Results tagged ‘ Micah Owings ’

Digging the 6:40 start

Thirty minutes earlier than usual doesn’t sound like much but the 6:40 p.m. (MT) start for Tuesday and Wednesday’s Reds-Rockies games is pretty cool in my book. Colorado has been doing it for a few years now. As far as I know, only the Rockies and Diamondbacks start weeknight games at 6:40 p.m. local time.

I’d love to see the Reds experiment with that. Games that start earlier could often mean an earlier conclusion. That wouldn’t hurt fans that have school or work the next morning. Plus for downtown folks, it’s less idle time between the end of the work day and first pitch. On the negative side, people would have less time to get home from work (especially in the suburbs), scoop up the family and get down to GABP.

Would you want to see a 6:40 p.m. start be a regular thing at GABP? Or, would you prefer something later? The Braves start their games at 7:35 p.m. Or — do you like it just the way it is?

Put me down for 6:40 starts. I like it.

Reds lineup

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

News of the day:

Jay Bruce likely won’t be back before the end of the road trip in Chicago this weekend. The plan is to have Bruce be with Louisville for the entire first round of the best-of-five International League playoffs.

Dusty Baker talked with Bruce on the phone today.

“He said he was swinging better,” Baker said. “He stole a couple of bases. His legs were feeling fine. His wrist was a little tight in the beginning but once it loosens up, it’s fine. Last night he said he faced some guy throwing 95-96 mph. The first at-bat, he was a little bit tardy and then he caught up and got a base hit. He said that was the first real high octane fastball test that he had.”

All expectations are that Ryan Hanigan will be off of the DL on Wednesday. Even though Louisville could use a catcher, the plan is to carry three up here with Hanigan, Corky Miller and Craig Tatum.

Miller, by the way, has done a bang-up job since he’s been up. The pitching staff has a 7-2 record and a 2.66 ERA when he catches.

Kip Wells will be the Reds starter on Thursday vs. Colorado. The Reds had left it TBA because they were watching the status of Justin Lehr, who missed a turn in the rotation with a strained groin.

Lehr is scheduled to throw off of a mound on Wednesday. If all goes well, he could start this weekend vs. the Cubs. Lehr said he wasn’t in pain but obviously the 30-40 pitch session here will be a test.

“I haven’t got on a mound yet but it was the only place where I felt it, or it at least got my attention,” Lehr said.

Pitcher Micah Owings, who suffered a perforated eardrum when he was beaned on Sunday, will rejoin the team in Chicago and workout on Friday. He was cleared to fly today.

Former Reds pitcher Matt Belisle was among four September call-ups made today by the Rockies. He’s been up with Colorado previously this season.

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Owings' eardrum perforated

Pitcher Micah Owings was lucky. He avoided a concussion when he was drilled by a 92 mph fastball on Sunday in Atlanta. But he did suffer a perforated eardrum and is unable to fly.

A CT scan was negative for a concussion. Owings will see a ear, nose and throat doctor on Tuesday in Atlanta. It’s unlikely that he will be able to rejoin the Reds while in Colorado for four games.

“We are shooting for Chicago [on Friday],” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He told me he’d drive to Chicago if he had too.”

In the 12th inning of a 4-2 win over the Braves, Owings was batting with the bases loaded when he was hit by a 92-mph fastball from right-hander Kenshin Kawakami. Owings spent several moments on the ground but never lost consciousness. He had a gash around his ear that required five stitches.

“He wanted it known that Kawakami called him after the game to see how he was doing,” Baker said. “[Kawakami] was pretty shook up.”

Owings lives in Gainesville, Ga., so he can at least be at home with his family while waiting to be cleared to fly and return to the team.

Speaking of beanings, there is a new helmet available from Rawlings to players. Called the S-100, it’s supposed to withstand 100 mph fastballs and offer better protection. However, it’s a bigger and more unwieldy helmet.

Scott Rolen, who was beaned on Aug. 2 and diagnosed with a concussion that sent him to the DL, said he would pass on wearing the new helmet.

 

Thumbnail image for wright.jpg“I feel like I’m OK right now,” Rolen said. “We’re kind of creatures of habit. I’m not saying that safety isn’t a priority. Of course it is. But it’s a big change in a batting helmet, not a small change. I think the day that MLB mandates it is the day everybody wears it.”

The new helmet will be required in the minor leagues next season. David Wright (pictured, left), who also suffered a concussion from a beaning last month, tried the new helmet for two days but went back to his old one.

“A lot of guys talked about how big it was. I tried it on. It’s large,” Rolen said.

