Results tagged ‘ Aroldis Chapman ’

Arroyo on his start

It was one the hottest days we’ve had in Goodyear so far during camp came as temperatures reached the upper 80s on Thursday. No complaints at all, especially given all of the rain I’m hearing about in Cincinnati. Hopefully the Ohio River subsides soon before any really serious problems happen.

A bunch of Giants homers in the third inning — three to be exact — helped send the Reds to a 7-0 loss.

The highlights:

*San Francisco crushed three homers against Bronson Arroyo in the third, including back-to-back one-out shots by Andres Torres (2-run HR) and Freddy Sanchez. Cody Ross added a solo homer with two outs. Overall, Arroyo allowed four earned runs and five hits over four innings with one walk and two strikeouts.

“I felt the same as the first two times out,” Arroyo said. “I got a little tired after three innings but it’s probably expected this time of year. I haven’t felt great all spring but I haven’t felt bad at all. Command is good. They hit three off-speed pitches out of the park.”

*Arroyo said he threw all fastballs in the fourth inning to build his endurance.

*The much anticipated spring debut of Edinson Volquez finally came. Volquez, a bit jet-lagged from his long Wednesday flight from the Dominican lasted 2 1/3 innings with two runs (one unearned), two hits two walks, a hit batter and two strikeouts. There will be much more from him on MLB.com soon.

*Aroldis Chapman gave up one run and two hits in his two innings and struck out three. But he had better command than in his previous three outings.

“He looked pretty good,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He threw a real good changeup. He’s been working on that. That would give him a third pitch to keep them off his fastball. He threw strikes with it. He threw a couple of good breaking balls. He looked a lot better this time than last time and that’s the objective.”

*And it’s the not always “just spring” category, Giants starter Madison Baumgarner had a little extra motivation for the Reds. Baumgarner last faced the Cincinnati Aug. 25 when he allowed eight runs (seven earned) in 2 2/3 innings. The Giants ended up making a big comeback before the Reds won 12-11 in 12 innings.

“I definitely didn’t forget about it. It’s hard to forget about something like that,” Baumgarner said.

Today, Baumgarner worked a crisp four scoreless innings with six strikeouts. His only hit was a one-out soft single to right field by Brandon Phillips, who was caught stealing. The Reds had only five hits overall on the day.

*In part two of “it’s not just spring”, Jonny Gomes threw out Pat Burrell at second base trying for a double on a drive off the left field wall in the fourth inning. Gomes pumped his fist when Burrell was called out. Granted, Burrell isn’t fleet of foot, but it was a good throw.

*It was a busier than usual day with media and guests. Besides a slew of national writers that were over, a crew from “Rome Is Burning?” was shooting with Brandon Phillips, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo — formerly of WFAN in New York, was here with Sirius/XM radio. And James Denton of “Desperate Housewives” fame was watching the pre-game workout. Denton is friends with Sean Casey, who is here as a guest instructor.

*Finally, former Reds intern and current Triple-A Louisville employee Danny “Blue” Steele has started a new team blog called, “The Bats Signal.” It’s still getting started but it should provide ample updates once the regular season begins.

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Hold on to your wigs and keys

This wasn’t a good day out here if you wear a toupee or had to catch a fly ball.

Winds at the yard today were at 29 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. A few infielders and outfielders took some unique routes in trying to catch some of the flies. It certainly wasn’t an easy task.

“I was chewing a lot of gum to keep my mouth wet, that’s for sure,” Reds pitcher Homer Bailey said.

Fortunately, this did not affect your fearless Reds beat writer in the cozy confines of the press box. But wow ,it was sure windy all around the desert today. There lots of double-digit run totals in Cactus League games on Monday. For example, it was a 16-16 final between the White Sox and Indians in Glendale.

Over in Goodyear, there was only side with double-digits and that was the Brewers. They handed the Reds a 15-2 thumping. The 25 hits allowed by Cincinnati was the club’s most in a spring game since at least 1997.

