Results tagged ‘ Laynce Nix ’

Dickerson starting, Inbox open

I am planning on doing another edition of the Reds Inbox (formerly called the Mailbag) for Monday. Please click on the comments section below this post to send a question that might be included. You can also e-mail them to mark.sheldon@mlb.com. Just put ‘Inbox’ in the subject area.

The Reds lineup is out and Willy Taveras is not leading off or playing today. It’s Chris Dickerson in the top spot and playing center field.

Dickerson 8
Hairston 5
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Hernandez 3
Bruce 9
Gonzalez 6
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

Reds manager Dusty Baker said it won’t be an extended break for Taveras, who is on a 1-for-45 clip at the plate and 8-for-94 (.085) over the last 23 games. The White Sox have lefty starters the next two games.

Baker revealed some displeasure with the second-guessing of his decision to stick with Taveras.

“I know he’s struggling but we tend to jump from one guy to the next guy on who we want to play or who is not playing or whatever,” Baker said. “First everybody wanted [Laynce] Nix to play instead of Dickerson or somebody instead of somebody else. They want Dickerson instead of Taveras. It’s a long season. You have to go with a guy’s track record too.

“Quite honestly, I’m getting a little tired of justifying who I play and how long and when. We’re doing what we can do right now.”

Speaking of Laynce Nix, this weekend he will get to play against his younger brother Jayson Nix, a bench player for Chicago.

“I don’t really get excited about too much but getting to play against him and see him in uniform, it will be good to spend some time with him,” the older Nix said. “It will be fun.”

Joey Votto, who went 0-for-2 for Class A Sarasota on Thursday, got six at-bats during an extended spring intraquad game in Sarasota today. It was believed he had two hits.

What’s the plan for Votto ahead? Sarasota is off for the Florida State League All-Star game.

“We’ll have to talk with him and see,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “He’ll probably be out on a rehab for a while. He’ll probably move up a level or two.”

It’s highly possible that Votto could go to Double-A Carolina, who will be at home for five games starting on Monday. Class A Dayton is home this weekend but then breaks next week for the Midwest League All-Star game.

“I think he’s leaving today to go to Dayton,” Baker said.

Carolina seems even more viable a stop now that first baseman and 2008 top draft pick Yonder Alonso broke the hamate bone in his right hand. It happened while swinging at a pitch in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Tennessee. He is on Carolina’s disabled list.

“We’ll probably bring him here to be looked at. That usually requires surgery  but I haven’t heard for sure yet.”

UPDATE at 7:05 p.m.: Alex Gonzalez was a late scratch because of right elbow tightness. Paul Janish started at shortstop and batted eighth. Ryan Hanigan was moved up to bat seventh.

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Bargain signing of 2009?

Brandon Phillips was trying to compliment Laynce Nix after a great night where he hit two home runs, drove in four runs and saved a run with a nice left field catch in the Reds’ 9-3 win.

But read this quote and see if you pick up on the veiled shot of the night:

“It’s good to have a guy in left field that can hit the ball and who can catch the ball.”

I guess Phillips doesn’t miss Adam Dunn’s lackluster defense in left field. By the way, the Nationals and Reds play each other next week in DC.

Nix gave the Reds their first run with a solo homer off Kyle Lohse in the second inning. In the eighth, his three-run homer against Chris Perez put the game on ice.

This season, Nix batting .287 with six homers and 17 RBIs. Of his 29 hits, 18 have been for extra bases – including a team-high 11 doubles.

Signed for 600,000 this season after he made the Reds as a non-roster invite at Spring Training, is Nix the bargain of the season?

“He’s out there holding his own,” Phillips said. “Honestly, he’s underrated. It’s all about a guy getting a chance. He’s out there taking advantage of the chance he’s getting. We’re thankful he’s on our team. He’s getting some key hits. We’re really needed him today. He’s just doing it.”

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Phillips not back, Baker reflects

You can’t likely see it in the pic below, but Brandon Phillips was at second base taking groundballs during Reds batting practice in the latest test for his fractured right thumb. He was also slated to take full BP himself. He was unable to hit or take grounders at home on Wednesday because of rain. If it goes well, I say he’s back in there on Saturday after he’s had a week off.

