Results tagged ‘ Dave Sappelt ’

Heisey looking good

It was another wild offensive day in the Cactus League for the Reds. This was a 9-8 victory, which has moved the spring record to 14-9-1.

The good:

The Reds collected 17 hits in the game.

*Chris Heisey went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, including a solo homer to left field in the top of the eighth. He was a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Heisey is batting .325 (13-for-40) this spring and has hit safely in 9 of his last 12 games. He seems to have all but claimed a reserve outfielder’s spot. Heisey started in center field again and despite a throwing error today, has shown that he can play all three spots.

*Todd Frazier cranked a three-run homer to left field in the  fourth inning off of Brewers starter Chris Narveson. It was his second long ball since Thursday. Frazier got off to a slow start and seems to be coming on.

*The Dave Sappelt hitting show had another strong day. Sappelt was 2-for-4, which actually lowered his average from .536 to .531.

*Dontrelle Willis pitched well in the game, despite giving up a three-run homer to George Kottaras in the bottom of the fifth. A one-out walk to Casey McGhee two batters before Kottaras hurt.

“Willis made one bad pitch on a breaking ball to George Kottaras and what got him in trouble was the walk also,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*Aroldis Chapman pitched two scoreless innings with two walks. Chapman also batted for himself in the eighth and slapped a single the opposite way through the left side.

“I turned to him and said ‘are you ready to hit?’ He said ‘oh no.’ And he got a hit. I’m glad for him,” Baker said.

Not-so-good:

*Reds pitchers combined to allowed 11 walks. Five came via Edinson Volquez, including four in the bottom of the third. Volquez walked two runs in and was removed after 2 1/3 innings. He was charged with five earned runs.

“I had a little bit of problem with control. It’s nothing big,” Volquez said. “It’s nothing but mechanical. I was jumping from of the rubber to home plate. … My arm is good, my body, everything is fine.”

Volquez believes he’ll be ready for the Brewers again on March 31.

“I have a good idea now of what they’re looking for,” he said. “It will be a good game.”

*Playing first base in the eighth inning, Yonder Alonso had his foot stepped on accidentally by former Red Chris Dickerson as he ran out a groundball. Alonso needed a couple of moments and was looked over by trainer Paul Lessard and Baker. But he was able to continue.

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Nice days for Leake, Willis

More than a few highlights today from a 5-1 Reds win over the Indians.

*Mike Leake provided four scoreless innings and allowed three hits in a strong performance. A few of the balls that went for outs were sharply hit into the outfield. But Leake also picked up five outs on the ground, which is generally his bread and butter.

“I felt good,” Leake said. “It’s been a progression. I’m trying to slowly get back into it and get stronger.”

*Hustle award of the day for Dontrelle Willis. He ripped a liner into the right field corner. He could have easily coasted into second base but never slowed and lumbered to third base with a head first slide for a triple. More importantly, Willis worked a scoreless inning with one hit. His chances of making the team are looking better and better. It was also his first game since spraining his ankle on Saturday. He didn’t appear to have trouble.

“If he makes the team, he might be in that long relief role,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He always could hit. Him and Leake can both hit. I want Willis to get some at-bats in case in the season we leave him in there. He can still run and hit. He threw the ball well too.”

*Aroldis Chapman survived a one-run ninth where he started out with a single, a walk and a RBI single from Lou Marson. Chapman received a mound visit from Bryan Price and head trainer Paul Lessard.

“He’s OK,” Baker said. “We thought we saw him limp a little bit. He said he was fine.”

*Todd Frazier notched his first homer of spring and knocked one the opposite way to right field for the game’s first run.

*The drumbeat from fans for the Reds to have Dave Sappelt make the club will only grow louder. In his first at-bat in the seventh, Sappelt had a RBI triple to right field. This spring, Sappelt is batting .538 with a team-high tying seven RBIs. Sappelt also leads the club with 14 hits and 24 total bases this spring.

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Surprise!

It was my first time to the Arizona city of Surprise today and the drive up Rt. 303 from Goodyear was basically this: farm, farm, traffic light, prison, farm, farm, traffic light, farm, Surprise. The mountains were in the vista throughout.

