Results tagged ‘ Laynce Nix ’

Day 1 in Indy

For reasons beyond my control, I rolled into Indianapolis late today. My colleague, Indians beat writer and former Reds reporter Anthony Castrovince, picked me up when Dusty Baker had his session with reporters.If you’d like to read the transcript, here is the link.

http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=60700

While Dusty was talking, I was in my car approaching Indy on a portion of I-65 known as the Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds Highway. Wow — he gets a highway named after him? I just remember Babyface being on “Beverly Hills 90210″ as himself singing and had Brian Austin Green in his band and Kari Wurhrer as his agent. That ended up being an interesting episode but anywho…

I did arrive at the Winter Meetings in time to go to the Reds suite and chat with GM Walt Jocketty. Former Padres GM Kevin Towers was in there but it didn’t appear to be about business.

“I’m watching football,” Towers said.

“He’s a friend and we’re catching up,” Jocketty said.

All is quiet on the Reds front in terms of hot stove stuff. There have been no talks yet with the agents for Jonny Gomes. Jocketty said he was looking for a utility infielder that can play shortstop. He has not spoken to the agent for Jamey Carroll.

Jocketty made it clear that he is not seeking to break up the roster or part with the future prospects, so it might be an uneventful week.

“We like our club. We like our club a lot the way it is,” Jocketty said. “Unless we can add a few pieces here and there, we’re not going to break it up. We’re going to try and keep together as much as we can and hopefully stay healthy this year.”

Another significant quote that should encourage fans that like the development that’s happened lately within the organization:

“We’re not going to trade these young guys for a quick fix just to win this year,” said Jocketty. “We want to build this thing. Our goal has been all long to build it up to be competitive as soon as we can but to be competitive for a long time. We don’t want to be one-year wonders.”

There will be guys in camp like outfielder Chris Heisey and pitcher Travis Wood to compete for jobs. First round and pitcher Mike Leake is a possiblity to be invited to camp as a non-roster player.

Baker told reporters that the Reds were trying to re-sign Laynce Nix, who was outrighted off the roster last month and became a free agent.

The only Reds move of the day was an off the field one. Paul Keels will do play-by-play work when Thom Brennaman is away. Keels is currently the voice of Ohio State football and basketball and he used to do the same job with the UC Bearcats. The Reds could very well lead the league in broadcasters.

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Nix, Thompson out/40-man set

The Reds set their 40-man roster in advance of the Dec. 10 Rule 5 Draft. Added to be protected were:

RHP Enerio Del Rosario, OF Chris Heisey, RHP Logan Ondrusek, RHP Jordan Smith, IF Chris Valaika, LHP Philippe Valiquette and LHP Travis Wood.

Removed from the roster: RHP Daryl Thompson, who was outrighted. OF Laynce Nix refused an outright assignment and elected free agency…C Craig Tatum was claimed off waivers by the Orioles.

That puts the Reds roster exactly at 40 players. At this point, there is no room to select someone from the Rule 5 pool.

Nix wasn’t too surprising of a move since he was a non-tender candidate eligible for arbitration anyway. With money tight and Jonny Gomes situation still be worked out, a spot for Nix was slim.

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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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Nix activated, Phillips' feat

The Reds activated OF Laynce Nix from the disabled list on Tuesday. Nix had been out since Aug. 31 because of a bulging disc in his neck.

In 106 games entering the day, Nix was batting .251 with 13 homes, 25 doubles and 37 RBIs.

“I got a couple of epidural shots – some darts in my neck — and just some downtime so it could calm down,” Nix said. “The shots dissipated the inflammation.”

Nix didn’t expect the neck issue to be a lingering one.

“I just have to maintain it. It will be fine,” he said.

It’s way late in the season and too late to contend, but Reds are slowly getting healthy. Jay Bruce returned from the DL on Monday. Both Nix and Bruce got the start against Reds destroyer Roy Oswalt on Tuesday 

“Those guys both give us the best chance to beat Oswalt,” manager Dusty Baker said. “You just hope there’s not too much rust on them.

