Results tagged ‘ Matt Maloney ’

Lehr for Maloney on Friday

RHP Justin Lehr will make the start for the Reds on Friday vs. the Pirates instead of LHP Matt Maloney, who has a blister on his middle finger. It’s the same finger that blistered on Maloney earlier this month in Colorado.

“The doctor today recommended that he not pitch for fear it could get worse,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s something that we don’t want to become chronic.”

Lehr wasn’t expecting to get another start before the end of the season….surprise.

“I was part relieved to think I wasn’t going to pitch and part excited now to get another shot to win my sixth game,” Lehr said. “They told me to stay ready just in case and be ready to pitch. It happened a lot quicker than I thought.”

That means Maloney finished the season 2-4 with a 4.87 ERA. Over his final three starts, he was 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA. Especially since he’s the only lefty starter on the 40-man roster, you’d have to think he’s made himself a candidate for the rotation’s fifth spot in 2010. Am I wrong?

Reds lineup:

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

OF Chris Dickerson was activated from the DL, where he had been since Aug. 25 because of a severely sprained ankle. Dickerson’s return means the Reds have eight outfielders on the active roster.

That’s some kind of crowd.

“It’s OK,” Baker said. “It’s better than when I had too few at one time. I remember when my hands were tied because we were operating shorthanded for a third of the season.”

The active roster has 37 players overall. I don’t remember a time when it’s been that loaded since I’ve been covering the team.

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Cueto out, Maloney in

There is a good chance that Johnny Cueto won’t be on the mound for Thursday’s series opener vs. the Marlins. On Wednesday, Cueto had what what appeared to be the flu and was allowed to skip the taking of the team picture. He left the ballpark.

“We’ll back Cueto up if he’s not feeling better,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We sent him home. I doubt that he’ll be better tomorrow. He might be but he’ll probably feel weak.”

If Cueto can’t go, lefty Matt Maloney will take his place. Maloney had to leave his previous start in Colorado last week with a middle finger blister but he threw on the side Tuesday without issue.

8:39 pm UPDATE: The Reds made it official — Maloney will start instead of Cueto.

Reds lineup:

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

Although Baker said that Ryan Hanigan would get the bulk of catching duties when he returned from the DL last Wednesday, he has started only three of the last eight games including tonight. However, he appeared in seven of the games in some fashion.

Corky Miller, who has done a superb job behind the plate since coming up (team is 9-3, 3.07 ERA) and Baker is also trying to get Craig Tatum some work.

“You can only catch one at a time,” Baker said. “They end up getting in the games because of pinch-running and pinch-hitting. I have him slated for two of the four games with Florida and Miller for two. And Tatum today.”

The depth has been a plus during games like Tuesday’s win. Miller was on first base in the seventh inning when he was lifted for a pinch-runner that scored the go-ahead run.

“That’s why we wanted an extra catcher, especially at this time of year,” Baker said. “There’s a good chance we’ll run for all three of them and pinch-hit for at least two of them.”

The catching rotation could get more interesting when Ramon Hernandez returns from the DL, possibly as early as this weekend.

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Gomes' rebound season

Among the myriad of off-season decisions that need to be made will involve outfielder Jonny Gomes.

Gomes has resurrected his career in Cincinnati — he came into Sunday batting .276 with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs. Not too shabby considering he’s done that with 243 at-bats after starting the season in Triple-A Louisville. He’s played well vs. right-handers (.255/14/31) and lefties (.317/5/17). He’s one of the best clutch guys on the club with a .323 average w/RISP. He’s also been a great addition, personality-wise, to the clubhouse.

“I wanted to get on track and back on the map,” Gomes said on Sunday. “I did have a couple of 20 homer seasons in the big leagues under my belt without a lot of at-bats. The other one where I didn’t hit 20, I hit 17. Last year I didn’t have many at-bats.”

Gomes is making $600,000 at the big league level this season. The Reds could offer him arbitration, which is something he said he would accept. If they don’t and he becomes a free agent, it becomes less of a guarantee.  

Getting a chance to play, without the help of roster attrition, would be a factor.

“I think I’ve earned that opportunity,” Gomes said.

“It depends on needs, what’s out there, which kids might be ready coming up behind these guys,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

OK like yesterday with center field — you’re the GM. Do you bring Gomes back for 2010 and if so, does he start in left field?

Reds lineup:

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

News of the day:

OF Willy Taveras and C Ramon Hernandez have started running the bases back in Cincinnati. There is a good chance that both players could be activated this week while the Reds are home.

LHP Matt Maloney threw on the side on Saturday but still has some soreness with the blister on his middle finger. It’s not known when Maloney might get another start yet.

With Louisville one game away from elimination in the playoffs, Baker wasn’t expecting a lot of call-ups since much of the 40-man roster is already up or on the DL. When asked if Yonder Alonso might come up, Baker responded “probably not.” Alonso might need a break to get ready for the Arizona Fall League.

