Results tagged ‘ Jonny Gomes ’

Gomes on Wainwright

I just got off of the phone with Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes, who wanted to clarify and respond to a blog item that he was singing or celebrating the elbow injury of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. (Update — I should have added this in at the start, but Gomes denies the report).

I was present in the clubhouse when Gomes walked in. He was singing — but it was a song from the original Karate Kid movie — “You’re the best around…” As for what he said about Wainwright, Gomes’ account follows:

“I was doing an interview with [Rob] Dibble and Dibble gave me the breaking news that Wainwright was flying back to St. Louis with arm problems. That’s all I heard. I came in and I said ‘is Wainwright gone, is Wainwright gone?’

“To clear up everything, I came up with Wainwright. I know Wainwright. I think he’s one of the top notch pitchers in the National League and baseball. Outside of different uniforms that we wear and different cities we play in, playing in the Major Leagues, we’re all brothers. There’s a brotherhood there. There’s one thing you would never wish upon any other player and that’s an injury. We’ve all had them at some point coming up and we might currently be having one now.

“From the bottom of my heart, I would never wish anyone an injury. If they did have an injury, you wish them the best in rehab. As Major League ballplayers, we have a brotherhood for each other. On the field, we’re going to battle and play our nine innings and we’re going to compete. Off the field, we’re still human and we have families. There’s one thing you don’t wish upon anyone and that is an injury. Even if they are on the other team, you wish them the best of health. If Wainwright is gone, it doesn’t mean anything to us. It maybe gives them the opportunity to make a trade for another big ace. The Cardinals are top notch themselves. They’ve battled with injuries there. They are a top notch organization with a top notch general manager and a top notch ownership.”

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News spreads quickly

It didn’t take long for news about Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright’s elbow injury to hit Reds camp.

“Wainwright, gone,” one Reds player said loudly as he walked into the clubhouse this morning.

The Cardinals told reporters in Florida that Wainwright’s injury was “significant” and he went back to St. Louis to be examined. Obviously, if he needs season-ending surgery, it would be a huge blow to the Cardinals’ chances and naturally, a boost that would help the Reds.

“I hate to see that,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s not only a great pitcher, he seems like a fine young man too. Every time I’ve seen him, he’s been mannerable, polite and respectful.”

Even Baker’s 12-year-old son, Darren, had to spread the news. Before going to school, Darren called his father’s office from his home in Sacramento.

“Significant, huh? All right my son, thanks for the tip,” Baker said to his son over the phone.

“That’s my scout right there,” Baker said.

Other items from the morning:

*The Reds are taking live BP and Aroldis Chapman is among the listed pitchers throwing. I will try to get some video of that scene. Live BP is one those times I really value my job and the access my credential affords. In the past I’ve been able to go right up to the cage and watch. That’s where I saw Chapman last year and hitters talking to each other trying to make sense of what they saw for the first time. Even pitchers that don’t throw very hard are impressive to watch. It’s something you never ever get to see once the games really start.

*Baker said that Jonny Gomes is leaner and trimmer and might get the chance to run more. Gomes was big on going from first to third last season

“In the minor leagues, he stole 20 bases a couple of times,” Baker said.

*A St. Louis reporter is here today and asked if the Reds-Cardinals rivalry had ursurped the more famous Cubs-Cardinals rivalry. Baker didn’t seem to think so.

“Rivalries remain the same but new rivalries pop up periodically depending on what’s happened and who’s good and getting better at the time,” Baker said. “I remember when I was with the Dodgers, it was us and the Reds. Then when the Big Red Machine started dismantling, it became us and Houston with Nolan, J.R. and those guys. I remember just one skirmish with the Reds. Pete was on Bobby Welch for something and Monday said something to Pete. Pete came over to our dugout at third base and said ‘why don’t you shut me up.'”

“Mario [Soto] and I almost had it out a couple of times. He hit on the elbow twice – once in spring training and once in the season. I said hit me one more time and we’re going to have it out.”

Of course, Soto is now with the Reds in the front office and as a roving pitching instructor

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No surprises on Reds options

The Reds picked up the $11 million club option for 2011 on RHP Bronson Arroyo and the $1.75 million option on OF Jonny Gomes Wednesday. Not picked up were the $4 million option on SS Orlando Cabrera ($1M buyout) and the $12.75 million option on RHP Aaron Harang ($2M buyout). Both Cabrera and Harang become free agents.

None of these moves come as a shocker. Arroyo has been one of the Reds’ most consistent pitchers since he joined the club in 2006. He won a career high 17 games this season and has 200 innings pitched in six-straight seasons.

Gomes drove in a career-best 86 RBIs while batting .266 with 18 homers.

