Results tagged ‘ Jacque Jones ’

Gomes to play for Louisville

When Triple-A Louisville opens it season on Thursday, outfielder Jonny Gomes will be on the roster. Gomes accepted the assignment on Wednesday instead of choosing free agency.

“He’s down there,” GM Walt Jocketty said.

It was stunning to me when Gomes was cut, but I split Florida before he really declined. Despite hitting .250, he still led the club during camp with four homers and was tied for second with 12 RBIs.

If Gomes gets hot at Triple-A, I could envision a quick return. I think the Reds bench is lacking a guy that can be a game-changer in the late-innings.

More news you can use:

SS Alex Gonzalez felt no ill effects with his left knee after going all nine innings Monday in poor conditions.

“I feel good. I don’t feel any soreness,” Gonzalez said. “Any time you play nine innings, your body feels like you got punched by somebody. I didn’t feel like my body was heavy and there wasn’t any kind of pain. I was working in Miami five days a week [in the off-season], groundballs, hitting and running. I worked all year, especially for that.”

Manager Dusty Baker hasn’t decided if he’ll play Gonzalez Thursday with a day game after a night game.

“We’ll see how he comes out today,” Baker said. “If we have a big lead, hopefully we can get him out today and get him back in tomorrow. We’re going on how he feels. We just told him he’s on the honor system and tell us the truth because we have a long way to go.” 

OF Jacque Jones was released when the club did not have a spot for him in Triple-A.

OF Willy Taveras is out of the lineup again tonight because of the flu. He could be available to pinch-run. Jerry Hairston Jr. is starting in center field and leading off while Chris Dickerson is in left field.

The Reds took their team photo today. The picture will be given away to the first 40,000 fans attending the 4/24 game vs. the Braves.

Have a favorite Reds pitcher? Vote to decide which one will be a bobblehead for a July 18 giveaway.

Jones leads list of three cuts

The Reds have whittled down the list of players in big-league camp to 33, with Jacque Jones being the biggest name to be sent down.

Jones, 33, has spent parts of 10 seasons in the big leagues with the Twins, Cubs, Tigers and Marlins. He was a non-roster invitee to Reds camp and officially was reassigned today.

“The bottom line is I didn’t hit,” said Jones, who was hitting .091 this spring in 44 at-bats. “You want to do well to try to justify a slot on the team. Dusty [Baker] was great, giving me the opportunity to play. I got at-bats, I just didn’t do anything with them.”

Jones planned to stick around Sarasota for a while to wait and see if any opportunities arose with other teams. Another option might be to accept an assignment to Triple-A Louisville and continue working on re-finding his stroke, if there’s the chance for him to play there. Last year, Jerry Hairston Jr. got sent down and worked with Louisviile hitting coach Smokey Garrett. He came back up and hit .326 over 80 games for Cincinnati.

“We’re trying to see if there’s room,” Baker said. “So he can do what Jerry did last year and work with Garrett, who I respect a lot.”

In addition to Jones, outfielder Norris Hopper and pitcher Daryl Thompson were optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Hopper, who once was a possible candidate for a backup outfielder spot, hit .135 in camp, going 5-for-37 with three stolen bases. Thompson hadn’t really been able to get any innings in big-league games, appearing just once and throwing two scoreless innings.

Hairston sick, lineups & news

It’s a breezy morning in Port Charlotte, where the Reds and Rays will play at 1:05 p.m.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF, Dickerson LF, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Encarnacion 3B, Jones DH, Keppinger SS, Hanigan C

P Volquez (Micah Owings, Jared Burton, Bill Bray and Arthur Rhodes will also get work)

Rays lineup:

Bartlett SS, Crawford LF, Aybar 2B, Pena 1B, Burrell DH, Gross RF, Kapler CF, Ensberg 3B, Hernandez C

P – Hammel

News you can use:

  • We learned late that Owings will not be here. He remained in Sarasota to pitch in a Minor League game. Results will be posted when I get them.
  • IF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr. is done with the World Baseball Classic now that Mexico is out. But Hairston is sick with a viral infection he picked up down there and manager Dusty Baker it would probably be Friday, maybe Thursday, before Hairston arrives.

