Results tagged ‘ Chris Heisey ’

Day 1 in Indy

For reasons beyond my control, I rolled into Indianapolis late today. My colleague, Indians beat writer and former Reds reporter Anthony Castrovince, picked me up when Dusty Baker had his session with reporters.If you’d like to read the transcript, here is the link.

http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=60700

While Dusty was talking, I was in my car approaching Indy on a portion of I-65 known as the Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds Highway. Wow — he gets a highway named after him? I just remember Babyface being on “Beverly Hills 90210″ as himself singing and had Brian Austin Green in his band and Kari Wurhrer as his agent. That ended up being an interesting episode but anywho…

I did arrive at the Winter Meetings in time to go to the Reds suite and chat with GM Walt Jocketty. Former Padres GM Kevin Towers was in there but it didn’t appear to be about business.

“I’m watching football,” Towers said.

“He’s a friend and we’re catching up,” Jocketty said.

All is quiet on the Reds front in terms of hot stove stuff. There have been no talks yet with the agents for Jonny Gomes. Jocketty said he was looking for a utility infielder that can play shortstop. He has not spoken to the agent for Jamey Carroll.

Jocketty made it clear that he is not seeking to break up the roster or part with the future prospects, so it might be an uneventful week.

“We like our club. We like our club a lot the way it is,” Jocketty said. “Unless we can add a few pieces here and there, we’re not going to break it up. We’re going to try and keep together as much as we can and hopefully stay healthy this year.”

Another significant quote that should encourage fans that like the development that’s happened lately within the organization:

“We’re not going to trade these young guys for a quick fix just to win this year,” said Jocketty. “We want to build this thing. Our goal has been all long to build it up to be competitive as soon as we can but to be competitive for a long time. We don’t want to be one-year wonders.”

There will be guys in camp like outfielder Chris Heisey and pitcher Travis Wood to compete for jobs. First round and pitcher Mike Leake is a possiblity to be invited to camp as a non-roster player.

Baker told reporters that the Reds were trying to re-sign Laynce Nix, who was outrighted off the roster last month and became a free agent.

The only Reds move of the day was an off the field one. Paul Keels will do play-by-play work when Thom Brennaman is away. Keels is currently the voice of Ohio State football and basketball and he used to do the same job with the UC Bearcats. The Reds could very well lead the league in broadcasters.

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Nix, Thompson out/40-man set

The Reds set their 40-man roster in advance of the Dec. 10 Rule 5 Draft. Added to be protected were:

RHP Enerio Del Rosario, OF Chris Heisey, RHP Logan Ondrusek, RHP Jordan Smith, IF Chris Valaika, LHP Philippe Valiquette and LHP Travis Wood.

Removed from the roster: RHP Daryl Thompson, who was outrighted. OF Laynce Nix refused an outright assignment and elected free agency…C Craig Tatum was claimed off waivers by the Orioles.

That puts the Reds roster exactly at 40 players. At this point, there is no room to select someone from the Rule 5 pool.

Nix wasn’t too surprising of a move since he was a non-tender candidate eligible for arbitration anyway. With money tight and Jonny Gomes situation still be worked out, a spot for Nix was slim.

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Quiet, for now

The postseason has kept the news largely focused on the teams still playing and those with managerial vacancies. The Reds have been largely under the radar.

Some stuff to think about in the coming weeks:

The 40-man roster has to be set by Nov. 20. Among the prospects that will need protection are Chris Heisey, Travis Wood and Chris Valaika. Players drafted and signed at age 19 or older get four years in the minors before they have to be protected on a 40-man roster. The wait is five years for players taken at age 18 or younger. That means the Reds can wait one more year on Todd Frazier, who taken out of college in 2007.

“We’re in the process on developing a plan,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said on Thursday. “We have a number of players to protect on our 40-man roster, which means we have a lot of tough decisions on guys to keep on the roster or not.”

The $8.5 club option ($1M buyout) must be exercised or declined on catcher Ramon Hernandez. That doesn’t have to be decided until soon after the World Series. My take: the Reds won’t pick up the option but will try to re-negotiate for a lower-priced deal.

The shortstop situation is still fluid. Look for the Reds to scan the trade market.

Here are some other key dates:

Dec. 1, 2009
Last date for former Club to offer their free agents salary arbitration to receive compensation.

