Results tagged ‘ Micah Owings ’

Will injury bug stop biting?

Whatever this thing called an “injury bug” is — it’s bite has not spared many inside the Reds clubhouse. Just when it seems like a couple of players are getting healthy, another one goes down.

This time, it’s starting pitcher Johnny Cueto. He left Monday’s start vs. the Cardinals after just two innings because of a tight left hip flexor. He will be evaluated again on Tuesday.

Cueto was the leadoff batter in the top of the third inning during a 1-1 game when he appeared to favor the leg on a groundout to second base. He slowly trotted down the line even though Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse had to cover first base on the play.

In his two innings, Cueto gave up one earned run and one hit with one walk and two strikeouts. He threw 39 pitches. The Reds lost 4-1. 

In his Reds debut, Kip Wells took over for Cueto and started off well by retiring his first seven batters in a row. Then, trouble. A Molina lined single before eighth hitter Brendan Ryan walked. Lohse sac bunted and Schumaker and Rasmus got back-to-back walks and forced home a run.

Cueto was injured not long after Micah Owings wrapped up a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville at Lehigh Valley. In 79 pitches over 4 2/3 innings, Owings gave up one earned run and five hits with two walks and two strikeouts.  He left with a 4-1 lead.

Depending on how bad Cueto is hurt, Owings could obviously slide right into his rotation spot for Saturday’s scheduled start vs. the Nationals.

UPDATE: Cueto didn’t think he would miss a start but that’s not to be decided until after the Reds know more.

“We’ll have a better idea tomorrow how sore he is and the severity of it,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He said he was cramping. I could tell something was wrong when he didn’t run to first base. He was tight early in the game. When I looked up, he didn’t have his normal velocity. He wanted to go back out but we couldn’t take a chance of hurting him.”

Cueto said the issue bothered him before his at-bat.

“Since the first inning, it was bothering me,” Cueto said with teammate Carlos Fisher translating from Spanish. “It got a little tight to start the day but it didn’t really bother me until the first inning.”

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Leake, Phillips, Owings, etc.

It’s getting down to the final stretch to sign 2009 Draft picks before the Aug. 17 midnight ET deadline. GM Walt Jocketty seemed optimistic the Reds could get their first-round pick, RHP Mike Leake, signed.

“We’ve had several discussions lately,” Jocketty said. “I think we’re getting closer. Hopefully, we’ll get something resolved this week. We’ve only got 10 days.”

Last year, the Reds didn’t sign their top pick, 1B Yonder Alonso, until about 15 minutes before the deadline.

“I hope it doesn’t take that long,” Jocketty said.

Jocketty also downplayed any notion that he was considering moving 2B Brandon Phillips to shortstop because Double-A Carolina prospect Todd Frazier was moved to second base. A report on Tuesday indicated that Jocketty was open to the notion even though it hadn’t been discussed.

“He’s played left field all year,” Jocketty said of Frazier. “We know he can play shortstop. We know he can play third base. We want to see if he can play second base. We’re trying to develop players to play different positions. It has nothing to do with Phillips.”

Frazier has started Carolina’s last five games at second base.

Phillips has had no discussions with the club about switching to the other side of the infield.

“Nobody has said anything to me,” Phillips said.

Phillips was originally a shortstop as he rose through the Expos and Indians systems. He’s played there a couple of times for the Reds.

“I will do whatever the team wants me to do,” Phillips said. “I won a Gold Glove at second base. If I have to go somewhere else, I will try to win a Gold Glove there. I will let them make the decisions.”

RHP Micah Owings, on the DL with right shoulder tightness, threw a 75-pitch simulated game today and faced Reds hitters Adam Rosales and Chris Dickerson. Owings used all of his pitches and had no issues.

“I felt pretty good and keyed on working on a couple of things,” Owings said. “I feel like I got some good work in today.”

Owings said his next step was to pitch on a rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville. Manager Dusty Baker left open the possiblity that the minor league outing might not be needed. Owings could possibly start for the Reds on Tuesday, the day he is eligible to be activated, if he doesn’t go to the Louisville since that would be his normal day.

3B Scott Rolen is back in after a two-game absence aftering beaned in the head on Sunday.