“I told my trainer I don’t want him,” Baker said. “That’s the worst thing that can happen, especially this time of year, you can get a plague going through your clubhouse. I know he’s champing at the bit. I haven’t called him because I know he’ll try to convince me if I call him.”

  • Jacque Jones got a lot of extra at-bats as the DH in a Minor League game Tuesday. As you likely saw above, Jones is in today’s starting lineup. He’s entering the day batting .077.

“Jacque got seven or eight at-bats and hit the ball pretty good,” Baker said. “He hit a home run to left field, which is his stroke, and a couple of other hits. You can work on some stuff when it doesn’t count.”

  • Baker was asked about the comparisons people are making about the Reds being like the Rays of last year.

“A lot of people are going to compare you to the Rays if you have a young team,” he said. “It took them a while to get to this point, and a whole bunch of No. 1 draft choices to get to this point. But here and now, they have a good man at the helm and a good coaching staff. The Rays have given a lot of mid-range payroll teams hope.”

  • In the something I haven’t seen before at a ballpark department, a local animal control officer was in the seats behind home plate trying to catch a raccoon during BP. Using one of those long rods with a noose, he eventually caught the raccoon with the device and stuffed him safely inside a crate.

“He’s probably going to make raccoon stew,” joked Marty Brennaman.

 

Masset discussion, bullpen for Bailey?

It’s getting late in spring and in the previous blog post about the probable starters, Nick Masset’s name was nowhere to be found. Nothing has been determined officially, but all signs are pointing to him no longer being in contention for the rotation’s fifth spot.

Masset has a 6.75 ERA through four games, including three starts, totalling 10 2/3 innings.

“We have to sit down and talk about it,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We might be making some decisions soon because there are not enough innings without ‘B’ games or split-squad games.”

It’s likely down to Micah Owings and Homer Bailey, who have both pitched well this spring. Owings has been nearly unstoppable. Baker caught the last couple of innings of Bailey’s minor league outing Monday (see previous post for line) and liked what he saw.

The big mystery could be the last bullpen spot. Masset, who has been a long reliever for a couple of years, is out of options. Bailey has no history as a reliever but isn’t out of the question to do it if Owings beats him for the fifth spot.

“Possibly. It’s something we’ve discussed,” Baker said. “It’s something that depends on what’s better for him in the long run – do we pitch him or make him the fifth guy? With the Dodgers and Giants, a lot of our top young guys started out as long guys – Dave Stewart, Bobby Welch, Pedro Martinez.

“A lot of it depends on who has options left and who doesn’t. There is a lot that goes into consideration as well as how you’re pitching.”

More news you can use:

  • Jay Bruce hasn’t hit well most of spring (batting .200 entering the day) but Baker wasn’t too worried.

“He kind of started this way last year too,” Baker said. “He was getting some hits early, but they were groundballs between first and second. His stroke isn’t really there because he’s fouling off pitches he would ordinarily put into play. He’s close. When you see him going to left field or up the middle that means he’s right there because he is not a pull hitter. When he starts trying to pull, that’s when most hitters get into trouble.”

  • Jacque Jones and Daryle Ward, who are both struggling offensively, were kept back in Sarasota to DH in Minor League games.

“They stayed back and hit extra and try to hope we can find their strokes.”

  • Alex Gonzalez and Norris Hopper will likely do the same thing on Wednesday while the Reds are in Port Charlotte.
  • Infielder Danny Richar probably had an outside chance at best to make it as a backup infielder. But despite some nice defensive plays, Richar entered batting .111 and was honest about his state of mind.

“I don’t feel like I’m playing the way I’m used to playing. I don’t feel confident,” Richar said. “I need to get that back. I’m trying to do too much. I need to play my game. Right now, I don’t feel like I’m playing my game.”

The Reds are wearing green hats for St. Patrick’s Day and several players had green shirts among their street clothes, including Brandon Phillips and Baker.

“Erin Go Braugh my brother,” Baker said to Phillips — both men laughed.

 

Talking to Jones, Volquez, Baker

After Friday’s game, the Reds will be 15 down and 18 to go in the Grapefruit League pre-season. That means we’re about at the point where ‘it’s still early in spring’ or ‘it’s only been 20 at-bats’ no longer suffices. Currently batting .100 (2-for-20) in 11 games entering the night, non-roster outfielder Jacque Jones realizes things have to improve if he wants to be with the team in April.

