Results tagged ‘ Craig Tatum ’

Cueto out, Maloney in

There is a good chance that Johnny Cueto won’t be on the mound for Thursday’s series opener vs. the Marlins. On Wednesday, Cueto had what what appeared to be the flu and was allowed to skip the taking of the team picture. He left the ballpark.

“We’ll back Cueto up if he’s not feeling better,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We sent him home. I doubt that he’ll be better tomorrow. He might be but he’ll probably feel weak.”

If Cueto can’t go, lefty Matt Maloney will take his place. Maloney had to leave his previous start in Colorado last week with a middle finger blister but he threw on the side Tuesday without issue.

8:39 pm UPDATE: The Reds made it official — Maloney will start instead of Cueto.

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Balentien 7
Tatum 2
Lehr 1

Although Baker said that Ryan Hanigan would get the bulk of catching duties when he returned from the DL last Wednesday, he has started only three of the last eight games including tonight. However, he appeared in seven of the games in some fashion.

Corky Miller, who has done a superb job behind the plate since coming up (team is 9-3, 3.07 ERA) and Baker is also trying to get Craig Tatum some work.

“You can only catch one at a time,” Baker said. “They end up getting in the games because of pinch-running and pinch-hitting. I have him slated for two of the four games with Florida and Miller for two. And Tatum today.”

The depth has been a plus during games like Tuesday’s win. Miller was on first base in the seventh inning when he was lifted for a pinch-runner that scored the go-ahead run.

“That’s why we wanted an extra catcher, especially at this time of year,” Baker said. “There’s a good chance we’ll run for all three of them and pinch-hit for at least two of them.”

The catching rotation could get more interesting when Ramon Hernandez returns from the DL, possibly as early as this weekend.

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Digging the 6:40 start

Thirty minutes earlier than usual doesn’t sound like much but the 6:40 p.m. (MT) start for Tuesday and Wednesday’s Reds-Rockies games is pretty cool in my book. Colorado has been doing it for a few years now. As far as I know, only the Rockies and Diamondbacks start weeknight games at 6:40 p.m. local time.

I’d love to see the Reds experiment with that. Games that start earlier could often mean an earlier conclusion. That wouldn’t hurt fans that have school or work the next morning. Plus for downtown folks, it’s less idle time between the end of the work day and first pitch. On the negative side, people would have less time to get home from work (especially in the suburbs), scoop up the family and get down to GABP.

Would you want to see a 6:40 p.m. start be a regular thing at GABP? Or, would you prefer something later? The Braves start their games at 7:35 p.m. Or — do you like it just the way it is?

Put me down for 6:40 starts. I like it.

Reds lineup

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Balentien 9
Tatum 2
Maloney 1

News of the day:

Jay Bruce likely won’t be back before the end of the road trip in Chicago this weekend. The plan is to have Bruce be with Louisville for the entire first round of the best-of-five International League playoffs.

Dusty Baker talked with Bruce on the phone today.

“He said he was swinging better,” Baker said. “He stole a couple of bases. His legs were feeling fine. His wrist was a little tight in the beginning but once it loosens up, it’s fine. Last night he said he faced some guy throwing 95-96 mph. The first at-bat, he was a little bit tardy and then he caught up and got a base hit. He said that was the first real high octane fastball test that he had.”

All expectations are that Ryan Hanigan will be off of the DL on Wednesday. Even though Louisville could use a catcher, the plan is to carry three up here with Hanigan, Corky Miller and Craig Tatum.

Miller, by the way, has done a bang-up job since he’s been up. The pitching staff has a 7-2 record and a 2.66 ERA when he catches.

Kip Wells will be the Reds starter on Thursday vs. Colorado. The Reds had left it TBA because they were watching the status of Justin Lehr, who missed a turn in the rotation with a strained groin.

Lehr is scheduled to throw off of a mound on Wednesday. If all goes well, he could start this weekend vs. the Cubs. Lehr said he wasn’t in pain but obviously the 30-40 pitch session here will be a test.