I have a call into the voice mail of GM Walt Jocketty. I expect he will still pursue Cabrera at a lower price, which he indicated he’d do when asked last month. There’s no word yet on progress towards a contract extension on Arroyo.

As for Harang,who was 18-38 in the last three seasons after he was 32-17 over 2006-07, this is the expected end of the line of his long tenure in Cincinnati. He certainly seemed to see this coming as he was emotional following a final start on the last day of the season.

UPDATE — I just got off the phone with Jocketty about the different decisions. Here are some of the quotes:

On Arroyo:

“We’ll certainly continue to work on doing a multi-year extension with him. I don’t want to go into the season negotiating. We’ll try to [get it done] before the start of the season.”

***I got a text back from Arroyo, who said he was “definitely” optimistic an extension could still get done with the Reds.

On Cabrera:

“It was a tough decision. We’re trying to protect ourselves with payroll and all the arbitration guys we have and the things we need to do. We’re not ruling out the possibility of bringing him back but it will be a while before we know.”

Jocketty said that Paul Janish stands to be the regular shortstop at this point, but obviously that would depend partially on what becomes of Cabrera.

***I talked to Jonny Gomes, who is at his home in Arizona. He was very pleased to know he would be returning to the Reds

“This saves my forehead,” Gomes said. “Last off-season, I banged it into every wall of my house being confused.”

Gomes was referring to being non-tendered and unemployed all of last winter until he signed the day the full squad reported to Spring Training.

“I have six years in [the Majors] but last year was my first time with 500 at-bats,” Gomes said. “Hopefully, I get another opportunity to do back-to-back years. It’s looking like it. Every year has been a battle with nothing guaranteed. I’ve always had a camp invite or a split contract. I’ve had pretty good numbers and success without a job guaranteed. I will battle for a spot at Spring Training and keep putting the pedal to the metal.”

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Did that really happen? A no-hitter

Quite frankly, I still can’t believe what I saw tonight. I had never in-person witnessed a no-hitter before and the one I saw from Roy Halladay in a 4-0 Reds loss in Game 1 was only the second ever thrown in a postseason game.

It was remarkable. It was incredible. It was…almost perfection had it not been for Jay Bruce’s walk in the fifth inning.

*104 pitches, 79 strikes, 25 balls.

*25 of 28 first-pitch strikes.

*11 batters began with 0-2 counts.

Here is my game story

It’s hard to appreciate what you’re seeing while trying to work, type and everything else, but you could definitely sense it was coming — especially after Philadelphia took a 4-0 lead in the second inning. Each inning seemed to speed along and by the eighth, Halladay needed just seven pitches to retire the side.

I won’t lie — my heart was beating a little harder when we got to the ninth. Each pitch was more exciting than the previous one. A no-hitter? It’s still almost impossible to fathom that it happened and that I was here to see it.

*Credit many of the Reds players postgame. They realized they were on the wrong side of history but were graceful about it.  .

“I think words would ruin that performance,” Scott Rolen said. “He just dominated the game, from beginning to end.”

“I appreciate it right now,” Joey Votto said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Roy. To throw a no-hitter in your very first playoff game is amazing. I think our team, speaking the Reds, we keep in mind it’s just one game. We’re in Philadelphia. We just faced arguably the best pitcher in baseball. We didn’t go in with the mindset we were going to lose but we knew we’d be in for a real challenge. We’re down 1-0 in the series and that’s the most important part. We cleared the dugout with the mindset, not necessarily that we were no-hit, but that we lost a game in a best-of-five series.”

*Many also were right-on with their attitude that it was just one loss — one really rough loss to go down 1-0 in the best of five series.

“A loss is a loss. If we had lost 10-9 and gotten 15 hits, it’s the same result,” Drew Stubbs said. “We’ll come back Friday with a re-energized effort and hopefully have success.”

*Shortstop Orlando Cabrera was not thrilled however with the strike zone of plate umpire John Hirschbeck and let it be known.

“He was basically getting every pitch. We had no chance,” Cabrera said.

*Jonny Gomes disagreed and had no complaints about Hirschbeck’s calls.

“I don’t know if it was a big zone,” Gomes said. “I think Doc actually took the umpire out of the game by just throwing strikes. I really didn’t have any questionable strikes on me. I’m not really worried about the umpire too much. I’m worried about the guy on the mound. He did a great job. All four corners down and in, up and in, down and out. He threw all four pitches in all four corners.”

Some other trivia:

*The last time the Reds were no-hit was by the Phillies and Rick Wise in a 4-0 loss on June 23, 1971. That one was at Riverfront Stadium.