Dec. 7-10, 2009
Winter Meetings, Indianapolis. The Rule 5 Draft is Dec. 10 before everyone bugs out.

Dec. 12, 2009
Tender deadline

I was out of town when Bryan Price was named the pitching coach on Saturday. It sounds like a decent hire to me. Price was in Arizona with Brandon Webb and Dan Haren (and Micah Owings) and was in Seattle when young ace Felix Hernandez came to the Majors.

Jocketty liked Price’s ability as a teacher of young pitchers that can also handle the veterans well.

“He has experience teaching at the minor league level as a coordinator and coach and he’s had success at the Major League level,” Jocketty said. “He’s not a household name but once people see the work he does and how he relates with the pitchers, they’ll see why we liked him.”

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Crowded DL, Lehr next up?

A lousy road trip was compounded by the loss of two more players to the disabled list on Monday. The Reds placed starting pitcher Micah Owings on the 15-day DL with a tight right shoulder. Outfielder Chris Dickerson joined him there with a bruised right rotator cuff.

“I don’t have to have surgery. I’ve been down that road already,” said Dickerson, who said he was told he had a small tear in his rotator cuff also.

“Dickerson could probably be ready in 5-6 days but we’ve been playing short most of the year,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We can’t afford to go short.”

The Reds called up reliever Robert Manuel and utility player Drew Sutton to fill the 25-man roster.That means Friday’s starter is TBA vs. the Rockies. It just so happens that RHP Justin Lehr is Triple-A Louisville’s scheduled starter that same day. Lehr, who is 13-3 with a 3.31 ERA this season was just named the International League’s pitcher of the week (2-0, 1.88 ERA in two starts). Lehr isn’t on the 40-man roster that would require a second move if he is the one. Lefty Matt Maloney, who has already been up once earlier this season, is scheduled to pitch tonight for Louisville.

As for the outfield situation, the Reds are down to Willy Taveras, Laynce Nix and Jonny Gomes. Jerry Hairston Jr. can play all three spots and Sutton played right field for the first time last week in Los Angeles. Gomes was 2-for-16 on the last road trip and Nix, who just snapped a 0-for-11 skid, has struggled the last few weeks.

Baker was asked about Chris Heisey and Drew Stubbs.

“They need to play,” he said, meaning they should remain in the Minors.

Currently on the DL for the Reds are: Jay Bruce, Ramon Hernandez, Edinson Volquez, Mike Lincoln, Wilkin Castillo, Danny Richar and Jared Burton.

Lincoln made his first appearance in the clubhouse since having cervical disc replacement surgery earlier this month. Other than a band-aid in the front of his neck, he didn’t look like a guy that just had a major surgery in that area.

As he often does each day, reliever David Weathers was hitting grounders to his young son, Ryan. But he called out to me and asked if I had heard anything new about him in the rumor mill. I hadn’t.

“I’d like to stay,” said Weathers, who has a one-year deal for this season and zero no-trade clauses. “I don’t want to go anywhere. But I have no control over it.”

Weathers didn’t believe the Reds were in full sell mode yet.

“If we get a sweep [of the Padres] or win three of four, that might make them think again,” Weathers said. “And what if the same people in front of us lose three or four in a row?”

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Gonzalez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Encarnacion 5
Nix 7
Gomes 9
Tatum 2
Bailey 1

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No moves, Jocketty on hitter need

After three days off, the Reds reconvened at Great American Ball Park with their 25-man roster the same as it was before the break. No moves were made…yet.

The Reds still have 13 pitchers.

“For now,” GM Walt Jocketty said without elaborating.

“We’ll see,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Probably until [Friday]. There’s some technical stuff in there.”

As for finding a hitter outside the club, that quest will continue as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline rolls closer. With Jay Bruce out 6-8 weeks, there seems to be more of a need now than before.

“It could make it more pressing but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen,” Jocketty said. “We’re still looking for a hitter. The fact that Jay is hurt makes it more difficult for us to score runs. We’ve still got some guys that will get more playing time. Jonny Gomes will play more. [Jerry] Hairston could play more in the outfield. We’re certainly trying to do what we can.”

Jocketty seemed to be in agreement with Baker’s view from Sunday that the time is not now for outfield prospects Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey. Jocketty saw Stubbs play three times last week for Louisville and in Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star game.

