Results tagged ‘ Chris Speier ’

Saturday

Man, I need to come up with better blog headlines. Just ‘Saturday’ seems baren of thought and utilitarian, at best. When it’s 97 and muggy, the first thing to leave my mind is good blog headlines. At least I remembered to take down tonight’s lineup.

Sat lineup vs FLA

Phillips 4
Heisey 9
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Leake 1

*Last night’s win and the outcome of tonight’s game will go on Dusty Baker’s managerial record, even though Chris Speier is in the dugout while Baker is suspended.

More to come…

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Pole out as pitching coach

We knew something out of the ordinary was coming when reporters were summoned to the Reds clubhouse early, before the usual 3:40 p.m. opening time. Once summoned into the manager’s office, GM Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker let us know that all of the coaches were renewed for 2010, except for pitching coach Dick Pole.

Pole will not be in the dugout for the final three games of this season against the Pirates.

“I think as an organization that Dick has done a good job,” Jocketty said. “At this point going forward, we’re making a change and we’ll leave it at that. There are no specific reasons. We really don’t have a clear candidate [as a replacement]. We’re going to formulate a list and try and find the right guy that can be with this organization a long time. We’ve got some young pitchers coming along. We want to make sure we find the right guy to help develop them.”

Pole, 58, was in his third season as the Reds pitching coach and was brought on by previous manager Jerry Narron. Pole had previously worked with Baker on the Cubs’ staff. It was Baker who informed Pole of the change.

Hitting coach Brook Jacoby, first base coach Billy Hatcher, third base coach Mark Berry, bench coach Chris Speier, bullpen coach Juan Lopez, bullpen coach Juan Lopez and bullpen catcher Mike Stefanski were all informed they would be returning.

In house — I’d have to imagine that Triple-A Louisville pitching coach Ted Power and perhaps organizational instructor Mario Soto would be candidates for the job. And before you even ask, Jeff Brantley has zero chance to get the job.

Outside — Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan immediately comes to mind, despite the pine tar flap from Thursday. He obviously worked for Jocketty in the past and owner Bob Castellini used to have a minority interest with the Cardinals.

The general impression here is that this decision wasn’t Baker’s to make.

“I told Dick when I got here today,” Baker said. “It was pretty difficult for me to tell him because you know how close me and him are. I’d rather be the one to tell him because of my relationship with him and how much he’s done in the game. It’s a tough decision, an organizational decision.”

The details of why Pole was let go were not revealed. There had been times when some pitchers didn’t follow his directions and went their own way. Edinson Volquez defended Pole, however.

“He was a good pitching coach. Somebody had a different opinion than me,” Volquez said. “He was one of the good guys on the team. He taught me a lot for the last two years. I’m going to miss him next year.”

One reason the decision seems odd — Reds pitchers showed improvement this year. The team ERA entering Friday was 4.21 compared to 4.55 in 2008. Opponent’s batting average was .258 compared to .275 last season. Hits are 1399 in ’09 to 1542 in ’08.

Jocketty didn’t want to wait until after the season to make the decision known, so coaches wouldn’t be twisting in the wind.

“It’s tough going to the last day,” Jocketty said. “Those guys were all anxious to understand where they’d be next year. We decided this would be the best way to handle it. there’s never a good way to handle it.”

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Defense

No one can deny that third baseman Adam Rosales has impressed with his bat and hustle — going back to Spring Training, in fact. If there’s been a downside to this point, it was on clear display Monday night. His defense needs a lot of work, and Rosales knows it.

Although charged with his one and only error when Chris Snyder’s grounder skipped off his glove and into left field, Rosales was eaten up by several grounders Monday. On some plays, he was able to recover his bobble and use his strong arm to get the out. Last week, it cost the Reds a couple of double plays. As a whole, the team is stressing more and more about not giving away outs.

Bench coach Chris Speier, who also coaches the infielders, took Rosales aside after the game last night. Alex Gonzalez and Joey Votto also talked with him, Rosales said.

“I have to find a way to slow it down,” Rosales said. “One of my strengths has always been defense, coming up through the organization. I think I’m just hyped up a little bit. I’m not seeing the ball too well off the bat. I have to relax and gain my confidence back to its fullest.”

“Right now it seems he’s in a fielding slump where he’s allowing the ball to play him,” Speier said. “His setup is getting a little better. I told him we’re just interested in progress. We don’t expect complete change right away but this is what we want to work for.

“I relayed a story to him. I went to Dodger Stadium my first or second year and had 30 tickets for my family in the area. I went out there and made four errors in the game at shortstop. I was ashamed, embarrassed, you name it. You get the mentality where you don’t want to ball hit to you. And you’re afraid of failure. You have to overcome it.”

  • As for Gonzalez, he’s taking more batting practice today but there has been no oblique pain after Monday’s hitting. However because of the nagging nature of the injury, there doesn’t appear to be any rush to get him back.

“He came through really good,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “The trainer said so too. I have to talk to him first and watch him some more in BP today. I’d prefer to give him a couple of more days of BP so he’s sharper. We don’t lose anything as well.”

Gonzalez would prefer to get back, ASAP.

“I feel good. I’m ready to play,” Gonzalez said.

  • On Wednesday morning, I plan to take a trip to Goodyear and check out the Spring Training complex. I was out there in September when the Indians facility was nearly done. The main stadium was a few months from completion and the Reds’ portion was just tumbleweeds. I’m sure there’s a lot more to see than that now.

Anything you want to know or I should ask about?

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