Results tagged ‘ Chris Heisey ’

Heisey looking good

It was another wild offensive day in the Cactus League for the Reds. This was a 9-8 victory, which has moved the spring record to 14-9-1.

The good:

The Reds collected 17 hits in the game.

*Chris Heisey went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, including a solo homer to left field in the top of the eighth. He was a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Heisey is batting .325 (13-for-40) this spring and has hit safely in 9 of his last 12 games. He seems to have all but claimed a reserve outfielder’s spot. Heisey started in center field again and despite a throwing error today, has shown that he can play all three spots.

*Todd Frazier cranked a three-run homer to left field in the  fourth inning off of Brewers starter Chris Narveson. It was his second long ball since Thursday. Frazier got off to a slow start and seems to be coming on.

*The Dave Sappelt hitting show had another strong day. Sappelt was 2-for-4, which actually lowered his average from .536 to .531.

*Dontrelle Willis pitched well in the game, despite giving up a three-run homer to George Kottaras in the bottom of the fifth. A one-out walk to Casey McGhee two batters before Kottaras hurt.

“Willis made one bad pitch on a breaking ball to George Kottaras and what got him in trouble was the walk also,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*Aroldis Chapman pitched two scoreless innings with two walks. Chapman also batted for himself in the eighth and slapped a single the opposite way through the left side.

“I turned to him and said ‘are you ready to hit?’ He said ‘oh no.’ And he got a hit. I’m glad for him,” Baker said.

Not-so-good:

*Reds pitchers combined to allowed 11 walks. Five came via Edinson Volquez, including four in the bottom of the third. Volquez walked two runs in and was removed after 2 1/3 innings. He was charged with five earned runs.

“I had a little bit of problem with control. It’s nothing big,” Volquez said. “It’s nothing but mechanical. I was jumping from of the rubber to home plate. … My arm is good, my body, everything is fine.”

Volquez believes he’ll be ready for the Brewers again on March 31.

“I have a good idea now of what they’re looking for,” he said. “It will be a good game.”

*Playing first base in the eighth inning, Yonder Alonso had his foot stepped on accidentally by former Red Chris Dickerson as he ran out a groundball. Alonso needed a couple of moments and was looked over by trainer Paul Lessard and Baker. But he was able to continue.

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Friday afternoon notes

Dusty Baker was a rather pleased manager following the Reds’ 3-1 win over the Mariners. Besides winning, there were no walks allowed and no errors committed. In fact, neither side gave up a walk — which is pretty rare in a spring game.

“That was a very clean and well-played game,” Baker said. “Good pitching.”

Other news and notes out of the game today:

*There was a very strong nice outing from Dontrelle Willis today with two perfect innings. Willis was taking something off on a couple of pitches and crossed up some hitters. Of his 24 pitches, 19 were strikes. It was a much better performance than outing No. 1.

“Dontrelle threw strike after strike, especially when he got the 3-2 count on the guy,” Baker said. “You can’t say anything bad today.”

*I spoke with SS Zack Cozart before the game and he’s been having a good camp. After a 2-for-3 game, he is 4-for-10 (.400) over five games. This quote didn’t make it into my Reds beat item on him today.

“This year is a lot different for me,” Cozart said. “It was my first Spring Training. I was happy to be here and in awe of some of the guys. This year, I feel more part of the team. I am on the [40-man] roster. I’m more relaxed. Even Brook Jacoby and Dusty Baker said the same thing. I feel more at home. They can tell in my play out there. I’m not pressing. I’m trying to prove I can play.”

*I also did a pre-game interview for a feature story with OF Chris Heisey, who did not fare as well going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts today. Heisey, like Cozart, is more comfortable being in camp after going through last year. There is more at stake as Heisey is trying to retain his extra outfielder’s job amid competition from Fred Lewis and Jeremy Hemrida.

“I still have to make the team and I still can’t coast through. It is a new season,” Heisey said. “Last year I helped the team off the bench but it’s a new year and we have to win this year. No guarantrees  I need to prove I can be the same guy this year and help the team off the bench and hopefully be that pinch-hitter again.”

*OF Juan Duran is only 19 but cuts an imposing figure at 6-foot-7. Duran was 2-for-2 today and sliced a liner into right field and slid into second base for a double.

“That’s why we’ve got him over here,” Baker said. “We’re letting the young guys play and see what they can do.”