“He’s getting close,” Jocketty said of Stubbs. “You don’t want to rush a guy and have him come up here and not be successful. We’ll wait until our people think the time is right. The worst thing you can do for a guy’s confidence is to bring him up here and he doesn’t perform well.”

The Reds were on the field extra early today doing early work, which is a typical thing for a team to do after a few days off. Players took infield practice, practice cutoffs and relays in the outfield, went over signs and of course, took batting practice.Among those on the field was SS Alex Gonzalez, who was throwing pretty well considering he had elbow surgery about a month ago.

“They say he’s coming back really quick. He’s at a point where he could probably go on a rehab assignment next week. It’s just a matter of the time he needs to play.”

In other injury news, Edinson Volquez could begin throwing off of a mound by next week.

And, OF Chris Dickerson was scratched from the lineup during BP. He was originally slated to bat leadoff and play right field.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Hairston 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Hernandez 2
Nix 7
Gomes 9
Encarnacion 5
Bailey 1

One other late note: I learned today that 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Humberto Valor received a $690,000 bonus when he signed earlier this month. That was far below what some published reports were.

 

Rosales up, what's next for OF?

Sorry for a late blog posting — but it’s been a little hectic and I fell behind. The first person I saw when I walked into the clubhouse was infielder Adam Rosales, who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace the injured Jay Bruce.

It was Rosales’ first-ever time in New York. The closest he’ll get to Manhattan is flying over it.

“They called me last night at 11 p.m.,” Rosales said. “I got all packing done and took a 7:15 a.m. flight from Louisville. It’s been a long day already for me. I’m catching a flight after the game to go to Salt Lake City to see the family. I didn’t get the full experience. I saw the Statue of Liberty from the window of the plane, Manhattan and the Empire State Building.”

The Reds have some moves to contemplate over the All-Star break and expect them to recalibrate the roster some for the second half. They are currently carrying 13 pitchers and want 12. Another position player will be added, manager Dusty Baker confirmed.

The club is down to four outfielders — Willy Taveras, Chris Dickerson, Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix. Throw Jerry Hairston Jr. into the mix and that makes five. Hairston has been playing shortstop mostly with Alex Gonzalez out. Rosales played a lot of shortstop at Louisville and could go there with Paul Janish and free Hairston up the outfield.

Or the Reds could make a trade before the July 31 deadline. Baker was asked if Bruce’s injury made more likely a bat would be added from the outside.

“It depends,” Baker said on Sunday. “Everybody knows you’re in need and they want to get the better of the deal. It’s harder to trade now than ever before because most teams want your young players. [General manager] Walt [Jocketty] has already been on the phone already. We’ll see.”  

It didn’t look likely that Drew Stubbs or Chris Heisey would get promotions. Stubbs, Cincinnati’s 2006 first-round Draft pick, came into Sunday batting .279 with two home runs and 25 RBIs for the Bats.

“What does that equate to here?” Baker said. “He’s still trying to figure out his stroke. Let’s not rush these guys like we did with a whole bunch of guys. If they’re going to be here, you want them to play every day. … Let’s let these kids play and develop. All we see is their batting averages. All we see is hitting. We don’t see the total game if you want to win in the big leagues. There is base running, throwing, getting signs and fundamental stuff. If they’re going to make mistakes, let them make them there.”

And finally, Baker was asked about the lack of national notice on Francisco Cordero but turned the answer into a different direction. He used it as a chance to fire a shot across the bow of ESPN, his former employer for one year in 2007.

“It seems like publicity we get is when we got killed, 22-1 [on Monday at Philadelphia],” Baker said. “They showed every hit. They showed everything. I took exception to that. Those are my people at ESPN, why do we get all the publicity in the world when it’s a joke?”

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Bad news for Bruce, Reds

The play looked ugly when it happened and the results have now matched.

Reds right fielder Jay Bruce exited Saturday’s game vs. the Mets in the bottom of the first inning after his right glove hand jammed hard into the grass while making a sliding catch on David Wright’s short fly ball. 

Bruce was later diagnosed with a fractured right wrist. He will return to Cincinnati for an MRI and an examination with team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek. It was not known how much time he will miss.

“It hurt pretty bad,” said Bruce after the game, with his right arm in a wrap.  “I was in some pretty bad pain. It’s part of the game I guess. I was trying to make the play. I caught it. Once it came back forward, I didn’t have any strength in my hand. I couldn’t keep it closed.”