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
McDonald 9
Miller 2
Bailey 1
 
From the Elias Sports Bureau: Drew Stubbs leads the Reds in hits (23, tied with Brandon Phillips), runs (12) and home runs (five) since making his Major League debut on August 19.

The latest of Reds players to take the lineup card to home plate was Kevin Barker on Monday vs. Colorado. Edinson Volquez, Jay Bruce and Willy Taveras have also done it recently. The Reds won five in a row when Bruce did it.

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Viola called up

The Reds promoted LHP Pedro Viola from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday. IF Danny Richar was moved to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.

In 54 relief appearances, Viola was 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA and converted eight of 11 save chances (49.1ip, 48h, 33bb, 57 K, 7 HR, .251 opponents’ BA).

“They said he was some days very good and some days a little sporadic,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “But that’s a part of youth. He looks great. He looks like he got stronger even since we saw him in Spring Training.”

The Reds have a a string of 17-straight games ahead and Atlanta and Colorado have left-handed hitters throughout their lineups. Baker wanted some lefty bullpen depth to back up Daniel Herrera and Arthur Rhodes.

Reds lineup:

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

It’s just a day off for 3B Scott Rolen – there is nothing wrong.

“He’s been playing and played the doubleheader,” Baker said. “We have a day off tomorrow. It’s almost like two days off. I talked to Cito [Gaston, Toronto's manager] and I talked to him when we got him. They often gave him days off for day games.”

Coming off of his three-inning save last night, the Reds could use Micah Owings more often in that type of role, especially if it can save others in the bullpen. The Reds also want to make more use of Owings’ bat to pinch-hit with him before he pitches.

Baker spoke with former Brewers hybrid pitcher/pinch-hitter Brooks Kieschnick this morning and got some advice.

“It was valuable,” Baker said. “I talked to Brooks about how to do it. I asked if he would talk to Micah. Micah, big-time wants to talk to him. Brooks was a dangerous man. I remember managing around him not to have him pinch-hit when he might be in the game to pitch. He’ll talk to Micah about how to warm up quicker as a reliever. I actually have to get him up an inning in an advance now.”

It looks like Jay Bruce and Ryan Hanigan are headed to Louisville to start a rehab assignment on Friday. Bruce was to run the bases for Baker to make sure he was ready to start playing games.

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Harang's saga

Minus one useless appendix, pitcher Aaron Harang walked around like an elderly man inside the Reds clubhouse on Friday.

“I’m slow getting around. I get drained of energy very quick,” said Harang, who had an emergency appendectomy last Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital.

When it comes to lengthy car drives, Harang and equipment manager Rick Stowe brought new meaning to the phrase “Are we there yet?”

On Saturday, Stowe had to drive Harang from Pittsburgh back to Cincinnati to have the operation after Harang was diagnosed with appendicitis. He explained what happened.

“I ordered a sandwich when I got back to the hotel at about 11 p.m. I ate it and went to bed,” Harang said. “I woke up at 6:30 a.m. feeling achy. I wasn’t sure. It was a sharp pain. I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t feeling good. I took a couple of Tums and tried to get back to sleep. It took two hours to get back to sleep.”

As the morning went on, Harang was prepared to go on with his day like normal.

“I looked up movie times and was going to the movies,” he said. “I called my wife and said I was having this pain in my lower side. She said it wouldn’t hurt to call [assistnat trainer] Steve [Baumann] or [head trainer] Mark Mann.”

Good idea. Baumann had Harang go to PNC Park. Then it was off to the hospital, where he was diagnosed by 5 p.m.

“We were going back and forth. Their general surgeon wanted to cut me open right there,” Harang said.

“I was fighting and telling Steve-o I just wanted to go home. It takes four hours. Rick said he would drive me back.”

Was he nervous?

“I wasn’t but Rick was. Steve told him to avoid any bumps. I texted Steve halfway through and said ‘why did you tell him to hit every bump?’ We listened to the game the whole way home.”

By 11 p.m., Harang and Stowe rolled into Good Sam.

“They took me in right there , walked me in the back way right into the back room, got me IV’d up and did tests, blood pressure,” Harang said. “Not even 45 minutes later, I was off to the operating room.”

There appears to be little to no chance Harang can return before the season is over.

“I can’t do any twisting movements for at least another two weeks,” he said. “You have to figure another two weeks to get my arm into shape. If we were in a different situation, a playoff situation, you’d probably push the envelope a little more. This late in the season, you have to assume it’s probably not the smart thing to do.”

Reds lineup:

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

Other news:

For the doubleheader on Monday vs. Pittsburgh, Kip Wells is scheduled to start Game 1 and as expected, Johnny Cueto will be activated from the DL to start Game 2. Not on the list to start anytime soon is Micah Owings, who was also skipped over for Saturday. Matt Maloney has been called up.

