Results tagged ‘ Matt Maloney ’

Maloney to pitch Saturday

The easiest to figure out secret of the week is now official. Lefty Matt Maloney will make his big league debut and pitch on Saturday vs. the Cubs. Maloney was 4-3 with a 2.00 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Louisville. He had a staff leading 67 1/3 innings and 58 strikeouts.

Besides earning the call-up with his numbers, the timing was perfect for Maloney. The 25-year-old will be pitching on his normal four days rest since he dealt a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts for the Bats on Monday. Homer Bailey pitched Tuesday and it wouldn’t have been prudent to have him work on short rest.

And for people who care about uniform numbers, Maloney will be wearing No. 56.

Maloney, who calls Columbus his hometown, was acquired in the deadline period trade that sent starting pitcher Kyle Lohse to the Phillies on July 30, 2007. Considering that the Phillies didn’t go far in the playoffs that season and  Lohse is now with the Cardinals, this is a plus-deal for the Reds and former GM Wayne Krivsky — especially if he can do well in the big leagues. Maloney is far from a power pitcher and throws his fastball in the mid-to-high 80s but relies on deception and off-speed.

In Spring Training, Maloney only pitched in two games and gave up four earned runs and six hits in three innings.

Trivia: Maloney will be only the second left-hander started for the Reds in 236 games. Adam Pettyjohn was the other when he started on the last day of the 2008 season vs. the Cardinals.

Reds lineup:

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

In other news, 3B Edwin Encarnacion could be close to heading out on a rehab assignment. Encarnacion was headed out to take another round on batting practice and has had no pain.

“When we get back home, they’ll check and see to where they can send me,” Encarnacion said. “When they say I’m ready, we’ll see where I am going to go. I am very excited. Now I know I can play. I feel no pain. I’m ready to go.”

Everywhere the Reds go on the road, manager Dusty Baker seems to have friends that visit his clubhouse office. On Thursday, it was former Giants starting pitcher Kirk Reuter, who lives across the border from St. Louis in Illinois. Baker wasn’t originally a fan of Reuter’s soft-tossing left-handed slop, even after he shutout the Giants in his big league debut with the Expos in 1993.

“He shut us out in his first start for Montreal. They asked me about and I said ‘we’ll see where he is in five years,'” Baker said. “In five years, he was playing for me.” (laughter, lots of it) He won some big games. He was a guy that could throw 90 pitches, 80 fastballs, and win.”

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Kent Mercker in the house

Towards the end of last season when he was injured and retirement was near, someone asked reliever Kent Mercker what his next vocation would be. Without hesistation, he said he’d be “turning vodka into urine.” Everyone around him in the clubhouse laughed.

That was quintessential Mercker, who was one of the smartest and funniest players I’ve encountered in this game.

But he’s found a part-time gig that brings him around the Reds again. Mercker is here at Busch Stadium to make his regular season radio debut working with Marty Brennaman tonight and Thursday. He’s slated to do a handful of games later in the season. I can only imagine he’ll make for entertaining radio during the games. Let me know how he does.

The reason for the change: Chris Welsh returned home for his son’s graduation and Jeff Brantley shifted from the radio booth to TV with George Grande.When Mercker first got here, he didn’t know where to go — so he went to visit a familiar face, Dick Pole, who was by the Reds bullpen — which is usually a no-no for credentialed media.

“I will light him up for that,” Brennaman said. 

A few years ago when the Reds stayed near a decepit mall in St. Louis adjacent to Union Station, the stores were all T-shirt shops and fudge stores. One day Adam Dunn was given a white T-shirt with a photo of Mercker’s smiling mug on it. Above the picture read “World’s Greatest Teammate.”

On to some news…

Willy Taveras is out of the lineup again because of a sore right hamstring. Taveras’ inability to catch up to Nick Stavinoha’s sixth-inning drive to center field let two-runs score on the double, including the go-ahead run in a 5-2 loss. Taveras spent a while in manager Dusty Baker’s office on Wednesday.

“He’s about the same,” Baker said. “I had a long talk with him today. We’ll hopefully try it again this weekend some time against the Cubs.”

Chris Dickerson started in center field but Jerry Hairston Jr. was back in the lineup and moved up to the leadoff spot. Hairston missed the last two games with a stomach flu. Why was Hairston moved up?