Immediately after hitting the ground, Bruce grabbed his wrist in obvious pain. After being looked over for a few moments by manager Dusty Baker and the trainer, Bruce walked off the field. Chris Dickerson took over in right field. In the top of the first, Bruce struck out in his only at-bat vs. Johan Santana.

“I just hope Jay is not hurt too seriously,” Baker said after a 4-0 Reds loss to the Mets. “Let’s hope we don’t lose him for the year.”

A roster move is coming for Sunday, Baker said. No outfielders at Triple-A Louisville are currently on the 40-man roster. 

Drew Stubbs is batting .279 with two home runs and 25 RBIs in 77 games for the Bats. Another option could be Chris Heisey, who was recently promoted from Double-A Carolina. In 14 games with Louisville, Heisey is batting .365 with three homers and 13 RBIs. 

Volquez has elbow tendinitis

The tests on RHP Edinson Volquez are back. He has right elbow tendinitis and won’t do any baseball activity for at least 7-10 days. The Reds will put him back on the 15-day disabled list and pending MLB approval, will recall reliever Jared Burton.

Manager Dusty Baker was more relieved that Volquez’s injury wasn’t worse than it was.

“It’s not bad news,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s the best news it could be for bad news. There’s nothing structural or nothing in the joint.”

Volquez hadn’t pitched since May 16 because of mid-back spasms that put him on the DL for the firs time in his career. He threw in two side bullpen sessions while he was out and reported no arm trouble – before or after the back injury.

“He might have felt something and thought it might have been normal soreness or something,” Baker said. “If every time you felt something and you sat out, most of us would never play. He had never said anything to us about it.”

Baker held off making an announcement on who would replace Volquez in the rotation. His next turn would have been Saturday vs. the Cubs. At Louisville, lefty Matt Maloney pitched a three-hit shutout on Monday and is 4-3 with a 2.00 ERA through 10 starts. He would be able to pitch on his normal rest and it would be his big league debut.

The Reds could also opt to move Bronson Arroyo up and pitch him on three days rest. Homer Bailey, who came up for one unsuccessful start for the Reds already this season, is also pitching on Tuesday for Louisville.

What would you do if you were Baker and pitching coach Dick Pole?

It was raining cats and a dogs here at Busch Stadium but has stopped and became a pretty nice evening. Before I left for the ballpark, the hotel across the street from mine suffered wind damage and I heard a chunk of the building fell to the street. I don’t think anyone was hurt but there were a lot of fire trucks and TV vans. And the Starbucks awning at the side of my hotel was on the ground near the lobby entrance area because it fell off. Hopefully this all blows through so this game starts on time.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Bruce 9
Phillips 4
Hernandez 3
Nix 7
Gonzalez 6
Rosales 5
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

Encarnacion takes BP:

Edwin Encarnacion took batting practice on Monday for the first time since going on the DL April 28 with a chip fracture in his left wrist. Encarnacion also took BP indoors on Tuesday while it rained. Before hitting on Tuesday, Encarnacion still reported no pain from the Monday session.

“The next couple of days, we’ll see whether I can go play and what they’re going to do,” Encarnacion said. “They have to wait until I am between 90-100 percent and then I will go play somewhere.”

IF/OF Jerry Hairston was given another day off after being sick on Monday. Hairston thought his stomach illness may have been caused by food poisoning.

Minor League info:

1B Yonder Alonso had a nice first game at Double-A Carolina. He was 3-for-4 with two doubles a walk, two runs scored and three RBIs. Meanwhile, OF Chris Heisey continued his season-long tear by going  3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. Heisey has a 10-game hitting streak, and a four-game streak of at least three hits.

Public service announcement from the Reds:

Friday night, the Cincinnati Police Department is expecting a crowd of about 50,000 to attend both the Reds’ 7:10 p.m. game with the Cubs and a sold-out Keith Urban concert next door at US Bank Arena…the CPD recommends fans who don’t have passes for the parking garages adjacent to those venues avoid driving on Second and Third Streets and instead use exits into the northern part of downtown (5th Street, 6th Street, 7th Street, Gilbert Road, Reading Road, etc.).

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If it's not broke…

Looks like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are still under the weather with the flu since Dusty Baker is running out the same lineup as the one that beat the Brewers last night. Hey, its got a 1-0 record.