On the sign welcoming visitors to the city limits, it said Surprise was founded in 1960. I found that particularly interesting since back in Ohio and especially in my original home state of New York, you don’t see many towns founded after the 1800s.

The 20-plus minute drive was a bountiful one for the Reds, which notched a 5-2 win over the Royals.

Some notes:

*Travis Wood was pleased with his outing — 3 ip, 5 H, 2 ER (on Billy Butler’s two-run homer), 2 BB, 2 K.

“I felt good. My pitches were working pretty well,” Wood said. “[Butler] was able to drop the head down on an inside pitch and put up two for them.”

*As has been chronicled in the past, Wood is an off-season workout partner of All-Star lefty Cliff Lee. They live five minutes apart in Arkansas. Someone asked Wood about the idea of facing Lee with the Phillies this season.

“I would absolutely love that,” Wood replied.

*Sam LeCure looked rather solid himself with two hits and four strikeouts over two scoreless innings.

*Dontrelle Willis probably had the most impressive pitching outing of the day with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts. Willis was a nimple fielder as well. In his second inning of work, he made nice play retrieving Manny Pina’s grounder towards third base.

“We were yelling, ‘let that one go foul’ and after he picked it up and threw it, said ‘oh yeah, great play,'” manager Dusty Baker said.

Willis also covered first base nicely to get an out on a bunt play to the right side.

“He’s an athlete. I didn’t think he had a chance on that bunt,” Baker said.

*Over at the ‘B’ game this morning vs. the Indians in Goodyear, the Reds lost 7-6. Dave Sappelt had another good game by going 2-for-3 with a double. In ‘A’ games, he’s batting .533 (8-for-15).

“He can hit. He hit last year,” Baker said. “There’s more to being ready for the big leagues than hitting. Not to slight the kid at all, he’s doing great. There are a few things he has to work on.”

*Zack Cozart also homered in the ‘B’ game. Several of the Reds top hitters this spring are prospects. That’s no accident, the manager said.

“Like I’ve told you, spring is for the young,” Baker said. “It’s for young hitters, off-speed pitchers, winter ball guys and fastball hitters.”

*I talked to Fred Lewis for a Reds beat item before Tuesday’s game. Lewis is not 100 percent satisfied with his performance at the plate and working to get better. He’s been doing some tinkering with his swing, not all to his satisfaction.

“Eventually, I will be where I want to be,” Lewis said. “In the outfield, I’m pretty comfortable with where I’m at. On the offensive side, I’m not happy with it. I’ve figured out that I’m frustrated with what I’m doing. I keep telling myself to go back to square one and do what I was doing before I got here. You can do a lot of stuff in the cages but it only matters what you do on the field.”

And in a late stunner from Brewers camp, Zack Greinke will miss Opening Day with a fractured rib. Greinke suffered the injury last month, playing basketball. He will start the season on the DL. It’s been a tough time for the Reds NL Central rivals. The Cardinals already lost Adam Wainwright (elbow) for the season and their other ace, Chris Carpenter, is bothered by a hamstring injury.

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Hold on to your wigs and keys

This wasn’t a good day out here if you wear a toupee or had to catch a fly ball.

Winds at the yard today were at 29 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. A few infielders and outfielders took some unique routes in trying to catch some of the flies. It certainly wasn’t an easy task.

“I was chewing a lot of gum to keep my mouth wet, that’s for sure,” Reds pitcher Homer Bailey said.

Fortunately, this did not affect your fearless Reds beat writer in the cozy confines of the press box. But wow ,it was sure windy all around the desert today. There lots of double-digit run totals in Cactus League games on Monday. For example, it was a 16-16 final between the White Sox and Indians in Glendale.

Over in Goodyear, there was only side with double-digits and that was the Brewers. They handed the Reds a 15-2 thumping. The 25 hits allowed by Cincinnati was the club’s most in a spring game since at least 1997.

*Before Monday’s loss, Reds pitchers had a 1.03 ERA over the previous four games, totaling 35 innings. The staff hadn’t allowed a homer in the previous seven-straight games. The Brewers had three today.

“Man, this game is hard to figure,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “One day everything goes right and the next day everything goes wrong. I guess that’s why it’s called spring.”

