Results tagged ‘ Aaron Miles ’

Miles released, Balentien outrighted

A couple of Reds transactions —

Infielder Aaron Miles cleared waivers and has been released. Outfielder Wladimir Balentien cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Class AAA Louisville.

Both players were designated for assignment on Opening Day but were told they wouldn’t make the team on April 2.
 
Having Balentien clear and remain in the organization is a plus and I know it was hoping he wouldn’t get claimed. He had a good spring and seemed to make improvements with his hitting.

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Bailey 1

Some notes:

*Will Homer Bailey be the first Reds starting pitcher to get a ‘W’ next to his name this season? With the bullpen a little spent, Dusty Baker was hoping for a lengthy outing. Baker wasn’t sure if Francisco Cordero would be available after he’s worked six out of seven days. Logan Ondrusek has had three days in a row. Micah Owings had two innings last night.

“I might have to go with Homer a little longer,” Baker said. “Or maybe he’ll be super sharp tonight. A complete game would be great.”

*Cordero also had to warm up three different times during Tuesday’s game.

*Nick Masset said he is ready again after a break on Tuesday.

*Chris Dickerson is starting in CF because Drew Stubbs has a sore back.

“It’s nothing major but I think he’s giving me a day or two to get cleared up,” Stubbs said. “It’s something I could definitely try to play through. [Baker] said, this early in the season, there was no point in pushing anything.”

*The Reds haven’t won their first three road games of a season since 1996.

*At 5-3, the club is two games over .500 for the first time since June 19, 2009, when it was 34-32

*For Jackie Robinson Day on Thursday, all Reds players/coaches will wear No. 42. In an added twist, they will do likewise on Friday at Pittsburgh because the Pirates have an off day Thursday.

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What to make of spring numbers?

Often during lulls in spring games, press box conversations often drift into unlikely directions. Today was no different with topics of Carrot Top, Gallagher, Matt Stair’s new slim figure, Jamie Ramsey’s “nickel and dime” blog and other oddities popping up.

During the lengthy Tuesday game, lost by the Reds to the Padres by a 7-5 score, the press box conversation actually fell back into a good baseball topic. What can be made of some of these spring results by the Reds?

After today’s outing, Aaron Harang has a 9.88 ERA and had lousy-looking lines in his last two starts. Jared Burton has a 5.63 ERA and a team-high four home runs allowed, including one on Tuesday. Aaron Miles, coming off of a bad 2009 season, is batting a paltry .143 while regulars like Brandon Phillips (.125) and Orlando Cabrera (.175) are struggling.

When do we stop saying “it’s just spring” and start worrying — if at all? 

Keep these 2009 statisitics in mind:

Francisco Cordero had a 12.10 ERA in spring. He saved 39 in the regular season with a 2.16 ERA.

Arthur Rhodes had a 5.63 ERA in spring and 2.66 ERA in regular season.

Bronson Arroyo had a 5.95 ERA in spring and a 3.84 ERA in the season with 15 wins.

On the flip side…

Micah Owings was lights out with a 1.52 ERA in spring and had a terrible season (7-12, 5.34).

OF Darnell McDonald batted .300 in camp to make the team and was sent out by May.

Jay Bruce had a nice spring with a .300 average and batted .223 when the games counted.

Do Burton’s numbers mean he’s no longer a roster lock, especially with Logan Ondrusek looking great and throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings? Is Harang headed for another tough year?

They say numbers don’t lie, but in spring, they don’t always tell the truth either. That’s why I try not to make a lot out of anything based on spring stats, unless it’s a position battle between two guys without much of a track record (ie: Stubbs and Dickerson for center field).  

When it came to Harang, Dusty Baker was not worried.

“I definitely look beyond [the spring numbers],” Baker said. “He’s throwing the ball with better velocity and coming inside, and using his legs. If you don’t get the results, you have to find some positives in there. The positive is he’s throwing the ball good.”

*Baker will be in Las Vegas with the Reds for their evening split-squad game on Wednesday night. The club was scheduled to fly out on Tuesday night. That means bench coach Chris Speier will manage the Wednesday afternoon game vs. the A’s in Phoenix. Pitching coach Bryan Price will be at both games because he wants to watch both fifth starter contenders, Mike Leake and Travis Wood, make starts. Price will fly to Las Vegas right after the A’s game.

*There were six errors committed during the sloppy game. Drew Sutton’s two at shortstop probably did not help his cause for the last couple of bench spots.