*Before Monday’s loss, Reds pitchers had a 1.03 ERA over the previous four games, totaling 35 innings. The staff hadn’t allowed a homer in the previous seven-straight games. The Brewers had three today.

“Man, this game is hard to figure,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “One day everything goes right and the next day everything goes wrong. I guess that’s why it’s called spring.”

Some pitching lines:

*Bailey wound up being charged with four earned runs and six hits over 2 2/3 innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Bailey was trailing 1-0 with two outs in the third and just couldn’t finish the inning. He allowed four-straight hits.

*Mike Leake was roughed up for six hits in the fourth inning and nine total over three innings. He also allowed four runs. Many of the balls were well connected.

*Bill Bray gave up seven runs and six hits over 2/3 of an inning.

*Nick Masset fared the best with one scoreless inning and one strikeout.

*Aroldis Chapman threw two wild pitches in the seventh and gave up one hit during a scoreless seventh.

“Chappy had a little problem with command but ended up getting a key double play and got out of the inning. He didn’t appear very happy,” Baker said.

Some hitting, but not much:

*The Reds had seven hits, most of them late. Dave Sappelt’s second homer of spring provided their first run in the seventh.

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Reds-Indians, part deux

Game starts at 3:05 p.m. ET. No TV…radio on WLW

Reds lineup:

Lewis 7
Heisey 8
Bruce DH
Francisco 5
Hermida 9
Alonso 3
Cairo 4
Hanigan 2
Janish 6

Arroyo 1

*Today is Aroldis Chapman’s 23rd birthday. He is scheduled to pitch today, as is Francisco Cordero,  Nick Masset and Bill Bray.

*Speaking of Cordero, Dusty Baker was asked about where he might have had trouble last season. Baker deferred to Bryan Price on things like mechanics — which Cordero told me recently he might have struggled with because of his weight.

“He may have also gotten a little predictable,” Baker said Monday. “When you’re in that role, it doesn’t take much to be perceived as a hero or a zero. One walk, one hit batsman, one homer – anything.”

*I noted yesterday that potential bench spot players like Valiaka, Heisey and Hermida had good offensive games late on Sunday. Baker noted however that one-dimensional players aren’t going to make it.

“But there’s more to making the team than hitting,” he said. “That’s all we see or pay attention to. Field, bases – it’s not called hitting. It’s called baseball. But if you’re going to play winning baseball, you have to do more than just hit.”

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Baker: No closer controversy

The topic of Aroldis Chapman and his role for this season came up this morning in Reds manager Dusty Baker’s office. But before a certain particular question could be asked, Baker jumped in with his own proclamation.

“One thing I want to squash right now: there is no closer situation controversy,” Baker said. “I know everybody wants to be in a hurry to rush [Chapman] in there but we’ve got to get him acclimated to what he’s doing first. Cordero, even though it’s been exciting a couple of times, still was second in in our league in saves the last two years. That’s something most people overlook. There are only a couple of non-exciting closers in baseball and one of them is getting older in Mariano.”

Francisco Cordero was actually third in the NL last season with 40 saves. He had eight blown saves. Near the end of last season, Baker staunchly defended Cordero when there was clamoring for Chapman to close games with his 100-plus mph velocity.

Right now, Chapman will continue to be used in the set-up role he gradually assumed over the final month of last season.

“I plan on using him like I used him last year and we’ll see how he progresses and things,” Baker said. “We need him now more as a reliever than as a starter. The fact he’s left-handed, the fact he seems to throw more strikes and it might be easier on his arm relieving right now.”

Chapman will be speaking to reporters after the workout today and I will have more on MLB.com.

In other news –

*Edinson Volquez was in camp today. A emergency light flashing on his plane in the Dominican delayed him two hours and he missed his connection to Phoenix.

*Dontrelle Willis was also back after he missed yesterday because his wife was having a baby.

*Drew Stubbs arrived to the complex today.

*There were no injuries from the first day’s workout.