“The swelling went down a lot since the off day. That’s a good thing,” Phillips said. “Talking to [head trainer] Mark Mann, he thinks the swelling will come back because I’m going to do a lot today. We’ll see how it feels today and go from there. I felt like I could play a long time ago. But I’m not going to do anything stupid.”

millerpark.jpg

Phillips’ thumb remains in a wrap. Apparently, any future he had as a potential hand model are over.

“It looks ugly,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s turning colors. It’s been in the water so much.”

“It is ugly,” Phillips agreed. “I won’t kiss it myself.”

7:35 pm ET update: Phillips came through BP with no issues and even hit a couple over the fence. Standing by the cage, he didn’t appear to favor the thumb when he swung…and he was making good contact in general.

Phillips told Baker he could play tonight, if needed.

“Of course, I will feel it,” Phillips said. “It’s all about manning up. If you really want to play, you play through it. That’s how I look at it. Man up or go to the DL. I’m not going to do that because I feel I can play through it. I felt it a lot when I was throwing more than when I was hitting. The more swings I took, the more I started to feel it.”

“I can play through the pain. But I also don’t want to mess up the team.”

Here is Friday’s Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston 2B
Votto 1B
Hernandez C
Bruce RF
Nix LF
Gonzalez SS
Rosales 3B
Cueto P

The Reds are likely to face right-handed starters in all seven games of this trip, which means it will be tough to get righty hitter Jonny Gomes starts in left field. The lefty-half of the LF platoon, Laynce Nix, didn’t play much last week because the Reds saw four lefties in six games.

“He’ll take extra BP and try to stay as sharp as he can,” Baker said of Gomes. 

Baker was asked some questions about the surprise aspect of his team, and the quality of its depth. The Reds were 26-20 heading into the game tonight and right in the NL Central race with the first-place Cardinals and second-place Brewers and ahead of the favored Cubs.

“You don’t surprise people for very long,” Baker said. “You just go out and play ball. If you surprise some people, fine. If not, no problem. If they give you credit, fine. If they don’t, no problem. Just keep playing. We have more talent and ability than we’ve had here. More young talent, more exuberance, more excitement. Guys take losses harder. We have some good character to this ball club, which is one thing we wanted to do and change.

“The hard things is who do you keep and who do you delete. We’ve got guys here that get along together and like playing together. Guys that are highly competitive against the opposition and competitive against guys on their own team with no envy or jealousy.”

Baker also talked about having success in the long haul, which he wants to be a part of.

“You make decisions in life sometimes,” he reflected. “This is one of the decisions, to bring me here and me coming here, that’s been at the top of the list of my decisions of life. I’m very happy here. I plan on being here. … if they’ll have me for a while.”

I’ve seen a lot of comments, especially in my game stories, that want Baker fired. Yet, the Reds are currently winning and playing like they haven’t over most of my four seasons of covering the team. Why is there a disconnect between fan perception and the on-field performance? Why isn’t the winning making some fans happy?

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Nix in the lineup

For those looking for a Laynce Nix start in left field, today’s lineup vs. the Brewers should placate you — at least for now.

Did anyone see the Manny Ramirez news coming? Despite today’s times, that’s still a stunner.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston SS
Votto 1B Bruce RF
Phillips 2B
Bruce RF Nix LF
Hernandez C 1B
Nix LF Hanigan C
Rosales 3B
Owings P

4:45 pm update: Joey Votto was scratched from the lineup because he is sick.

News you can use:

Dusty Baker had a meeting with Chris Dickerson about the move to put Nix in the lineup tonight.

“I called Dickerson in and talked to him,” Baker said. “I said ‘hey man, you’ve got to go back to work and get it back together.’ Nix is going good right now. We have to win ballgames. I’m not saying it’s all his fault but Nix is doing his thing.”

Dickerson is batting .217 and is tied for the team lead with 21 strikeouts. Nix came in batting .353 and has one homer and six doubles during his limited chances.

SS Alex Gonzalez (left oblique strain) was scheduled to play catch today and said he would take some light swings with his bat on Friday. Gonzalez hoped he could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday.

