Results tagged ‘ Micah Owings ’

Isringhausen close to signing

*The Reds are going to sign free agent reliever Jason Isringhausen to a minor league deal soon after they watched him throw in the bullpen on Tuesday.

“I think we’ll get it done in the next day or so,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said on Wednesday.

Isringhausen still has to complete his physical before signing. He’ll likely go to

*When Micah Owings pitched on Tuesday and allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning in the sixth, it was his first action in 16 days. Owings was sent to Triple-A Louisville so he can start and get some more innings.

“It’s not his fault or anybody’s fault,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Our starters have been going so deep. There wasn’t really a need the last two weeks for a long man. And you have to hold him back for those close games and extra innings. There’s a handful of those or more.

“I remember Bob Quinn told me years ago that pitchers rust out before they wear out. That’s a prime example of that.”

*It looks like Ramon Hernandez will come off the DL tomorrow. The plan is to have him play first base so Joey Votto can get a rest. Ryan Hanigan will catch the series opener Friday at Houston and Hernandez is slated to catch on Saturday.

*Homer Bailey threw between 45-50 pitches over three innings during a simulated game Wednesday. Jocketty, Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price were watching. Paul Janish, Corky Miller and Laynce Nix were the hitters.

“It went pretty good,” Bailey said. “My curveball, split and fastball were pretty good. The slider was a little off. It’s kind of always the last one to come for me.”

*If Bailey still feels OK Thursday, the plan is for him to start a rehab assignment on Monday when he starts for Class A Dayton.

*Aaron Harang (back spasms) went to the chriropractor today for another adjustment and said “today is a really good day.” He’s been doing rehab and treatment and walking on a treadmill. He tried throwing a bullpen session during the All-Star break but shut it down because he didn’t feel right. There is no ETA on when he’ll resume throwing or return to the club.

*There is nothing new with Scott Rolen. The club is trying to wait out his sore right hamstring as long as possible.

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Nothing trivial about this rout

The Reds’ 12-0 win over the Cubs certainly qualified as one of the oddest games I’ve seen all year. It was a 1-0 game through six innings.

As I watched Ryan Dempster retire 13 in a row while the Reds had only two hits and one run through six innings, I could see frustrated Reds fans take to Twitter and complain, a lot.

No one was whining after the top of the seventh. It took around 35 minutes and nine runs scored — while only three hits were notched. The Cubs did most of the work for the Reds by allowing six walks, one passed ball and one error.

*The biggest walk was Arroyo’s four-pitch free pass that ended Dempster’s day. That one opened the gates and began the rout.

*Arroyo had only 89 pitches through six innings but the long seventh iced him long enough to have to come out. He, Logan Ondrusek and Micah Owings combined for a two-hit shutout.

“I knew it was probably going to be a close game for a while because Dempster has been throwing the ball good all year,” Arroyo said. “Luckily for me, we got a chance to break it up and give me a kind of a days’ rest where I could take two innings off and get ready for my next one.”

*Joey Votto hit his 19th homer of the season in the eighth. That moved into a tie for the NL lead with Pujols, who plays later tonight.

*It’s hard to believe that on Thursday, the Reds notched 16 hits over 10 innings and scored only three runs. What a country.

*The Reds have won three in a row and nine of the last 11.

Some trivia – 

*Five different Reds hitters each had two RBIs.

*Gomes ans Bruce scored twice in the seventh. That hasn’t happened for this team since Felipe Lopez and Sean Casey did it on Aug. 5, 2004 at San Francisco.

*The nine-run seventh was the Reds’ most in a single inning since scoring 10 against Arizona on Aug. 19, 2005.

*The six walks were the most in an inning since August 10, 2005 against the Cubs at Wrigley.

*At the halfway point of 81 games, the Reds are 45-35. This time last year, they were 40-41.

