Results tagged ‘ Darnell McDonald ’

Hernandez option not picked up

I talked to Reds GM Walt Jocketty Friday afternoon. He was at the airport waiting for a flight to Chicago, where will be attending the GM meetings.

Among the topics:

* Catcher Ramon Hernandez is definitely not having his $8.5 million option picked up and will get the buyout for $1 million. The Reds want Hernandez back, however.

“We’re not going to pick up the option,” Jocketty said on Friday. “We have been talking with his agent and trying to negotiate a new deal. We’re hoping he comes back.”

Hernandez would be a Type B free agent on the market, which means the Reds would get a first-round sandwich pick if he’s offered arbitration and signs elsewhere.

* When asked about the Brewers trading shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Twins for CF Carlos Gomez, Jocketty said the Reds had interest in Hardy.

“We talked to [the Brewers] several times,” Jocketty said. “We didn’t match up and they didn’t want to trade within our division, which was understandable.”

* Jocketty wants to retain catcher Corky Miller and outfielder Darnell McDonald after they were sent outright to Triple-A Louisville. Miller was signed to a 2010 contract with Louisville.

* As for arbitration eligible outfielders Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix, “we’ve talked a little bit,” Jocketty said.

* In more moves revealed later, infielder Danny Richar was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list, was outrighted off the roster and elected free agency. 1B Kevin Barker was outrighted off the roster and elected free agency; RHP Justin Lehr was signed to a one-year Major League contract through the 2010 season and then was outrighted to Louisville.

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Miller, McDonald outrighted

The Reds sent catcher Corky Miller and OF Darnell McDonald outright to Triple-A Louisville. By my count, that puts the 40-man roster at 37 players with three more players (Volquez, Lincoln and Castillo) on the 60-day DL that still need to be added.


Nice at Wrigley, Owings here

For many fans, Wrigley Field is the home of the world’s greatest Happy Hour…where work/school can often be ditched for day games and Old Style. For media, it’s a little different. No elevators, no Old Style (or other libations) cramped clubhouses and trying to get through 40,000 revelers to reach said clubhouse can make the Friendly Confines a very tough place to work.

Not that I’m whining about the poor media sap watching a baseball game for a living, really. Especially when you get a view like this. This is one beautiful place to watch a game, definitely on a day like this:

wrigley 1.jpgWrigley Field is totally old school, and old style. It still has that manual scoreboard. It still doesn’t have the videoboard for replays or mascots or any other artificial game enhancer. The ivy walls have limited advertising.

A lot of times, Reds fans will travel up from Cincinnati for a weekend Cubs series here. Even with the record the way it is, anyone coming up for Happy Hour at Wrigley?

wrigley 2.jpg

News of the day:

RHP Micah Owings was back with the team on Friday, still unable to hear out of his left ear following last Sunday’s beaning in Atlanta that left him with a perforated eardrum. Owings had cotton in his ear and still had five stitches at the top of his jawline near the ear, making it hard to shave.

“It’s another reason to let the beard go,” said the scruffy Owings. “I want to thank the [Reds] staff and the Braves staff and doctors for taking care of me. I was fortunate and blessed that everything came out alright.”

Owings was getting ready to workout for the first time since the incident but he wasn’t expected to be available for the Cubs series.

“He hasn’t done much. They didn’t let him do much,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I wouldn’t think he’d be available until we get home.”

Owings was able to fly to Chicago from Atlanta with no issues. As for getting back into the batter’s box again, he wasn’t concerned about facing another 93 mph fastball again.

“I was thinking about how many times I’ve been in the box in my life and most of the guys playing the game and how rarely it’s happened,” Owings said. “I’m always looking forward to getting into the box. At this point, you never know until you step in there.”

OF Wladimir Balentien was Baker’s right fielder in the original lineup but was scratched with a sprained right ring finger. Darnell McDonald got the start instead. Balentien was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Thursday’s loss at Colorado. Two of them came in run producing situations.

“He was trying to be a hero,” Baker said. “I knew something was wrong when they were throwing fastballs by him. I just couldn’t understand it. He’s had it since Seattle, actually. He was getting an opportunity to play and didn’t want to come out of the lineup. I can’t blame him. It’s the best opportunity he’s ever had. Perhaps we haven’t seen the real Balentien.”

Reds lineup:

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

Reliever Nick Masset did something I never saw before in a clubhouse. As the Reds received special caps to commemorate 9/11, Masset soaked his with water and stuck it in a microwave. He was trying to shrink it.

“It’s a new hat and I’m breaking it in to fit better,” Masset said.

Baker was feeling a little low this morning. His wife, Melissa, had to put down the family dog on Thursday back in California. Baker often talked about Bailey, an almost 14-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer.

