Results tagged ‘ Adam Dunn ’

Cheering in the press box

I’m guilty for violating the golden rule of media (no cheering in the press box)…couldn’t help it. My colleague and friend Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News was saluted on the field before he heads off into retirement at the end of the season. Quite frankly, anybody that works 46 years in one place — including 37 years on the Reds beat — deserves a standing O.

If a man’s wealth is measured by the number of friends he has, Hal would be a billionaire. During a reception at the ballpark, Hal’s colleagues at the Dayton Daily News, current and former Reds and sports writers all turned out. His family, including his wife Nadine, was on hand of course. 

0916_hal_nadine.jpgAnd there was former Reds star Aaron Boone. Now with the Astros, Boone caught Hal’s ceremonial first pitch (it was a one-hopper but a strong effort.) Hal credited Boone with saving him from quitting in 2003. That spring, Hal lost his vision and became legally blind overnight. Boone talked him out of giving up. He’s kept working the last six years and hasn’t let it stop him.

During the game between innings, there were video tributes from players Hal covered – such as Sean Casey, Lou Piniella, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn.

I’ve been fortunate to have known Hal the last four years I’ve covered the Reds. He’s always been good to me and even though I’ve competed for stories and scoops with him, I’ll never stop appreciating everything he’s done for me and I count myself lucky to be considered his friend. 

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Adam Dunn, Arroyo, Volquez

The uniform was obviously different and a different color but Adam Dunn hadn’t changed a bit. Dunn,the former Reds star and current Nationals first baseman/outfielder, met with the media in the visitor’s dugout for a few minutes on Thursday. He teased a couple of people including Ken Broo and Seg Dennison and checked out Great American Ball Park from his new perspective.

“This is the first time I’ve stepped out here and looked and it looks red,” Dunn said. “It’s really red out here. It’s what I remember.”

Although fans often had a love-hate relationship with Dunn (loved the homers, hated the strikeouts, fielding and the team’s losing) — but he harbored zero ill will towards anything or anyone in Cincinnati. 

Dunn.jpg“I’m not bitter at all,” Dunn said. “I got an opportunity to play here since 2001. I enjoyed my time here. I met some great people. It’s a business. I understand that. I don’t hold grudges against anything. It worked out for a reason.”

There was a time when Dunn and owner/CEO Bob Castellini were looking to extend Dunn’s stay with the Reds but that obviously changed when Dunn was traded to the Diamondbacks just over one year ago. In the off-season, he signed as a free agent with Washington.

“I understand this is a business and that’s how it goes,” Dunn said of his end with the Reds. “They obviously did what was best for the organization and I still think Mr. Castellini is one of the best people I’ve met in my life. They’ll definitely turn this thing around here. I met a lot of great people here that are hard to replace because you’re with them day in and day out for x-amount of years. That’s the main thing I miss about it.”

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 8
Gonzalez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Gomes 9
Rosales 5
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

A lot of people seem to be making a big deal out of the the USA Today cover story on Bronson Arroyo out today. I like that Arroyo isn’t afraid to address any topic but I also feel like this topic was addressed on July 31 to both the Boston Herald and Cincinnati media. Even if he is taking things not on the approved list, he’s not taking anything on the banned list. He’s never tested positive for anything illegal since testing began.

UPDATE — 10 minutes after I posted this blog, USA Today has another story that MLB wants to meet with Arroyo. So, now it is a big deal whether I agree or not. 

Edinson Volquez was back in the Reds clubhouse among his teammates and wearing a rather cumbersome metal brace all the way up his right arm. On Aug. 3, Volquez had Tommy John surgery performed on his right elbow by Dr. Tim Kremchek.

“They gave me a DVD of the surgery and I saw what they did. It wasn’t good. That’s crazy,” Volquez said. “It was the first time I’ve seen that. I went back to my place and watched it on my computer. I wanted to see what they did to me.”

Always a smiling and optimistic guy, Volquez believed he could still return to pitch at some point in 2010. He should be allowed to begin throwing in December and possibly work off of a mound by March.

“Right now if everything goes good and I keep doing everything I’m doing now, I could be back in a year, maybe nine or 10 months,” Volquez said. “Kremchek I might be ready by May or June. Everything is going great right now. You can see there is no more swelling. They took the stitches out yesterday. I surprised them because they’ve seen me do a lot of stuff with my arm in exercises for the first week and a half. They’re happy now.”

I saw Homer Bailey in the clubhouse and other than a rather dark bruise in his left in-step from last night’s line drive by Albert Pujols, was moving OK. Bailey expected to be OK for his next start on Tuesday. Besides the usual ice treatments, he’s also a big believer in accupuncture.

Uniform change: Outfielder Wladimir Balentien swapped numbers. He went from No. 64 to No. 28, the former number of Edwin Encarnacion.