More quotes that didn’t make my MLB.com story –

“We feel good about where we’re at. Everybody is swinging the bat well. Hopefully we’ll get good pitching the rest of the series and continue on in New York and Philly.” — Bronson Arroyo

“We’ve been in games like that with our pitchers. They keep us in the game. Starting pitchers are doing a heck of a job, that’s for sure. If they’ll be patient, we’ll be patient. We’ll come out on the better half in the end.” — Jonny Gomes on the early pitchers’ duel

“We have a tough 81 games to come down the stretch. We just want to finish strong, No. 1, and hopefully pick up a couple of games in the meantime. Every game we win now is one last game on the schedule.” — Dusty Baker

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Series opener vs. Pirates

Monday lineup vs. PIT

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Stubbs 8
Hanigan 2
Harang 1

Notes:

*Homer Bailey found out he was going on the DL when he saw Enerio Del Rosario in the clubhouse, and asked trainer Paul Lessard what was going on. He was not happy.

“I just found out from Paul that they’re DLing me,” Bailey said. “They didn’t ask my opinion. I guess that’s where everything stands.

“I could understand missing one start but I’m not a doctor.”

“The recommendation is for him right now is to not doing anything for a week,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “He could pitch with it but it’s going to get worse, not better. The best thing to do is shut it down, let the inflammation subside and then he can start throwing again. It’s tough because I know he’s competitive and he wants to be out there. Sometimes, it’s better to take a step backwards so we can go forward.”

*The contenders take Bailey’s turn in the rotation on Friday are Sam LeCure, Matt Maloney or Travis Wood.

“We haven’t decided who yet,” Jocketty said. “We’ll probably make that decision the next couple of days.”

*Aroldis Chapman, whose start was scratched today for Triple-A Louisville, will throw on the side Tuesday. If all goes well, he could start Thursday for Louisville.

*Johnny Cueto is still on track to start for the Reds on Thursday, despite his blister issue from Saturday.

*After he threw 60 pitches yesterday, Micah Owings is only available to pinch-hit the next couple of days.

*If you’d like to learn more about how Del Rosario reached the big leagues beyond what was written today, check out my March 9 Spring Training story. I talked to minor league pitching coach Tom Brown, who was credited with turning Del Rosario into a sidearm pitcher.

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Lineup at FLA, some stats

Greetings from the ballpark now known as Sun Life Stadium in South Florida. It was raining when I landed in Fort Lauderdale and it’s pretty menacing-looking outside right now. But I doubt a passing shower or two will stop the game.

Reds lineup vs. FLA

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Nix 7
Hernandez 2
Cueto 1

Some notes:

*The Reds are batting .230 as a team, which is ranked 12th in the NL.

*The Reds rotation has a 3.11 ERA, which is ranked third in the NL.

*Drew Stubbs has eight strikeouts in 20 at-bats with two walks. Joey Votto, also has eight strikeouts in 23 at-bats, with two walks. Votto is batting .316 while Stubbs is at .250.

*Jay Bruce is hitless in his last 17 ABs and is batting .053. 

*Jonny Gomes has six strikeouts in 14 ABs.

When asked about the team’s offensive issues, Dusty Baker wasn’t worried.

“Worry doesn’t do any good,” Baker said Monday afternoon. “That’s what you all don’t understand. You just have to work through it. There are guys struggling all over for whatever reason that you don’t know. We gave our guys plenty of at-bats, we thought, [in spring] to try and alleviate this. Sometimes, there’s no explanation. Some guys aren’t seeing the ball well. Some guys are hitting the ball well and not getting hits. Some guys that were hitting in spring are still hitting. Some guys that weren’t hitting in spring are still not hitting.”

*I saw Stubbs watching his swing on video this afternoon before many guys were in the clubhouse. It’s not an uncommon thing for players to do that — in fact most do.

“The last couple of days, I haven’t felt great at the plate,” said Stubbs. “[Sunday], in particular, I saw that my head was moving a little bit when I was swinging and causing me to swing through some balls. You see that and want to get back to the basics and fundamentals of your swing and re-start.”

*The Reds’ mohhawk club has doubled its membership. Jonny Gomes came to Spring Training with one. For the first time today, I noticed Micah Owings sporting a pseudo-mohawk on his dome.