Speaking of weather, the tarp is on the field. Storms are in the forecast.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston 2B
Bruce RF
Hernandez 1B
Nix LF
Rosales 3B
Hanigan C
Janish SS
Cueto P

News you can use:

Phillips is available to pinch-hit, most likely. Votto was due to arrive at the ballpark at 6 p.m.

“Brandon is getting better. He’s better than Joey,” Baker said. “They’re getting him an IV and all that. He and Brandon were both in the infirmary in different rooms during the game [last night]. We’re working on them.”

Without those two players, and Alex Gonzalez still out with an oblique strain, the Reds go into a game again with 22 players. Gonzalez threw again today but did not swing a bat, which he could do Saturday.

Because the Reds are so shorthanded, putting Gonzalez on the DL was considered just to add another healthy player. The pickings for Minor League infielders are currently slim. On the 40-man roster, Drew Sutton just returned from a bout with mono and catcher/infielder Wilkin Castillo is batting .196. Prospect Chris Valaika is also struggling and isn’t on the 40-man roster.

“Well, we’re weighing all the options, what our choices are with infielders,” Baker said. “That’s what it boils down to. You don’t like being short but you don’t want to put him on the DL and then he’s well enough. That’s where the dilemma comes in.”

From Jamie Ramsey’s Minor League report:

Triple-A Louisville OF Jonny Gomes last night vs Rochester homered for the third consecutive game. Gomes has a five-game hitting streak (6-for-19, .316)…with six HR is tied with IF/OF Wes Bankston for the team lead. 

Double-A Carolina CF Chris Heisey collected a season-high four hits last night vs. Mobile to lift his batting average to .378…he ranks among Southern League leaders in batting average (1st), slugging (1st, .653), extra-base hits (T1st, 16), hits (2nd, 37), on-base pct. (2nd, .479) and doubles (T3rd, 10)…he’s reached base safely in every one of his 27 games this season and is currently in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak (13-27, .481, 4rbi). 

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Frigid in Milwaukee

The thermostat is still turned way down in Milwaukee and we’re all thankful again for the Miller Park roof.

The aforementioned frigid output of Ramon Hernandez (2-for-19) and Alex Gonzalez (0-for-16) has prompted a lineup change. Ryan Hanigan is catching and Paul Janish is the shortstop. Here is the full Reds lineup:

Taveras, cf

Hairson, lf

Votto, 1b

Phillips, 2b

Bruce, rf

Encarnacion, 3b

Hanigan, c

Janish, ss

Arroyo, rhp

 

News you can use:

 

Gonzalez and Hernandez took extra BP this afternoon to work on their swings. Gonzalez found his session to be productive.

 

“Everybody wants to get a hit,” Gonzalez said. “When you’re in that situation, you try to get the first hit. I will keep working. I worked today and tried to fix what I saw in the video. I’m opening up too quick and that’s why I miss a lot of pitches. I will be ready for tomorrow. I will go out there and try to do what I did in BP.”

 

Dusty Baker said that starting pitcher Micah Owings would bat ninth on Wednesday, but unlike some comments Baker made last week, he seems open to batting Owings higher in the order down the road.

“Maybe,” Baker said. “He’s a pretty good ace in the hole in that ninth spot, too.”

Edinson Volquez will be working with pitching coach Dick Pole between starts to tighten his delivery and improve his command

 

“He couldn’t get to his secondary pitches because he couldn’t control his primary pitch – his fastball,” Baker said. “He didn’t throw hardly any changeups. He threw a few breaking balls. It’s hard to throw your changeup if you’re not locating your fastball.”

  

In Minor League news from Jamie Ramsey, Adam Rosales hit another homer (a 435-foot two-run shot) for Triple-A Louisville Monday to extend his hitting streak to five games. Rosales has opened the season batting .412 (7-for-17) with two homers and seven RBIs.

 

Double-A Carolina’s Todd Frazier had three hits last night at Mississippi and raised average to a team-best .455 (10-for-22, 5rbi).

 

Carolina OF Chris Heisey is hitting .412 (7-for-17, 2hr, 4rbi, 2 2B, 6r, 6bb, .583obp)

Late update — Homer Bailey was ejected from tonight’s game vs. Toledo in the top of the third inning when he hit a batter immediately after allowing a home run. Bailey’s line was: 2.2ip, 3h, 3r-2er, 3bb-3k, 2hr. He threw 53 pitches, 30 strikes.

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