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Bargain signing of 2009?

Brandon Phillips was trying to compliment Laynce Nix after a great night where he hit two home runs, drove in four runs and saved a run with a nice left field catch in the Reds’ 9-3 win.

But read this quote and see if you pick up on the veiled shot of the night:

“It’s good to have a guy in left field that can hit the ball and who can catch the ball.”

I guess Phillips doesn’t miss Adam Dunn’s lackluster defense in left field. By the way, the Nationals and Reds play each other next week in DC.

Nix gave the Reds their first run with a solo homer off Kyle Lohse in the second inning. In the eighth, his three-run homer against Chris Perez put the game on ice.

This season, Nix batting .287 with six homers and 17 RBIs. Of his 29 hits, 18 have been for extra bases – including a team-high 11 doubles.

Signed for 600,000 this season after he made the Reds as a non-roster invite at Spring Training, is Nix the bargain of the season?

“He’s out there holding his own,” Phillips said. “Honestly, he’s underrated. It’s all about a guy getting a chance. He’s out there taking advantage of the chance he’s getting. We’re thankful he’s on our team. He’s getting some key hits. We’re really needed him today. He’s just doing it.”

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Kent Mercker in the house

Towards the end of last season when he was injured and retirement was near, someone asked reliever Kent Mercker what his next vocation would be. Without hesistation, he said he’d be “turning vodka into urine.” Everyone around him in the clubhouse laughed.

That was quintessential Mercker, who was one of the smartest and funniest players I’ve encountered in this game.

But he’s found a part-time gig that brings him around the Reds again. Mercker is here at Busch Stadium to make his regular season radio debut working with Marty Brennaman tonight and Thursday. He’s slated to do a handful of games later in the season. I can only imagine he’ll make for entertaining radio during the games. Let me know how he does.

The reason for the change: Chris Welsh returned home for his son’s graduation and Jeff Brantley shifted from the radio booth to TV with George Grande.When Mercker first got here, he didn’t know where to go – so he went to visit a familiar face, Dick Pole, who was by the Reds bullpen — which is usually a no-no for credentialed media.

“I will light him up for that,” Brennaman said. 

A few years ago when the Reds stayed near a decepit mall in St. Louis adjacent to Union Station, the stores were all T-shirt shops and fudge stores. One day Adam Dunn was given a white T-shirt with a photo of Mercker’s smiling mug on it. Above the picture read “World’s Greatest Teammate.”

On to some news…

Willy Taveras is out of the lineup again because of a sore right hamstring. Taveras’ inability to catch up to Nick Stavinoha’s sixth-inning drive to center field let two-runs score on the double, including the go-ahead run in a 5-2 loss. Taveras spent a while in manager Dusty Baker’s office on Wednesday.

“He’s about the same,” Baker said. “I had a long talk with him today. We’ll hopefully try it again this weekend some time against the Cubs.”

Chris Dickerson started in center field but Jerry Hairston Jr. was back in the lineup and moved up to the leadoff spot. Hairston missed the last two games with a stomach flu. Why was Hairston moved up?

“No. 1, I wanted to split up right-left-right-left,” Baker said. “No. 2, last year Hairston was an outstanding leadoff man.”

The Reds were 25-19 last season when Hairston led off.

“Hopefully we can get some of the same,” Hairston said. “Whether I leadoff or hit second, I know my job is to get on base. Obviously hitting second, I may take a few more pitches to give the guy in front of you an opportunity to steal a base.”

Alex Gonzalez was also given a rest after he made the last 11 starts. Paul Janish got a start at shortstop.

“He’s been playing a lot,” Baker said. “I don’t want Janish to be out too long. I thought about doing it tomorrow but that’s not fair to Janish getting one start and he has to face [Cardinals Thursday starter Chris] Carpenter.”

Almost forgot to mention — no starter was named on Saturday yet. Baker said it was definitely not someone already up here. That seems to all but point to Matt Maloney to get the start vs. the Cubs.

Reds lineup:

Hairston 5
Dickerson 8
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Hernandez 3
Nix 7
Hanigan 2
Janish 6
Cueto 1

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(Frigid) Monday lineups, notes

I feel bad for the Northeast and I know it’s not balmy in Cincinnati but here in Bradenton, it’s downright cold. The high is going to be 58 degrees but it usually feels about 10-15 degrees cooler in the McKechnie Field press box in Bradenton. Even when it’s 75 degrees here, everyone is bundled up because the wind whips through.

But that’s enough bellyaching for one day. You want lineups and news and here’s some to get you started:

Reds:

Dickerson CF, Keppinger SS, Bruce RF, Phillips 2B, Encarnacion 3B, Gomes 1B, Nix LF, Hanigan C, Bankston DH

P – Bailey

RHP Mike Lincoln, LHP Aaron Fultz, LHP Daniel Ray Herrera, RHP Josh Roenicke are the pitchers available from the bullpen after Bailey.