*The only other pitcher to have a no-hitter in the postseason was Don Larsen. It was a perfect game vs. the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.

More quotes —

“It still counts as a loss, but that was a very dramatic loss.  That is the best pitched game I’ve seen since I’ve been going to the playoffs and the World Series.  You have no choice but to bounce back.  You’ve got to put that one behind us.  Figure we got beat by a great performance tonight.” — Dusty Baker

“It was a lot of fun.  It’s just one of those special things I think you’ll always remember.  But the best part about it is the playoffs take priority, and that’s pretty neat for me to be able to go out and win a game like that and know there’s more to come for us and more to accomplish.  So that makes it a lot of fun.” — Roy Halladay

“He just pitched so well. When you’re trying to thread a needle up at the plate, it’s just miserable. It’s not fun being up there trying to hit nothing. Tonight was a nothing night. Sometimes you just don’t get pitches to hit. I took the one pitch I saw all night to hit because I wanted to see a strike. He just acted like Roy for the rest of the bat. I hate to use hyperbole, he’s an ace among aces.” — Joey Votto

“Congratulations to him. It was unbelievable what he did tonight. I’ve never seen it before. He pitched a truly great game.” — Edinson Volquez

“In the three at-bats I had, I might have had one pitch I to really do something with, and I fouled it back. He was working both sides of the plate. He was in total command of the strike zone, pounding both sides of the plate. We weren’t able to get anything going.” — Drew Stubbs

“He’s the best pitcher in baseball. I obviously didn’t expect that. I don’t think anybody did. But it’s just part of the game. At the end of the day, it’s a loss. We’ve got to come back.” — Jay Bruce

MLB. com story links:

Cabrera takes issue with strike zone  

Phillies game story from colleague Todd Zolecki

Reds tip caps to Halladay

Notebook: Edmonds, Bailey

No-no highlights feast or famine offense

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Live, but delayed, from the NLDS

Apologies for the lack of blog action here today. It wasn’t the best of travel days. My original flight to Philadelphia was canceled and the rebooked flights was delayed. I got to the ballpark after the press conferences were over and simply hit the ground running on my stories.

*It was a rather chilly and rainy day Tuesday — the usual fare for postseason baseball. Fortunately there was no game today because the elements were not ideal.

*Lots of media decended on Citizens Bank Park today. It will be more than most Reds players have ever had to deal with.

*One cool thing I noticed during BP — pitcher Aaron Harang was the “bucket guy” retrieving balls hit to the outfield. It’s usually a task for the least senior starting pitcher when those guys are shagging fly balls.

*Here are some story links on that you might want to see:

Final roster isn’t decided, but there will be four lefty relievers. That could be a strength.

Edinson Volquez story

Could days off between NLDS games help Chapman?

Notebook: Votto on MVP talk

*Here are some quotes from the clubhouse today:

“The atmosphere at this ballpark is kind of second to none. I think that comes with the Phillies fans, which are very passionate about their Phillies. They will let you know they like the Phillies more than the Reds. That creates a little buzz here.” — Jonny Gomes

“It’s coming along decent. We numbed it up today and tried to do some stuff. I mostly hit inside today. We’re still waiting to make a decision. We’ll have a meeting in a little bit.” — Jim Edmonds on his right Achilles tendon

“The regular season is done and it speaks for itself. I don’t have to validate anything. I do owe it to myself, my teammates and Reds fans to play as well as I can, to compete and give it everything I can out on the ball field.” — Joey Votto on his MVP-caliber season

“The last couple of days were nice. I was sick over the last two or three weeks. We all know that when we’re sick, you really don’t consider that rest. You just try to recover and get back to normal. The last couple of days, Dusty gave me one full day off and I played half a game. I really appreciated that.” — Votto on getting breaks after the NL Central clinch

“We are so routine oriented that you don’t want to take guys out of their routine. If they listen to certain music, do it. If they go to the bath room at a certain time or eat at a certain time. At this point in the season, everybody has their own routine. Some guys play cards. Some guys just chill. Some guys watch Judge Judy, whatever they do.” — Dusty Baker on his players not getting too amped up about the playoff stage.

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Trying again to clinch

Tues lineup vs. HOU

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Volquez 1


*The Reds clinch with a victory tonight. If they lose, they’ll have to wait out the end of the Cardinals-Pirates game (8:15 pm ET first pitch).

*Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez is a tough left-hander but is 1-1 with a 6.06 ERA in three starts vs. the Reds this season.  However on July 25 in Houston, he pitched seven scoreless innings with one hit for a 4-0 win. On Sept. 17, he gave up three runs, three hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts for a no-decision in a 5-3 Astros win.