“There are a few things Micah has to work on,” Dusty Baker said. “We believe he has the stuff but he has trouble keeping the ball down. It’s not like we haven’t given him an opportunity.”

Owings will be the long man out of the bullpen.

“What they decide is out of my control,” Owings said. “I will be ready to work when I get the ball.”

Baker wants to call former Brewers manager Ned Yost and former hitter/reliever Brooks Kieschnick to see how he was utilized as a pinch-hitter and warm up enough to pitch. Here is a link to an Owings story that included Kieschnick on May 26.

Check the main site after the game for a story on Maloney. He has developed some new pitches since his last big league stint

OF Laynce Nix was out of the lineup because of a sore neck. It’s been a recurring problem. He went for an MRI test today.

Bengals players Tank Johnson and Roy Williams were on the field during BP while a camera crew from the “Hard Knocks” HBO series was in tow. Both players were visiting with Nix, who is from the Dallas area.

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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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Sat. TBA, Sept. callups, trade talk

The Reds still have “TBA” listed for Saturday’s start vs. the Dodgers and this time, they’re not playing coy with the roster maneuvers. They have to get through Thursday first because after back-to-back extra innings games, their only fresh arm and only long man in the bullpen is Micah Owings. If he’s not needed, he will likely start vs. L.A.

“It depends on what happens here,” Dusty Baker said. “We need some deep innings. Even though we’ve won, it’s taken a toll on the pitching. You hate to go into a weekend series with the Dodgers tired.”

I will be writing a more complete story on this for Sunday night but I talked to GM Walt Jocketty about September call-ups this morning in the clubhouse. Don’t expect anyone up when right away Sept. 1 comes around on Tuesday. Also, don’t expect to see the cavalry rolling I-71 North.

Triple-A Louisville’s regular season ends on Sept. 7 and then there is the playoffs.

“I think it’s important. In most cases, you prefer to see them finish their season and go through the playoffs,” Jocketty said. “The exposure to postseason play is very good.

“We haven’t really finalized it yet but there won’t really be that many. We have most of them here. It’s more a question of playing time. If you don’t have playing time, there’s no reason to bring them up.”

These are the healthy players on 40-man roster not currently with the Reds: 1B Yonder Alonso, 3B Juan Francisco, RHP Sam LeCure, LHP Matt Maloney and RHP Ramon Ramirez.

You’d have to think someone like OF Chris Heisey will be rewarded for his great season. You also have to wonder about a dude like LHP Travis Wood. SS Chris Valaika had a lousy season for the most part but has come on the last couple of weeks. It’d be nice for them to be evaluated so the Reds know whether they might be ready for 2010.

Reds lineup:

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

Jocketty said it’s been all quiet on the trade inquiry front. Contenders that acquire players after Aug. 31 can’t have them eligible for postseason play. It doesn’t look like closer Francisco Cordero or Bronson Arroyo are going anywhere.

“No one has inquired about him,” Jocketty said about Cordero. “We haven’t talked to anybody about him. I would guess nothing will happen.”

CF Drew Stubbs is batting .156 since his call-up on Aug. 19. He has two walks and 10 strikeouts, including four on Wednesday. Baker didn’t think Stubbs was pressing too much.

“I don’t think he’s trying too hard,” Baker said. “I just think he’s taking too much – too many fastballs. It puts you in strikeout situations. Everybody talks about being deep in the count all the time. That’s not good for everybody. To go deep in the count, you have to be a pretty good two-strike hitter. In the minors, he was still prone to the strikeouts.”

The Reds didn’t have 2009 first-round pick RHP Mike Leake on its roster for the Arizona Fall League. Turns out the roster had to be submitted before Leake signed on Aug. 17. Jocketty said the Reds are seeking permission from MLB to make adjustments to the roster so Leake can go to Arizona.

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Rotation adjustments

With three members of the rotation on the DL and an open spot on Wednesday, the Reds tapped long reliever Kip Wells to start vs. Milwaukee on Wednesday.

“It won’t be my first rodeo,” Wells joked.

No — but it’s been a while since he stepped into the bullring as a starter. The last time was July 21, 2008, as a member of the Rockies vs. the Dodgers. Wells lasted only a third of an inning and allowed eight runs and seven hits while facing 10 batters. He started two games total for Colorado last season and one for Triple-A Louisville this season.

Wells hoped he could get to 75-85 pitches. Micah Owings was taken out of the rotation, for now, and moved into the bullpen to back up as the long man. Owings could start on Saturday vs. the Dodgers if he’s not needed before. Otherwise, someone would have to be called up (Matt Maloney?).