“No. 1, I wanted to split up right-left-right-left,” Baker said. “No. 2, last year Hairston was an outstanding leadoff man.”

The Reds were 25-19 last season when Hairston led off.

“Hopefully we can get some of the same,” Hairston said. “Whether I leadoff or hit second, I know my job is to get on base. Obviously hitting second, I may take a few more pitches to give the guy in front of you an opportunity to steal a base.”

Alex Gonzalez was also given a rest after he made the last 11 starts. Paul Janish got a start at shortstop.

“He’s been playing a lot,” Baker said. “I don’t want Janish to be out too long. I thought about doing it tomorrow but that’s not fair to Janish getting one start and he has to face [Cardinals Thursday starter Chris] Carpenter.”

Almost forgot to mention — no starter was named on Saturday yet. Baker said it was definitely not someone already up here. That seems to all but point to Matt Maloney to get the start vs. the Cubs.

Reds lineup:

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

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Volquez hurt, leaves game

Reds starter Edinson Volquez could be hurt again. Volquez, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list to make Monday’s start vs. the Cardinals, lasted only one inning and totaled 24 pitches (14 strikes) in his first game back.

The word from the clubhouse: Volquez left the game with numbness in the pinky and ring fingers of his right hand. He will be evaulated in Cincinnati on Tuesday by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek.

“It just comes down [to my fingers],” Volquez said. “It was just for a second and I didn’t feel it anymore.”

The Volquez line: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. With one out, he gave up back-to-back doubles to Colby Rasmus and Albert Pujols (RBI hit). He was on the DL with back spasms and hadn’t pitched since May 16 at San Diego.

After the Rasmus hit, the Reds knew something was wrong when Volquez started throwing a lot of breaking pitches.

“I threw about 10 curveballs in a row and I usually don’t throw more than three curves the whole game,” Volquez said.

In the past few days, Volquez had thrown two side bullpen sessions without any soreness.

Mike Lincoln took over for Volquez in the bottom of the second. The Reds gutted out a 5-3 come-from-behind win as five relievers combined for two runs (one earned) allowed over eight innings.
 
“We were talking about as Lincoln was warming up,” said Daniel Herrera, who worked two innings after Lincoln. “We said we had a lot of work to do. We all knew we’d have to pitch our weight in there. I’m glad we pulled out the win. It’s what our bullpen does.”

If Volquez is seriously hurt, reliever Jared Burton can be brought back to fill in and bolster the bullpen, which has 14 innings pitched in the last three games. Volquez’s next turn to start is Saturday vs. the Cubs but if he can’t make it — how does lefty Matt Maloney sound? Maloney threw a three-hit shutout on Sunday and is 4-3 with a 2.00 ERA through 10 starts at Louisville.

The Reds don’t need anymore adversity, especially on the heels of the Joey Votto situation. They will need Bronson Arroyo to go deep into Tuesday’s game after throwing a complete game the last time out.

On the resiliency scale for Monday, the Reds deserve a 10. What did you think of the outcome and how that win ranks up there this season?

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On the ground in Sarasota

I just landed less than an hour ago — the Florida air feels good at first contact when walking out of the airport.

I made a bee-line for the Reds complex and picked up my credential, said hello, etc. The report date for pitchers and catchers is Saturday and for position players, it’s Tuesday — but there were a bunch of players already ready to go.

Jay Bruce got to camp on Thursday and I talked t him for a little bit — it’s going to be a different camp for him. Last year he was trying to make the team and knew his chances weren’t great once Corey Patterson was signed. This year, he is the right fielder.

Chris Dickerson, Francisco Cordero and Bill Bray are also here and I saw prospects Todd Frazier, Matt Maloney and Devin Mesoraco. The first workout on Saturday is at 1:30 p.m. ET after the physicals.

One thing that struck me as weird was walking into the clubhouse and not seeing the big black trunk that belonged to Ken Griffey Jr., even though it’s been gone since July 31. He was the only one that had it and he sat on it everyday to talk and poke fun of people. Griffey was the only player at camp to get two lockers — now everyone has one.

The report day is usually without drama, but not always. During my first spring of covering the Reds in 2006, the late Josh Hancock was cut on the first day because the club said the reliever came in overweight. 

Everything gets rolling Saturday — hopefully you will check in here from time to time to get updated.

 

 

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