*The Reds are 80-61 vs. the Marlins, all-time, entering tonight. They were 3-3 last season and 9-5 over the last two seasons.

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Reds-Cubs postgame extra

Pretty nutty game for the Reds in a 5-4 win over the Cubs.

*Carlos Silva, who was 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA in his last two seasons, had the Reds completely shut down for six innings.

*Homer Bailey was laboring with a high pitch count (64 thru 3, 106 thru 5)

*Unsung hero of the night was Micah Owings, who pitched three scoreless innings of relief.

*Obvious hero of the night was Drew Stubbs, who hit the grand slam in the bottom of the eighth.

*A nailbiter in the ninth when Francisco Cordero gave up a Derrek Lee homer, followed by a single and two errors that loaded the bases. Cordero escaped and got his first save.

Some postgame quotes:

Dusty Baker —

on Bailey?

“The key is Homer kept us in the game. He struggled, big time. He threw a lot of pitches but kept it 3-1.”

on Owings?

“That’s perfect. He gave us innings. He gave us some zeroes. He gave us a chance to come back. We were down 3-1 but it seemed like we were down a lot more because every time I looked up, they had the top of the lineup or middle of the lineup up again. You start counting during the game. We hadn’t batted around once yet, and they batted around twice. They were almost two innings ahead of us. Anytime you have to face their big hitters four or almost five times a game that early in the game, somebody is going to get you.”

Homer Bailey –

“I absolutely didn’t have good stuff today. No matter what was going on, there were times I felt like I couldn’t buy an out. I just tried to keep pushing forward and limit the damage the best I could. My pitch count skyrocketed by my own doing.”

Francisco Cordero on Phillips’ marvelous barehanded play in the ninth on Tyler Colvin’s grounder. It was close call at first base.

“We should give the save to Brandon Phillips on that play right there. He had a great play.”

“I think he was out. Obviously, I was pitching and wanted him to be called out. I wouldn’t have been mad if he was called safe. It was a tight play. we got the call, we got the W and I got the save.”

Micah Owings —

“When I got the ball, I did the best I could each pitch. That will be my approach from here on out.”

****

The Reds have a 2-2 record but have only led for three innings, total, if my math is correct. They had the 1-0 lead after Arroyo’s bottom of the fifth two-out single vs. STL on Thursday until the 7th on Holliday’s leadoff homer. They didn’t take the lead tonight until Stubbs’ slam in the eighth.

I’m off for the next two games. Catch you on Monday from South Florida.

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What to make of spring numbers?

Often during lulls in spring games, press box conversations often drift into unlikely directions. Today was no different with topics of Carrot Top, Gallagher, Matt Stair’s new slim figure, Jamie Ramsey’s “nickel and dime” blog and other oddities popping up.

During the lengthy Tuesday game, lost by the Reds to the Padres by a 7-5 score, the press box conversation actually fell back into a good baseball topic. What can be made of some of these spring results by the Reds?

After today’s outing, Aaron Harang has a 9.88 ERA and had lousy-looking lines in his last two starts. Jared Burton has a 5.63 ERA and a team-high four home runs allowed, including one on Tuesday. Aaron Miles, coming off of a bad 2009 season, is batting a paltry .143 while regulars like Brandon Phillips (.125) and Orlando Cabrera (.175) are struggling.

When do we stop saying “it’s just spring” and start worrying — if at all? 

Keep these 2009 statisitics in mind:

Francisco Cordero had a 12.10 ERA in spring. He saved 39 in the regular season with a 2.16 ERA.

Arthur Rhodes had a 5.63 ERA in spring and 2.66 ERA in regular season.

Bronson Arroyo had a 5.95 ERA in spring and a 3.84 ERA in the season with 15 wins.

On the flip side…

Micah Owings was lights out with a 1.52 ERA in spring and had a terrible season (7-12, 5.34).

OF Darnell McDonald batted .300 in camp to make the team and was sent out by May.