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Report date almost here…

The Reds complex was a little quieter Tuesday than on my first day around — not surprising since pitchers and catchers officially go to work Wednesday. Lots of players were still getting in workouts and Jared Burton threw to Devin Mesoraco catching in the bullpen.

One of the things I watched was Aroldis Chapman long tossing with bullpen coach Juan “Porky” Lopez. Chapman was chucking balls from the center field warning track area to Lopez, who was at the foul line just beyond first base. Let me tell you, these were some impressive heaves.

chapman 021511.JPGI later had a nice chat with Lopez, who had a busy winter with his kids. His son, Jack, is a star high school shortstop in Orlando and likely to be drafted this June. Jack also signed to attend the Univ. of Miami on a scholarship so he is a kid with options when the time comes to make decisions.

Among the people I saw in camp today that I didn’t see yesterday were Corky Miller, Daryl Thompson, Dave Sappelt, third base coach Mark Berry and catching prospect Yasmani Grandal.

Again, the weather is just spectacular today. I heard it might get colder by week’s end. And by colder, I mean the highs will be in the low-to-mid 60s. Don’t hate me for writing that.

ESPN and the Reds made news twice today.

Former Reds great Barry Larkin joined the network as a baseball analyst, it was formally announced today. Word had gotten out yesterday. Larkin had been with MLB Network since it launched.

Also — Baseball Tonight revealed its Spring Training tour itinerary and it will be in this camp on Wednesday. Larkin is not among the talent.

An item I didn’t expect was announced today. Ken Griffey Jr. is joining the Mariners as a special consultant. The club says Griffey will be involved in Major League Baseball operations and player development, as well as their Minor League system, marketing, broadcasting and community relations. Junior will also be at Spring Training this year. I always thought Griffey would lay very low after retiring so he could be with his kids. He went out quietly in the middle of last season. I’m glad to hear he’s going to be involved with the game to some degree. 

Today’s story on the Reds site and MLB.com will be on Dontrelle Willis. It will be very interesting to see how he fares in camp and whether he can earn a spot in a crowded bullpen.

Things really get rolling on Wednesday. There will be physicals in the morning, a meetings and the first formal workout should commence in the afternoon. Manager Dusty Baker will also be in camp for the first time and his daily sessions with reporters will also begin. 

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Reds lose Rhodes to Rangers

All fall and winter, it seemed like the Reds retaining LHP Arthur Rhodes was a formality. He wanted to return and the club wanted him back.

But on Thursday night, Rhodes had agreed to a one-year contract with the Rangers — according to a pair of baseball sources. Terms were not immediately known. The deal has yet to be announced by Texas.

The 41-year-old Rhodes was a key late-inning set-up man for the Reds the past two seasons. In 2010, he posted a 2.29 ERA in 69 games – his most appearances since 2001. That included a stretch where he tied a Major League record with 33-straight scoreless appearances – over 30 innings. He was also an All-Star for the first time in his 19-season career.

Complicating matters for the Reds was that other lefty relievers were getting larger deals than Cincinnati was willing to offer Rhodes. For instance, Scott Downs got three years and $15 million from the Angels while Pedro Feliciano received a two-year, $8 million deal from the Yankees. Rhodes had better seasons than both of those guys.

During the Winter Meetings, GM Walt Jocketty mentioned Rhodes was seeking a multi-year deal — which with him at 41, the Reds weren’t willing to do. AOL Fanhouse reported that Rhodes’ deal includes a vesting option for 2012. 

Without Rhodes, the Reds still have lefties Aroldis Chapman and Bill Bray in the fold. As for Dontrelle Willis, who signed a minor league contract last month to reboot his career as a reliever, his chances to make the team just got a whole lot better.

Rhodes was a Type A free agent but the Reds did not offer him arbitration earlier this month. That means they get no compensation picks as a result.