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Bring forth the Ohio Cup?

Finally, southern Ohio’s burden is now lifted. The Reds finally beat the Indians in exhibition baseball with a 7-6 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Last spring out here, Cincinnati was 0-5-1 vs. the Tribe. But don’t drink from your homemade Ohio Cups just yet — there are three more spring games left. Of course, there are six more during the regular season. The Reds got the real Ohio Cup in last year’s Interleague games.

It’s hard to look too much into the results after one day but there was some quick observations.

*Matt Maloney started for Edinson Volquez and looked very, very sharp with two perfect innings. He is trying to earn a spot in the Reds bullpen. One of his fellow contenders for the same bullpen role, Sam LeCure, gave up two hits over two scoreless innings but had four strikeouts.

*Dave Sappelt, who was 3-for-3 in yesterday’s scrimmage, sparked the Reds with a long two-run homer to left field. For a 5-foot-9 guy, it was an impressive knock. He’s not going to let many pitches get by him, but he was called out on strikes to end the top of the ninth.

*For the guys competing for the bench spots, it was a competitive day. Chris Valaika followed Sappelt and made it back-to-back homers with a shot to right-center field. Chris Heisey started the winning ninth inning rally with a one-out walk and Jeremy Hermida kept it going with a single through the left side.

*Corky Miller (and his mustache) had the biggest hit with the game-winning two-run double off of the right field wall.

*Jose Arredondo made his first big league appearance of any kind in over a year and got the save in the ninth. Although he gave up a leadoff single, Arrendondo got a guy to hit a line drive to Yonder Alonso for a double play.

*On the negative side, young pitcher Donnie Joseph got knocked around for five earned runs, three hits and two walks while notching only one out in the seventh.

Overall, Dusty Baker was happy with the game.

“We looked pretty good,” Baker said. “Joseph got roughed up a little bit. He was probably a little nervous. He left some balls down over the heart of the plate after he got a little wild. Other than that, everybody looked pretty good. We played good defense, ran the bases well and had some timely hitting. Our young guys came back and won it for us late.”

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The Bloomquist era begins

Weds lineup vs. ARI

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

*3B Scott Rolen is not in the lineup because of stiffness in his upper back and neck.

“It happened on a swing during my third at-bat, my first strikeout last night,” Rolen said. “It was a slider down and I caught something.”

Rolen is listed as day-to-day for a return, which will likely happen in Houston.

“I’m not worried about it,” Rolen said.

“I could tell last night when he took a couple of funky swings,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I could tell something was wrong when one hand came off the bat. Plus when he gets real, real quiet, I’ve come to learn something is not right.”

*After Miguel Cairo starts tonight at third base, Baker plans to start Juan Francisco there on Thursday.

*Chris Heisey is available to play but is still bothered by a sore left biceps. Baker is trying to rest him as much as possible.

*Laynce Nix (sprained left ankle) is jogging but not running yet. He has been hitting in the cage.

*Orlando Cabrera is 9-for-18 lifetime vs. Arizona LHP Joe Saunders. On the other hand, Willie Bloomquist is 0-for-11. 

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New lineup, Bruce is back

Ignore the lineup in the previous post. There was a change. Chris Heisey is out and Jay Bruce is in for the first time since Aug. 30. He’s been out with a sore right side.

“I’m ready to go,” Bruce said. “It’s time to go. I want to get ready for that push and help my team as much as I can.”

Reds manager Dusty Baker said that Bruce didn’t talk his way into the lineup.

“He’s been saying that for a couple of days,” said Baker, who noted that Bruce likely won’t be 100 percent the rest of the season but good enough that he can play.

“Heisey is hurting some now. We’ll try to play Jay the next couple of days,” Baker said. “Heisey might be ready Wednesday when we have a lefty. We’ll see what’s going on.”

Monday lineup vs. ARI

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

*Laynce Nix (left ankle) and Jim Edmonds (right oblique tear) took batting practice today. Edmonds could be ahead of Nix in returning because Nix isn’t able to run yet.

 

Postgame: Baker behind Cordero

Sometimes with this job, especially on Twitter, trying to be pragmatic ends up making you look defensive. Of course, everyone is calling for Francisco Cordero’s head or for a demotion after his second blown save this weekend in a 3-1 Reds loss. Today on Twitter, I tried to do the former and came across sounding like the latter.