“I will feel ready soon, maybe Saturday or Sunday,” Gonzalez said. “I do not want to go to the DL. Every day, I feel a lot better. Today, I feel a lot better than yesterday. I can move it a lot easier.”

Ramon Hernandez played the ninth inning at first base last night and is starting there in Votto’s place. Hernandez will be using Adam Rosales’ first base glove.

“I’ve got one but it’s not broken in,” Hernandez said.

One night after throwing 35 pitches of emergency relief in the ninth inning, SS Paul Janish felt the effects.

“Janish came out of it OK. He’s a little sore today,” Baker said. “I was worried about that after the number of pitches he threw. I remember that’s how Jose Canseco got hurt. He was throwing sliders. Paulie was throwing fastballs and changeups.”

Said Janish: “I’m a lot of sore today.”

Some info from the Reds game notes:

Reds Vice President and Assistant General Manager Bob Miller will participate in an online chat at reds.com/chat tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. ET…fans can log on to that site and post their questions beginning at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Players of the Month
The organization’s Minor League Players of the Month for April were Louisville’s IF Adam Rosales (17g, .431, 7 2b, 4hr, 15rbi, 2sb) and LHP Matt Maloney (3gs, 2-0, 1.86, 19.1ip, 18h, 0bb, 15k).

Lunch with Micah
As part of the Share the Celebration program, 8 young fans will have lunch with Reds pitcher Micah Owings tomorrow from 11:00 a.m. to noon at the Kenwood Cheesecake Factory…4 of the kids attending the lunch will be Reds Head Kids Club members, while another child will be hosted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

500
Tonight’s game is the 500th at Great American Ball Park…the Reds are 245-253-1 here since the ballpark opened in 2003, including 26-26 vs the Brewers.

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Rosales starts, Phillips not starting

A very unique lineup for the Reds today. You’ve asked, correction, demanded to have Adam Rosales up here and playing. Done. Let’s see if he can keep his hot, hot hitting going at this level.

Brandon Phillips is getting his first day off after he was 2-for-4 last night. I will try to update with the reason behind it. He was 0-for-4 with a GIDP vs. Astros starter Felipe Paulino on April 19 at Houston.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston 2B
Votto 1B
Bruce RF
Hernandez C
Nix LF
Rosales 3B
Gonzalez SS
Volquez P

Update at 5pm:

Dusty Baker decided to give Phillips the day off today because it means a two-day break with Thursday’s scheduled off day. Baker decided not to change back after his decent night on Tuesday when he homered and hit a double.

“It was already planned before anyway,” Baker said. “A lot of times, probably 20 different times, I had a guy with a planned day off and then he has a good game and the next day doesn’t work out and I’ve wasted the plan. I said go work some more today and get tomorrow off and be ready Friday.”

 As for Phillips, he had some interesting things to say about the media coverage of hitting woes, which is doesn’t call “a slump.”

“I know I can hit,” Phillips said. “Everyone can’t start off hot like Joey Votto. Some people start off a little slower. I had a slow start in 2007 too. I wouldn’t call it a slump. I’ve been hitting the ball good. I just haven’t found any holes. That’s how I look at it.”

More quotes from Phillips:

“I love you guys. I have nothing but respect for all of you. But ever since you’ve been writing about me not hitting, we haven’t been winning. I hear a lot of people on our team that are worried about me, instead of worrying about the team. I’m going to hit. That’s how confident I am. That’s the type of player I am.

“In the beginning when I wasn’t doing anything, everybody was flowing and it was all about the team. It was all about winning. Then the next thing you know, people start writing about ‘Phillips is not hitting. Edwin is not hitting.’ Everybody started paying attention to me and Edwin and everybody lost focus about winning.”

In other news….

Chris Dickerson is feeling better and will take BP today (indoors since it’s been raining). Dickerson could be available to pinch-hit tonight but that was not a lock.

Laynce Nix’s homer in the eighth inning last night was his first long ball since Sept. 1, 2006, when he was with the Brewers. Of course, he’s only played a little over 30 big league games since then. He was in Triple-A most of the time.

“It seems like yesterday because I’ve hit about 50 in between then and now,” Nix said. “It just wasn’t in the big leagues. I didn’t feel like it’s been that long.”