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Errors sting big time, down 0-2

The Reds gave away their 7-4 loss to the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLDS, no bones about it. They had a 4-0 lead. They had knocked out their nemesis in Roy Oswalt. They had control of the game. It slipped out of their hands.

Seven unanswered runs — five were unearned because of four errors. It’s the salt that stings the defeat all the more.

The Jay Bruce missed catch on Jimmy Rollins’ fly ball in the seventh was the big one. Bruce catches that ball and the Reds can still hang on.

This is my game story

Here are some quotes:

“It was in the lights the whole time. I tried to stick with it to see if it would come out. It never did. It’s pretty helpless. It’s embarrassing. I take a lot of pride in my defense. There’s really nothing I can do about it. I wish for my team more than anything that it didn’t go into the lights or that it came out and I could have caught it. It didn’t happen.” — Jay Bruce

“Well, you could tell it was in the lights, because Jay’s played Golden Glove outfielder, and he didn’t come close to catching that ball.  From being an outfielder, you can tell when the ball gets in the lights.  Yeah, definitely that ball got in the lights at the wrong time.” — Dusty Baker

“It’s hard to give a lineup like that four extra outs and not expect to get beat.” — Bronson Arroyo

“Things happen. This team has battled the entire year. We play such great defense. It’s unfortunate. We are trying our best. It seemed like we’re swinging the bats better. Hopefully on Sunday we can bounce back.” — Orlando Cabrera

“You leave the door open that many times to those guys and they’re going to keep putting pressure on you. Then things start happening. The balls were hit to us. We had plays and we didn’t make them.” — Scott Rolen

Postgame notes —

*Orlando Cabrera left after the fourth inning with a sore left oblique. He hoped to be able to play on Sunday.

“I saw the doctor and he said it didn’t look that bad. We’ll see tomorrow how I feel,” Cabrera said.

*The debacle of the seventh inning started when Chase Utley acted his way through a hit-by-pitch from Aroldis Chapman. The pitch was 101 mph, Utley didn’t sell it that well but it was enough to be awarded first base.

“I don’t think at any time that the ball hit him. I don’t think he ever got hit,” Chapman said.

“It was pretty close,” Utley said. “At first I thought it was going to hit me in my head.  Fortunately, it didn’t.  And he throws so hard.  I felt like I thought it hit me, so I put my head down and I ran to first.”

 Q.  Did it hit you?  CHASE UTLEY:  “I’m not sure.” 

*Scott Rolen is 0-for-7 with five K’s in the two games so far.

*Brandon Phillips’ leadoff home run in the first inning ended a 30-scoreless innings streak at

Citizens Bank Park going back to July 9. Phillips had only the second leadoff postseason homer in Reds history. Pete Rose also did it in World Series Game 5 at Oakland on 10/20/72.

*The six errors were a League Division Series record. The Reds four errors tied the record for most errors in a single LDS game.

See you Saturday from Cincinnati. Workout at GABP in the afternoon.

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Live, but delayed, from the NLDS

Apologies for the lack of blog action here today. It wasn’t the best of travel days. My original flight to Philadelphia was canceled and the rebooked flights was delayed. I got to the ballpark after the press conferences were over and simply hit the ground running on my stories.

*It was a rather chilly and rainy day Tuesday — the usual fare for postseason baseball. Fortunately there was no game today because the elements were not ideal.

*Lots of media decended on Citizens Bank Park today. It will be more than most Reds players have ever had to deal with.

*One cool thing I noticed during BP — pitcher Aaron Harang was the “bucket guy” retrieving balls hit to the outfield. It’s usually a task for the least senior starting pitcher when those guys are shagging fly balls.

*Here are some story links on MLB.com that you might want to see:

Final roster isn’t decided, but there will be four lefty relievers. That could be a strength.

Edinson Volquez story

Could days off between NLDS games help Chapman?