Obviously, it’s been a shaky season at times for Cordero and if I’m the Reds, I’d a little worried about his ability to put games away in the postseason. But is he going lose his job? No chance. And should he lose his job? No.

Cordero, who is 35 for 43 in save chances, never makes it look easy when he gets saves but until Friday, he saved 11 in a row since July 9 and he had converted 18 of 19. It’s not Dancing with the Stars or figure skating — there are no style points for how saves are made, even if he loads the bases with walks and hit batters.

These two times though, it wasn’t the walks killing Cordero and the Reds — just clean hits by the Pirates. Combine Friday and Sunday, he’s allowed seven hits and five runs. (***update, I screwed up…I forgot about the leadoff walk.)

“It was not my best. I’m not pitching my best right now. It’s real disappointing,” Cordero said.

Everyone is naturally calling for Aroldis Chapman to be installed as the closer. Sure he throws 103 mph, but do you really want a 22-year-old with seven career big league games holding down the toughest job during the postseason? At this point, the Reds and Cordero are locked in together in the ninth inning and that’s not going to change, according to Dusty Baker.

“We all feel terrible for Coco. He’s a heck of a teammate and we need him,” Baker said. “We need him badly because he’s our closer. Nobody else is really ready to close. He’s our closer. I know people are hollering for this person and that person. What happens when the next person doesn’t do it? Then you’ll be hollering for somebody else. You can’t keep doing that. Look at Philadelphia that went to the World Series with Brad Lidge. You have to stick with him and we have to get him together. Nobody feels worse than him, nobody.”

Quick notes –

*Orlando Cabrera hurt his left heel scoring on Joey Votto’s RBI double in the fourth. He remained in the game until Paul Janish took over on defense in the ninth.

*Brandon Phillips went 0-for-4 and his hitless in his last 12 at-bats. He is 6-for-43 (.140) in seven games since returning from a hand injury.

*The Reds six-game home winning streak is over.

More quotes —

“You can’t really go down looking in that situation like I did. I got some pitches I should have hit and just didn’t get it done. We had the game won today. We had a chance and I had a chance to get us back to a tie or take the lead. I just didn’t pull through.” — Chris Heisey, who was caught looking at strike three with the bases loaded to end the game.

“That whole inning guys put together some pretty good at-bats. To get to Cordero twice in one series is not easy to do”. — Pirates manager John Russell on the top of the ninth.

“It’s not like I was pitching to my little boy. He is a big league hitter. He’s a pretty good hitter. He’s young but he’s a big league player.” — Francisco Cordero on Andrew McCutchen, who hit the three-run double in the ninth.
 
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Reds seeking series win

Sunday lineup vs. LAD

Phillip 4
Cairo 5
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Heisey 9
Hernandez 2 Hanigan 2
Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Arroyo 1

Dusty Baker tipped yesterday that Rolen might not play and that Heisey would definitely play. But it’s an unexpected twist that Hernandez is catching since Hanigan is usually paired with Arroyo. Hernandez has been super hot at the plate of late (.379 with 17 RBIs, last 15 games) but it’s still worth asking.

**Sorry — there was a mistake is the info. Hanigan is the starting catching, not Hernandez. It’s not a scratch or anything.

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Who is that guy at 2B?

Sunday lineup vs. FLA

Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Edmonds 8
Cairo 5
Hanigan 2
Janish 6
Bailey 1

*To make room for Homer Bailey’s activation on the 25-man roster, the Reds optioned 3B Juan Francisco to Triple-A Louisville. That, of course, left the Reds with one spare infielder. To get some protection, they’ve had outfielder Chris Heisey working out in the infield lately, especially at second base.

“I haven’t taken groundballs in about a week but I’m going to go out there in a little bit and take some grounders,” Heisey said Sunday morning. “It’s in case of emergency. I’ve played shortstop my whole life and then in college, the second half of my junior year was spent at shortstop. I’m would not say I’m comfortable in the infield, but I don’t feel like a stranger. I trust my hand-eye coordination and reflexes enough to at least knock the ball down and throw it across the infield.”

*As I type this, Heisey is taking grounders from Chris Speier and practicing flips to second base.

“Anybody else – I can move Brandon to shortstop, Cairo to here to there. Scotty can play third base or first base if something happened to Joey,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You start thinking of different scenarios. If something happened seriously, we’d have to get somebody in here. Whatever it is, it’d be a stopgap situation until we got somebody in here.”