Some pitching lines:

*Bailey wound up being charged with four earned runs and six hits over 2 2/3 innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Bailey was trailing 1-0 with two outs in the third and just couldn’t finish the inning. He allowed four-straight hits.

*Mike Leake was roughed up for six hits in the fourth inning and nine total over three innings. He also allowed four runs. Many of the balls were well connected.

*Bill Bray gave up seven runs and six hits over 2/3 of an inning.

*Nick Masset fared the best with one scoreless inning and one strikeout.

*Aroldis Chapman threw two wild pitches in the seventh and gave up one hit during a scoreless seventh.

“Chappy had a little problem with command but ended up getting a key double play and got out of the inning. He didn’t appear very happy,” Baker said.

Some hitting, but not much:

*The Reds had seven hits, most of them late. Dave Sappelt’s second homer of spring provided their first run in the seventh.

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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 MLB.com/Reds.com 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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Wanted: A healthy outfielder

The Reds have been playing the last several days with only three healthy outfielders. Dusty Baker said that Jay Bruce, bothered by a sore right side, isn’t going to return during the Cardinals series.

“I’m not even sure when in Colorado because we have a tough stretch of guys that would test that,” Baker said.

There is contemplation of getting another outfielder here but the Reds have no one in the Minors on the 40-man roster and no space to make room. One candidate at Triple-A Louisville, Wladimir Balentien, just went on the DL with an oblique. Baker said that Dave Sappelt is also being considered but indicated they could be looking outside the organization.

“We’re looking under bridges, rocks, everywhere. We can’t find one right now. Walt [Jocketty] is looking daily,” Baker said.

One in-house possibilty could be 1B/OF Danny Dorn at Louisville. Dorn is batting .307 in 81 games and Baker was impressed by him in Spring Training. Dorn is also left-handed, which would help the depth with Laynce Nix and Jim Edmonds on the DL and Bruce out.

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Postgame: Transactions coming?

The transaction wire should be active with Reds moves on Tuesday following a lousy night at the yard — an 11-2 Reds loss to the Giants.

*Laynce Nix went down with a sprained left ankle running out an infield single in the third inning.

*Jim Edmonds strained a right oblique muscle swinging at a pitch in the sixth.
 
*The club also learned that already injured RHP Russ Springer will need surgery to repair a herniated disc and will miss 6-8 weeks.

Nix didn’t believe he was going to miss any games.

“Slowing down, I sort of jammed my ankle into the ground,” Nix said. “I didn’t roll it or anything too significant. I don’t think it’s serious. It shouldn’t keep me out of action. I should be fine to at least pinch-hit.”

Edmonds, who was acquired in an Aug. 9 trade, is likely headed to the DL.

“This has been an ongoing deal with my Achilles and reacting to all the things I’ve been favoring,” Edmonds said. “It’s been sore the last week or two weeks. It was getting worse. The last couple of days not playing much, I thought it was going to get better. It gave me a false sense of security.”

*The Reds have no other outfielders on their 40-man roster but can free up a spot by moving Springer from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Wladimir Balentien could be a leading candidate since he’s tearing it up at Triple-A Louisville lately. Dave Sappelt is also playing well but has only 11 games in AAA and started the year in A ball.

*An infielder is always possible with Juan Francisco or Yonder Alonso already being on the 40-man.

*Edinson Volquez’s two-thirds of an inning was a bullpen buster as well, especially two days after Johnny Cueto lasted only three innings at Los Angeles on Saturday. Jordan Smith had to pitch a career-high 4 1/3 innings. Mike Leake was unavailable tonight because he worked on Saturday.

*That means another reliever could be summoned for reinforcements.

“We’re discussing that now. That really put a strain and stress on my bullpen,” Dusty Baker said.

More quotes from post-game –

“The main thing is for nobody to panic. It’s one game. You want to win every game. At this point we’re 5-2 on this road trip with two more games left. We still have a chance for a very good road trip.” – Dusty Baker

“A lot of people told me that – one day you got it and the next day, you can’t find it. Everything is fine. My arm is strong and everything.” — Edinson Volquez

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