Jay Bruce had a nice spring with a .300 average and batted .223 when the games counted.

Do Burton’s numbers mean he’s no longer a roster lock, especially with Logan Ondrusek looking great and throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings? Is Harang headed for another tough year?

They say numbers don’t lie, but in spring, they don’t always tell the truth either. That’s why I try not to make a lot out of anything based on spring stats, unless it’s a position battle between two guys without much of a track record (ie: Stubbs and Dickerson for center field).  

When it came to Harang, Dusty Baker was not worried.

“I definitely look beyond [the spring numbers],” Baker said. “He’s throwing the ball with better velocity and coming inside, and using his legs. If you don’t get the results, you have to find some positives in there. The positive is he’s throwing the ball good.”

*Baker will be in Las Vegas with the Reds for their evening split-squad game on Wednesday night. The club was scheduled to fly out on Tuesday night. That means bench coach Chris Speier will manage the Wednesday afternoon game vs. the A’s in Phoenix. Pitching coach Bryan Price will be at both games because he wants to watch both fifth starter contenders, Mike Leake and Travis Wood, make starts. Price will fly to Las Vegas right after the A’s game.

*There were six errors committed during the sloppy game. Drew Sutton’s two at shortstop probably did not help his cause for the last couple of bench spots.

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Fifth starter race still crowded

The fifth starter competition still has seven contenders left — Aroldis Chapman, Matt Maloney, Micah Owings, Justin Lehr, Kip Wells, Travis Wood and Mike Leake. Surprisingly, no one besides Mike Lincoln has been told they are out — yet.

“It’s going to go down to the wire,” said Maloney, who is scheduled for work out of the bullpen vs. Seattle. “We have a bunch of good guys competing for it. Whoever gets it is going to be very deserving of it. They’re going to help the team win and that’s the main thing they’re looking for. It’s a good competition and it’s going to bring out the best in all of the guys. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.”

*It’s possible that Maloney could wind up with a different role than he planned on.

“We haven’t decided on Maloney yet. Would he be better in the bullpen or is he still in the running yet?” manager Dusty Baker said on Friday. “We’re trying to decide that. Lehr, we’re trying to get him more extended time here.”

“I told them I’m willing to do whatever it takes to pitch at the big league level,” Maloney said. “I think they know I’m willing to do it.”

*Innings are getting more precious, especially starting next week.

On Saturday — Travis Wood gets his first start and is slated for four innings. Mike Leake follows with three innings.

On Sunday — Justin Lehr will get his first start and go three innings vs. the Cubs. Johnny Cueto will get five innings in the other split-squad game at the A’s.

Monday — Arroyo gets 5 innings, Chapman 4. Owings will throw 4 inn in a minor league game.

Tuesday —  OFF

Weds — Bailey goes 5 inn

Thur — Harang gets 6 inn

Friday — Leake gets his first start and goes four. Wood follows with four.

After he pitches tonight, Maloney is next slated to get just two innings on Thursday. If he was going to start, you’d think he’d be getting more stretched out by now.

*The starting lineup, with the exception of Hanigan, could be very close to what we see on Opening Day. However, there is locks in center field and left field yet.

“I’m trying to get them together at the same time – Stubbs, Jay [Bruce] and Gomes – so they can get a cohesive outfield going just like our infield, defensively,” Baker said. “At this point, Stubbs has come along better but so far, [Chris] Dickerson has outplayed Stubbs. We have a couple of weeks to go.”

*Gomes has had a fabulous spring to this point, entering the night batting .333 (9-for-27) with three homers and nine RBIs. Baker was asked if Gomes could be someone that could be the left fielder against both left-handed and right-handed pitching.

“We’ll see,” Baker said. “I have to find a way to keep guys sharp and play them. You have to produce too. Not taking anything away from Jonny, but breaking balls aren’t breaking quite the same here. I told you that before we got out here. Sometimes it’s a little harder to judge overall. Everybody knows Jonny can hit that fastball.”

*Carlos Fisher hasn’t pitched in a week because of a sore right elbow but things appear to be improving.