“You have to do something to get on the team,” Jones said.

“I still feel like I can do it. I’ve been a little too quick. I’m trying to slow the game back down. The confidence is there. That’s not the problem.”

“You have to learn how to play and succeed when you feel like you’re not at your best. When things are going good, everything is OK. But I’m playing and things aren’t going the way you’d like them to go.”

Jones is one of several people trying to get a foothold on the vacancy in left field. Two of the other candidates, Jonny Gomes and Chris Dickerson, are having fantastic springs. Jones has a few things going for him, including a successful track record with the Twins and Cubs. He played in Chicago for Dusty Baker in 2006.

“I know he can play,” Baker said. “It’s a matter of just doing it and getting his confidence back through performance. For whatever reason, sometimes you lose your stroke. I’ve seen him play. It’d be different if I hadn’t seen him play.”

But Baker also made it clear that Jones has to show he can improve in order to make the team.

“You’ve almost got to find it,” he said. “If you’re one of my regulars, then you’re not as worried about finding it. But when you’re trying to make the team, you don’t have much choice.”

  • Edinson Volquez got teased a little bit when he walked into the clubhouse after getting off the bus. Volquez’s Dominican team was bounced by an underdog Netherlands squad this week in the World Baseball Classic. 

“You weren’t gone long enough for us to miss you,” one player joked to Volquez.

Despite the early exit, Volquez loved his experience with the Dominican team.

“It was unbelievable playing with those guys – Big Papi (David Ortiz) and Pedro Martinez.”

His favorite moment?

“Being with Pedro,” Volquez said. “He doesn’t teach anybody but you can learn from him. He doesn’t tell you anything about the game. He said ‘just watch me pitch and you can get something.”

Volquez is slated to pitch three innings tonight.

Volquez’s countryman, Johnny Cueto is slated to pitch either as a starter or reliever on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Nick Masset was originally slated to start but Baker might change the order.

“I’d probably be leaning towards starting Cueto,” Baker said. “He’s only warmed up as a starter and Masset knows how to warm up as a starter and a reliever.” 
 

Visiting with Mackanin, notes/lineups

Greetings from Clearwater and the Phillies’ spring home at Bright House Field, which is probably the finest stadium you’ll find in the Grapefruit League. (I’m also partial to the Red Sox place in Fort Myers). Sorry for the late morning post but sometimes that’s just how it goes.

Former Reds interim manager Pete Mackanin is now the bench coach for the Phillies and it was nice to see him for a few minutes. Mackanin was great to work with from a media standpoint and more importantly, it was impressive that he led the 2007 team to an above .500 record (41-39) after he took over following a horrible start.

“I’m wearing red again,” Mackanin said before breaking out some dry wit. “I look so good in blue and green but I can’t get away from red. Maybe next time.”

Reds lineup:

Jones CF, Keppinger SS, Bruce RF, Gomes LF, Ward 1B, Alonso DH, Francisco 3B, Hanigan C, Janish 2B

Arroyo – P

Phillies lineup:

Bruntlett SS, Dobbs LF, Werth CF, Howard 1B, Ibanez DH, Jenkins RF, Donald 3B, Cairo 2B, Marson C

Hamels – P

  • Edwin Encarnacion was given another day off to rest a sore left wrist.

“It’s a matter of not having to rush,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s the same thing he had last year which you get from check swinging improperly.”

  • Alex Gonzalez is definitely going to make his debut at shortstop Tuesday vs. the Yankees. 
  • Baker isn’t worried about the slow starts by Jeff Keppinger (.105 in 7 games) or Jacque Jones (.133 in 8 games coming in).

 

 

 

 

Worries about Coco? Lineups & notes

Good morning from Sarasota, where all signs are pointing to a beautiful day. To stir the pot of weather envy in the North, the expected high today is going to be 78.

On to the news and notes for Thursday:

Closer Francisco Cordero has a 22.50 ERA through two appearances (5ER, 2 IN), and that doesn’t even count Wednesday’s exhibition vs. the Netherlands where he gave one earned run on Randall Simon’s RBI double. Cordero also walked a batter and struck out two in the game.