“She was the best hunting dog I ever had,” Baker said. “She had cancer and stopped eating.”

Baker will have a new companion this fall, Bella. Melissa got another dog of the same breed.

“My son named it,” Baker said. “It’s his dog. He has to clean up after it.”

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McDonald improves, roster moves

I remember when journeyman minor leaguer Darnell McDonald was up here to start the season, fans were far from pleased. First, McDonald made the 25-man roster over the more popular Jonny Gomes. He even started on Opening Day because Willy Taveras was out. Then he struggled mightily and there was an awful lot of attention paid to the 25th man on the roster.

McDonald was designated for assignment on May 22 after he batted .175. But if you’re a 30-year-old former No. 1 draft pick that spent 11 years in the minors, you know something about resiliency. He batted .314 for Triple-A Louisville and was brought back up last week.

“He’s played very well,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I saw the talent level there. It’s just a matter of putting too much pressure on himself when he was here the first time and trying to stay. He went down and played, got his stroke and everything together and really contributed.”

McDonald has featured prominent in several games. In a 13-inning game at Milwaukee, he forced extras by throwing out Ryan Braun at the plate from left field. The next day, he hit the game-winning double over Braun’s head in the 10th inning. McDonald hit a two-run homer — the first of his career — in Sunday’s loss and in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader with the Pirates, he scored the winning run a wild pitch.

“When you play to try to be perfect and not make mistakes, you make more mistakes,” McDonald said. “Now I want to play loose and have fun. If you make a mistake playing aggressive, that’s fine.”

Roster moves:

After Game 1, the Reds made three transactions. Starter Johnny Cueto was activated from the DL and RHP Ramon Ramirez and 1B Kevin Barker were recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Laynce Nix was placed on the DL with a bulging disc in his neck. RHP Carlos Fisher was optioned to Class-A Sarasota and LHP Matt Maloney was optioned to Double-A Carolina.

The moves were not extra-harsh demotions for Fisher and Maloney. Because Triple-A Louisville is in the playoffs, any player sent down there would have to wait 10 days before returning. Carolina’s season ends on Sept. 7 and Sarasota’s ends on the Sept. 6. Both guys can come right back after that but will pitch for their teams in the interim.

It will be interesting to see how Cueto does. With the Reds situation, I think he might have been better off resting the rest of the season. I trust the opinion of the medical staff but why risk injuring Cueto’s tired arm (only 136 2/3 innings) when there is no pennant race at stake? Between last season (174 innings), winter ball and the WBC — he’s already had a lot.

Game 2 Lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 9
McDonald 7
Miller 2
Cueto 1


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Rotation adjustments

With three members of the rotation on the DL and an open spot on Wednesday, the Reds tapped long reliever Kip Wells to start vs. Milwaukee on Wednesday.

“It won’t be my first rodeo,” Wells joked.

No — but it’s been a while since he stepped into the bullring as a starter. The last time was July 21, 2008, as a member of the Rockies vs. the Dodgers. Wells lasted only a third of an inning and allowed eight runs and seven hits while facing 10 batters. He started two games total for Colorado last season and one for Triple-A Louisville this season.

Wells hoped he could get to 75-85 pitches. Micah Owings was taken out of the rotation, for now, and moved into the bullpen to back up as the long man. Owings could start on Saturday vs. the Dodgers if he’s not needed before. Otherwise, someone would have to be called up (Matt Maloney?).

Justin Lehr will start on Thursday and Homer Bailey will go on Friday.

“The Harang thing, the appendectomy, kind of messed up things,” manager Dusty Baker said.

OF Darnell McDonald and C Corky Miller were back in the Reds clubhouse again. One had been gone much longer than the other. McDonald was designated for assignment in May and Miller last caught for Cincinnati in 2004. He was wearing the No. 37 he used to wear here.

In a sign of how fast turnover happened around the Reds, there were no old teammates left in the room for Miller to catch up with.

“Harang was about it, except for [bullpen catcher] Mike Stefanski and [third base coach] Mark Berry,” Miller said. “I knew Brook [Jacoby]. He was actually my hitting coach in Triple-A in 2003.”

McDonald scanned the room and noted he played with many guys, very recently, in Louisville.

“It seems like it’s the Cincinnati Bats up here,” McDonald said. “You hate to see guys go but if they’re going somewhere, it probably means they’re coming up to Cincinnati.”

Reds lineup (the 103rd different one used by Baker this season):

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Nix 9
Gomes 7
Miller 2
Arroyo 1

C Ryan Hanigan was back with the team after he flew to Milwaukee on Monday. Hanigan was left behind in Pittsburgh on Sunday because doctors didn’t want him in the air with a concussion. Hanigan, who went on the DL Monday, was hit by a foul tip that was so hard, it cracked his helmet and bent a bar on his mask. The headaches are still present.