*Jonny Gomes is 7-for-18 (.389) with two homers and nine RBIs vs. Rodriguez

*Jay Bruce is 1-for-17 (.059) with 10 strikeouts, so that’s a little surprising. Bruce was also bothered by a sore right side again Sunday but its OK. 

“I feel good, I feel ready to go,” Bruce said. “I haven’t faced Wandy much lately just because we’ve played the matchup a little bit but I feel that I have improved off of lefthanders and proven myself a little more to where he can put me in there. But it was Dusty’s decision and I appreciate the fact that he has the confidence in me to let me get in.”

*Dusty Baker said Sunday he was going to put Brandon Phillips back to leadoff but appeared to change his mind.

*Not surprisingly, there is a larger media gathering at GABP than usual. I’d guess that it rivals what we normally have on Opening Day. There is a definite vibe on anticipation in the area. Baker acknowledged it’s a different day.

“It’s a day where you strive to get to this point for so very long,” Baker said. “You run this race and you’re one step from the finish line. You’re full of anticipation and desire to finish it tonight. It’s great we’re in a position to do this at home. I’ve done it both ways. It’s a lot more fun and a lot more exhilarating when you can do it in front of your fans, friends and family. It’s a great feeling.”

Scott Rolen is a veteran of some clinches and was looking forward as well, but wasn’t looking ahead too much.

“We still have to play baseball. I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer,” Rolen said. “We’ll go out and play and hopefully get us a win tonight instead of waiting to see what [the Cardinals] do. We’ll get in here, put some tarps up, put on some terrible music on and get some champagne going.”

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On the ground in San Diego

You can’t ask for a better location for a final regular season road series than San Diego. The weather is always beautiful and the downtown area always has plenty to do. Although I will likely be too busy to do much this weekend.

Coming here immediately improved my mood after being in a middle seat for over four hours during the flight. I had John Fay to my immediate left, which was complete chance, and another gentleman to my right. The most interesting part of the flight is that Goldberg from WWE wrestling and the Celebrity Apprentice was on board. I accidentally mistweeted at first that it was Steve Austin — shows how much I know wrestling.

*For today’s off day story, I wrote about Jonny Gomes. His backstory is beyond fascinating and he’s never complained about the hand he’s been dealt. And he’s done rather well to boot.

*Obviously, everyone is waiting for the NL Central clinch — which could very well happen on Saturday or Sunday. But there is another rather significant element to this series. The Reds need to beat the Padres to improve their seeding in the playoffs and they could be the team they meet in the first round. San Diego has a 2-1 advantage in the season series from April. If the Reds sweep, they would own that tiebreaker should they finished tied.

*If the postseason began today, the National League Division Series match-ups would be:

Games 1, 2 and 5*: CIN @ PHI, ATL @ SD
Games 3 and 4*: PHI @ CIN, SD @ ATL

(The Padres, a half-game up on the Reds for the second-best record, play at L.A. tonight)

So — beating the Padres would greatly improve their chances at hosting a first-round series vs. the Braves, assuming they can hang on to the Wild Card. But a lot can change. The Giants are a half-game back in both the NL West and NL Wild Card standings.

*For for a complete look at all of the playoff tiebreaker scenarios, my colleague John Schlegel wrote a breakdown. 

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Postgame: Volquez sharpening

Edinson Volquez had one shaky fifth inning and it cost him during a 3-1 Reds loss to Arizona. He walked the first two batters and paid for it.

But the overall vibe about Volquez’s performance was positive.

Dusty Baker was asked if Volquez had his 2008 All-Star stuff back yet after his return from Tommy John surgery.

“He’s pretty close. His endurance is up. His velocity is up,” Baker said. “Since he went down to Dayton, his location is a lot better, his tempo, rhythm and just his overall delivery is better. He’s not forcing it. He’s just letting it flow, pitching nice and relaxed.”

In two starts since returning from a tune-up stint at Class A Dayton, Volquez has given up seven hits and three walks while striking out 17 over 13 2/3 innings. He is trying to land one of the rotation spots in the postseason and likely competing with Travis Wood and Homer Bailey.

“I think I’m close now,” Volquez said of his stuff. “The last two games, I’m pitching really good. My delivery is better. I throw more fastballs for strikes than before.”

More notes —

*Orlando Cabrera snapped his four-game hit streak. He was was 8-for-21 during it. He also had five doubles during this series.

*Paul Janish has an eight -game hit streak (11-for-31, .355)

*Drew Stubbs hit safely in eight of last 10 games. Check out this notebook item I did on Stubbs before the game.