Sure it’s early in spring but Cordero is also coming off ankle surgery. Are you worried about the Reds closer? Manager Dusty Baker and Cordero are not concerned.

“It’s too early to worry, No. 1,” Baker said. “You could be worried about something you don’t need to be worried about yet. With a week left in the pre-season, you’re a little concerned. I’ve seen guys, especially veteran pitchers, that are facing guys they don’t even know. You’re told to keep the ball down the and guy is a low-ball hitter and he’s a kid. When you set them up, you don’t even know they’re being set up. Everybody in the ballpark knows he’s set up for the inside fastball but him.”

Cordero, who saved 34 games last season, had minor right ankle surgery in September to remove a bone spur.

“I feel good. My body, my shoulder, everything else feels good,” Cordero said. “I’m just trying get back on track and get everything normal with my ankle. It’s been great. I’m working more to get the ankle ready than anything else. It’s not like you want to go out there and give it up. Every time I pitch, I want to do a good job. I’m not worried about what’s happening right now – if I give up hits or runs. Obviously, I don’t want to do that but I don’t worry about it. I just want to get ready and back on track and feel good.”

  • Jacque Jones will get his first start at first base against the Pirates.
  • Alex Gonzalez is back at shortstop (sorry I meant DH). Baker is still concerned about Gonzalez’s gait when he runs but thinks it’s a matter of getting used to not limping.

Here are the lineups for Thursday:

Reds:

Hopper LF, Keppinger SS, Bankston RF, Phillips 2B, Jones 1B, Rosales 3B, Nix CF, Gonzalez DH, Kroski C

P – Masset

Pirates:

Morgan CF, McCutchen LF, Moss RF, Monroe DH, LaRoche 3B, Jones 1B, Diaz C, Ford 2B, Bixler SS

P – Maholm

 

 

(Frigid) Monday lineups, notes

I feel bad for the Northeast and I know it’s not balmy in Cincinnati but here in Bradenton, it’s downright cold. The high is going to be 58 degrees but it usually feels about 10-15 degrees cooler in the McKechnie Field press box in Bradenton. Even when it’s 75 degrees here, everyone is bundled up because the wind whips through.

But that’s enough bellyaching for one day. You want lineups and news and here’s some to get you started:

Reds:

Dickerson CF, Keppinger SS, Bruce RF, Phillips 2B, Encarnacion 3B, Gomes 1B, Nix LF, Hanigan C, Bankston DH

P – Bailey

RHP Mike Lincoln, LHP Aaron Fultz, LHP Daniel Ray Herrera, RHP Josh Roenicke are the pitchers available from the bullpen after Bailey.

Pirates:

McCutchen LF, Sanchez 2B, McLouth CF, Doumit DH, LaRoche 1B, Moss RF, Walker 3B, Wilson SS, Jaramillo C

P – Duke

 

  • Dusty Baker said the other day that Jonny Gomes would get some action at first base to show versatility. Look for Jacque Jones to get some time there too this week. Neither Gomes nor Jones have ever played first base in the Majors.

“Now’s the time to check it out. He’s been working over there,” Baker said of Gomes. “We’ll have plenty of time with Joey [Votto] gone.”

Gomes has never played first base in his life. Jones played there in high school and a little bit at college.

“I’ve taken a bunch of groundballs. I’ve had to learn a whole new position,” Gomes said. “I’ve been practicing and getting a feel for it. You can’t practice game situations. I’ll just go out and run it out there. It will be alright.”

“Even as far back as Minnesota, I used to mess around and take groundballs in the infield,” Jones said. “I almost played there when Justin Morneau got hurt one year.”

I will have more on this on the main site later today but needless to say, both players are outfield candidates trying to improve their versatility and increase their chances of making the team. Anything can help and it doesn’t hurt to try at Spring Training when the games don’t count.

  • Team Venezuela has asked for the services of fifth starter candidate Ramon Ramirez at the World Baseball Classic.

“During the game [Sunday], they called [GM] Walt [Jocketty],” Baker said. “He ended up leaving afterwards. It’s a tough decision for the kid but I told him we understood, no problem. Just go pitch lights out. He has a bona fide chance to make this club but who knows how many more chances he’ll have to represent his country? That’s a tough decision. We helped make it easier for him. He will be in their starting rotation.”