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It's dry under the roof

Good afternoon from soggy Houston, where it’s been raining cats and dogs all day. Severe thunderstorm warnings are abound and as I’ve seen here in the past, the drainage stinks and roads and sidewalks are flooding a little.

Thankfully the game shouldn’t be affected one iota under the roof here at Minute Maid Park.

Reds lineup:

Taveras, cf
Hairston, lf
Votto, 1b
Phillips, 2b
Encarnacion, 3b
Bruce, rf Nix rf
Hernandez, c
Gonzalez, ss
Harang, rhp

Jay Bruce was scratched two hours before game time because of a sore right hand. He was hit on the hand by Yovani Gallardo on Monday at Milwaukee and it’s still swollen. Bruce went for X-rays and we’re awaiting word. Apparently he might have tweaked the hand on a check swing last night. He told the Reds he had been pain free the prior three days.

Here is a note regarding Friday night’s game, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:

The Reds trailed the Astros, 1-0, going into the top of the ninth inning but Ramon Hernandez hit a two-run homer that gave Cincinnati a 2-1 victory.  It was the third time in the last 21 seasons that the Reds won a game in the ninth inning after trailing and being shut out at the end of the eighth inning, and all three were played in Houston.  The others were in April 1989 and May 1993.

 

Bradenton: March 30

Here’s today’s lineup:

Taveras  CF
Dickerson  LF
Votto  1B
Phillips  2B
Bruce  RF
Keppinger  3B
Janish  SS
Hanigan  C
Cueto  P

With Jacque Jones (and Norris Hopper) now out of the outfield picture, it’s interesting to try and figure out who will be in the outfield on Opening Day. I was talking with esteemed Reds beat writer Hal McCoy and we were trying to figure it out. You’ve got Bruce in right, Taveras in center and Dickerson in left (not saying he’s the starter for the opener, but clearly he’s on the team). Gomes is a lock to be outfielder No. 4. So here’s the issue. With Jerry Hairston Jr. on the roster, it gives you the flexibility since he can move back and forth between the infield and the outfield. That leaves perhaps one spot for a 5th outfielder, unless there’s a reason to only go with 4 and count Hairston as the fifth. Laynce Nix would provide a left-handed bat off the bench if they go that route. The other choice would be Darnell McDonald, the one-time first-round draft pick who has played over 1200 games in the Minors. He’s had the better camp and Dusty Baker has mentioned him several times in praising him for his performance this spring. Is that a hint? Only time will tell, but I’ll pose this question to all of you: Which of those two would you put on the Reds bench, or would you carry an extra infielder or pitcher instead and just go with the four outfielders pus Hairston?  — Jonathan Mayo

Springing forward stinks

I have a life lesson to impart so please gather the kids, grandma and grandpa and the neighbors around the laptop….

When you “spring forward,” be extra careful if you use your cellphone as the alarm clock.

I learned that at 7:35am today when carpool partner Hal McCoy called me out of a deep slumper to wonder where I was. I was supppsed to pick him up at 7:30am so we could meet with Dusty Baker at the usual 8am. The alarm was set and the cellphone clock was at the correct time when I peeked at it. But I guess if you set your alarm before the actual daylight savings time change of 2am, the alarm time won’t adjust along with the clock. It happened to Hal too, but he woke up on his own.

Because it’s Sunday, there was no traffic at least. And I’m proud to say that I went from wake-up to the ballpark in less than 30 minutes. (The park is about 20 minutes from Siesta Key). And because we weren’t the only ones to have clock issues, we were all still able to get to chat with the manager before the workout.

So with that Regis and Kelly-like story out of the way, let’s get to notes and lineups:

  • Baker was pleased with Homer Bailey’s outing vs. Toronto on Saturday where the right-hander allowed one earned runs and six hits over four innings with a strikeout. Six of the outs came via groundballs.

“He wasn’t sharp but that’s a sign of maturity when you can get by without your best stuff,” Baker said. “He wasn’t as sharp as he had been but he still got a key double-play groundball and a key line drive at the right time. You have to have a pitcher do something to get you out of trouble.”

