Results tagged ‘ Mike Leake ’

Leake to start Thursday

The Reds are still planning on having RHP Mike Leake make his scheduled start on Thursday vs. the D-Backs, even after Monday’s arrest on allegations of shoplifting.

“He’s still our guy,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday.

Leake still has not addressed the media, but media relations director Rob Butcher said that Leake would speak to reporters following Thursday’s game. He was court earlier Tuesday and requested a diversion program for first time offenders, something that would eventually expunge the misdemeanor crime from his record.

Did the club have thoughts about not starting Leake?

“There was consideration,” Baker said. “We talked about how he felt and could he handle the pressure of it. He said ‘yeah.’ Sometimes in times of trouble, it’s easier to go to work than not go to work.

The club realizes that fan reaction could be unpleasant for Leake in the coming days.

“You’re always concerned. It will happen sooner or later,” Baker said. “It will probably be less adverse fan reaction at home than there would be on the road. We considered that. I can’t say, but at some point, his story will come out with exactly what happened. It just can’t come out now.”

Leake arrested, statement

Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested Monday on misdemeanor charges of theft. He did not address the media as expected but statements were issued.

 Statement From The Cincinnati Reds

“On behalf of the Cincinnati Reds organization, at this time we are advised to not publicly address this matter because of the pending legal proceedings. However, we do not condone behavior of the type alleged, which is wholly inconsistent with the principles of this organization and our community and is detrimental to the positive direction we seek to follow. When the legal process has been completed, we will handle this matter internally.”
Statement On Behalf Of Reds Pitcher Mike Leake

“Today, Mike Leake was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of theft from the Macy’s store downtown.  Right now, he has been advised by his attorney to offer no further statements on this matter. This case will proceed in the justice system, where Mike’s story will be told. Until that time, there will be nothing further from Mike on this episode until the court proceedings have concluded. However, Mike wishes to apologize to his family, the fans, Mr. Castellini, Walt, Dusty, his teammates and the entire Reds organization for this distraction.”

Leake is scheduled to pitch on Thursday vs. Arizona, but it is not known yet if he will still make that start. We were told by media relations director Rob Butcher that Leake is at the ballpark tonight and in uniform.

Missed chances, blown leads

When a team has high expectations and gets off to a 5-0 start like the Reds, fans can be spoiled. And judging from Twitter, highly irate when the game goes south like this one did.

A potentially nice game and series win evaporated into a very tough loss to the D-Backs, 10-8.

What killed the Reds were two blown leads — a 5-0 in the third inning that they couldn’t add to. Then there was the 7-6 lead in the seventh from Jonny Gomes’ homer. 

This was a game that should have been settled early. The Reds had a 5-0 lead in the third with the bases loaded and one out and added no more runs that inning. That proved to be huge.

Notes:

*Nick Masset has taken losses in his last two outings. A four-run, three hit eighth inning zapped him, namely when Chris Young clubbed a 3-2 pitch into the left field seats. Masset has given up seven hits and five runs over his last two outings.

*Aroldis Chapman, pitching on back-to-back days, clearly didn’t have his same velocity (talk about spoiled). Instead of crossing 100, he was mostly 96-98 mph. He also walked three batters (a career high) but got one with a pickoff. He escaped with two strikeouts.

*Mike Leake really didn’t pitch as bad as his line (4.2 ip, 6 ER, 9 H) would indicate. All four of the consecutive one-out singles were either tough plays or rollers that found holes. His 1-0 offering to Ryan Roberts was a big mistake, however.

*Drew Stubbs has opened the last three games with a strikeout in the top of the first.

*Joey Votto tied a career high for the ninth time with four hits. He had three hits over the first four innings.

Quotes:

“When you have an opportunity to ice the game, you have to put your foot on their throat. We’re still learning to do that. We had opportunities to ice that game early and go deep in their bullpen.” — Dusty Baker

“I got a couple of unlucky rolls that went through for hits. And then there was a big mistake of throwing a fastball down the middle. They made me pay.” — Mike Leake

Phillips is OK

The one concern for the Reds out of the 8-2 win over the Astros on Tuesday was the mysterious exit of Brandon Phillips, who went out for PH Miguel Cairo in the fifth.