“I’m still going to have to watch them some. We still don’t know what kind of baseball shape they’re in. they’ve been working out but you just don’t want them to get fatigued, especially late in the game. I might have to see how they do today and maybe give them tomorrow off. They probably won’t like it.”

Reds lineup:

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

When 2B Brandon Phillips hit his 20th home run of the season in the eighth inning of Monday’s win. He also has 26 doubles and 24 steals. Phillips and Florida’s Hanley Ramirez are the only players in the Majors to produce at least 20 homers, 20 doubles and 20 steals in each of the last three seasons. (courtesy Elias Sports Bureau).

“One of my goals is to get 20-20 every year,” Phillips said. “There aren’t many players that do that at any other position, especially second base. You set your goals for yourself and you have things you can shoot for. I would have done it earlier if I was healthier. I’m just glad it finally happened and it’s over with. I achieved one of my goals.”

Phillips, who came in batting .276 with 88 RBIs is now shooting for 100 RBIs. Baker encouraged him to reach that goal earlier this season.

“I didn’t have it as a goal at the beginning. I had to add it on there,” Phillips said. “I’m close. It’d be a nice thing if it happens. It’d be a blessing to get 100 RBIs because I’ve never done it before. I already did the 30-30 thing. Junior pushed me to that because I didn’t really think I could do that. I know I can do it again. Maybe one day I can do 40-40, you never know.”

Phillips is the only Reds player to ever do 20 doubles, 20 homers and 20 steals in three consecutive seasons. Only four players in team history have done it over any three seasons — Vada Pinson, Joe Morgan, Eric Davis and Phillips.

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Bruce back, Francisco up

OF Jay Bruce’s rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville was ended and he was activated from the disabled list on Monday.

In 10 games for the Bats, Bruce was 7-for-33 (.212) with five walks and six strikeouts. He was out briefly with a mild-strain of the groin, which he dismissed.

“It’s nothing,” said Bruce, who went 0-for-3 as the DH on Sunday. “I just didn’t want to take the chance of pulling my groin on a rehab assignment. It wasn’t that important. We took a precaution and it’s fine now.”

Louisville was eliminated from post-season play on Sunday during a 5-3 loss to Durham.

Bruce still wasn’t in manager Dusty Baker’s lineup — in part because he is 1-for-15 lifetime vs. Astros lefty starter Wandy Rodriguez.

“I just have to see him run and all that stuff,” Baker said. “That’s the main thing. He said his wrist feels fine. I just want to make sure his legs are right.”

You may remember that Bruce fractured his right wrist on July 11 at New York while attempting a sliding catch. In a sign he wasn’t afraid of re-injuring it, his right forearm had the scab from a raspberry while attempting a diving catch on the warning track at Durham.

Before going on the DL, Bruce was batting .207 with 18 home runs and 41 RBIs. He was also in a 0-for-14 skid. There were no thoughts of bagging the season even with just 19 games left and nothing to play for as a team.

“Hopefully I can finish up strong. That’s the plan,” Bruce said. “I want to help these guys win some games.”

The other notable transaction of the day — 3B prospect Juan Francisco was called up for the first time from Louisville.

In 131 games combined with Double-A Carolina and Louisville, Francisco batted .295 with 31 homers and 93 RBIs. He showed no signs of adjustment issues in AAA — he batted .359 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 22 games.

Obviously, the Reds have a third baseman for this year and next in Scott Rolen. Francisco is a potential left fielder down the road. He will spend time at instructional league this fall to learn the position he said he played just twice this season at Louisville.

“I can do it. I’m ready,” said Francisco, who speaks very little English.

Don’t expect him to see Francisco this season in left field, according to Baker.

“Like a lot of September call-ups, I’ll use him to pinch-hit and maybe play third base on days that Rolen doesn’t play,” Baker said. “That’s it for now. We’re working him out in the outfield. But you just don’t come up in the big leagues and just play outfield for the first time. [Billy Hatcher] will work him out every day and hope we see some improvement.”

