Results tagged ‘ Chris Valaika ’

Roster move

To make room for Scott Rolen’s activation from the DL, the Reds optioned infielder Chris Valaika to Triple-A Louisville.

Valaika batted .313 since his April 24 call-up. He was 5-for-11 (.455) over his last five games. What stood out for me is how capably he played third base in several games. It’s the position he’s least familiar with but he handled it well. It gives the Reds another option to consider down the road should they lose Rolen, and/or Juan Francisco to an injury.

The Reds have not activated RHP Jose Arredondo from the DL and he is not on the premises yet. That situation remains murky but I will keep you posted. His rehab assignment ended officially on Tuesday. I am trying to figure out the rules of what must be done with a player after his rehab assignment expires.

**UPDATE — I was told that there is no set rule for a time limit to get a player back on the active roster after a rehab assignment runs out. That being said, I do not expect the Reds to let Arredondo stay idle for very long because it does him little good. And the Reds aren’t likely to DFA him because that would be a total waste of rehab/sweat equity they put in with him in 2010 and this year.

Rolen to DL, Valiaka recalled

 After waiting a couple of days, the Reds placed 3B Scott Rolen on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder. Rolen received two injections on his shoulder Thursday and hoped to play after a couple of days.

To replace Rolen, IF Chris Valaika was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.  In 14 games for Louisville, Valaika batted .306 with one homer and six RBIs. He played 11 games at second base and two at third base.

Valaika will give the Reds some extra offense. While strong at second base, he has little experience at third base. If Rolen is out long term, it would be a big blow.

Also — OF Fred Lewis’ rehab assignment was transfered from Double-A Carolina to Louisville.

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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Thursday afternoon notes

Today was day two of the live BP between Reds pitchers and Reds hitters.

Among those that threw included Dontrelle Willis, Francisco Cordero, Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Nick Masset and Jose Arredondo. Willis threw well and at one point struck out Yonder Alonso with a pretty nifty curveball.

Drew Stubbs cleared the fence hitting against Arroyo. Todd Frazier took Cueto deep over the left-center field wall with a hearty blast. Juan Francisco hit a booming homer to right field against Volquez.

Being so early in camp, don’t read too much into the results — positive or negative. Some of the hitters in were told what pitches were coming by the pitchers. It’s purely a get work in session under simulated game conditions.

I tried to get video of live BP today and yesterday but the quality was poor. I flunked out of videographer school.

*Other drills included pitchers fielding their position and throwing to different bases based on varying situations devised by coach Chris Speier.

*It was reported, and I confirmed, that 1B prospect Yonder Alonso switched agents recently. Alonso is now represented by Dan Lozano, who also happens to be the agent for Joey Votto.

*Speaking of Votto, he was feeling under the weather yesterday and not so great today with an upper respiratory issue. However, Votto was cleared to participate in the workout after being seen by the medical staff.

*For stories — there will be a feature on outfield prospect Dave Sappelt. He moved quickly last season and earned two promotions and ended in Triple-A — partially on need but mostly because of performance.

“He’s a very exciting player,” Triple-A Louisville manager Rick Sweet said. “He’s aggressive. He swings the bat, puts the ball in play and runs. I would say the biggest thing is he creates havoc. He makes things happen. One thing about him is he’s not a low-key sit back and watch the at-bat player. He knows what he’s going to do and what’s going to happen.”

*In yesterday’s live BP, Jerry Gil’s velocity was hard not to notice. Gil, the former infielder that converted to pitching in 2008, can reach 97 mph.

“I feel way better than when I started pitching my first couple of years,” Gil said on Thursday. “I felt like my arm was going to fall apart. It hurt a lot in the beginning. But I got used to it and now I feel better. I thought pitching would be easy but it’s not that easy. You have to work hard.”

*Infielder Chris Valaika is trying to make the club as an extra player. Sitting on a bench could hamper his overal development if he’s not hitting every day, but Valaika felt it was something he could handle.

“That’s definitely a tradeoff,” Valaika said. “Getting your at-bats and playing every day is important for development. But just being in the big leagues and learning from Edgar [Renteria] and Miguel [Cairo] – guys that have been there and done that – I think that’s important as well.”

I’m getting an off day on Friday and will not be around the complex. Be sure to check for stories from colleague Barry Bloom, who will be on the case.

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Cabrera not better, Valaika?

This is from Dusty Baker, who updated the situation with SS Orlando Cabrera.

Q Can you give us an update on Orlando Cabrera and if he isn’t able to go tomorrow, will you look to replace him on the roster?