  • Reliever Jared Burton gave up three runs in Saturday’s loss — the first runs he’s allowed in four outings this spring.

“Burton threw the ball well but was a little too strong,” Baker said. “He’s a guy that needs work to have movement.”

  • Non-roster outfielder Laynce Nix came in with an outside shot at one of the Reds’ reserve outfield spots. He’s played well in camp. Once a promising star with the Rangers, he’s been mired in Triple-A for most of the past three seasons. In the Brewers organization since 2006, Nix hit 23 homers last season and 24 in 2007.

“My particular situation the last couple of years was that way being with a  team that kind of had its roster set and didn’t have too much opportunity,” Nix said. “There wasn’t a lot I could do. I’m going to produce and do what I do on the field, no matter where I’m going to be. You have to exercise patience sometimes and that’s what I’ve done the last couple of years. I’ve tried to get better no matter where I was playing or what level.” 

A 2004 shoulder injury with the Rangers put a big dent in Nix’s career. Now he’s trying to prove himself all over again at 28. He entered Sunday batting .286 with one homer and three RBIs for the Reds this spring.

  • Baker was pleased with how well Alex Gonzalez has been swinging the bat. Gonzalez went 1-for-2 Saturday as the DH and is doing that again today. He is on track to play shortstop vs. the Yankees on Tuesday.
  • No word yet on potential cuts, but Baker said waiting for players to return from the WBC wasn’t a factor.

“That has nothing to do with it,” Baker said. “Most of the time, it has to do with pay day. That’s a cold, hard fact but it’s as truthful as you can say it. It happens at every job doesn’t it?”

Reds lineup:

Jones LF, Gonzalez DH, Dickerson CF, Phillips 2B, Gomes 1B, Nix RF, Keppinger 3B, Cota C, Janish SS

P – Owings

Rhodes, Cordero and Weathers are also expected to pitch today from the bullpen.

Blue Jays lineup:

Inglett 2B, Coats CF, Lind LF, Overbay 1B, Rolen 3B, Snider RF, Barrett C, Arencibia DH, McDonald SS

P – Purcey 

Windblown win for Reds

The wind was blowing out today between 15-20 mph, which made for not a banner day for pitchers of either team. There were eight homers and 33 hits totaled in the 13-11 Reds win over the Yankees on Sunday.

“You knew it’d be a wild one when it started. I was predicting 15-12,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “The balls were flying today. They were hit pretty good.”

The need to know rundown:

Like many starters in their first spring outing, Reds starter Aaron Harang spent some time trying to get his bearings on the mound. Harang’s line was three innings pitched with three earned runs and six hits, including a home run. Two of the runs and four of the hits came in the first inning.

“I felt good out there. The first inning, of course, the adrenaline gets going,” Harang said. “I kind of have to get everything back under control. I got a little erratic with my mechanics. I was out in front and I was keeping the ball over the plate and up a little bit. In the second and third innings, I kind of settled in.”

“Aaron threw the ball well,” Baker said. “At first he started out so-so, like he usually does. But his delivery was good. His control was good. And that wasn’t a bad lineup he was facing.”

  • The Yankees brought regulars like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to Sarasota.
  • The numbers were grim looking for veteran relievers David Weathers, Arthur Rhodes and Francisco Cordero. Weathers gave up two earned runs and three hits in one inning, including two homers in the fourth. Rhodes gave up three earned runs and five hits over his one inning while Cordero allowed three earned runs and four hits in one inning with two strikeouts. Baker didn’t seem too concerned.

“Our veteran guys were throwing the ball good,” he said. “They just got roughed up a little bit. They all threw the ball with good velocity. It usually takes them a little longer to get going, the older guys. I like where they are at this point.”

  • The Reds totaled five homers, their most in a spring game since 2003. Chris Dickerson went deep twice while Joey Votto, Laynce Nix and Craig Tatum (grand slam) hit one homer each.
  • Daryle Ward was supposed to play left field as a replacement but was sent home with the flu.
  • The announced attendance was 6,345 — I’d guess half were comprised of Yankees fans. Rodriguez got a mix of lusty boos and cheers when he came to the plate.

 

 

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