“He said he’s feeling good. I talked to him today,” Baker said.

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Nice days for Bailey, Francisco

The Reds were handed an 11-4 trouncing by the Cubs on Saturday in Mesa but most the damage was done beginning in the fifth inning when most of the regulars were gone.

*3B Scott Rolen was, as they say in hockey, a healthy scratch from the Reds lineup vs. the Cubs on Saturday. There was no injury issue that took him out of the original lineup.

“He’s been playing a lot and plus we have a tough schedule next week,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

The Reds have an “A” and “B” game scheduled for Sunday, a road trip to Tucson on Tuesday and day-night split-squad games on Wednesday.

Rolen’s replacement, third base prospect Juan Francisco, provided ample fill-in work. In his first two at-bats, Francisco crushed home runs. In the second inning, he hit a 3-2 pitch deep into the right-center field seats. On a 2-0 pitch in the fourth, Francisco went the other way with a long ball to left-center.

“He had a huge day. He has some tremendous power,” Baker said. “He blasted those balls.”

*Francisco is 4-for-11 (.364) in five games.

*Paul Janish also got into the power game with a solo homer in the top of the fifth.

*It was a very good afternoon for Reds starter Homer Bailey, who allowed one earned run and three hits over three innings with no walks and two strikeouts. In the third, Bailey gave up a one-out double to Jim Adduci. He scored on Darwin Barney’s seeing-eye single under second baseman Brandon Phillips’ glove.

“It took me a little while to get loose. The last two innings, I felt a lot better,” Bailey said. “I think it’s just getting back into games and stuff. You can throw all of these bullpens but you’re never ready for game situations until it happens.”

Bailey had thrown two scoreless innings in his previous outing, a ‘B’ game vs. Milwaukee. He also worked in the team intrasquad game and looked good.

“Homer threw the ball excellent,” Baker said. “He had good velocity today and very good location. He’s throwing as well as I’ve seen him.”

It’s been a quiet spring for Bailey, in terms of the attention he’s gotten. All of it has seemingly shifted to the latest young pitcher to arrive, Aroldis Chapman.

“I’m glad I’m done with that period now and focus on the game and the results,” Bailey said. “He’s going through a lot and he’s throwing really well. That’s good to see. I don’t know what the plans are for the fifth spot and it’s none of my business. He is definitely going to help this team out very soon.”

*After Bailey departed, fifth starter candidate Micah Owings gave up three earned runs and four hits over two innings with one walk and one strikeout. His big mistake was a two-out walk in the fifth. The next batter, Bryan LaHair hit a three-run homer.

*It was a rough afternoon for non-roster pitcher Jon Adkins, who lasted only one-plus innings but was tapped for five earned runs and seven hits with one strikeout. During the three-run Cubs sixth, Adkins gave up four-straight hits.

*Pedro Viola was also touched up for two earned runs and three hits in his inning.

*The Cubs used a lot of younger players in the split-squad game. Many of their regulars were playing the White Sox in Las Vegas. Chicago outhit the Reds, 18-5.

“A lot of guys over there are calling home — I’m ready Dad,” Baker said.

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Sunday morning notes

A nice little rain storm last night moved in and it’s still pretty damp in Goodyear. Workouts could be abbreviated somewhat as a result. Still not sure.

Some news came out of the reporter’s session with manager Dusty Baker. Among the highlights:

*Fifth starter candidate Mike Lincoln will start the first Cactus League game on Friday vs. the Indians.

“We want to see how he handles having time to prepare and think about it and warm up as a starter,” Baker said. “He knows how to warm up as a reliever.”

Lincoln believed his last start was in 2001 in Triple-A for the Pirates. His last big league start was in 2000 for the Twins.

“I enjoy having a routine,” Lincoln said. “Coming out of the ‘pen, you never know. You might throw one day and then throw four days in a row. A starter throws every fifth day. It would be nice.”

*Baker confirmed what seemed likely. Brandon Phillips will bat cleanup for him again this season.
 