Phillips is OK. He just didn’t feel too great after his head first slide to score on Joey Votto’s fourth inning double. The decision to remove him was precautionary, said manager Dusty Baker.

“I’m good. I had to sit down,” said Phillips, who was 2-for-2. “I couldn’t breathe at all. I went out there and tried to play defense. I was out there huffing and puffing, trying to stretch and everything. I just knocked the breath out of me.”

It was a very good performance for Mike Leake, who finished with a solid six innings pitched and allowed two earned runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

The sort-of a stunner to come out of postgame was from Baker, regarding Leake. After all the speculation in Spring Training about whether Leake would go to Triple-A Louisville if he didn’t make the rotation before the Cueto/Bailey injuries, Baker and the club had other ideas.

“The main thing is we know he can pitch,” Baker said. “He might have been trying too hard. He wasn’t going back to the Minors even though he might have been a little afraid that he might. We couldn’t tell him that. He was going to be on the team.”

What happens when the rotation is whole again?

“We’ll see,” Baker said. “We’ll deal with that when we get there. You can’t look too far into the future. Nobody can tell what will happen.”

Other notes:

*Drew Stubbs has a 12-game hitting streak dating back to last season.

*Chris Heisey drove in three runs despite going 1-for-2 with a RBI single. The other two RBIs were not official at-bats since Heisey walked with the bases loaded in the first inning and hit by a pitch with the bases full in the second.

*Jonny Gomes drew two walks, including one with the bases loaded. He has seven walks already through four games. Gomes had 39 walks all of last season.

Quotes:

“He felt like he was getting squeezed and it’s tough to tell when you’re in the box taking pitches. We always think they’re balls as hitters. I’m sure some of them were really close. I’m sure it was frustrating but we got the call. We got a couple on the board early and it’s always big to get that momentum right out of the gate.” — Chris Heisey on Astros LHP J.A. Happ

“It was six months since I pitched. I forgot how to pitch basically. I needed those five or so outings to remember what it was like to pitch. That last outing, I finally felt like I remembered. Today was a step in the right direction. There’s still a few things to work on.” — Mike Leake, talking about Spring Training and tonight
“Leakie was sharp other than that one inning where he kind of lost command of the strike zone. Those guys can hit over there. He made some quality hitters tonight swinging and miss or hit the ball on the ground. When Leakie is throwing groundballs, that’s when you know his ball is moving, he’s changing speeds and he’s in and out of the strike zone.” — Dusty Baker

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Consequences of Cueto injury?

***UPDATE: Johnny Cueto left today’s game after only one inning with stiffness in his right biceps. He will fly to Cincinnati Sunday and be examined by Kremchek on Monday. Cueto was supposed to throw 50-60 pitches over 3-4 innings.

However, the club voiced optimism that the injury might not be serious. Pitching coach Bryan Price noted that Cueto’s pre-game warm-up went without a hitch and that he only felt discomfort on a couple of pitches.

“It’s that time of year where you have to be ultra-cautious,” Price said. “You don’t want this guy battling something the whole first half of the year. Nip it in the bud right now and we’re in good shape. Hopefully it’s not a major issue. I don’t think it is but I’m not a doctor. It’s better than the last time that he threw but it’s not 100 percent. We just didn’t want to take the chance of making it worse.

“If it was the playoffs, I don’t think he would’ve said anything about it at all.”

You may recall that Cueto exited his March 11 vs. TEX after two innings because of stiffness in his forearm and biceps. After a couple of days off and having his next start pushed back, he had been long tossing.

Even if the Reds downplay the injury and even if it isn’t serious, this is still a development that could create some havoc with the rotation.

The Reds are close enough to the regular season that you’ve got to think Cueto won’t get enough work to be ready. This could mean that Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Mike Leake can all make the rotation. Wood, coincidentally, is starting the other split squad game @ARZ. He could slide into the No. 3 spot of the rotation.