And in the classy move of the day, the Cubs and their writers held an informal ceremony on the field for Hal McCoy on his last time working at Wrigley Field. Among the gifts was a No. 37 from the scoreboard — the number of years that Hal covered the Reds. Lou Piniella, Cubs GM Jim Hendry and former Red Ryan Dempster were among those sent Hal off the right way.

Hal McCoy night at GABP is Wednesday.

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Hanigan back, rotation change

The Reds made catcher Ryan Hanigan’s activation from the disabled list official on Wednesday. However, Hanigan wasn’t in the Reds starting lineup — even with favorite batterymate Bronson Arroyo on the mound. Corky Miller is getting the start.

“He flew all day to get here,” said Dusty Baker, who will start Hanigan on Thursday. “And Miller worked well with Bronson the last couple of times too.”

Hanigan had a solid five-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville, batting .389 (7-for-18) with two doubles, two RBIs and four runs scored. He said there were no symptoms from the concussion he suffered on Aug. 23 when he caught a foul ball off of his helmet.

“I was fortunate that it wasn’t real serious,” Hanigan said. “It was a milder concussion. I feel fine. I got some hits. [I had] a couple of days of working out and feeling fresh and trying to find my timing. I swung the bat alright. Hopefully, it will translate up here.”

The only thing Hanigan didn’t get was a foul tip off of the mask.

“Hopefully they will hit at an angle,” Hanigan said. “I think that was more of a freakish thing. Who knows why that happened. I’ve taken a million balls off of the mask like that. Just the way it hit and the fact that the mask broke is what combined for the concussion.”

Reds lineup:

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

RHP Justin Lehr had his bullpen session and had no trouble with the strained groin that caused him to miss a start. The Reds have changed their rotation for the Cubs series. Lehr will start on Friday, Johnny Cueto will go on Saturday and Homer Bailey will pitch on Sunday.

“We’d rather have Cueto pitch Saturday to get an extra day of rest,” Baker said.

LHP Daniel Herrera leads the Reds staff with 62 appearances entering Wednesday. His professional high was 64 games, set last season between Double-A, Triple-A and the Majors. In his last eight appearances, Herrera has a 7.04 ERA.

“He’s a little worn.,” Baker said. “He is still doing well against lefties. He just has to figure out how to make the adjustment against righties. Those guys have hit him hard. But this is a period that you have to get through. You have to get through uncharted waters and places that you haven’t been through before in order to know how to do it when you get back there, which is next year.”

In the eighth inning on Tuesday, Herrera gave up a leadoff double to right-handed pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs, who later scored on a sac fly.

“I still feel really strong,” Herrera said. “I think I’m still throwing some pretty quality innings and getting some outs. As far as health goes, my arm feels really good. I might be a little fatigued at this point, but so is everybody else. It will be good to finish the year strong. … They hit me a little bit, obviously last night.”

LHP Matt Maloney doesn’t have a starting assignment yet after he came out of Tuesday’s game with a blister on his left middle finger. It derailed the best start of his big league career after five innings.

“He came in today to apologize,” Baker said. “I said you don’t have to apologize. He wanted to keep pitching so we could win. It just got to the point where he couldn’t pitch anymore without tearing it. If he tears it, he’s probably through for the year.”

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McDonald improves, roster moves

I remember when journeyman minor leaguer Darnell McDonald was up here to start the season, fans were far from pleased. First, McDonald made the 25-man roster over the more popular Jonny Gomes. He even started on Opening Day because Willy Taveras was out. Then he struggled mightily and there was an awful lot of attention paid to the 25th man on the roster.

McDonald was designated for assignment on May 22 after he batted .175. But if you’re a 30-year-old former No. 1 draft pick that spent 11 years in the minors, you know something about resiliency. He batted .314 for Triple-A Louisville and was brought back up last week.

“He’s played very well,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I saw the talent level there. It’s just a matter of putting too much pressure on himself when he was here the first time and trying to stay. He went down and played, got his stroke and everything together and really contributed.”

McDonald has featured prominent in several games. In a 13-inning game at Milwaukee, he forced extras by throwing out Ryan Braun at the plate from left field. The next day, he hit the game-winning double over Braun’s head in the 10th inning. McDonald hit a two-run homer — the first of his career — in Sunday’s loss and in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader with the Pirates, he scored the winning run a wild pitch.

“When you play to try to be perfect and not make mistakes, you make more mistakes,” McDonald said. “Now I want to play loose and have fun. If you make a mistake playing aggressive, that’s fine.”

Roster moves:

After Game 1, the Reds made three transactions. Starter Johnny Cueto was activated from the DL and RHP Ramon Ramirez and 1B Kevin Barker were recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Laynce Nix was placed on the DL with a bulging disc in his neck. RHP Carlos Fisher was optioned to Class-A Sarasota and LHP Matt Maloney was optioned to Double-A Carolina.