“He’s the best selection I’ve got,” Baker said. “He has power and speed. Especially now that he’s learned to be an RBI man. I like Rolen in the fifth spot more than the fourth spot. He might getter pitches to hit because Brandon might steal.”

In fact, much of the lineup seems rather set. Stubbs or Dickerson will leadoff, followed by Cabrera, Votto, Phillips, Rolen and Bruce. So that’s 2-6 locked up for sure.

*Speaking of Dickerson, he was in the manager’s office for a little chat. Dickerson’s comments lately about wanting to compete for center field were addressed for sure.

“It’s OK. I handled it. No worries,” Baker said. “My whole thing is if you’ve got a beef, come to me.”

*Finally — pitcher Micah Owings was sent home sick on Saturday and isn’t back in camp on Sunday.

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Nice at Wrigley, Owings here

For many fans, Wrigley Field is the home of the world’s greatest Happy Hour…where work/school can often be ditched for day games and Old Style. For media, it’s a little different. No elevators, no Old Style (or other libations) cramped clubhouses and trying to get through 40,000 revelers to reach said clubhouse can make the Friendly Confines a very tough place to work.

Not that I’m whining about the poor media sap watching a baseball game for a living, really. Especially when you get a view like this. This is one beautiful place to watch a game, definitely on a day like this:

wrigley 1.jpgWrigley Field is totally old school, and old style. It still has that manual scoreboard. It still doesn’t have the videoboard for replays or mascots or any other artificial game enhancer. The ivy walls have limited advertising.

A lot of times, Reds fans will travel up from Cincinnati for a weekend Cubs series here. Even with the record the way it is, anyone coming up for Happy Hour at Wrigley?

wrigley 2.jpg

News of the day:

RHP Micah Owings was back with the team on Friday, still unable to hear out of his left ear following last Sunday’s beaning in Atlanta that left him with a perforated eardrum. Owings had cotton in his ear and still had five stitches at the top of his jawline near the ear, making it hard to shave.

“It’s another reason to let the beard go,” said the scruffy Owings. “I want to thank the [Reds] staff and the Braves staff and doctors for taking care of me. I was fortunate and blessed that everything came out alright.”

Owings was getting ready to workout for the first time since the incident but he wasn’t expected to be available for the Cubs series.

“He hasn’t done much. They didn’t let him do much,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I wouldn’t think he’d be available until we get home.”

Owings was able to fly to Chicago from Atlanta with no issues. As for getting back into the batter’s box again, he wasn’t concerned about facing another 93 mph fastball again.

“I was thinking about how many times I’ve been in the box in my life and most of the guys playing the game and how rarely it’s happened,” Owings said. “I’m always looking forward to getting into the box. At this point, you never know until you step in there.”

OF Wladimir Balentien was Baker’s right fielder in the original lineup but was scratched with a sprained right ring finger. Darnell McDonald got the start instead. Balentien was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Thursday’s loss at Colorado. Two of them came in run producing situations.

“He was trying to be a hero,” Baker said. “I knew something was wrong when they were throwing fastballs by him. I just couldn’t understand it. He’s had it since Seattle, actually. He was getting an opportunity to play and didn’t want to come out of the lineup. I can’t blame him. It’s the best opportunity he’s ever had. Perhaps we haven’t seen the real Balentien.”

Reds lineup:

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

Reliever Nick Masset did something I never saw before in a clubhouse. As the Reds received special caps to commemorate 9/11, Masset soaked his with water and stuck it in a microwave. He was trying to shrink it.

“It’s a new hat and I’m breaking it in to fit better,” Masset said.

Baker was feeling a little low this morning. His wife, Melissa, had to put down the family dog on Thursday back in California. Baker often talked about Bailey, an almost 14-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer.

“She was the best hunting dog I ever had,” Baker said. “She had cancer and stopped eating.”

Baker will have a new companion this fall, Bella. Melissa got another dog of the same breed.

“My son named it,” Baker said. “It’s his dog. He has to clean up after it.”

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