the match-up vs. LHP Francisco Liriano.

“We have some guys in there with some success,” manager Bryan Price said.

Bruce is 1-for-19 with seven strikeouts vs. Liriano.
Cozart is 3-for-19 with one homer.
Heisey is 4-for-10 with one homer.
Santiago is 3-for-10.

Small sample sizes, I know.

September call-ups will be announced Monday or before Tuesday’s game at Baltimore. Triple-A Louisville has its final game on Monday.

“I don’t think all the players know at this point in time,” Price said.

Game 137: Reds at Pirates

Hamilton 8
Negron 5
Phillips 4
Frazier 3
Pena 2
Ludwick 7
Heisey 9
Santiago 6
Cueto 1

Bruce on his ‘miserable’ season

While talking to Reds right fielder Jay Bruce on Saturday, he was rather candid about the season he’s had. I will have more on MLB.com/Reds.com later but Bruce said so much that I felt like some of it needed to be read on the blog.

Bruce entered Saturday batting .218/.294/.372 in 113 games with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs. He’s walked 44 times and struck out 128 times.

“I know it’s been miserable to watch for everybody. I understand it,” Bruce said. “It’s miserable for me to watch too. But I take a lot of pride in doing things the right way and never settling for whatever it is. Even when I had successful seasons, I felt like I was underachieving. These 400 or whatever at-bats of my hopefully 8,000 at-bat career or more – if this is going to bring something positive in the end, I’m willing to make the sacrifice for the bigger picture. It’s something right now that I take a lot of pride in finding those little, tiny nuances that are going to help me be a better player moving forward. People may not see it. Fans might not care. Fans want success right now and yesterday, the day before that and in April and May. I can’t blame them for that. That’s the whole point of the game, to be successful and win games. I’m working. That’s something I’m proud of.”

Bruce, of course, was on the DL from May 6-20 following arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee. He returned after an accelerated rehab process. He refused to use that as excuse for his poor play but admitted what manager Bryan Price said during his session today, that Bruce has been playing at less than 100 percent since his return.

“I think anyone who is familiar with the game of baseball and familiar with any type of surgery understands that there is period of time, ideally, where you have your surgery, you rest and you start rehabbing,” Bruce said. “There was no rest. I came back in two weeks, healthy enough to play. I’m a big believe that if you’re on the field, you’re expected to perform to a certain level. I haven’t been performing well. It’s led me to trying to do things with my swing, all kinds of stuff.”

On Thursday vs. the Cubs, Bruce tied a club record with a five strikeout game while going 0-for-5. It was a product of his season-long struggles and his latest efforts to tinker with his hitting approach.

“The other day when I struck out five times, my hands were six, seven or eight inches lower than they have been,” Bruce said. “I made the change myself. It was a test and it failed miserably. I’ll tell you what, I almost had a panic attack when I struck out the fifth time. It was the most embarrassing moment I’ve ever had on the field. It happens. It better not happen often, I’ll tell you that. You guys have talked to me for seven years now. I’m always trying to get better and create a better and cleaner path to the ball. It’s even more apparent when I’m not 100 percent that I need to do that. That’s the silver lining I’m taking out of all of this – really focusing and working on that. It can’t do anything but make me better.

“I’ve looked forward to taking the challenge head-on all year. It has not been fun. But it’s part of the game. I look forward to what’s going to come from it. Hopefully from today on, that’s something I continue to tell myself – that today is the day. You just have to keep working and not give into the frustration, to the pressure, to everything that comes with struggling and not being 100 percent.”

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