Results tagged ‘ Juan Lopez ’

Report date almost here…

The Reds complex was a little quieter Tuesday than on my first day around — not surprising since pitchers and catchers officially go to work Wednesday. Lots of players were still getting in workouts and Jared Burton threw to Devin Mesoraco catching in the bullpen.

One of the things I watched was Aroldis Chapman long tossing with bullpen coach Juan “Porky” Lopez. Chapman was chucking balls from the center field warning track area to Lopez, who was at the foul line just beyond first base. Let me tell you, these were some impressive heaves.

chapman 021511.JPGI later had a nice chat with Lopez, who had a busy winter with his kids. His son, Jack, is a star high school shortstop in Orlando and likely to be drafted this June. Jack also signed to attend the Univ. of Miami on a scholarship so he is a kid with options when the time comes to make decisions.

Among the people I saw in camp today that I didn’t see yesterday were Corky Miller, Daryl Thompson, Dave Sappelt, third base coach Mark Berry and catching prospect Yasmani Grandal.

Again, the weather is just spectacular today. I heard it might get colder by week’s end. And by colder, I mean the highs will be in the low-to-mid 60s. Don’t hate me for writing that.

ESPN and the Reds made news twice today.

Former Reds great Barry Larkin joined the network as a baseball analyst, it was formally announced today. Word had gotten out yesterday. Larkin had been with MLB Network since it launched.

Also — Baseball Tonight revealed its Spring Training tour itinerary and it will be in this camp on Wednesday. Larkin is not among the talent.

An item I didn’t expect was announced today. Ken Griffey Jr. is joining the Mariners as a special consultant. The club says Griffey will be involved in Major League Baseball operations and player development, as well as their Minor League system, marketing, broadcasting and community relations. Junior will also be at Spring Training this year. I always thought Griffey would lay very low after retiring so he could be with his kids. He went out quietly in the middle of last season. I’m glad to hear he’s going to be involved with the game to some degree. 

Today’s story on the Reds site and MLB.com will be on Dontrelle Willis. It will be very interesting to see how he fares in camp and whether he can earn a spot in a crowded bullpen.

Things really get rolling on Wednesday. There will be physicals in the morning, a meetings and the first formal workout should commence in the afternoon. Manager Dusty Baker will also be in camp for the first time and his daily sessions with reporters will also begin. 

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Pole out as pitching coach

We knew something out of the ordinary was coming when reporters were summoned to the Reds clubhouse early, before the usual 3:40 p.m. opening time. Once summoned into the manager’s office, GM Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker let us know that all of the coaches were renewed for 2010, except for pitching coach Dick Pole.

Pole will not be in the dugout for the final three games of this season against the Pirates.

“I think as an organization that Dick has done a good job,” Jocketty said. “At this point going forward, we’re making a change and we’ll leave it at that. There are no specific reasons. We really don’t have a clear candidate [as a replacement]. We’re going to formulate a list and try and find the right guy that can be with this organization a long time. We’ve got some young pitchers coming along. We want to make sure we find the right guy to help develop them.”

Pole, 58, was in his third season as the Reds pitching coach and was brought on by previous manager Jerry Narron. Pole had previously worked with Baker on the Cubs’ staff. It was Baker who informed Pole of the change.

Hitting coach Brook Jacoby, first base coach Billy Hatcher, third base coach Mark Berry, bench coach Chris Speier, bullpen coach Juan Lopez, bullpen coach Juan Lopez and bullpen catcher Mike Stefanski were all informed they would be returning.

In house — I’d have to imagine that Triple-A Louisville pitching coach Ted Power and perhaps organizational instructor Mario Soto would be candidates for the job. And before you even ask, Jeff Brantley has zero chance to get the job.

Outside — Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan immediately comes to mind, despite the pine tar flap from Thursday. He obviously worked for Jocketty in the past and owner Bob Castellini used to have a minority interest with the Cardinals.

The general impression here is that this decision wasn’t Baker’s to make.

“I told Dick when I got here today,” Baker said. “It was pretty difficult for me to tell him because you know how close me and him are. I’d rather be the one to tell him because of my relationship with him and how much he’s done in the game. It’s a tough decision, an organizational decision.”

The details of why Pole was let go were not revealed. There had been times when some pitchers didn’t follow his directions and went their own way. Edinson Volquez defended Pole, however.

“He was a good pitching coach. Somebody had a different opinion than me,” Volquez said. “He was one of the good guys on the team. He taught me a lot for the last two years. I’m going to miss him next year.”

One reason the decision seems odd — Reds pitchers showed improvement this year. The team ERA entering Friday was 4.21 compared to 4.55 in 2008. Opponent’s batting average was .258 compared to .275 last season. Hits are 1399 in ’09 to 1542 in ’08.

Jocketty didn’t want to wait until after the season to make the decision known, so coaches wouldn’t be twisting in the wind.

“It’s tough going to the last day,” Jocketty said. “Those guys were all anxious to understand where they’d be next year. We decided this would be the best way to handle it. there’s never a good way to handle it.”

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Opening Day news you can use

Still raining at the GABP…the tarp is on the field.

Earlier this morning, Bronson Arroyo threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and still wants to pitch on Thursday as originally scheduled. Yesterday, Manager Dusty Baker moved Arroyo back to Sunday and has Micah Owings going on Thursday.

“Trust me, everything is negotiable,” Arroyo said.

As for the session itself, no problems.

“Ask Porky [Lopez] or Dickie Pole what he thought,” Arroyo said “My arm feels great. I usually throw a little bit less but I threw a really hard one just to let them know I’m not full of it when I say my arm feels fine. I’m ready to go. They will let me know.”

Bullpen coach Juan “Porky” Lopez caught Arroyo’s throwing session.

“Bronson threw really good,” Lopez said.

UPDATE: Arroyo is starting on Thursday again. Baker changed his mind.

  • It’s never a good sign when a coach walks up to you wearing a surgical mask as a joke like Billy Hatcher did with center fielder Willy Taveras Monday morning. Taveras has the flu and isn’t playing today. Taveras hoped he could come back Wednesday after the off day Tuesday.

“I feel a lot  better today so we’ll see. It’s a hard case,” Taveras said.

  • Canadian Joey Votto has the quote of the day on today’s weather:

“We play hockey in this weather, not baseball,” Votto said.

First pitch was at 1:23 — 13 minutes behind schedule. Temperature was 37 degrees.

Here is the rotation after Monday:

Wednesday vs NYM, Volquez
Thursday vs NYM, Arroyo
Friday vs Pit, Cueto
Saturday vs Pit, Owings
Sunday vs Pit, Harang

 

 

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