Of course with all the days off early on, the Reds may not even need five starters right away. (***Upon further review, they would need a 5th starter as soon as April 9.)

Cueto signed a four-year, $27 million contract over the winter. Obviously, he underwent a full physical before the contract was inked and passed with flying colors.

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Nice days for Leake, Willis

More than a few highlights today from a 5-1 Reds win over the Indians.

*Mike Leake provided four scoreless innings and allowed three hits in a strong performance. A few of the balls that went for outs were sharply hit into the outfield. But Leake also picked up five outs on the ground, which is generally his bread and butter.

“I felt good,” Leake said. “It’s been a progression. I’m trying to slowly get back into it and get stronger.”

*Hustle award of the day for Dontrelle Willis. He ripped a liner into the right field corner. He could have easily coasted into second base but never slowed and lumbered to third base with a head first slide for a triple. More importantly, Willis worked a scoreless inning with one hit. His chances of making the team are looking better and better. It was also his first game since spraining his ankle on Saturday. He didn’t appear to have trouble.

“If he makes the team, he might be in that long relief role,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He always could hit. Him and Leake can both hit. I want Willis to get some at-bats in case in the season we leave him in there. He can still run and hit. He threw the ball well too.”

*Aroldis Chapman survived a one-run ninth where he started out with a single, a walk and a RBI single from Lou Marson. Chapman received a mound visit from Bryan Price and head trainer Paul Lessard.

“He’s OK,” Baker said. “We thought we saw him limp a little bit. He said he was fine.”

*Todd Frazier notched his first homer of spring and knocked one the opposite way to right field for the game’s first run.

*The drumbeat from fans for the Reds to have Dave Sappelt make the club will only grow louder. In his first at-bat in the seventh, Sappelt had a RBI triple to right field. This spring, Sappelt is batting .538 with a team-high tying seven RBIs. Sappelt also leads the club with 14 hits and 24 total bases this spring.

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One unique lineup, and no DH

Reds lineup vs. CLE

Negron 5
Cozart 6
Heisey 8
Frazier 9
Hermida 7
Cairo 3
Valaika 4
Miller 2
Leake 1

As you may have noticed, this is the first time that the Reds have gone without the DH in a game.

*This should be a big start for Mike Leake as the corner turns to the final two weeks of camp. He’s coming off two rocky starts and Travis Wood has pitched well. If Leake can pitch well today and his next start, it would get pretty interesting around decision time. 

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Hold on to your wigs and keys

This wasn’t a good day out here if you wear a toupee or had to catch a fly ball.

Winds at the yard today were at 29 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. A few infielders and outfielders took some unique routes in trying to catch some of the flies. It certainly wasn’t an easy task.

“I was chewing a lot of gum to keep my mouth wet, that’s for sure,” Reds pitcher Homer Bailey said.

Fortunately, this did not affect your fearless Reds beat writer in the cozy confines of the press box. But wow ,it was sure windy all around the desert today. There lots of double-digit run totals in Cactus League games on Monday. For example, it was a 16-16 final between the White Sox and Indians in Glendale.

Over in Goodyear, there was only side with double-digits and that was the Brewers. They handed the Reds a 15-2 thumping. The 25 hits allowed by Cincinnati was the club’s most in a spring game since at least 1997.

*Before Monday’s loss, Reds pitchers had a 1.03 ERA over the previous four games, totaling 35 innings. The staff hadn’t allowed a homer in the previous seven-straight games. The Brewers had three today.

“Man, this game is hard to figure,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “One day everything goes right and the next day everything goes wrong. I guess that’s why it’s called spring.”

Some pitching lines:

*Bailey wound up being charged with four earned runs and six hits over 2 2/3 innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Bailey was trailing 1-0 with two outs in the third and just couldn’t finish the inning. He allowed four-straight hits.

*Mike Leake was roughed up for six hits in the fourth inning and nine total over three innings. He also allowed four runs. Many of the balls were well connected.

*Bill Bray gave up seven runs and six hits over 2/3 of an inning.

*Nick Masset fared the best with one scoreless inning and one strikeout.