*Back in 2008 when they were shorthanded, the Reds had to use catcher Javy Valentin for an entire game and part of one other at third base. The funny thing is, Valentin never had one ball hit to him. So much for the ball finding him.

*LHP Travis Wood had a two-inning start for Louisville at Columbus last night. Why two innings? It wasn’t an injury but a tune-up to get him ready for his next start in Cincinnati. The Reds still list Thursday’s starter at Arizona as TBA. Wood is eligible to return by then. Incidentally, Wood worked scoreless last night with three hits and a walk. He struck out two during the Bats’ 1-0 loss to Columbus.

*Baker has been playing the Van Morrison album “Too Long in Exile”  the last couple of days while he’s been suspended.

“I broke it out,” Baker said. “That’s how I felt.”

*And here is a compliment from one of the Marlins about the Red the last two games.

“I give the Reds credit,” ourfielder Cody Ross said. “They’re not running slop out there. They pitch well, play great defense. Brandon Phillips is everywhere. I hit to the right, he’s there. I hit the ball up the middle he’s there. They must have the perfect scouting report on us.”

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Tick tock tick tock…

The Trade Deadline is at 4 p.m. ET, first pitch between the Reds and Braves at 4:10.

Saturday lineup vs ATL

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

UPDATE at 2 pm: Baker has heard nothing relating to trades from GM Walt Jocketty.

“I haven’t seen Walt,” Baker said. “I’m sure he’s on the phone some place with it glued to his ear.”

*Baker was stunned by the three-way trade that sent RHP Jake Westbrook from the Indians to the Cardinals and OF Ryan Ludwick to the Padres. But it wasn’t the Westbrook part that shocked him.

“Ludwick, I like him. He can hit,” Baker said. “He hit 37 [homers] two years ago. Wow.”

*Many are complaining that Baker doesn’t start Chris Heisey very often, even as he does well as a pinch-hitter or late substitute (ie last night). You know who isn’t complaining? Heisey.

“No matter how well I play coming off the bench, I don’t think it determines whether I should start or not,” Heisey said on Saturday. “If a guy needs a day off, I’m ready. To be honest, I’ve had so much success off the bench and not so much when I start. Obviously, everybody wants to be a starter. I don’t resent anybody for me not starting by any means.”

Heisey is a .224 hitter (13-for-58) with two homers in 16 starts. He’s batting .423 (11-for-26) as a sub, including .389 (7-for-18) with four homers as a pinch-hitter.

“I want to start but when I get to the park and don’t see my name in the lineup, I’m never mad or anything like that,” Heisey said. “I know my role. At this point, we’re winning so I’m fine with it.”

*Aaron Harang (back) threw in another bullpen session today and said he felt OK. Harang also took batting practice and didn’t seem to be favoring anything.

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No need for LeCure, Matthews

*Pitcher Sam LeCure came all the way to Houston but did not set one toe on the mound at Minute Maid Park on Saturday. He was Plan B in case Johnny Cueto couldn’t start tonight becuase of the flu. Cueto is OK, so LeCure wasn’t needed.

“I’m just here, and not here,” LeCure said.

LeCure was told to sit tight this afternoon just in case. He sat at a locker without a number on it and chatted with several players.

“I just came out to watch a game,” said LeCure.

The Reds scratched LeCure from his start Friday for Triple-A Louisville at Gwinnett about three hours before their game. He flew into Houston late Friday night.

“He just got a free trip to Houston. He understands,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*Baker said he tried to lobby Gary Matthews Jr. to stay in the organization before he opted out of his contract. Baker is close friends with both Matthews Jr. and Gary Matthews Sr.

“I talked to him this morning. I tried to convince him to wait,” Baker said. “He said after being in the big leagues this long, he just didn’t want to be in Triple-A anymore. He doesn’t have anywhere to go right now. He said thanks for the opportunity and he’ll see what happens.”

The decision not to bring up Matthews ultimately came down something basic. The Reds did not feel he was an improvement to what was already on the 25-man roster.

“Right now, Nix is doing a great job off the bench as a left-handed pinch-hitter. Nobody is doing better on the right side than Heisey. And Stubbs is doing better and getting better in center field. Sometimes, there’s not a fit.”

*Nix started and batted fourth vs. the Astros for one good reason. He is 7-for-15 (.467) with two homers lifetime vs. Roy Oswalt.

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