“I have a little one,” Hanigan said. “It’s definitely dissipated. I don’t think it’s totally gone yet.”

Hanigan will take a concussion imPACT test here before heading home with the team on Thursday.

RHP Johnny Cueto was scheduled to throw in a bullpen session today for the first time since he went on the DL with right shoulder inflammation. The Reds hope to have Cueto back to pitch in one of the games of the Aug. 31 doubleheader vs. the Pirates.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Miller and McDonald, RHP Mike Lincoln (cervical disc surgery) and RHP Edinson Volquez (right elbow surgery) were transfered from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

The Mets put Johan Santana on the disabled list today. They now lead the Major Leagues with 12 players on the DL, passing the Reds that are second in the league with 11.

The Arizona Fall League rosters were revealed and six Reds prospects are on the Peoria Saguaros club. They are: Double-A Carolina first baseman Yonder Alonso and Triple-A outfielder Chris Heisey, Louisville pitchers Sean Watson and Logan Ondrusek, Carolina pitcher Phillipe Valiquette and Carolina shortstop Zack Cozart. Carolina manager David Bell will be the skipper.

Not on the roster is 2009 first round pick and RHP Mike Leake. There was talk that Leake and RHP Brad Boxberger, who both signed on Aug. 17, could play in the AFL. This means they are likely to play in the instructional league instead.

To fill the outfield depth at Louisville, former Twins OF Lew Ford was signed to a minor league contract today. The speedy Ford last played in the Majors in 2007 and spent 2008 in Japan. In five seasons with Minnesota, he batted .272 with a .349 OBP. 

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This is getting ridiculous…

I take a weekend off but Reds injuries stop for no one.

On Monday, OF Chris Dickerson and  C Ryan Hanigan were added to the ranks on the disabled list. To take their place, OF Darnell McDonald and C Corky Miller will have their contracts selected from Triple-A Louisville. Corresponding 40-man roster moves will be made on Tuesday.

Dickerson suffered a severely sprained left ankle trying to get back to the bag during a pickoff attempt in Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Hanigan was hit in the mask by a foul tip off the bat of Delwyn Young in the eighth inning on Sunday.

Add Aaron Harang having an emergency, season-ending appendectomy on Saturday and that brings the current total of 11 players on the DL.

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Roster moves — Gomes and Fisher

Sorry for not blogging the roster moves earlier, but I was out with the family enjoying one of the area’s finest hamburgers at Zip’s. Our blog system has no mobile application. Good thing there was Twitter, which I was able to update. If you don’t follow me on that, I encourage you to do so for breaking news updates. It’s come in handy with all the news lately.

In case you missed the transaction, here it is:

The Reds purchased the contract of OF Jonny Gomes and recalled righty reliever Carlos Fisher from Triple-A Louisville. OF Darnell McDonald was designated for assignment. RHP Ramon Ramirez was optioned back to Louisville.

The Gomes-McDonald move was the one you were clamoring for and it’s definitely a good time for it. After a slow start, Gomes was hitting .282 and led the Bats with nine homers and 27 RBIs. He tore it up at the start of Spring Training before tailing off the second part.

One of the knocks about Gomes in Tampa Bay the past couple of years was that his type of swing suffered more with part-time play. He needs at-bats to stay sharp. I will be curious to see how his production here is affected by being a bench guy. Regardless, he will be a great clubhouse presence.

Fisher’s numbers have been great —  2-0, with a 2.00 ERA (18ip, 11h, 4bb, 21k, 0hr) in 13 relief appearances.

McDonald was the 25th man and didn’t do much with the limited chances he got. He batted .175 in 24 games, going 7-for-40 with one extra-base hit. He also struck out nine times and grounded into four double plays.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston 3B
Bruce RF
Phillips 2B
Nix LF
Hernandez C
Rosales 1B
Gonzalez SS
Arroyo P

Some quotes:

Gomes: “I started to get locked in towards the end. In the beginning, it was real cold out and I could run every excuse out there but it’s my responsibility to be professional and get off to a quick start, which didn’t happen. I mentally checked into Louisville, and got my swing going.”

Fisher: “I had just sat down at a theatre to watch “The Terminator” movie. The preview had just gotten done and I had a missed call. I had a funny feeling so I went outside. It was Rick Sweet. So I didn’t watch the movie.”

Homer Bailey, who starts Saturday: “I was little inconsistent, especially at the beginning. I had a terrible start. Since then, everything has gone fairly well. If you take out five innings out of everything I’ve thrown, then it looks very good.”

Dusty Baker said that Joey Votto is available to pinch-hit tonight and could start in Saturday’s game. The Reds will be seeing lefty starters the next three games in a row.