 DUSTY BAKER:  We’re waiting to see him now.  Actually, he called my trainer and said he wasn’t any better, and it’s been bothering him for a while now.  Then he’ll get better and then it bothers him again.
 I think it’s going to be tough for him to play and it’s tough for us, too.  We have to make a decision, of course, but it’s tough for us to anticipate, is he going to be well by tomorrow.  We’re going to wait as long as we can to see, but it’s tough for us to play short, too, which we did a lot this year.
 We had a pool of guys that went to Arizona for this situation.  So Chris Valaika is coming here, so if Orlando can go or is available, he’ll go.  If not, then we’ll put Valaika.  But the thing about it, if we do that, then Orlando isn’t available for this round.  And but we got to get to this round before we get to the next round?

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Postgame: New plan for Leake?

Reds pitcher Mike Leake was hammered in his second relief appearance during the 16-5 loss to the Giants. Leake entered in the fifth when it was 7-5 and let the game get away during a six-run inning.

Out of eight batters faced, Leake retired one. He allowed six hits and a walk with two homers.

This could very well be the end of the line this season for Leake. After 22 starts before his move to the bullpen, the rookie’s ERA was 3.78. It’s climbed to 4.21 over 139 innings following two relief appearances.

“We’re addressing that now,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s getting hurt mostly on his slider and sinker. His sinker is not sinking as good. And his slider isn’t rolling. It’s not as sharp.”

If it’s not the end for the season, the club could try resting him until rosters expand Sept. 1, which might require sending him out for a week. After all he’s done for the team as a starter, I’d expect the club will try to think over every possible scenario to keep him pitching while also protecting him.

One positive note —

*Freshly called up Chris Valaika delivered a lined pinch-hit single to center field in his big league debut. Valaika played the rest of the game at shortstop and went 1-for-2.

Other quotes from postgame —

“They beat us up good.” — Dusty Baker

“I’m not going to take anything away from them. They’re playing great. They outplayed us. They’re swinging the bats well. We’re on a good road trip right now. We’re 5-3 on the road trip right now and have a chance to come back tomorrow. It might not be what we want for the series, but if we can catch tomorrow, we end up with a great road trip.” — Scott Rolen

“They came out swinging, put some runs up on me early and a few more late. It wasn’t my night. It seemed like every ball fell in for them. They hit some hard balls and they hit some that found some holes.” — Travis Wood, who gave up seven runs and seven hits over four innings.

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Edmonds to DL, Smith to AAA

The moves are official — INF Chris Valaika and RHP Sam LeCure were called up from Triple-A Louisville.

OF Jim Edmonds was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique.

RHP Jordan Smith was optioned to Louisville.

Valaika will wear No. 3.(118g, .304, 28 2b, 3 3b, 4hr, 53rbi, 3sb)

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Valaika, LeCure Bay Area bound

The Reds have revealed nothing yet about planned moves Tuesday but Triple-A Louisville has when they announced that INF Chris Valaika and RHP Sam LeCure were called up.

LeCure, normally a starter, will provide some bullpen protection for the next couple of games.

This will be Valaika’s first MLB call-up. In 118 games for the Bats, he is batting .304 with four homers, 53 RBIs and a .330 OBP.

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Monday morning notes

If you’re wondering what’s next for Aroldis Chapman, he is scheduled to throw in the bullpen today. His next camp milestone, however, should come Thursday when he appears in the Reds intrasquad game.

The list of pitchers that are to appear is as follows:

Harang, Bailey, Chapman, Del Rosario, Smith, Ondrusek, Smit, Valiquette, Viola.

*Bill Bray, working his way back from Tommy John surgery, is up to 40 pitches off of a mound in the bullpen. He probably won’t be ready to pitch when games start. The club isn’t rushing him.

*Todd Frazier has a bat that will force his way to the Majors someday soon. But exactly where remains the big mystery. Originally a shortstop, Frazier has worked out all over the diamond this spring and has played multiple positions since he was Drafted in 2007.

“He’s an interesting guy,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He can play all over and he has a really good bat. Hopefully at some point in time, we can settle on a steady position for him.”

Besides having established veterans at the big league level at every infield spot, the Reds have prospects on their way. Chris Valaika is a potential future second baseman. Zach Cozart is a future shortstop. Juan Francisco is a third baseman in waiting and as mentioned in the previous blog post,

Yonder Alonso is waiting at first base. Chris Heisey is nearing the Majors as a corner outfielder.

“There’s somebody coming at almost every position,” Baker said. “We’re trying [Frazier] at every position in case we use his value in that way.”

With Spring Training, the daily workouts usually begats the itch for exhibition games to start. But that’s mostly the writers who want to see something different. Baker wasn’t in a rush for camp to move any quicker.

“We still need to get some work in,” he said. “we didn’t get some fundamentals in because of the weather. We have cutoffs and relays today. We want to get some fundamental stuff in there.”

*And a public congratulations to Hal McCoy, who will be joining Fox Sports Ohio to cover the Reds. He will be writing stories on line for their web site and also appearing on pre-game and postgame shows. When Hal told me last week of his plans, I was naturally excited for him.

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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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