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Adversity for Wood, Leake

For the first time in their big league camp, Travis Wood and Mike Leake saw how the other half lived. Both had lackluster outings during a 6-0 Reds loss.

Wood gave up three runs (two earned) and three hits with two walks, four strikeouts and a hit-batter. Leake followed and allowed three earned runs and seven hits in his three innings.

The fact that he’s still in camp and pitching indicates that Wood is very much in the fifth starter’s race. Coming into camp, Dusty Baker had never seen him pitch and only knew the stats.

[Double-A Carolina pitching coach] Tom Brown talked a little about him,” Baker said. “I trust what he has to say, big time. He told me he was small in stature but pitched like a big man.”

Wood gave up all of his runs in the first inning on two home runs. Both were in hitters’ counts — 2-0 to Edgar Renteria and 1-0 to Aubrey Huff — After that, he was pretty good and only allowed one more hit.

“It could have went better,” Wood said. “I fell behind. I had to battle. I did a decent job but a couple of guys got me early. I just didn’t have the best stuff today but I made it work after the first inning. I came back and battled through it.”

Baker was hoping to see how both pitchers would handle adversity since both have had smooth performances to this point. He even left Leake out longer than he normally might have.

“They both handled it pretty good,” Baker said. “Their body language was good. You couldn’t tell if they were winning or losing, which translates a lot to the opposition that they’re battlers.”

*Wood and Leake pitch again on Friday. This time, Leake will be starting

*A Bay Area writer was in the clubhouse today and asked about Petaluma, Calif., native Jonny Gomes. Last spring, Gomes started with a bang but faded the final two weeks and was sent down. After he came up to the Reds in May he slugged 20 homers in 281 at-bats. This spring, Gomes has a guaranteed contract

“Last year, I was sort of spotting him against guys I thought he had the best chance to succeed with,’ Baker said. “We thought he did a pretty good job with that. He lost some weight this year. It seems like he’s running better. He’s worked hard on his defense to get better. Jonny knows this is an opportunity for him to put himself back on the map. He hasn’t had a good year in three or four years.

“He had one pretty good year. That didn’t really sell to the baseball people. You have two good years in a row, now they’ll say ok, he’s back. This is an important year for Jonny to restablish himself as a quality player.”

*Aaron Miles led off and played second base and hit a leadoff single to left field in a 1-for-2 day. He was also caught stealing. It was Miles’ only hit in 13 at-bats this spring (.077 average) after he got a late start because of a fractured right finger. Miles also committed a fielding error in the first inning, which gave Wood one unearned run when Huff followed with his two-run homer.

*Logan Ondrusek had another nice outing in relief with two scoreless innings. He has 5 1/3 scoreless innings his four appearances.

*Before the game, players in the clubhouse were glued to the TV watching St. Mary’s upset Villanova in the NCAA Tournament. Cheering could be heard from inside Baker’s office.

“California schools don’t play basketball, according to the rest of the world,” said a smiling Baker, who is of course a Golden State native.

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Miles ready, utility INF battle

Aaron Miles still has an ugly, nasty looking black fingernail on his middle finger — the proof that remains from his small fracture at the tip. Fortunately it just looks worse than it is. Miles is expected to get his first game action on Friday.

“It’s slight pain but the doctor said I’m not going to hurt it at all,” said Miles, who fractured his finger on March 2. “The fracture was in a real good spot and to go be as aggressive as I want. As long as I go out there and make the plays, I’m good to go. I can’t hurt it more.”

The other member of the utility infield, broken finger club is Chris Burke, who suffered a more serious injury with a fractured knuckle on his right ring finger. Burke started swinging at bat on Wednesday and was headed to the cage again Thursday morning.

Manager Dusty Baker already has some tough decisions to make with his backup infielders. It’s a crowded group with Miles, Burke, Paul Janish, Miguel Cairo, Todd Frazier and Drew Sutton.Baker didn’t know how many extra infielders the club would carry.

“I haven’t even played that shell game yet,” he said. “We could play it all day and night. Right now, we have other things. We’ll play them and we’ll see come cut time. Now cut time comes weekly.”

*The first wave of cuts went down after Wednesday’s game.

Reassigned to Minor League camp were LHP Alexander Smit, RHP Jose Arredondo, 1B/OF Danny Dorn and catchers Ryan Yarbrough and Chris Denove. The next cuts will likely come after the day-night split-squad games on March 17.

Dorn caught the manager’s eye during his time in big league camp.