The moves were not extra-harsh demotions for Fisher and Maloney. Because Triple-A Louisville is in the playoffs, any player sent down there would have to wait 10 days before returning. Carolina’s season ends on Sept. 7 and Sarasota’s ends on the Sept. 6. Both guys can come right back after that but will pitch for their teams in the interim.

It will be interesting to see how Cueto does. With the Reds situation, I think he might have been better off resting the rest of the season. I trust the opinion of the medical staff but why risk injuring Cueto’s tired arm (only 136 2/3 innings) when there is no pennant race at stake? Between last season (174 innings), winter ball and the WBC — he’s already had a lot.

Game 2 Lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 9
McDonald 7
Miller 2
Cueto 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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Maloney vs. L.A. Saturday

Even though they didn’t end up using Micah Owings from the bullpen in the three-game sweep of the Brewers, the Reds decided that they will call up lefty Matt Maloney from Triple-A Louisville to fill Saturday’s rotation vacancy vs. the Dodgers.

Maloney last pitched on Sunday at Toledo and allowed four runs and six hits over six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. Overall at Louisville, he is 9-9 with a 3.08 ERA. Maloney made three starts for the Reds and  was 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA. He was optioned back to Louisville on June 20.

Even with Owings’ unused arm available, Justin Lehr saved a very spent bullpen with his 7 2/3 inning outing today in an 8-5 win. The Reds were down, 4-0, in the first inning. Lehr knew he would have to eat it even if Milwaukee kept running the score.

“After the first, I figured I was going to throw my pitch count no matter how many runs I gave up. So, I just kept plugging away,” Lehr said. “There was nothing you could do, I understood.  If we were down by six runs, I’m not coming out of the game at 50 pitches. It was nice to start getting some quick outs.”

Don’t look now, but the Reds have won four in a row. It tied a season high set May 24-27.

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Crowded DL, Lehr next up?

A lousy road trip was compounded by the loss of two more players to the disabled list on Monday. The Reds placed starting pitcher Micah Owings on the 15-day DL with a tight right shoulder. Outfielder Chris Dickerson joined him there with a bruised right rotator cuff.

“I don’t have to have surgery. I’ve been down that road already,” said Dickerson, who said he was told he had a small tear in his rotator cuff also.

“Dickerson could probably be ready in 5-6 days but we’ve been playing short most of the year,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We can’t afford to go short.”

The Reds called up reliever Robert Manuel and utility player Drew Sutton to fill the 25-man roster.That means Friday’s starter is TBA vs. the Rockies. It just so happens that RHP Justin Lehr is Triple-A Louisville’s scheduled starter that same day. Lehr, who is 13-3 with a 3.31 ERA this season was just named the International League’s pitcher of the week (2-0, 1.88 ERA in two starts). Lehr isn’t on the 40-man roster that would require a second move if he is the one. Lefty Matt Maloney, who has already been up once earlier this season, is scheduled to pitch tonight for Louisville.

As for the outfield situation, the Reds are down to Willy Taveras, Laynce Nix and Jonny Gomes. Jerry Hairston Jr. can play all three spots and Sutton played right field for the first time last week in Los Angeles. Gomes was 2-for-16 on the last road trip and Nix, who just snapped a 0-for-11 skid, has struggled the last few weeks.

Baker was asked about Chris Heisey and Drew Stubbs.

“They need to play,” he said, meaning they should remain in the Minors.

Currently on the DL for the Reds are: Jay Bruce, Ramon Hernandez, Edinson Volquez, Mike Lincoln, Wilkin Castillo, Danny Richar and Jared Burton.

Lincoln made his first appearance in the clubhouse since having cervical disc replacement surgery earlier this month. Other than a band-aid in the front of his neck, he didn’t look like a guy that just had a major surgery in that area.

As he often does each day, reliever David Weathers was hitting grounders to his young son, Ryan. But he called out to me and asked if I had heard anything new about him in the rumor mill. I hadn’t.

“I’d like to stay,” said Weathers, who has a one-year deal for this season and zero no-trade clauses. “I don’t want to go anywhere. But I have no control over it.”

Weathers didn’t believe the Reds were in full sell mode yet.

“If we get a sweep [of the Padres] or win three of four, that might make them think again,” Weathers said. “And what if the same people in front of us lose three or four in a row?”

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Gonzalez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Encarnacion 5
Nix 7
Gomes 9
Tatum 2
Bailey 1

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Return delayed for Volquez

The Reds recently learned that they will be without Edinson Volquez for longer than expected. Volquez was shut down from throwing after a second MRI revealed there was still inflammation on the flexor mass muscle that connects the forearm to the bone by the elbow. The first MRI taken in early June when Volquez went on the DL with tendinitis didn’t reveal as much because he still had some swelling.

