Results tagged ‘ Manny Ramirez ’

Big day for Reds news

I guess not much went on during Trade Deadline day, huh?

To recap — here is a summary of all the trade and non-trade news of the day on Friday.

1. 3B Scott Rolen was acquired from Toronto with cash for 3B Edwin Encarnacion, RHPs Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart.

2. IF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr. traded to the Yankees for Minor League catcher Chase Weems.

3. Edinson Volquez had to shut down his simulated start after his arm tightened up. This could be a disastrous development pending on what the results are.

4. Bronson Arroyo confirmed his admission of using androstendione and amphetamines.

5. The Reds called up RHP Kip Wells to fill in the roster blanks in the bullpen.

6. Catcher Ryan Hanigan returned after he missed six games with a sore neck.

The Rolen post before should have everything you need know. Here is my story on

As for the Hairston deal, here is what GM Walt Jocketty had this to say about Weems.

“We got very good reports him. He’s actually a guy we were interested in for the draft a couple of years ago and didn’t get.”

Volquez was supposed to be taking the final step before a possible rehab assignment when he began what was to be an 80-pitch simulated game. He didn’t make many throws from the mound before he walked off the field with head trainer Mark Mann. It turned out to be tightness in the arm inside the forearm/elbow area.

“My trainer told me it was a 50-50 chance it could happen,” Dusty Baker said. “So now it’s back to the drawing board again. That’s something I wasn’t expecting or hoping for.”

If his throwing program is shut down again, that could likely finish any chance Volquez has for returning this season. There is no word on whether his issue will be surgical.

Arroyo inserted himself into controversy when he tried to defend former Red Sox teammates David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, who were identified by the New York Times as two of 104 players on a list of players the tested positive for PEDs in 2003. In Friday’s Boston Herald, Arroyo admitted to taking androstenedione and amphetamines himself before both performance-enhancing drugs were banned by baseball.

On Friday, Cincinnati reporters were gathered around Arroyo’s locker to get the rest of the story.

“From 1998-2003, I took androstendione,” Arroyo said. “1998 was a big year for Mark McGuire. That was when he had the stuff sitting in his locker,” Arroyo said. “Everyone was aware of the fact that he took that stuff and said he was taking it. So everybody went out and tried it. I tried it in the Arizona Fall League. I thought I could hit my head on the rim [playing basketball]. [pitcher] Mike Lincoln and I would go to 24-hour Fitness every night, shoot hoops and work out until midnight-1 am. I felt unbelievable on this stuff. I took it through 2003 until they told me that stuff would give me a positive test. So I didn’t take it anymore.”

As for amphetamines, which were commonly known as greenies, Arroyo had no problem admitting usage until they were banned before the 2006 season.

“Oh yeah, of course I took a greenie for a 12:35 p.m. game,” Arroyo said. “Pitching against Johan Santana, you don’t think I’m going to take a greenie if I could? C’mon.”

Since random drug testing became mandatory in 2004, Arroyo has never flunked. He still uses a variety of legal substances to get a physical edge, including creatine, proteins, vitamins, ginseng and caffeinated drinks.

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The Grand Slam.

In nine seasons of covering baseball, I’ve seen several dramatic moments but Manny Ramirez might have topped them all.

One pitch. One grand slam. A 6-2 Reds loss.

And on Manny Ramirez bobblehead night, no less.

Ramirez was not starting because of a bruised left hand that was struck on Tuesday night by a Homer Bailey fastball. In a 2-2 game after Bronson Arroyo loaded the bases with two walks and a single to load the bases with one out in the sixth, 56,000 fans licked their chops with anticipation.

Dodger Stadium roared when Ramirez appeared from the dugout to pinch-hit. It was even louder after he demolished Nick Masset’s first-pitch sinker. The ball even landed in the “Mannywood” section. Everyone knew it was gone on contact.

Mannywood, yes…but it was pure Hollywood. No script could be written better – for Dodgers fans. Rarely have a heard a ballpark be louder. They say they have laid back fans here, but definitely not on Wednesday night.

“That’s stuff I had seen out of Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You go home seeing what you came to see.

“It’s about as dramatic as you can get — a grand slam on your own bobblehead night. First he was in the lineup and then they scratched him. He came in, saw one pitch and hit a grand slam. You don’t get more dramatic than that.”