“Dorn, he impressed me,” Baker said. “It’s a matter of numbers and how much playing time he was going to get. I think he recognized pitches quicker than anybody among the young players we have here. Plus, he big-time got better at first base too.”

*Some tornadoes touched down near Benton, Ark., which is very close to where LHP Travis Wood’s family resides. Wood said his parents were OK and the twisters were a couple of miles away.

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Monday morning notes

The rain has stopped in Goodyear and although it’s puddles galore in the area, it should be done for the rest of the day I heard in the TV forecasts. We’ll see.

The ‘B’ games vs. the Brewers is still on for this morning. The ‘A’ game vs. the Royals is on for 1:05 p.m. local time.

“Long day,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s OK. We had a short day yesterday. We’re here to work.”

*The ‘B’ game is slated to go seven innings but if both sides still have enough pitching, could extend it to nine. It’s not an official game so those types of rules can be flexible.

*There was some manuevering with the pitching assignments after Sunday’s rainout and Homer Bailey was moved to start the ‘B’ game — partially because it was his preference.

“He’s looked good. The thing he’s learning that I’m seeing is he has a routine,” Baker said. “That’s why he preferred to pitch the first game. Once you get into a routine — they say sameness is greatness. He is getting into a routine that wasn’t really Homer in the past. It shows he’s maturing and really serious about being good in this game. He’s a man. He’s growing up.”

More about that later today, and on Aroldis Chapman’s outing in the ‘A’ game.

*Infielder Aaron Miles is still out with a small fracture to his right middle finger.

“He’s close,” Baker said. “He’s getting better. I think the finger looks worse than it is right now.”

*Here is the Reds ‘A’ game lineup:

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Dickerson 7
Hernandez 2
Gomes DH

Arroyo 1

 

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Saturday morning notes

Two days after taking a 95 mph Aroldis Chapman heater to the right leg, Todd Frazier will see action in Saturday’s game vs. the Indians. Frazier had a bruised quadriceps but is fine.

Manager Dusty Baker plans to give Frazier a couple of at-bats as the DH later in the game.

“He’s champing at the bit,” Baker said. [The medical staff] had him unable to play but he says he’s able. We talked and they said he’s cool, he’s fine. That was yesterday.”

*Today will also mark the spring debuts of pitchers Travis Wood and Mike Leake. Both have eyes on the fifth spot of the rotation. Baker has never seen Wood in a game and watched Leake pitch once in the Arizona Fall League last year. He’s watched them throw in bullpens and live BP though.

“They’re not only young arms — they are pretty advanced pitching wise – location, movement, change of speeds,” Baker said. “They pitch older than their age. … I just hope they relax and throw strikes. I think they well.”

*Infielder Aaron Miles is still wearing a splint on his fractured right middle finger. Miles said he’s doing well and the fracture is at the tip of the finger (his fingernail was a gruesome black). Once he’s able to swing and throw through the pain, he will get back into action. The injury happened on Tuesday while working on double play drills. 

*Johnny Cueto will start today in his first game since last season. Cueto usually throws in winter ball but was prevented from doing that this past off-season. Will he be as sharp in the early going?

“Probably not,” Baker said. “You can tell the guys that played winter ball from the guys that don’t. Look at Asdrubal Cabrera yesterday, or Perez on their side. You look at guys like Viola, Castillo and Del Rosario on our side. They’re two weeks removed from playing. The same with Francisco.

“Johnny looks great. He looks in great shape. He’s throwing the ball great.”

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Intrasquad game notes

The Reds intrasquad game was a five-inning affair, won by the home team by a 4-2 score. The home squad starting lineup were mostly regulars.

For a roundup on Aroldis Chapman’s one inning of relief, click here.

Other items of note:

*Visiting team starter Aaron Harang struck out four over 2 1/3 innings. On a fastball away, Harang gave up a home run to right field to Ramon Hernandez.

“Hey, you’ve got to look out for your catcher and get his confidence level up,” Harang joked. “Mechanically, I’m getting right where I want to be.”

*Pitching coach Bryan Price was pleased with all of his pitchers. Homer Bailey, Chapman, Logan Ondrusek and Enerio Del Rosario were among the other pitchers.

“I was happy,” Price said. “From the beginning of spring training, you could tell guys came in shape – good throwing and body an cardiovascular shape. It was evident today. Guys were crisp with strikes, guys were down in the zone and had a pretty good feel for their off-speed stuff.”

*The game was treated as a dry run for the team ahead of Friday’s Cactus League opener vs. the Indians. It was the first time the Reds played a game inside their new home at Goodyear Ballpark.