“I haven’t got on a mound yet but it was the only place where I felt it, or it at least got my attention,” Lehr said.

Pitcher Micah Owings, who suffered a perforated eardrum when he was beaned on Sunday, will rejoin the team in Chicago and workout on Friday. He was cleared to fly today.

Former Reds pitcher Matt Belisle was among four September call-ups made today by the Rockies. He’s been up with Colorado previously this season.

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Lucky Bruce?

Could Jay Bruce be the Reds secret weapon from the DL? Bruce has brought out the lineup card the last two games (both wins) and was planning on doing that again tonight.

“We’re 2-for-2 when I bring out the lineup card,” Bruce said. “Tonight will be 3-for-3, hopefully.”

Bruce has a date with Dr. Tim Kremchek on Friday, when he will find out whether he will be cleared to start swinging a bat again.

Starting in late November, Bruce plans to be playing winter ball for a month for the Aguilas club in the Dominican Republic.

“I want to make up for lost time,” said Bruce, who hasn’t played since July 11 because of a broken right wrist. “Hopefully, I will get close to 100 at-bats and try to have some good ones and take that into the off-season and into next season.” 

Reds lineup:

Stubbs CF
Janish SS
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Rolen 3B
Nix RF
Balentien LF
Miller C
Wells P

Johnny Cueto had his bullpen session today and not yesterday. Cueto threw 56 pitches and pitching Dick Pole said that he felt fine. Cueto is expected to start one of the games in Monday’s doubleheader vs. the Pirates. It’s the first day he is eligible to come off of the DL.

Reliever Jared Burton said he was OK after he hyperextended his knee trying to field a ball in the ninth inning on Tuesday. Burton was available to pitch on Wednesday.

Corky Miller, who had two RBI singles in his 2009 debut with the Reds on Tuesday, was back behind the plate on Wednesday. Dusty Baker said that Craig Tatum would catch Thursday, because of his familiarity with starter Justin Lehr.

Joey Votto’s seven plate appearances on Tuesday gave him enough PAs to qualify for the NL batting title. However, Votto has an uphill battle. He entered Wednesday batting .311 and ranked 10th in the league. Hanley Ramirez is the leader at .362.

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Bill Hall?

Among a flurry of moves in Milwaukee today, the Brewers designated super utility player Bill Hall for assignment. Assuming he clears waivers, the Reds should take a run and add Hall. He hit 35 homers in 2006 and was often a Reds killer (18 homers, 56 RBIs vs. CIN). His sharp decline over the past three years has been mysterious and he was down to just .201 this season.

Still, it’s a no-risk move since Milwaukee owes him about $11 million for the balance of this season, next season and a buyout of the 2011 option. The Reds could just pay him the minimum. They can plug him wherever they need him this season and then figure out what to do with him next year in the off-season. If it doesn’t work out, he wouldn’t cost them much.

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 7
Taveras 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Balentien 9
Gonzalez 6
Sutton 5
Tatum 2
Bailey 1

SS Alex Gonzalez is hitting all of .217 entering tonight but he’s been one of the Reds’ hottest hitters. He is 9-for-20 (.450) on the road trip and had four hits in Tuesday’s win.

“I feel very good. I am hitting the ball hard. I’m finding some holes,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez missed a month to have elbow surgery and has batted .273 over the previous 16 games.

“He had it going on pretty good before he got hurt,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He was starting to get it. He went backwards and is going forward again. He’s staying off of bad pitches, getting good pitches to hit and is swinging the bat well.”

Gonzalez is in a contract year as the Reds hold a $6 million option for 2010 that carries a $500,000 buyout. Considering the financial constraints they’re facing, it’s dicey on whether it gets picked up. Gonzalez said he’s not thinking about what could happen in the off-season.