Ramirez is the fourth starting pitcher to leave for the WBC — besides rotation locks Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto and prospect Pedro Viola – who are all pitching for the Dominican Republic.

  • Baker said Team USA considered adding Jay Bruce for the outfield but selected Adam Dunn instead.

Finally, here is a picture of Pirates beat writers in the front row. They know how to dress for games here.

PhotoQ030209Q002.jpg 

 

 

Game on.

Today is the first day of the rest of the season…really. Grapefruit League action starts today and if we’re thinking alike — it’s a very welcomed date on the calendar.

For now, here is the Rays’ lineup. (See earlier post for the Reds)

Bartlett SS, Crawford LF, Longoria 3B, Burrell DH, Aybar 1B, Navarro C, Zobrist 2B, Gross RF, Perez CF   P Hernandez.

In transactions — LHP Bill Bray, SS Paul Janish and C/IF Wilkin Castillo agreed to one-year contracts. The Reds have eight players unsigned.

In other notes from the clubhouse:

Castillo and LHP Pedro Viola were not selected by the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic but no reason was given. Manager Dusty Baker did not rule out carrying three catchers so Castillo could benefit from the D.R.’s decision.

“For Castillo, it’s a chance to show more what he can do,” Baker said. “His chances were increased by not going without being selected.

“If you’re going to have a third catcher, you’d like him to be more versatile. He could play a lot of places.”

“I’m trying to make the team and I’m working hard,” Castillo said. “I am ready to play everywhere — wherever the manager needs me.”

The Reds’ lineup appeared to be similar to what you will see on April 6 for Opening Day.

“Pretty close,” Baker said. “It depends on who we’re facing. On Opening Day, we’ll see [Mets lefty ace Johan] Santana so it might be a little different.”

The lineup will be together for the next four days since Joey Votto, Willy Taveras, Jerry Hairston and Ramon Hernandez are leaving March 1 for the WBC. Baker used a DH in Jacque Jones and doesn’t plan on having pitchers hit until at least March 10. 

This is the first time big league baseball has been played in Port Charlotte since 2002 when the Rangers were in the facility. They moved to Surprise, Ariz., the following year. Since then, a $27 million renovation was done here and the ballpark looks like a very nice place for fans to watch baseball.

 

Afternoon delight.

The afternoon workout under game-like conditions is complete at Ed Smith Stadium. The home white team beat the visiting gray team, 7-3.

Aaron Harang had smooth sailing and a quick outing. In one scoreless inning, Harang threw 10 pitches over one scoreless inning with one strikeout. He threw 20 more pitches in the bullpen and said he faced the equivalent of four batters out there under simulated conditions,

“I felt good,” Harang said. “I was letting it go free and easy. Of course, the breaking stuff won’t be as sharp but as long as my heater is where it’s at right now, I’m not too worried about it. I’m keeping it down in the zone.”

Harang’s first exhibition start is on Sunday vs. the Yankees. He’s, of course, the Reds’ Opening Day starter on April 6 vs. the Mets.

The home team starting lineup was very close to what might be seen on Opening Day. In just two swings over two at-bats, Joey Votto hit an RBI double and a three-run home run to center field off of oitcher Jordan Smith. Jay Bruce added an RBI double for the white team while Jacque Jones hit a solo homer to right field.

In other news, lefty Bill Bray threw in the bullpen on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw a live BP session on Thursday. Bray was a little behind because of a sore shoulder at the start of camp but is doing OK.

Here is the starting lineup for Wednesday’s opener vs. the Rays. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET. It’s pretty close to what the regular one will look like on April 6.

1. Willy Taveras CF

2. Jerry Hairston Jr. SS

3. Joey Votto 1B

4. Brandon Phillips 2B

5. Jay Bruce RF

6. Edwin Encarnacion 3B

7. Chris Dickerson LF

8. Ramon Hernandez C

9. Jacque Jones DH

SP – Edinson Volquez

Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey are among the pitchers to follow Volquez. Also making the trip will be former Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes and 2008 top draft pick Yonder Alonso.

 

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