Arroyo, who played with Ramirez on the Red Sox, wanted to face him. They had never faced each other before.

“I played with the guy long enough that I probably have an insight on his mind than anybody else here for sure,” Arroyo said. “But it’s Dusty’s call. It’s his job, not mine. … I feel like I would have got a double play ball and we would have been out of the inning. That’s the way you think about it. I don’t think anybody was worried about his hand. I know Manny. He’ll take a day off if he gets hit like that even if his hand is perfect. Don’t ever think when he goes to the plate that Manny Ramirez is hurt, because he’s not. If he was, he wouldn’t be standing in the box.”

From Masset, who was trying to induce an inning-ending double play.

“That’s pretty much where I wanted to put the ball,” he said. It just didn’t sink the way it normally does. It was middle-in. I was trying to jam him, get a groundball and get out of the inning. I basically tried to go at him with my best stuff and it didn’t work out.”

The only good news to come out of the sweep in LA (0-12 record since 2006), was the Cardinals have also lost three straight. The Reds lost no ground on first place and remained 5 1/2 games back. But at 44-50, they are a season-high six games below .500.

I’m off for the Cubs series….plenty to discuss I’m sure. Have at it.

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Gomes, Volquez and deadline

As he often does, OF Jonny Gomes likes to ask reporters if he’s in the lineup. Today, I was the one that told him he wasn’t. The Dodgers were starting right-hander Chad Billingsley and Gomes is the right-handed hitting part of Dusty Baker’s platoon.

Reds lineup:

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

One look at the stats shows this, and makes me wonder why Gomes isn’t in there more:

Gomes: .333 vs. LHP/.271 vs. RHP
Nix: .217 vs. LHP/.249 vs. RHP
Dickerson:  .257 vs. LHP/.271 vs. RHP

Gomes came into Wednesday batting .305 overall with seven homers and 20 RBIs.

“To tell you the truth about the numbers I have right now, if you would have told me a month ago with the role I have, I don’t think I would have been able to promise the numbers,” Gomes said.

To his credit, Gomes has never pouted or made a ruckus about not playing. He’s been the good soldier and remains a positive dude in the clubhouse.

“I want to be in there every day but I can’t control that right now,” Gomes said. “What I can control are my at-bats. You have to earn an everyday spot. In reality, I didn’t even make the team out of spring. To be where I am right now, I’m pretty pleased.”

But of course, no Major Leaguer aspires to a part-time role — accepted or not.

“I had no idea about this right-handed-left-handed thing until last year when [the Rays] brought in [lefty hitters] Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske for a platoon,” Gomes said. “My numbers kind of slid. But I made it to the big leagues in two-and-a-half years coming up the minor leagues. I was third in rookie of the year in 2005. In 2006, I hit 11 home runs the first month. You don’t do those things just facing lefties. I have to roll with it right now. It’d be easier if we were winning more ballgames. In Tampa, it was easier to get in there to do your role because we were winning ballgames.”

In other news: Edinson Volquez threw 45 pitches in the bullpen Wednesday and had no problems. It was all fastballs and Volquez said it was with “72 percent intensity.” Pitching coach Dick Pole said Volquez threw at “68 percent” on Monday…so there you go.

Volquez has a 65-pitch bullpen session scheduled on Friday in Chicago where he plans to throw fastballs and changeups. If all goes well, he could head out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

SS Alex Gonzalez is 1-for-9 in three games entering the night’s action with Triple-A Louisville. But his rehab assignment is slated to end and he will meet the Reds in Chicago on Thursday and be activated on Friday.

Baker heard about trades today involving Julio Lugo from Boston to St. Louis and Adam LaRoche going from Pittsburgh to Boston. He was asked if GM Walt Jocketty had brought anything up to him about possible Reds deals in the works.

“No, we’re not close on anything. We’re looking,” Baker said.

Are the Reds still hoping to make additions, rather than subtractions?

“I hope so. That’s where my mind is at,” Baker said.

Jocketty said the Reds’ rough run lately hasn’t altered his mood from buying to selling.

“Nothing’s changed,’ Jocketty said. We’re still trying to improve the club. We’re not looking for any short term fixes. I think if we do anything, it would probably be closer to the deadline because that’s where these things seem to develop. I’m going to try and do something that’s going to improve the club for the long haul.”