“Right now, it’s about helping the team win and trying to finish strong,” Gonzalez said. “I can’t think too much about that. We have two months left. It’s more important for me to finish strong and finish the season healthy. We will see after the season.”

Mired in a career-long 0-for-20 skid, C Ryan Hanigan is getting a break tonight and Craig Tatum is catching. Hanigan has batted .143 (8-for-56) in 15 starts since Ramon Hernandez went on the DL.

Chris Dickerson did make a base running mistake in the sixth inning when he ran with his head down and got into a rundown that led to Justin Lehr being thrown out at the plate. Dickerson has great speed but been prone to mistakes on the bases.

“It’s something you can teach but you don’t want to teach through trial and error,” Baker said about base running. “Last night, he was so excited to get back he was like a runaway child in the wild.”On a foul ball, he almost passed Lehr.”

Dickerson did not goof, like I wrote, when he was thrown out at third base in the first inning on Joey Votto’s fielder’s choice play. Third base coach Mark Berry instructed Dickerson to move off the bag to prevent Mark DeRosa to throw to second for what would have been a 5-4-3 double play. So, I learned something there.

Historical note from Elias: Lehr was the only the third pitcher since 1900 to earn a win while allowing zero or one run and at least 11 hits in six innings pitched or less. The other two were Cleveland’s Jack Kralick in 1965 and Baltimore’s Pat Rapp in 2000.

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Not much offense

Craig Tatum, a veteran of five big league games was his starting catcher. The lineup was missing Chris Dickerson, Jay Bruce, Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan. Micah Owings was also on the DL and happens to be a key pinch-hitter.

Dusty Baker was a man without many moves to make during a 3-2 Reds loss to the Padres. His lineup struck out 12 times and collected only six hits. A Kevin Kouzmanoff sac fly in the seventh snapped a 2-2 tie and was the difference.

The Reds lineup did nothing the final three innings vs. the San Diego bullpen. It was nine up, nine down with seven strikeouts.

“I didn’t want to double-switch anybody,” Baker said of his late-inning limitations. “I couldn’t double switch Tatum because I didn’t have another catcher. I couldn’t take Gomes out, my hottest hitter or Nix. By then you get back to the top of the lineup and they’d come out right-handed like they did.”

Bronson Arroyo was charged with three earned runs allowed over 6 1/3 innings with nine hits, two walks and six strikeouts. It was another quality start without a winning outcome. He acknowledged his team was shorthanded but wasn’t letting his own team off the hook.

“It always hurts to have your usual guys out,” Arroyo said. “It’s really hard to put two or three new guys in the lineup on a steady basis and have everything click. That’s just the way it is. Obviously, their team is banged up just as much, if not more, than ours is. Really, we should be able to take three of four in this series regardless. It’s still going to take a good pitching performance. Any given day, a guy on their side can shut us down just as well as we can.”

The Reds haven’t won back-to-back games since July 1-2.

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Soaking up Chavez Ravine

I couldn’t see downtown Los Angeles all that well because of the smog, but I knew I was in the right place the minute I bore down on an In-N-Out burger and fries. Yeah, it’s fast food but there’s something about it I just like. It’s not as strong as Zip’s in Cincinnati or any Five Guys location but it is very, very good.

There’s nothing in the big leagues like walking into Dodger Stadium. They have you drive and park at the high end of Elysian Way and when you walk in, you’re literally at the “Top of the Park.” In the distance well beyond the outfield are the San Gabriel Mountains and it’s a rather stunning sight.

topofpark 072009.JPGThis park opened in 1962 and it’s amazing how they did it right just before the era of multi-purpose stadiums took off.

Just as I was getting settled in, Joey Votto was about to take early batting practice and yelled up to me “Hey Mark, tell everyone on Twitter I said hello. I’m enjoying Mannywood.” I asked if he was sure and since he was, I did. See — more incentive to follow me on Twitter.