RHP Jared Burton went to Class A Dayton today for the beginning of his rehab assignment. Burton has been on the DL since July 26 with right shoulder fatigue and asthma. He is eligible to be activated on Sunday.

Dickerson can also return from the DL on Tuesday. Having him, Burton, and Owings return would give the beat-up Reds some much needed reinforcements.

“It would help, big time,” Baker said.

In the minors, Alonso began a rehab assignment with the GCL Reds on Tuesday. Alonso broke the hamate bone in his right hand with Carolina on June 19 and had surgery on June 23.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Gonzalez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Balentien 9
Nix 7
Hanigan 2
Lehr 1

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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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Bruce, Votto, post-break rotation

After slumping right fielder Jay Bruce was benched for two games to get a break, it might seem odd to see him batting second on Saturday vs. the Mets and ace lefty Johan Santana. It was only the second time this season Bruce batted in the No. 2 spot.

But there was a method to Dusty Baker’s madness.

“It’s back-to-back lefties vs. Santana because he’s actually pitched better vs. righties than lefties,” Baker said. Maybe if Willy [Taveras] gets on, he’ll get a good pitch to hit. And he’ll be in front of Joey [Votto] too so we’ll see.”

Lefties came into tonight batting .267 vs. Santana this season. Right-handers were batting .221.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Bruce 9
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Hernandez 2
Encarnacion 5
Gomes 7
Hairston Jr. 6
Cueto 1

Speaking of Votto, he has a career-high 13-game hitting streaking going into Saturday. He’s batting .357 in 17 games since his return from a month on the DL with depression. And, get this, he doesn’t feel fully locked in at the plate yet.

“I’m feeling a lot better since coming back but I still have stuff to work on constantly,” Votto said. “I feel like my strength is coming back to where it was before. I’m not quite where I was but I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.

“I made sure that when I came back, I tried to be as mechanically sound as possible. Sometimes during the year if you’re a little stronger, you don’t have to quite as exact or make mistakes or miss and still find good results. Ideally, you want both combined. That’s what the great hitters do.”

Before Votto spent 21 games on the DL, the Reds were 26-21 with a .257 team average. While he was out, they went 8-13 and batted .217. The Reds are 8-9 since his return coming into tonight’s game.

“It really hurt when were missing Joey,” Baker said. “It hurt bad, especially when you don’t have an high-octane offense.”

Here is your Reds rotation coming out of the All-Star break:

Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto and Micah Owings.

Baker and Dick Pole wanted to set up the rotation so no one got too many days off. Cueto will be pitching on seven days rest and Harang will be getting five days. Owings gets the longest break with 10 days of rest.

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Messy, or was it sloppy?

The Reds should have left town with a split and they knew it. Mistakes galore cost them two leads and culminated in a 9-6 loss to the Phillies. That meant dropping three of four in the series.

There were leads of 3-0 and 6-4 that became dust in the wind because of self inflicted gaffes.

In the third inning, Chase Utley hit a two-out inside-the-park homer to center field. Willy Taveras was too close to the wall when the ball caromed and Chris Dickerson wasn’t backing up from right field.

In the fourth inning, a Shane Victorino liner spun off of Brandon Phillips’ glove and scored two runs.

Reds starter Micah Owings gave up seven earned runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings with four walks and a strikeout. He threw 97 pitches. 

In the decisive fifth inning that included four walks from three pitchers and only two hits, reliever Josh Roenicke was late covering first base on Paul Bako’s would-be inning-ending double play. Three runs scored in the inning and put the Reds away.

Quotes from Dusty Baker:

“You can’t be walking people, not in this ballpark against that lineup. They’re already tough enough to get out. They don’t need any help.”

“Young Roenicke was late breaking to the bag and didn’t get to the bag and that cost us three runs.”

“It’s just disheartening. We should have at least come out of here with a split.”

From Phillips on the liner off of his glove:

“It was knuckling and I almost caught it. It was the toughest one. If it was higher, it would have been easier to catch. When it’s at your ankles, it’s hard to catch those balls. I didn’t even feel the ball touch my glove, to tell you the truth. I wish I would have caught it. if it was any other person out there, I felt they would have done the same thing I did. It was just a tough break.”