The Reds are still seeking a bat to improve the 14th ranked offense out of the 16-team NL ,but clearly aren’t willing to go the rent-a-player route.

“We need someone to help pick up the pace and pick up the production,” Jocketty said. 

It’s Manny Ramirez Bobblehead night and Baker said he’d likely take one with him when he leaves tonight. But he’d rather get out of Chavez Ravine with a win. It’s only been since 2005 when the Reds could say they were on the left-hand column in Los Angeles.

“The slogan today is one-for-L.A. We don’t want to be 0-for-L.A.” Baker said.

As for Ramirez, Baker is a fan — and not just because of his hitting ability.

“I like Manny. My kid likes Manny,” Baker said. “He has been very kind to my son [10-year-old Darren]. Manny sent over his over his training aid, which has helped my son a lot. I asked him about it and he sent over one in spring training. I thought it was pretty cool. It was a ring of balls with different colors on it. he practices concentration. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen.”

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Soaking up Chavez Ravine

I couldn’t see downtown Los Angeles all that well because of the smog, but I knew I was in the right place the minute I bore down on an In-N-Out burger and fries. Yeah, it’s fast food but there’s something about it I just like. It’s not as strong as Zip’s in Cincinnati or any Five Guys location but it is very, very good.

There’s nothing in the big leagues like walking into Dodger Stadium. They have you drive and park at the high end of Elysian Way and when you walk in, you’re literally at the “Top of the Park.” In the distance well beyond the outfield are the San Gabriel Mountains and it’s a rather stunning sight.

topofpark 072009.JPGThis park opened in 1962 and it’s amazing how they did it right just before the era of multi-purpose stadiums took off.

Just as I was getting settled in, Joey Votto was about to take early batting practice and yelled up to me “Hey Mark, tell everyone on Twitter I said hello. I’m enjoying Mannywood.” I asked if he was sure and since he was, I did. See — more incentive to follow me on Twitter.

A little while later, I could hear the unmistaken voice of legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully in the broadcast booth next door. A few years ago, I got to meet him when he popped into the visitor’s clubhouse. He offered his hand a huge smile when I introduced myself and probably like he’s done to millions before me, gave the feeling he was geniunely glad to meet me.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Hairston Jr. 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Encarnacion 5
Dickerson 9
Hanigan 2
Owings 1

RHP Edinson Volquez completed his first bullpen session since going on the DL with elbow tendinitis. He threw 30 pitches with no issues.

“He threw about 68 percent velocity,” pitching coach Dick Pole joked. “He had no problems. In fact, I was kind of surprised he located the ball as well as he did for as long as it’s been.”

Up next is another bullpen session on Wednesday for 35 pitches. Then some more pitches on Friday. However, a return to the Reds rotation is still pretty far in the distance. He’ll have to go through a rehab assignment first, which won’t be a speedy thing.

“We’ll see where he is when he goes out,” Pole said. “It’ll probably be like a Spring Training thing, three innings and maybe five innings. As long as he’s been off, it will take more than one or two [outings.]”

New backup catcher Craig Tatum, fresh from Triple-A Louisville, was soaking up his first big league exposure and was loving every second of it, even the $60 taxi ride he took with Homer Bailey from the hotel to Chavez Ravine.

“It’s still just so surreal. I never expectred anything like this,” Tatum said on Monday. He was called up Sunday afternoon when Ramon Hernandez went on the DL. “They were making fun of me last night because I was waiting for my bag when I got off the bus. I didn’t know anything.

“I’ve never seen a stadium this big. It’s my first time in L.A. too. There’s a lot more traffic than Hattiesburg, Mississippi.”

As much as I like Dodger Stadium, you can’t blame the Reds for hating it. Who cares how nice a park looks when you’re coming in 0-9 over the previous three seasons? This is obviously a big week for the Reds — a strong showing vs. L.A. and the Cubs and they’re still in the race. Drop a 1-5 week while the Cardinals take off and it could mean the selling season begins.

Any predictions for the series, and the trip?

mannyand cueto 072009.JPG

Above — that’s Mannywood himself on the left talking with Johnny Cueto.

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