A little while later, I could hear the unmistaken voice of legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully in the broadcast booth next door. A few years ago, I got to meet him when he popped into the visitor’s clubhouse. He offered his hand a huge smile when I introduced myself and probably like he’s done to millions before me, gave the feeling he was geniunely glad to meet me.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Hairston Jr. 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Encarnacion 5
Dickerson 9
Hanigan 2
Owings 1

RHP Edinson Volquez completed his first bullpen session since going on the DL with elbow tendinitis. He threw 30 pitches with no issues.

“He threw about 68 percent velocity,” pitching coach Dick Pole joked. “He had no problems. In fact, I was kind of surprised he located the ball as well as he did for as long as it’s been.”

Up next is another bullpen session on Wednesday for 35 pitches. Then some more pitches on Friday. However, a return to the Reds rotation is still pretty far in the distance. He’ll have to go through a rehab assignment first, which won’t be a speedy thing.

“We’ll see where he is when he goes out,” Pole said. “It’ll probably be like a Spring Training thing, three innings and maybe five innings. As long as he’s been off, it will take more than one or two [outings.]”

New backup catcher Craig Tatum, fresh from Triple-A Louisville, was soaking up his first big league exposure and was loving every second of it, even the $60 taxi ride he took with Homer Bailey from the hotel to Chavez Ravine.

“It’s still just so surreal. I never expectred anything like this,” Tatum said on Monday. He was called up Sunday afternoon when Ramon Hernandez went on the DL. “They were making fun of me last night because I was waiting for my bag when I got off the bus. I didn’t know anything.

“I’ve never seen a stadium this big. It’s my first time in L.A. too. There’s a lot more traffic than Hattiesburg, Mississippi.”

As much as I like Dodger Stadium, you can’t blame the Reds for hating it. Who cares how nice a park looks when you’re coming in 0-9 over the previous three seasons? This is obviously a big week for the Reds — a strong showing vs. L.A. and the Cubs and they’re still in the race. Drop a 1-5 week while the Cardinals take off and it could mean the selling season begins.

Any predictions for the series, and the trip?

mannyand cueto 072009.JPG

Above — that’s Mannywood himself on the left talking with Johnny Cueto.

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Big win, two moves

Before heading west to Los Angeles, the Reds needed a win and series split in a big way. They got it with a 5-3 victory on Sunday because Jonny Gomes came through with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

“It’s a big road trip coming up, a tough road trip. Everybody knows how tough at home,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Especially on the Reds, who are 0-9 at Chavez Ravine since 2006. The last win came courtesy of Brandon Claussen on July 28, 2005 — that’s almost four years.

“As a team, we need to soak up that win and get it into our system. We need to try and start a little run,” Gomes said.

The Reds got the bad news about Ramon Hernandez that seemed expected. After Sunday’s game, Hernandez was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He will have surgery to clean out his left knee on Tuesday and miss 4-6 weeks. In the earlier blog post, was wrong about Corky Miller, which I should have realized since he’s not on the 40-man roster. Craig Tatum is and he got the call-up from Triple-A Louisville.

“He’s here to learn and play at the same time like a lot of the guys we have here,” Baker said.

With Wilkin Castillo out for the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the only remaining healthy catcher on the Reds’ 40-man was Tatum. He was batting .239 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 64 games this season for Louisville and this will be his first call-up to the Majors.

Another roster move also came down post-game. Reliever Jared Burton has been recalled and RHP Robert Manuel is going back to the Bats. Bats. Since being sent down on July 1, Burton was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in seven games.

Catch you on Monday from one of the coolest ballparks in the league.

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Arroyo 'working those kinks out'

Facing the Red Sox on Thursday, it was a subpar night for Bronson Arroyo. In five innings, Arroyo gave up four earned runs and three hits, including two home runs. He also had four walks and four strikeouts.

Both homers, two-run shots by Jed Lowrie and Chris Carter, came in the third inning immediately after Arroyo walked a batter. He was trailing, 4-1, when he came out of the game.