This loss also put 41-43 Cincinnati into fifth place, 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis. The Reds need a good weekend at New York to get some momentum into the break.

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What a lousy weekend this turned out to be for the Reds, eh?

Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Brewers was the worst of the last three games because it seemed like the Reds had unlimited chances, especially after Micah Owings settled down from his early bumpy innings. The Reds were 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 men on base.

Cue the collective groan.

Cincinnati came into the weekend feeling their oats and talking about first place. In three games, they dropped from 1 1/2 games out to 3 1/2 games out. In something that didn’t seem as likely a few weeks ago, they’ve dropped six in a row on the road. A four-game sweep of the Cardinals is the only way to get a winning seven-game trip. That’s an awfully tall order.

Second baseman Brandon Phillips still had his swagger after Sunday’s game. He hit his second homer in two games since returning to the lineup (fractured thumb).

“Honestly, it sucks real bad,” Phillips said. “I feel like we’re a better team than the Brewers. They executed better than we did. They did the little things. We didn’t do the little things the last two games. That’s why they won. We just have to learn from this and make sure we don’t take it to St. Louis or it will happen again.”

More Phillips: “We just weren’t the Reds this series. They came here ready because they knew we were ready. They saw us coming right behind them. Somebody had to step their game up. It was either going to be them or be us. It was them. They’re a good team but we’re better.”

Just a few days ago on this blog, I talked about the confidence and optimsm and the club being six games over .500 It seemed like the Reds were on to something different than I’ve seen around here. Let’s face it, they were out of contention by Mother’s Day the last two years.

Personally, I don’t believe this is the beginning of the end of the season. The now 26-23 Reds have prevented long losing streaks and haven’t lost more than four in a row yet. Obviously, Edinson Volquez has a big game facing him right away as he comes off the DL Monday.

This team seems to rally when adversity strikes and coming off Joey Votto’s departure and the Milwaukee sweep, this is yet another test to pass.

Will they pass it this time? Let me hear from you.

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Strange days at GABP

This has been one goofy home stand, for sure.

There was the 12-5 blowout vs. Philly on Thursday where the Reds narrowed a 6-0 deficit to 6-5 in before giving up seven more runs. There were Joey Votto’s two homers on Saturday vs. Cleveland that were canceled out by Homer Bailey’s wildness and that was a nearly four-hour game. There were extra innings on Sunday, with the weird obstruction call on Adam Rosales in the seventh that tied the game and put the kibosh on a potential victory for Johnny Cueto.
Then there was the two-hour, three minute rain delay with two outs in the Houston fourth inning on Monday. Starter Aaron Harang waited long enough to get one out to qualify for a victory.

Somehow through it all, the Reds have won three of their last four.

Roy Oswalt is on the mound for the Astros on Tuesday. In case you haven’t seen this stat paraded around endlessly, Oswalt is 23-1 lifetime vs. them. He hasn’t taken the loss vs. Cincinnati since April 28, 2006. Against them in 2009, he has two no-decisions but a 0.69 ERA. Strangely, Oswalt is only 1-2 through 10 games this season.

Votto is back in the lineup today. How long can the Reds go with Votto and Brandon Phillips either out or at less than 100 percent?

If Votto is still bothered by the dizziness and hit two homers like he did Saturday, what will he do when the inner ear infection is finally behind him for good?

Are you worried about Jay Bruce, who enters today in a 0-for-13 funk? I wrote about Bruce on May 20 and how he was trying to be more patient at the plate. But he still keeps swinging at bad pitches (36 Ks in 158 ABs).

Reds lineup:

Dickerson CF
Hairston 2B
Votto 1B
Hernandez C
Bruce RF
Nix LF
Gonzalez SS
Rosales 3B
Owings P

In a shameless plug for myself, check out this article about Micah Owings and other NL pitchers that are very good hitters.

Additional news from the clubhouse:

  • Phillips hit some balls off the tee again today and also hit some underhand tosses. So far, so good. All signs are pointing to a return to the lineup on Friday at Milwaukee. There was a chance he could pinch-hit the next two games.