Pirates:

McCutchen LF, Sanchez 2B, McLouth CF, Doumit DH, LaRoche 1B, Moss RF, Walker 3B, Wilson SS, Jaramillo C

P – Duke

 

  • Dusty Baker said the other day that Jonny Gomes would get some action at first base to show versatility. Look for Jacque Jones to get some time there too this week. Neither Gomes nor Jones have ever played first base in the Majors.

“Now’s the time to check it out. He’s been working over there,” Baker said of Gomes. “We’ll have plenty of time with Joey [Votto] gone.”

Gomes has never played first base in his life. Jones played there in high school and a little bit at college.

“I’ve taken a bunch of groundballs. I’ve had to learn a whole new position,” Gomes said. “I’ve been practicing and getting a feel for it. You can’t practice game situations. I’ll just go out and run it out there. It will be alright.”

“Even as far back as Minnesota, I used to mess around and take groundballs in the infield,” Jones said. “I almost played there when Justin Morneau got hurt one year.”

I will have more on this on the main site later today but needless to say, both players are outfield candidates trying to improve their versatility and increase their chances of making the team. Anything can help and it doesn’t hurt to try at Spring Training when the games don’t count.

  • Team Venezuela has asked for the services of fifth starter candidate Ramon Ramirez at the World Baseball Classic.

“During the game [Sunday], they called [GM] Walt [Jocketty],” Baker said. “He ended up leaving afterwards. It’s a tough decision for the kid but I told him we understood, no problem. Just go pitch lights out. He has a bona fide chance to make this club but who knows how many more chances he’ll have to represent his country? That’s a tough decision. We helped make it easier for him. He will be in their starting rotation.”

Ramirez is the fourth starting pitcher to leave for the WBC — besides rotation locks Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto and prospect Pedro Viola – who are all pitching for the Dominican Republic.

  • Baker said Team USA considered adding Jay Bruce for the outfield but selected Adam Dunn instead.

Finally, here is a picture of Pirates beat writers in the front row. They know how to dress for games here.

PhotoQ030209Q002.jpg 

 

 

Owings on feeling healthy, hitting

Pitcher Micah Owings, who missed much of the second half with a shoulder injury before his trade from Arizona for Adam Dunn, is in a battle for the fifth starter’s spot. He’s already thrown in the bullpen and reports no health issues.

“That’s the most important thing right now that I’m feeling good,” Owings said. “I threw a couple of ‘pens before I came down. I’m starting to feel like I can cut it loose again. After going down with strain last year, you kind of think about how you might come back.”

All winter, the emails flowed to the former mailbag asking for the Reds to convert Owings from a pitcher to everyday player since he can hit. Does it bother the right-hander?

“My whole life I’ve been treated as a pitcher and then a hitter,” Owings said. “So I kind of think that since I’ve made it to the big leagues, it’s kind of been the opposite. I consider it as a compliment and respectful. By no means, do I take it as a knock on my pitching. But that’s what I’m here to do and that’s what my focus is going to be. Hitting is just a plus.”

Owings, who will likely pinch-hit during the season, has taken some swings in the cage this spring.

 

 

One down, many more to go

Mid 70s with a nice breeze — you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant day to start Spring Training on Saturday.

The 29 pitchers and seven of the eight catchers hit the field after morning physicals on the report day. It was basic stuff — pitchers doing PFP drills (fielding practice), bunting drills and bullpen sessions. Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey were among those that threw in the ‘pen.

Some of the observations from day one:

 

Cueto looked in better shape than last year. He looked to be throwing pretty well too. His catcher, Ramon Hernandez repeatedly was praising the right-hander in Spanish after several of the throws.

Also in great shape was Harang. He went from around 280 lbs. to 255 lbs.

Non-roster catcher Humberto Cota was the only catcher missing. He was still en route from Mexico.

Here’s a quiz for you — do you know who the most tenured Reds are now that Griffey, Dunn and Freel are gone?

1. Harang – since 2003 (six years)

2. David Weathers – 1998, 2005-pres (five years)

3. Edwin Encarnacion – since 2005 (four years and he’s only 26)

4. Bronson Arroyo – since 2006 (three years)

Harang, Weathers and Bailey are the only three pitchers left that started camp in 2006. Bailey was just in camp for a first look but not a roster contender. Arroyo arrived mid-camp after being traded from the Red Sox.

“How weird is that? That’s a lot of turnaround,” Weathers said.

Finally — in prank of the day…someone left bears, balloons, and hearts at Jay Bruce’s locker for Valentine’s Day. The nice touch was the framed picture of his girlfriend on the chair.

 

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