Justin Lehr will start on Thursday and Homer Bailey will go on Friday.

“The Harang thing, the appendectomy, kind of messed up things,” manager Dusty Baker said.

OF Darnell McDonald and C Corky Miller were back in the Reds clubhouse again. One had been gone much longer than the other. McDonald was designated for assignment in May and Miller last caught for Cincinnati in 2004. He was wearing the No. 37 he used to wear here.

In a sign of how fast turnover happened around the Reds, there were no old teammates left in the room for Miller to catch up with.

“Harang was about it, except for [bullpen catcher] Mike Stefanski and [third base coach] Mark Berry,” Miller said. “I knew Brook [Jacoby]. He was actually my hitting coach in Triple-A in 2003.”

McDonald scanned the room and noted he played with many guys, very recently, in Louisville.

“It seems like it’s the Cincinnati Bats up here,” McDonald said. “You hate to see guys go but if they’re going somewhere, it probably means they’re coming up to Cincinnati.”

Reds lineup (the 103rd different one used by Baker this season):

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

C Ryan Hanigan was back with the team after he flew to Milwaukee on Monday. Hanigan was left behind in Pittsburgh on Sunday because doctors didn’t want him in the air with a concussion. Hanigan, who went on the DL Monday, was hit by a foul tip that was so hard, it cracked his helmet and bent a bar on his mask. The headaches are still present.

“I have a little one,” Hanigan said. “It’s definitely dissipated. I don’t think it’s totally gone yet.”

Hanigan will take a concussion imPACT test here before heading home with the team on Thursday.

RHP Johnny Cueto was scheduled to throw in a bullpen session today for the first time since he went on the DL with right shoulder inflammation. The Reds hope to have Cueto back to pitch in one of the games of the Aug. 31 doubleheader vs. the Pirates.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Miller and McDonald, RHP Mike Lincoln (cervical disc surgery) and RHP Edinson Volquez (right elbow surgery) were transfered from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

The Mets put Johan Santana on the disabled list today. They now lead the Major Leagues with 12 players on the DL, passing the Reds that are second in the league with 11.

The Arizona Fall League rosters were revealed and six Reds prospects are on the Peoria Saguaros club. They are: Double-A Carolina first baseman Yonder Alonso and Triple-A outfielder Chris Heisey, Louisville pitchers Sean Watson and Logan Ondrusek, Carolina pitcher Phillipe Valiquette and Carolina shortstop Zack Cozart. Carolina manager David Bell will be the skipper.

Not on the roster is 2009 first round pick and RHP Mike Leake. There was talk that Leake and RHP Brad Boxberger, who both signed on Aug. 17, could play in the AFL. This means they are likely to play in the instructional league instead.

To fill the outfield depth at Louisville, former Twins OF Lew Ford was signed to a minor league contract today. The speedy Ford last played in the Majors in 2007 and spent 2008 in Japan. In five seasons with Minnesota, he batted .272 with a .349 OBP. 

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No Cueto plan, yet

So far, there is no news on the Reds plans for pitcher Johnny Cueto. He is still listed as Friday’s probable starter vs. the Pirates but that can easily be changed to Micah Owings if the Reds decide they want him off of the DL.

“I talked to [GM] Walt [Jocketty] briefly about it but we have to get with Dick and the trainer and the doctor and get their opinion on things,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

The bottom line is that Cueto doesn’t have the feel of the ball coming out of his hand, even though he still has his velocity. Baker confirmed that whatever they decide with Cueto — it would be how they progress the rest of the season — and not just for Friday. My prediction: Cueto is put on the DL.

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 9
Taveras 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Balentien 7
Rosales 5
Hanigan 2
Janish 6
Bailey 1

2B Brandon Phillips is back in there after missing one game with a sore left hand. Phillips was hit on the hand on Saturday. Baker made out two lineups just in case Phillips had trouble during batting practice.

“He said he’s feeling a lot better,” Baker said before BP. “He hates to miss games. If he can play, he’ll be out there.”

According to my Milwaukee colleague, Adam McCalvy, Brewers GM Doug Melvin is “working on something” with Bill Hall. The discarded infielder/outfielder that was designated for assignment, Hall had the Reds’ interest. The Brewers have until Friday to trade Hall or release him and eat the nearly $11 million he is owed through 2010.

 

Leake_Boxberger.JPGFinally, the Reds top two Draft picks got their first looks at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday. Mike Leake, the No. 8 overall pick, was clearly comfortable in the group as he answered questions.