*This was game 14 of a 20-game stretch without a day off. The next off day doesn’t come until Thursday of next week between Milwaukee and San Diego.

More quotes —

“You don’t play this game for 162 games, you really don’t. You can throw them all in the trash once the playoff start. But we have to get there first. You get there by playing the way we’ve been playing. I think we’ve done a good job of keeping our eye on the prize.” — Jonny Gomes

“We knew it was going to be a tough stretch physically and emotionally, and everything especially down the stretch.” — Dusty Baker on the 20-straight game stretch the Reds are in.

One other thing —

I am off for this weekend’s series at Houston. But I will return starting Monday in Milwaukee and will ride with you until the end — whenever that may be.

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Postgame: Cueto gets praise

This road trip is getting to be a little yucky for the Reds (that’s a clinical term professional writers use). A 4-3 loss to the Rockies made it a 1-4 on the trip with two games remaining.

The good —

*Johnny Cueto got tapped for three runs in the  first inning but deserves a lot of credit. Pitching with a heavy heart after losing an uncle he was close to, Cueto limited the damage and preserved his team’s bullpen and had a quality start.

“He threw the ball great. You hate for him to lose it and for us to lose it,” manager Dusty Baker said.

*Cueto spent almost all of his time between starts in the Dominican Republic with his family. He found out about his uncle’s death prior to last Wednesday’s game vs. Milwaukee.

“He pitched the last game at home – six innings – when he knew something tragic had happened back in the Dominican,” Baker said. “He’s a strong young man. He came here to pitch. That day we were going to skip him at home and he said ‘no I want to pitch.'”

*Jonny Gomes kept the Reds close in the eighth with a big blast of a homer to left field. It was a two-out shot on a 3-2 count. Estimated distance was 412 feet but it seemed to go further. It definitely went high.

*Trevor Hoffman got his 600th save for the Brewers. Why is that good for the Reds? Milwaukee beat the Cardinals, 4-2, which kept the Reds’ division advantage to six games. It also lowered the magic number a notch to 20.

“Fortunately for us, we didn’t lose any ground,” Baker said. “It’s one less day on the schedule. It’s very important we need to win these next two games.”

The not-so-good —

*It wasn’t an exemplary night for Brandon Phillips, who struck out twice and grounded into a double play. He also got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Carlos Gonzalez made a great throw and it was a close play.

*The crusher was Phillips E4 in the sixth when he booted Seth Smith’s routine two-out grounder. Next batter Miguel Olivo followed with a RBI double. It proved to be the difference in the game.

*The error by Phillips was only his third of the season and ended a 63-game errorless streak since June 16.

More quotes —

“It was tough but I don’t take those things into the game. What happened, happened. I have it in my heart. When I go out there, I put my best on my job. This is my job.” — Johnny Cueto.

“Johnny Cueto, after the first three hitters of the game, bounced back and gave you a pretty good indication as to why he’s a 12-game winner.” — Rockies manager Jim Tracy.

“The first one was a broken bat hit. The second one was a 2-1 count and he was running. He got the ball was down where Fowler likes the ball. He threw a pretty good pitch to Gonzalez. Sometimes if the guys can hit, they can hit. It’s not always a mistake when you give up homers, especially to a quality hitter like that.” — Dusty Baker on Cueto’s first inning

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Phillips back in lineup

Fri lineup vs STL

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

*Phillips is back in the starting lineup for the first time since he was drilled on the right hand by a pitch Aug. 25 at San Francisco. He made three pinch-running appearances since. Baker isn’t expected a warm reception for Phillips, whose comments about the Cardinals last month were the catalyst for a benches clearing melee.

“Probably not good,” Baker said. “None of us will probably get a good reception. That’s what happens when you had what we had and we’re on the road and in their town for the first time. It’s expected.”

*Jay Bruce said he was not available to play tonight because he’s still bothered by a sore right side. There has been improvement, however. It’s possible that Bruce could return Saturday, Baker said.

“It’s gotten a ton better from yesterday to today,” Bruce said. “Hopefully the improvement keeps on coming.”

*Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto returned home to the Dominican Republic for an undisclosed family emergency. The expectation is he will rejoin the club in time to make his scheduled start Tuesday at Colorado.

“We plan on it,” Baker said. “He’s going to run and throw while he’s down there. He’s had a pretty serious emergency down there. He had to go home. He had to take his mom and his brothers that were up here – they all had to go home.”

*Baker said that Orlando Cabrera would start on Saturday.

*In the limited sample vs. Garcia, Jonny Gomes fared the best at 3-for-6 (.500) with two RBIs and two walks. Joey Votto was 1-for-5 and Phillips was 2-for-9.

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