Personally, I’d like to see Francisco get more than marginal amounts of play because I’d like to see how big league ready his swing is. But you also don’t want to embarrass a guy by sticking him the outfield when he doesn’t know the position well. Just being in the Majors for the first time has to be pressure enough.

Bruce had this assessment of Francisco after watching him the last couple of weeks at Louisville.

“He’s got some special pop, I’ll tell you that,” Bruce said. “He’s got a chance to be a really, really good player. It’s all about learning and making adjustments so we’ll see.”

Reds lineup:

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

Injury report: Besides Bruce, Laynce Nix (neck), Ramon Hernandez (knee) and Willy Taveras (quadriceps) all took early BP on the field today.

“Nix is probably ahead of the other guys. He said his neck feels a lot better,” Baker said. “Taveras is still feeling something in his leg. Ramon could be in better shape or semi-ready by the weekend. He’s not in game shape. He says he feels a lot better than before he went down. At the same time, the guy hasn’t had at-bats either. We’re trying to win games too.”

Nix is eligible to come off of the DL on Tuesday.

Unlike Bruce — there is no more rehab assignments possible for the other guys because all of the organization’s Minor League seasons are over.

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Double duty day

I’m hunkered down for two games, are you? I haven’t worked a day-night doubleheader since mid-2005, I believe, when the Twins and Tigers had to make up a game at Comerica Park that was snowed out in late

April if you can believe it.

The Reds did not add a fresh arm before Game 1 vs. the Pirates but have at least one roster move pending before Game 2. Johnny Cueto has to be activated. It’s possible a second move could go down,

depending on how much Dusty Baker has to use the bullpen in the first game.

“There’s a possiblity,” Baker said but declining to name the likely call-ups. “They are not supposed to be in the area (clubhouse). I don’t know because everybody does it.”

The day didn’t start out great for the Reds. Baker had to scratch Laynce Nix from the lineup because of his bothersome neck. An MRI last week revealed a bulging disc. Nix was better yesterday and pinch-hit vs. the Dodgers.

“With a short night, he woke up stiff,” Baker said. “He said he’s been dealing with it, on and off, most of the year. He’s a tough man. Sometimes tough doesn’t last.”

Jonny Gomes took Nix’s spot in the lineup.

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Sutton 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 9
Balentien 7
Rosales 6
Tatum 2
Wells 1

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Nix's neck not good

Outfielder Laynce Nix has been conspicuous in his absence the last few days. An MRI taken on Friday revealed he has a bulging disc pushing against his spine.

“I’ll be fine in a couple of days. I hope to play by Monday or Tuesday,” Nix said. “I had collision three years ago, which is what it stemmed from. I never had an MRI on it until yesterday. It revealed some minor damage but nothing we can’t take care of.”

Reds lineup:

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

To make room for LHP Matt Maloney’s recall to start today’s game, 1B Kevin Barker was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Barker batted .364 (4-for-11) in nine games since his Aug. 14 promotion.

“He did a good job for us pinch-hitting,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “There are a couple of other guys here with more versatility. I talked to [general manager] Walt [Jocketty] and we’ll get him back after the [Triple-A] playoffs unless someone gets hurt or doesn’t respond.”

2B Brandon Phillips is hitting .207 (12-for-58) in his last 15 games entering Saturday. He has been bothered by a sore wrist that was hit by a pitch on Aug. 20, but Baker wasn’t offering any excuses.

“It’s almost September,” he said. “Everybody is bothered by something in September. If you’re not bothered by something this time of year, you haven’t been playing very much.”

Closer Francisco Cordero was considered unavailable on Saturday. Cordero had pitched the last four days in a row and in the last five games over six days. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cordero pitched four-straight days for the first time since July 3-6, 2008. He has pitched in five consecutive games for the first time since he pitched in a career-high six straight games from May 4-9, 2007.

To handle the ninth, Arthur Rhodes, Nick Masset and Jared Burton were considered available on a situational basis.

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Harang's saga

Minus one useless appendix, pitcher Aaron Harang walked around like an elderly man inside the Reds clubhouse on Friday.