“I’d hate to bring him right back against those lefties but we need Joey in there,” Baker said. “It depends on how he feels today. The last thing we want to do is rush him back or put him under the pressure to rush back.”

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Owings hits, pitches for 6-5 win

It was all about Micah Owings tonight. Owings pitched six innings for the victory and looked better than his line indicated. He allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Most important — Owings RBI triple in the bottom of the fourth provided the go-ahead run that snapped a 3-3 tie. It came right after Milwaukee scored three in the top of the fourth.

Big win for the Reds, considering they were down to 22 healthy players. Only Darnell McDonald and Chris Dickerson were available off the bench.

Dusty Baker quote:

“I liked the way he started. He started calm and it was the best start of a game he’s had since he’s been here. He was determined and calm about it at the same time. I’m glad we got the victory for him because he gave it all he had. I’d hate to have him get a no-decision after pitching, hitting and running doing everything he did.”

Micah Owings quote:

“I say it all the time. I’m fortunate to be able to swing it and be blessed with God-given talent that I have. I take a lot of pride in it. I know a lot of guys are going to continue to bear down on me but I’m going to bear down too and keep seeing what I can do to help the team.”

Owings pounded the bag hard after he was called safe upon his slide into third base.

“For one, I was out of breath and tired. I don’t know if I was surprised that I made it and was safe and together from the previous half inning, it was a rush of emotions.”

Loving it on the road

The Reds enter Saturday night 8-3 on the road this season, which is their best road start since 2002 when they also were 8-3. If they win tonight or tomorrow, that will be four-straight winning road series. The club hasn’t done that since August, 2005.

The back-to-back shutouts Wednesday and Friday were the first since the Reds blanked the Dodgers twice on Aug. 7-8, 2007. There haven’t been three-straight shutouts since June 21-23, 1963.

As expected, Chris Dickerson is back in the lineup for the first time since Monday (concussion-like symptoms).

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Dickerson LF
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Bruce RF
Hernandez C
Rosales 3B
Gonzalez SS
Owings P

Dusty Baker was asked if he was tempted to keep Ryan Hanigan behind the plate since he hits whenever he plays. In his five games when starting (all with Arroyo pitching), Hanigan is batting .412 (7-for-17). Ramon Hernandez is batting .246 but has come on lately.

“What are you going to do with Ramon who is just getting his stroke together?”Baker said. “If you have a good team, I don’t think this team is used to having so many good players at as many positions. Ramon is my catcher but when Hanny plays, he does his thing and we win. That way will keep him sharp and keep Ramon strong through the rest of the season.”

In the eighth inning Friday after walking, Adam Rosales was picked off by lefty reliever John Grabow and immediately after reaching the dugout was spotted speaking with top base stealer Willy Taveras. It was Rosales who sought out Taveras for the help.

“There’s a lot to learn and a lot of new information,” Rosales said. “Stealing with lefties, I have to get better. I just went first move on that guy. Some lefties you can pick up easily but I haven’t been up here long enough and we had a steal sign. I asked Willy if it was the smart thing to do if we have a steal sign. He said it was all you can do, really.”

Dickerson, Paul Janish and Darnell McDonald were among those that got extra swings in early BP today. Janish hasn’t played since Sunday vs. the Braves.

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Encarnacion to DL, Rosales recalled

A little breaking news for you: 3B Edwin Encarnacion is headed to the 15-day disabled list with a small chip fracture in his left wrist. IF Adam Rosales was recalled from Triple-A Louisville and will be here sometime tonight.

In the previous post, Encarnacion was listed in the lineup and batting seventh. Dusty Baker scratched him when it was decided he should see Dr. Kremchek and get tested. Encarnacion has also been bothered by a sore right shoulder.

Jerry Hairston is starting at third base tonight. Darnell McDonald will bat seventh and play left field.

It was believed that Encarnacion suffered the injury during a swing in his final plate appearance on Monday vs. the Astros. An MRI exam on Tuesday afternoon confirmed the fracture. He will be in a cast for one week before being re-evaluated.

“You never know until you do extensive tests,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We don’t know if he did it on the last swing yesterday or before. I know I saw him wince after his last at-bat.”

Encarnacion was in a 0-for-12 skid and 1-for-his-last 28.

Also — Chris Dickerson was feeling better today after his head-to-head collision with Tejada last night but isn’t expected to return to action until Friday. Dickerson was awaiting results from testing he did on his vision, reaction time and depth perception.

“I feel fine,” Dickerson said. “There is no dizziness. There is still a little bit of a headache. The mental processing is a little bit hazy, I noticed during that test.”

New Reds lineup:

Taveras 8, Hairston 5, Votto 3, Phillips 4, Bruce 9, Hernandez 2, McDonald 7, Gonzalez 6, Harang 1

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Game started on time after the rain moved out. 

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