“Just to know I was who they wanted, even though I’m not typical at 5-foot-10,” Leake said. “I’m glad they had the trust in me to pick me. Hopefully I can do something special here.”

The No. 43 overall selection Brad Boxberger was a little more reserved. Both players had their families and their agent with them. They all got to meet manager Dusty Baker and owner/CEO Bob Castellini in the dugout after talking with reporters.

“I’ve been throwing a couple of days week and staying in shape,” Boxberger said. “I’m ready to get to Sarasota and start playing.”

Both players, signed late Monday night after passing their physicals, will be assigned to the Gulf Coast League affiliate in Sarasota but there’s little chance they will pitch again this season. The next step is likely the Arizona Fall League or the instructional league.

Jocketty, who dealt two young pitchers on July 31 in Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart to get Scott Rolen from the Blue Jays, didn’t deny that Leake and Boxberger would be on the faster track once their pro careers commenced.

“They’re definitely quality college pitchers out of quality programs that are further advanced,” Jocketty said. “They should be able to move along quickly. That’s why we felt we’d have some depth and were confident we’d get them signed.”

By the way, the Reds signed 32 of their 50 2009 draft picks, including all of their first 13 selections.

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Cueto/Owings, Phillips scratched

After he gave up seven earned runs and eight hits over 2 2/3 innings vs. the Nationals on Saturday, pitcher Johnny Cueto has run his record to 0-6 with a 10.64 ERA over his last eight starts.

Don’t be surprised if Cueto is moved out of the rotation and Micah Owings is moved back in when he comes off of the disabled list. It just so happens that Owings also pitched on Saturday so the turns line up perfectly. In his latest rehab assignment outing for Triple-A Louisville, Owings pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings with three hits, five walks and three strikeouts. Owings threw 93 pitches, 52 for strikes.

“His pitch count was up,” manager Dusty Baker said of Owings. “I hoped he could go a little further than five innings. If there’s one area you’d like him to improve on is the walks and consistent location, which would diminish the pitch count and add to innings.

“We’ll see. I have to talk to Walt [Jocketty] and Dickie [Pole] and our people down there to see what exactly we’re going to do and need to do. Sometimes what you want to do and need to do are two different things.”

Cueto is 8-10 with a 4.61 ERA in 24 starts and he has 136 2/3 innings pitched. But he also pitched in winter ball and the World Baseball Classic. He threw 174 innings in 2008 during his rookie season. There was concern before the season that he could run out of gas.

“His velocity is decent but sometimes when you’re tired, you can maintain your velocity but lose control and command,” Baker said.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Sutton 4
Votto 7
Gomes 9
Balentien 7
Rosales 5
Janish 6
Hanigan 2
Lehr 1

2B Brandon Phillips was scratched because his left hand was sore after being hit by a pitch Saturday night. X-rays were negative.

3B Scott Rolen was to take batting practice with the team in the indoor cage. It will be his first BP since he went on the DL with a concussion. Rolen hit some soft tosses in the cage on Saturday.
 
Rolen is definitely getting the itch to play after several days of inactivity.

“Oh yeah. I’m a guy that mows his lawn to relax,” Rolen said. He is eligible to return on Aug. 23.

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Rolen to DL, Cueto OK

One day after GM Walt Jocketty was opposed to placing 3B Scott Rolen on the 15-day disabled list, he did just that to make room for the activation of outfielder Chris Dickerson. Rolen has a concussion and was not showing any improvement.

“This concussion thing is out of my realm of being able to grasp,” Rolen said Tuesday following a long meeting in Baker’s office. “This isn’t playing through a hamstring or playing through a shoulder. This is something I need to pay attention to and listen to some people. I need to do the right thing.”

By Rolen’s estimate, this was the third concussion of his life. He is still experiencing headaches.

“They’re not constant headaches,” he said. “There will be a minute where I feel great and think ‘you know what? This isn’t here. I’m OK and everything is good. I will take some BP and get back out on the field.’ Two hours later, I’m kind of squinting from the lights in the room with a headache.”

There was some good injury news for a change — Johnny Cueto seems to be OK. Cueto, who left Monday’s start with what was called a “tight left hip flexor,” felt fine on Tuesday.

“He’s a lot better,” Baker said. “Evidentially, it must have been a cramp. It’s very good news. It’s a cramp and not a pull. He ran today and said he didn’t feel any pain.”

Also — Micah Owings will get one more rehab start at Triple-A Louisville. Owings threw 79 pitches over 4 2/3 innings on Monday. He will work up to 95 pitches in his next outing.

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 8
Gonzalez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 9
Gomes 7
Rosales 5
Hanigan 2
Lehr 1

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