“I’m slow getting around. I get drained of energy very quick,” said Harang, who had an emergency appendectomy last Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital.

When it comes to lengthy car drives, Harang and equipment manager Rick Stowe brought new meaning to the phrase “Are we there yet?”

On Saturday, Stowe had to drive Harang from Pittsburgh back to Cincinnati to have the operation after Harang was diagnosed with appendicitis. He explained what happened.

“I ordered a sandwich when I got back to the hotel at about 11 p.m. I ate it and went to bed,” Harang said. “I woke up at 6:30 a.m. feeling achy. I wasn’t sure. It was a sharp pain. I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t feeling good. I took a couple of Tums and tried to get back to sleep. It took two hours to get back to sleep.”

As the morning went on, Harang was prepared to go on with his day like normal.

“I looked up movie times and was going to the movies,” he said. “I called my wife and said I was having this pain in my lower side. She said it wouldn’t hurt to call [assistnat trainer] Steve [Baumann] or [head trainer] Mark Mann.”

Good idea. Baumann had Harang go to PNC Park. Then it was off to the hospital, where he was diagnosed by 5 p.m.

“We were going back and forth. Their general surgeon wanted to cut me open right there,” Harang said.

“I was fighting and telling Steve-o I just wanted to go home. It takes four hours. Rick said he would drive me back.”

Was he nervous?

“I wasn’t but Rick was. Steve told him to avoid any bumps. I texted Steve halfway through and said ‘why did you tell him to hit every bump?’ We listened to the game the whole way home.”

By 11 p.m., Harang and Stowe rolled into Good Sam.

“They took me in right there , walked me in the back way right into the back room, got me IV’d up and did tests, blood pressure,” Harang said. “Not even 45 minutes later, I was off to the operating room.”

There appears to be little to no chance Harang can return before the season is over.

“I can’t do any twisting movements for at least another two weeks,” he said. “You have to figure another two weeks to get my arm into shape. If we were in a different situation, a playoff situation, you’d probably push the envelope a little more. This late in the season, you have to assume it’s probably not the smart thing to do.”

Reds lineup:

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

Other news:

For the doubleheader on Monday vs. Pittsburgh, Kip Wells is scheduled to start Game 1 and as expected, Johnny Cueto will be activated from the DL to start Game 2. Not on the list to start anytime soon is Micah Owings, who was also skipped over for Saturday. Matt Maloney has been called up.

“There are a few things Micah has to work on,” Dusty Baker said. “We believe he has the stuff but he has trouble keeping the ball down. It’s not like we haven’t given him an opportunity.”

Owings will be the long man out of the bullpen.

“What they decide is out of my control,” Owings said. “I will be ready to work when I get the ball.”

Baker wants to call former Brewers manager Ned Yost and former hitter/reliever Brooks Kieschnick to see how he was utilized as a pinch-hitter and warm up enough to pitch. Here is a link to an Owings story that included Kieschnick on May 26.

Check the main site after the game for a story on Maloney. He has developed some new pitches since his last big league stint

OF Laynce Nix was out of the lineup because of a sore neck. It’s been a recurring problem. He went for an MRI test today.

Bengals players Tank Johnson and Roy Williams were on the field during BP while a camera crew from the “Hard Knocks” HBO series was in tow. Both players were visiting with Nix, who is from the Dallas area.

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Hernandez hurting

The disabled list has become a crowded space on the Reds roster and the club is hoping that it’s not about to add another wounded party.

Catcher Ramon Hernandez has been bothered by a sore left knee and went for a MRI exam on Saturday. He’s missed the last two games and wasn’t starting on Sunday.

“I’ve had this for two months,” Hernandez said on Sunday morning. “I’ve been trying to play and gut it out and do what’s best. I’m trying to help and do what I can to play. Now it’s gotten worse.”

During a plate at the plate as he tried to score on Thursday, Hernandez was unable to slide and was easily thrown out.