“That’s what killed me. Quit giving them free bases, quit giving them two-run homers,” Arroyo said. “After the second inning, I was missing a little bit with my fastball, especially the sinker. I kept missing down, down, down. I got behind in counts and it got me into trouble. Next time, I will try to dial that in a little better.”

Arroyo had 1-2-3 second and fourth innings. Through four starts, totaling 15 innings, he has a 6.00 ERA with 12 hits, 10 runs and seven walks allowed and 10 strikeouts. Asked if he was comfortable with his spring to this point, Arroyo said he was.

“Any way you cut it – unless you’re a young guy trying to make the club, unbelievable numbers aren’t helping you and getting killed is really helping either,” Arroyo said. “I’m kind of in the middle of the road. I feel solid. I feel like the ball was jumping out of my hand pretty good tonight. I threw the ball by some guys. The breaking ball was pretty good. I got a little out of sync in the third and fourth innings. I didn’t feel comfortable throwing the fastball. That’s what we’re here for – to try and work those kinks out.”

  • Whatever kinks Arroyo has, closer Francisco Cordero clearly has more. It was another rough performance for Cordero, who gave up four earned runs, four hits and two walks in the top of the eighth. Nick Green hit a long RBI double to the center field wall and later a Minor Leaguer named Ryan Kalish smoked a three-run triple to the left-center field gap. 

Cordero was coming off of two-straight scoreless outings but he wasn’t fooling any of Boston’s hitters tonight. Now that “it’s early in spring” no longer applies, maybe it’s time for some concern to set in.

Over his six games, totaling six innings, Cordero has an 18.00 ERA with 17 hits, 12 earned runs and four walks allowed.

  • Two more roster cuts came after the 9-1 loss. RHP Carlos Fisher and catcher Craig Tatum were optioned to Triple-A Louisville. There are now 42 players left in camp.

Dickerson trying to prove himself

Sometimes when you write a lot of stories, you can forget about them. Players however, don’t always forget. Many of them read what the beat reporters write and part of the gig is being accountable for writing it. So when I was talking to outfielder Chris Dickerson Wednesday about his good spring, he dropped this sentence my way:

“I’m trying to prove to you that I’m not an anomaly,” Dickerson said.

I had no idea at first what he was talking about. But he remembered a story about the left field vacancy that I wrote . I had to go look it up. On Feb. 10, I wrote:

“But there are questions about whether Dickerson’s numbers were an anomaly since they’re superior than anything he had previously produced in the Minors.”

So there you go. We talked about it today, I told him I looked up the story and everything seemed fine. But like many players, statements that carry even a shred of doubt about a performance seem to be something Dickerson uses as motivation. Batting .375 entering tonight, Dickerson has certainly had a solid spring and if he continues that way, I can’t see how he isn’t on the 25-man roster in April.

Last season Dickerson batted .304 with six homers and 15 RBIs in 31 games. He batted .287 at Triple-A Louisville and was red hot before his August call-up but is a .260 hitter lifetime in the Minors.

“People want to say that was just a great six-week performance and that’s it,” Dickerson said. “Just like everybody else, they look into the Minor League performance. I just want to come out here and continue to show people I can play and that I’m the same player I was those last six weeks.”

More on this story later on the web site.

News you can use:

  • Fifth starter contender Micah Owings acknowledged his less than pretty line in a Minor League game on Wednesday. (4.1 IN, 9H, 7 R, 6 ER, 5K, 1 HB)

“The results probably didn’t indicate how I felt,” Owings said. “The first three innings went well and I felt good. Looking back, I could have probably done a couple of things differently. Those guys were just swinging.”

“It’s not easy pitching against the young guys,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s a bigger deal for the kids to face them than it is for them to face the kids. You call home and tell them what you did. ‘Daddy, I think I’m ready.'”

Much of Owings trouble began after a bunt play when he made an error throw to third base. He also hit a solo homer in the game.