“He felt pretty good,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s having a little trouble throwing. He let it hang out pretty good they told me. He only felt it on a couple of swings.”

If and when Phillips does come back, he won’t be given any limitations.

“The doctor said he can’t do any more damage to it unless something insane happens,” Baker said. “Which is out of your control anyway.”

“It feels the same but the pills are working,” Phillips said. “I don’t know what I’m taking but they’re working.”

  • This is how Baker is handling the unpredictable nature of Votto’s dizziness and inner ear infection:

“He’s getting better but it’s still a day-to-day thing,” Baker said. “I check with him, check with the trainers. We’re doing the honor system thing.”

  • Harang feels OK the day after his unusual five-inning win on Monday.

“I think there have been times I’ve been more sore after a regular start than that one.”

  • Edinson Volquez has another bullpen session scheduled for Wednesday. Volquez threw “nice and easy” in the bullpen Monday and played catch on the field Tuesday.
  • RHP Nick Masset was activated from the 15-day DL as expected. To make room on the 25-man roster, C/IF Wilkin Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
  • CF Willy Taveras was just given the day off. Taveras has struggled some since his 14-game hitting streak ended in San Diego.

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Lineups, no Votto

The Reds will go for the sweep without Joey Votto in the lineup. Chris Dickerson is also getting his first start in quite a while.

Reds lineup:

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

D-Backs lineup:

Lopez, 4
Parra, 8
Upton, 9
Drew, 6
Byrnes, 7
Montero, 2
Tracy, 3
Ojeda, 5
Augenstein, 1


Votto was still feeling the effects of the flu today and went through a battery of tests after his dizzy episode during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game. He expects to be back on Friday at San Diego. The issues started in the third inning when Votto charged on a bunt play with Dan Haren up.

“I felt a little off then,” Votto said. “Then during my at-bat, I felt my heart really racing and I felt really odd. After I flew out to finish the inning, I was on the field and I couldn’t center myself.”

Votto said there was “no question” that what happened had to do with the flu that he had last week and caused him to miss four starts.

“I wasn’t dehydrated,” Votto said. “I’ve been doing my best to eat really well and put a lot of fluids in because I realize how hot and dry it is here. It took way too long to recover after it happened.

That’s where my concern was. I didn’t feel regular the way I do now until maybe an hour or hour and a half after it happened. The game was over and I still felt odd. More than anything, it was frustrating. I’ve gotten dizzy before from heat when I was kid if I exercised and recovered quickly – 15-20 minutes at most.

“The last thing I want to do is go out there and be taken out of the game. I found it really embarrassing. Not that I did anything to justify being embarrassed. I just don’t like being taken out in the middle of the game, ever, out of respect to my teammates.”

In other news — SS Alex Gonzalez (oblique) will be back on Friday vs. the Padres after a few days of BP without issue.

“I’m looking for signs of wincing or holding back. I didn’t see any of that,” manager Dusty Baker said.

What will Gonzalez’s return (batting .176) after over a week out mean for hot-hitting Jerry Hairston Jr. (.260), whose played a lot of shortstop but can play third base or left field? Or Laynce Nix (.304)? or Adam Rosales (.298)?

“Gonzo is my shortstop,” Baker said. “We have to mix and match. Sometimes we’ll go with better defense-speed team one day and an offensive one the next day, depending on who’s pitching against us and who’s pitching for us and what kind of success someone has had against a guy.”

And for those wondering, Baker denies that Micah Owings intentionally plunked Ryan Roberts leading off the 8th inning last night. FS Arizona believed it was during their coverage.

“No way,” Baker said. “A 3-0 game in the eighth inning with their top of the lineup coming up and the way Felipe [Lopez] is hitting the ball and Miguel Montero and Justin Upton. That 3-0 could have been 4-3 quick. I didn’t think it was intentional.” 

Baker also said he didn’t think D-Backs reliever Jon Rauch was throwing at Brandon Phillips to cause Owings to go hard inside. 

Votto leaves game, Reds win

Reds first baseman Joey Votto left Tuesday’s game vs. the Diamondbacks because of dizziness. The club said that Votto was day-to-day. Cincinnati went on to a nice 3-1 win.