“I slid in New York during the day game and it hurt so bad,” Hernandez said. “If I slid here, I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

If Hernandez went on the DL, Ryan Hanigan would obviously take over the starting job. The Reds recently traded for catcher Corky Miller in the deal that sent Norris Hopper to the White Sox. Miller is at Triple-A Louisville and would be the likely call-up.

“It’s not exactly how we planned it,” manager Dusty Baker said of Hernandez. “We hope it’s day to day. It’s not good.”

On top of the knee issue, Hernandez has also been nagged by a sore left hand for several weeks.

“It’s been better,” he said. “I’ve had some cortisone shots on it.”

Someone asked Hernandez if his mother ever told him not be a catcher.

“I told myself too. In the next life, I’ll be an outfielder or play soccer.”

It’s not like there was a need for more injury news but Baker also had another concern. OF Laynce Nix reported having a tight back and was receiving treatment. His status wasn’t known.

On the positive side, SS Alex Gonzalez left today for a rehab assignment at Louisville. If all goes as planned, Gonzalez, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow June 22, will meet the Reds in Chicago during Thursday’s off day and be activated on Friday.

Opening Day roster players currently on the DL: Jay Bruce (broken wrist), Gonzalez, Edinson Volquez (tendinitis) and Mike Lincoln (bulging disc in neck).

Others on DL: Wilkin Castillo, Danny Richar 

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Hairston 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Encarnacion 5
Dickerson 7
Gomes  9
Hanigan 2
Cueto 1

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Rosales up, what's next for OF?

Sorry for a late blog posting — but it’s been a little hectic and I fell behind. The first person I saw when I walked into the clubhouse was infielder Adam Rosales, who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace the injured Jay Bruce.

It was Rosales’ first-ever time in New York. The closest he’ll get to Manhattan is flying over it.

“They called me last night at 11 p.m.,” Rosales said. “I got all packing done and took a 7:15 a.m. flight from Louisville. It’s been a long day already for me. I’m catching a flight after the game to go to Salt Lake City to see the family. I didn’t get the full experience. I saw the Statue of Liberty from the window of the plane, Manhattan and the Empire State Building.”

The Reds have some moves to contemplate over the All-Star break and expect them to recalibrate the roster some for the second half. They are currently carrying 13 pitchers and want 12. Another position player will be added, manager Dusty Baker confirmed.

The club is down to four outfielders — Willy Taveras, Chris Dickerson, Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix. Throw Jerry Hairston Jr. into the mix and that makes five. Hairston has been playing shortstop mostly with Alex Gonzalez out. Rosales played a lot of shortstop at Louisville and could go there with Paul Janish and free Hairston up the outfield.

Or the Reds could make a trade before the July 31 deadline. Baker was asked if Bruce’s injury made more likely a bat would be added from the outside.

“It depends,” Baker said on Sunday. “Everybody knows you’re in need and they want to get the better of the deal. It’s harder to trade now than ever before because most teams want your young players. [General manager] Walt [Jocketty] has already been on the phone already. We’ll see.”  

It didn’t look likely that Drew Stubbs or Chris Heisey would get promotions. Stubbs, Cincinnati’s 2006 first-round Draft pick, came into Sunday batting .279 with two home runs and 25 RBIs for the Bats.

“What does that equate to here?” Baker said. “He’s still trying to figure out his stroke. Let’s not rush these guys like we did with a whole bunch of guys. If they’re going to be here, you want them to play every day. … Let’s let these kids play and develop. All we see is their batting averages. All we see is hitting. We don’t see the total game if you want to win in the big leagues. There is base running, throwing, getting signs and fundamental stuff. If they’re going to make mistakes, let them make them there.”

And finally, Baker was asked about the lack of national notice on Francisco Cordero but turned the answer into a different direction. He used it as a chance to fire a shot across the bow of ESPN, his former employer for one year in 2007.

“It seems like publicity we get is when we got killed, 22-1 [on Monday at Philadelphia],” Baker said. “They showed every hit. They showed everything. I took exception to that. Those are my people at ESPN, why do we get all the publicity in the world when it’s a joke?”

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