“The first at-bat was ugly. I saw three pitches, made three swings and sat down,” Owings said. The next at-bat, I broke my bat on the first pitch and fouled it off down the line. I got one of [Norris Hopper’s] bats he gave me because I only brought one out there.”

  • Must have been some bat since Hopper also hit a solo homer in his Minor League game. Hopper isn’t known for his pop.
  • Baker plans to play all of his regulars for nine innings against the Red Sox, except for Alex Gonzalez, who is going six. None of the regulars will be on the Friday trip to Kissimmee to play the Astros. Ryan Hanigan isn’t playing today but will be catching starter Johnny Cueto on Friday.
  • We’re one day short of the three-year anniversary of Bronson Arroyo’s trade from the Red Sox to the Reds for OF Wily Mo Pena. It was former GM Wayne Krivsky’s first trade with the club. Still like it? Arroyo is 38-37 with a 4.05 ERA since coming to the Reds but he’s pitching 200 or more innings in all three seasons. It’s still a no-brainer to me and I’m sure Boston GM Theo Epstein wouldn’t mind a do-over. Arroyo gets to face his old team tonight — but Boston also didn’t travel its ‘A’ lineup.
  • In the clip ‘n save — Baker has liked very much what he’s seen from catcher Craig Tatum, who reached Triple-A last season.

“He’s one of the most improved hitters I’ve seen as far as approach and keeping things simpler,” Baker said. “He’s strong. He’s got a cannon for an arm.”

Tatum starts tonight and has benefitted greatly from Ramon Hernandez’s extended leave for the WBC.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF, Gonzalez SS, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Encarnacion 3B, Dickerson LF, Tatum C, Arroyo P

Red Sox lineup:

Baldelli CF, Lowrie SS, Wilkerson 1B, Bailey RF, Carter LF, Green 2B, Chavez 3B, Brown C, Lester P 

Windblown win for Reds

The wind was blowing out today between 15-20 mph, which made for not a banner day for pitchers of either team. There were eight homers and 33 hits totaled in the 13-11 Reds win over the Yankees on Sunday.

“You knew it’d be a wild one when it started. I was predicting 15-12,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “The balls were flying today. They were hit pretty good.”

The need to know rundown:

Like many starters in their first spring outing, Reds starter Aaron Harang spent some time trying to get his bearings on the mound. Harang’s line was three innings pitched with three earned runs and six hits, including a home run. Two of the runs and four of the hits came in the first inning.

“I felt good out there. The first inning, of course, the adrenaline gets going,” Harang said. “I kind of have to get everything back under control. I got a little erratic with my mechanics. I was out in front and I was keeping the ball over the plate and up a little bit. In the second and third innings, I kind of settled in.”

“Aaron threw the ball well,” Baker said. “At first he started out so-so, like he usually does. But his delivery was good. His control was good. And that wasn’t a bad lineup he was facing.”

  • The Yankees brought regulars like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to Sarasota.
  • The numbers were grim looking for veteran relievers David Weathers, Arthur Rhodes and Francisco Cordero. Weathers gave up two earned runs and three hits in one inning, including two homers in the fourth. Rhodes gave up three earned runs and five hits over his one inning while Cordero allowed three earned runs and four hits in one inning with two strikeouts. Baker didn’t seem too concerned.

“Our veteran guys were throwing the ball good,” he said. “They just got roughed up a little bit. They all threw the ball with good velocity. It usually takes them a little longer to get going, the older guys. I like where they are at this point.”

  • The Reds totaled five homers, their most in a spring game since 2003. Chris Dickerson went deep twice while Joey Votto, Laynce Nix and Craig Tatum (grand slam) hit one homer each.
  • Daryle Ward was supposed to play left field as a replacement but was sent home with the flu.
  • The announced attendance was 6,345 — I’d guess half were comprised of Yankees fans. Rodriguez got a mix of lusty boos and cheers when he came to the plate.



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