“I guess they found things that were more serious than anticipated,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s in good spirits so I guess that’s where it starts. It’s not serious enough to operate.”

Team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek will examine Volquez again on Tuesday but Volquez was told not to throw until the inflammation completely subsides. That will push back his return date, significantly.

“With a starting pitcher, you need time to build back up and rehab starts,” head trainer Mark Mann said. “You’re probably talking beyond the All-Star Break.”

“It just means it will take a little longer but we still expect a full recovery,” GM Walt Jocketty said. “You have to make sure it heals completely. Those things generally do.”

The Reds have still not named a starter to pitch on Saturday at Cleveland, which was the spot Volquez and first replacement Matt Maloney occupied.

“Nah, you guys name him,” Baker said.

OK, paging Homer Bailey. He is scheduled to pitch on Saturday for Triple-A Louisville so it lines up perfectly.

In five June starts, Bailey is 4-0 with a 0.47 ERA. In 38 1/3 innings, he’s allowed just seven walks with 38 strikeouts. With the news that Volquez will be out, this could be the best extended chance Bailey will get to prove he belongs in the Majors.

“Whoever starts on Saturday needs to give us some quality,” Baker said.

Reds lineup

Dickerson 8
Hairston Jr. 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Gomes dh
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Richar 5
Arroyo 1

Other news of the day:

Jocketty is keeping an eye out for some offensive help on the trade market but it’s been quiet.

“There’s not a lot of action going,” Jocketty said. “There are too many clubs that feel they’re still in it.”

Baker spent today working again in the cage with Willy Taveras, who did not start on Wednesday.

“If we have to go down there every day, he’s going to get it,” Baker said. “We weren’t wrong in our assessment of what we needed.”

Danny Richar got a start at third base, partially because he’s an extra left-handed hitter for the lineup against a right-handed pitcher. Baker said that Paul Janish would likely get a start at shortstop on Thursday and Jerry Hairston Jr. would move to third base.

Finally, Baker mentioned a chance encounter he had at lunch with former NHL player Shayne Corson at his Toronto restaurant. Why is that interesting? Because Corson had a long battle with anxiety attacks brought on by the premature death of his father at the age of 45. Corson played from 1985-2004, mostly with the Canadiens, Oilers and Maple Leafs.

“We had a really good conversation,” Baker said. “He had to skip a playoff game. I guess he went through it for a while.”

Obviously, the Reds have a player going through a similar issue in Joey Votto – who revealed his depression and anxiety issues on Tuesday.

“It’s very coincidental. It was almost planned,” Baker said of the Corson encounter.

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Gonzalez to DL, have surgery

There were a lot of festivities and preparations for the Civil Rights Game on Saturday. But there was also baseball business that had manager Dusty Baker preoccupied.

Baker was unhappy because he had to put SS Alex Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list. Gonzalez has four loose bone chips in his right elbow and will need surgery — something expected to happen on Tuesday. He will likely be out for four weeks.

“He took a swing yesterday and his arm locked up on him,” Baker said.

Infielder Danny Richar and catcher/infielder Wilkin Castillo were called up from Triple-A Louisville. As part of the transactions, left-handed starter Matt Maloney was optioned to Louisville and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. For those wondering, Encarnacion would be eligible for activation from the DL on June 27.

Maloney was 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA in three starts for the Reds, including on Thursday when he gave up six runs over 5 2/3 innings during a 7-0 loss to the Braves on Thursday. Because of a scheduled off day on Monday, the Reds won’t need a fifth starter until next Saturday at Cleveland.

Jerry Hairston Jr. started at shortstop on Saturday vs. the White Sox.

While the Reds took BP today (all wearing the Frank Robinson fan giveaway throwback jersey), Gonzalez was on the top step out of the clubhouse tunnel at the end of the dugout.

“What can I say? It’s tough luck,” Gonzalez said. “I want to be out there. I missed all of last season. To be out for a while this year is tough. I have to get it done.”

“I’ll come back in the middle of July and I hope the team continues to be in the race. When I come back, I will try to do what I’ve been doing this season.”

For those counting, Gonzalez is the third starting infielder to go on the DL for an extended period this season. Encarnacion hasn’t played since April 28 because of a chip fracture in his left wrist. Joey Votto has been out with the stress issue since May 30. And the one main infielder that avoided the DL, Brandon Phillips, missed five games with a hairline fracture of his right thumb.

“Remember in Spring Training when I said in order for us to win this thing we’d need everybody?” Baker said. “I hoped I wouldn’t be right but that’s how it is.”

 

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Hairston 6
Phillips 4
Gomes 7
Hernandez 3
Bruce 9
Hanigan 2
Rosales 5
Cueto 1

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