In the bottom of the fourth inning after Arizona leadoff hitter Felipe Lopez drew a walk, Votto appeared to be struggling on the field while Miguel Montero was batting. He was walked off the field by manager Dusty Baker and head trainer Mark Mann.

In the top of the fourth after he flew out to center field, televsion cameras caught Votto on the bench looking uncomfortable.

Ramon Hernandez moved from catcher to first base and Ryan Hanigan took over behind the plate.Votto missed three-straight games last week with the flu and returned on Sunday. His first start back was on Monday.

“I looked down the field today, Joey was kind of wavering and [bench coach] Chris [Speier] said something was wrong with Joey,” Baker said. “I could see him batting his eyes and we got him off the field. He was just dizzy and hopefully he’ll be OK tomorrow.”

It was a nice start for former D-Back Micah Owings, who took a shutout into the eighth inning. Over his seven-plus innings, Owings gave up one earned run and four hits during his best outing of the season. He walked two, hit a batter and struck out four while throwing only 90 pitches.

“Nothing satisfies you more than to come back and beat your old team,” Baker said.

Brandon Phillips drove in two of the three runs. He had a blooped RBI single in the fourth and alertly went from first to third on Jay Bruce’s single when he saw outfielder Chris Young drop to a knee fielding the ball. It allowed him to score on Ramon Hernandez’s sac fly. Phillips also had a big blast for a solo homer in the sixth — 452 feet off the LED scoreboard on the face of the left field second deck.

The Reds, which claimed the three-game series with two wins already over Arizona, have won five of their last six and eight of 12. At 19-14, Cincinnati is five games over .500 since it was 67-62 in 2006.

Wednesday — Johnny Cueto goes for the sweep. The Arizona starter, Bryan Augenstein, will be making his big league debut. How do you like the Reds chances?

Crazy, crazy game

An 8-7 loss to the Cardinals prevented a sweep but the Reds gave 27,664 fans a lot to enjoy…just not a win.

Too many highlights to catch them all…

Micah Owings 9th inning homer on a 3-2 pitch that tied the game and sent into extras — that got the crowd going.

Joey Votto — ravaged by the flu since Wednesday and homers in the bottom of the seventh during his first at-bat in his return after entering in a double switch.

Hot hitting Jay Bruce has homered in four of his last five games and has an 11-game hitting streak. Bruce’s big two-run shot came at a big moment, a half inning after the Cardinals had just taken a 4-1 lead.

Adam Rosales continues to win hearts and minds among Reds fans. Rosales, who snapped a 0-for-18 skid on Friday, hit his first big league homer and sprinted around the bases like his hair was on fire. (Fox Sports Ohio timed him at 15 seconds) The fans gave him a nice ovation when he returned later for his next plate appearance and walked. He also hustled to first base for that.

The Reds didn’t get the sweep but they are only 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals. That’s a great place to be considering the alternative. With all the injuries and a shorthanded bench, the Reds could have easily dropped three in a row and fell to 6 1/2 games out. That would have been a little demoralizing.

After running off a career-high 16 scoreless innings over his last two stellar starts, Edinson Volquez had a so-so day. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed seven earned runs and six hits. He walked three guys and all of them scored, including two in the seventh inning. Two other mistakes were particularly costly. His first one was as a fielder on Colby Rasmus’ first inning sacrfice bunt. Volquez threw the ball away, which allowed a run to score.

Volquez also made a mistake to the really wrong guy when the game was tied 4-4 in the fifth. Ryan Hanigan set up outside when Volquez left a 1-0 fastball over the plate or “right down Broaaaaadwaaay” as Jeff Brantley would say. Pujols mashed it a mile for a homer to center field. Until that long ball, Pujols was 0-for-11 in the series.


“Foremost is we were in line to get a sweep,” Dusty Baker said. “We could have been a half a game out instead of 2 ½ games right now. That’s why it was so big. We’ll be around for a long time.”

Bruce on Owings:

“It’s like what you do in your backyard – 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth. It’s crazy. It was a huge spot to do that. Joey and I were jumping around. It was awesome.”


To you: What did you think? You like what the Reds have done the past week?

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