“This is a beautiful ballpark,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I think it plays smaller than the dimensions. It’s not even hot yet. That sun is going to be a factor. We’re still trying to learn the ballpark.”

*Injury notes –

Todd Frazier has a bruised right quadriceps after being hit on the leg by a Chapman pitch. I was sitting behind home plate when Frazier was nailed by a 95 mph heater. It looked super painful.

Infielder Aaron Miles suffered a fracture on the tip of his right middle finger on Tuesday while fielding ground balls. The injury wasn’t considered serious. Once the swelling goes down, Miles can resume playing.

*Lineups are already out for Friday’s game:

Indians

Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Grady Sizemore  CF
Shin-Soo Choo   RF
Travis Hafner    DH
Jhonny Peralta  3B
Jordan Brown    LF
Andy Marte      1B
Luis Valbuena   2B
Lou Marson   C

Justin Masterson  P

Reds

Drew Stubbs CF
Orlando Cabrera SS
Joey Votto 1B
Brandon Phillips 2B
Scott Rolen  3B
Jay Bruce  RF
Jonny Gomes  LF
Ramon Hernandez  C
Lance Nix DH

Mike Lincoln P

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Monday morning notes

It’s raining again outside (third day in a row) so we know that drills. Indoors, a much larger media contingent is in the work room today with the Aroldis Chapman press conference coming up a few hours. Chapman also has a bullpen session this morning.

Some of the highlights out of Dusty Baker’s office this morning:

With Jonny Gomes not in the fold, at least yet, a reporter mentioned there was slim pickings for right-handed hitters in the outfield that have a chance at making the team.
 
“Who’s picking the team?” Baker fired back.

Currently, the three leading right-handed hitting contenders for left field are Wladimir Balentien, Todd Frazier and Chris Heisey. Balentien is a .190 hitter lifetime vs. left-handed pitchers, vs. .235 against right-handers — which goes against the norm. Baker doesn’t want to write off Balentien vs. lefties.

“It’s part of our job to teach him,” he said. “That’s one thing that I don’t like too much is that a guy gets labeled with what he can’t do so early in his career. You hope that you can teach him to have a varying philosophy on how to hit them. There are some guys here that can teach guys.”

Frazier is a possiblity to make the team but whether or not the club would be willing to consider him him for a utility role where he wouldn’t get regular at-bats isn’t known yet.

“That’s always a very tough question with a young player,” Baker said. “He is young in experience and professionally. Sometimes the meter runs a little quicker if you’re a college player vs. a high school player.”

There are also a lot of veterans vying for utility spots. There is Aaron Miles, Chris Burke, Miguel Cairo plus Paul Janish and Drew Sutton.

Miles reported to camp today carrying a Cubs equipment bag — his team last season. A .282 career hitter, he batted only .185 in 74 games for Chicago after signing a two-year contract.

“I’m just excited to get last year behind me and get back to the baseball I know I can play,” Miles said.

Miles explained some of the issues that set him back last season. More on that later on the main sites.

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Busy Monday for the Redlegs

Remember when everyone complained about the lack of Reds hot stove activity from October through mid-January?

Since then — Aroldis Chapman, Miguel Cairo, Orlando Cabrera have been added. And on Monday, fan non-favorite center fielder Willy Taveras was subtracted. Jonny Gomes could be returning any day with a Minor League deal if the two sides can come together.

What did you think of the latest moves?

Personally, I was not overly wowed with the Cabrera signing but I understand why the Reds felt they had to make it. To them, the lineup wasn’t strong enough to wait while Paul Janish developed as a hitter. The front office wanted more of a sure thing.

Cabrera won’t be a defensive liability but he won’t nearly as sound as Janish, who I think would have come around offensively — eventually. I also think Janish’s defensive ability is so good that he would have saved more runs to make it worth starting him. Is the offense Cabrera might provide worth all the extra money? I would have pocketed it for later in the year when more tweaks might be needed.

You can debate the merits of the signing but you can’t debate the motive. The Reds have to feel they have the pieces in place to contend.

As for the trade, I was amazed the Reds found a way to trade Taveras and not have to eat any of his salary. That’s a huge plus. Anything Aaron Miles can do is pretty much a bonus at this point. I’m not expecting much but I’m also not expecting him to struggle as bad as he did last year.

When you add up the money — Taveras’ $4 million salary compared to $2.7 million for Miles and the difference that went to pay Cabrera — the Reds could have done much worse under the circumstances.

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