*Aroldis Chapman threw two wild pitches in the seventh and gave up one hit during a scoreless seventh.

“Chappy had a little problem with command but ended up getting a key double play and got out of the inning. He didn’t appear very happy,” Baker said.

Some hitting, but not much:

*The Reds had seven hits, most of them late. Dave Sappelt’s second homer of spring provided their first run in the seventh.

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The day after yesterday

This is definitely a lineup not previously shown by the Reds this season. A lot of guys are getting breaks after a big night on Tuesday. One key guy to watch will be Laynce Nix. This is his first start since spraining his left ankle in August. Nix hobbled down the line on a double play ball last week in Milwaukee. This could be a good test.

Weds lineup vs HOU

Bloomquist 9
Valaika 4
Alonso 3
Francisco 5
Heisey 8
Nix 7
Janish 6
Miller 2
Cueto 1

Some quick notes –

*No playoff rotation has been decided, Dusty Baker said.

*The regular players were told to be ready to play if needed tonight. Much of the regular lineup should be back on Thursday.

*And this isn’t a surprise but it’s official, Mike Leake is done for the season.

“We decided today that we’re going to shut him down,” Baker said. “He’s going to travel with the team. There’s not enough time to get him ready. He hasn’t been on the mound. Some of the guys that have been on the mound are sharper and ready than he is right now. He was a bit disappointed but was happy when he found out he was going to travel with us. Like I told him last night without him, we wouldn’t be here now. He was a big part of this thing.”

*Leake was 8-4 with a 4.23 ERA in 24 games. Take away two rough relief outings, he had a 3.78 ERA in his 22 starts. He reached 135 2/3 innings in his first professional season.

*For the next couple of games, I will be working on playoff preview stuff. My colleague Kevin Goheen will be covering the rest of this series on the big web site. I will still blog when I can.

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One surprise, one non-surprise

A few days ago in Denver, I talked to outfielder Jim Edmonds and came away with the impression his chances of returning from a torn right oblique muscle this season were remote. Imagine my surprise when we learned Edmonds was activated from the disabled list Friday.

Turns out, Edmonds and Dusty Baker didn’t see the move coming too.

“I really wasn’t expecting to come off today,” Edmonds said. “[Walt Jocketty] told me and that’s a good thing. Nobody wants to be on the DL anyways. I’m here if it’s needed.”

“I was surprised myself,” Baker said. “Walt informed me. I saw him moving around pretty good in the outfield. I haven’t seen him hit. So far he’s been hitting off the tee.”

The Reds have played with only three healthy outfielders for 10 days since Jay Bruce went down with a sore right side. There is no Minor League outfielders on the 40-man roster and no room on the roster at the moment to open space up.

“He figured he could take me off [the DL] right now and be in case of an emergency, I’m sure,” Edmonds said. “We’re kind of short right now. Whatever it takes.”

*In a non-surprise, Edinson Volquez was told Thursday that he would be the Reds starter on Saturday. This seemed like it was coming once Harang was lifted early from Monday’s start after only 2 1/3 innings at Colorado.

*Aaron Harang will move to the bullpen and be available as a long reliever. Baker said Harang handled the news professionally.

“Usually his nemesis inning is the third or fourth inning,” Baker said. “He can give us a couple of innings, which we’ll need hopefully in long relief or middle relief. It’s a very unusual situation for him and us.”

*Mike Leake was also activated from the DL, but not to pitch.

“Leake will fit in to pinch-hit, pinch-run, pinch-bunt. Pinch everything,” Baker said. “He told me two months ago if I needed an emergency outfielder, he could do that too. That’s a real emergency. He’s not ready to pitch. He wasn’t supposed to pick up a ball for two weeks.”

*SS Orlando Cabrera (left oblique) likely will be rested through the weekend, Baker said.

*Bruce is not available today off the bench. He is still not rushing a return.

*LHP Arthur Rhodes was not available Thursday because of a sore foot. It’s not clear yet if he’s available tonight.

“We’re kind of the walking wounded right now,” Baker said.

 
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