Notebook: Votto on MVP talk

*Here are some quotes from the clubhouse today:

“The atmosphere at this ballpark is kind of second to none. I think that comes with the Phillies fans, which are very passionate about their Phillies. They will let you know they like the Phillies more than the Reds. That creates a little buzz here.” — Jonny Gomes

“It’s coming along decent. We numbed it up today and tried to do some stuff. I mostly hit inside today. We’re still waiting to make a decision. We’ll have a meeting in a little bit.” — Jim Edmonds on his right Achilles tendon

“The regular season is done and it speaks for itself. I don’t have to validate anything. I do owe it to myself, my teammates and Reds fans to play as well as I can, to compete and give it everything I can out on the ball field.” — Joey Votto on his MVP-caliber season

“The last couple of days were nice. I was sick over the last two or three weeks. We all know that when we’re sick, you really don’t consider that rest. You just try to recover and get back to normal. The last couple of days, Dusty gave me one full day off and I played half a game. I really appreciated that.” — Votto on getting breaks after the NL Central clinch

“We are so routine oriented that you don’t want to take guys out of their routine. If they listen to certain music, do it. If they go to the bath room at a certain time or eat at a certain time. At this point in the season, everybody has their own routine. Some guys play cards. Some guys just chill. Some guys watch Judge Judy, whatever they do.” — Dusty Baker on his players not getting too amped up about the playoff stage.

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Rest for Votto, Rolen

Sat lineup vs. MIL

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Cairo 5
Alonso 3
Hanigan 2
Bailey 1

*Joey Votto, who is 1-for-7 with two walks and a sac fly the past two games, got a rest.

“He looks a little bit slow, a little bit off,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’ll play [Sunday]. I’ll try to play everybody five innings today, the same tomorrow.”

*Scott Rolen was rested for the last four innings of Friday’s game and isn’t getting a break today.

“I’ll try to play some of the guys, especially guys that have a chance to play on the playoff roster and get them some at-bats,” Baker said.

*Arthur Rhodes and Aroldis Chapman aren’t expected to be available today.

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Votto in, Phillips moved down

Sat. lineup vs SD

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Phillips 4
Hernandez 2
Wood 1

*Brandon Phillips is batting .145 (12-for-83) in his last 20 games since returning from being hit on the right hand by a pitch. He was 0-for-4 with a walk but clearly frustrated in the sixth when he fouled out to first base and left runners on first and second.

*Joey Votto is starting for the first time since Monday. Votto was taking some Vitamin C and said he felt better. He had a tough assignment last night pinch-hitting in the ninth inning vs. Padres closer Heath Bell

“I just hadn’t had an at-bat in a while or hit on the field,” Votto said. “That type of stuff tends to help. I felt like a fish out of water there. But I’m sure I will be fine today.”

*Check this out from the Reds:

One of Aroldis Chapman’s pitches to Tony Gwynn Jr. last night reached 105.1 on the Pitch/FX system, the fastest speed ever reliably recorded.Chapman threw 7 pitches to Gwynn in that AB.  The average speed was 103.2 mph.

Called Strike    102.6
Ball    103.7
Foul    102.5
Foul    104.1
Ball    105.1
Foul    103.1
Called Strike    101.5

*Courtesy Trent McCotter, SABR
Fastest pitches on record, beginning with 2006 postseason, using Pitch/fX

105.1 mph: Aroldis Chapman, CIN v. SD 9/24/2010, facing Tony Gwynn Jr.

104.8 mph: Joel Zumaya, DET v. OAK, 10/10/2006, facing Frank Thomas
103.9 mph: Aroldis Chapman, CIN v. MIL, 9/1/2010, facing Jonathan Lucroy
103.8 mph: Aroldis Chapman, CIN v. MIL, 9/1/2010, facing Jonathan Lucroy
103.4 mph: Joel Zumaya, DET v. OAK, 10/10/2006, facing Frank Thomas
103.4 mph: Joel Zumaya, DET v. OAK, 10/10/2006, facing Jay Payton
103.4 mph: Neftali Feliz, TEX v. KC, 9/1/2010, facing Mike Aviles 

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