Results tagged ‘ Mike Lincoln ’

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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Out of options

In case you were wondering, the following Reds players head into 2010 Spring Training out of options:

RHP Bronson Arroyo, RHP Homer Bailey, IF/OF Wladimir Balentien, RHP Francisco
Cordero, RHP Mike Lincoln and RHP Nick Masset.

This should only really affect Balentien, and possibly Lincoln. But remember, Lincoln is owed $2 million this season and pitched well for most of 2008 before his neck injury limited him to 19 games in 2009.

As a short explainer, players that are out of minor league options and sent down get 10 days to clear waivers. By the end of that period, they must either be traded, sent down outright or released. Most players get three minor league options that begin once they are on the 40-man roster. One option is good for one whole season’s worth of multiple call-ups and demotions.

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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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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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Roster move, Lincoln news

The Reds made their expected roster move to get down to 12 pitchers. The odd man out was Josh Roenicke, who was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Infielder Drew Sutton was recalled from Louisville and expands the options on the bench. Sutton appeared in three games during his previous call-up and went 0-for-4. He was sent down on July 7 and returns after he spent the minimum 10 days in the minors.

In 10 games with the Reds, Roenicke was 0-0 with a 2.92 ERA. He retired eight of his 10 first batters and let one of eight inherited runners scored. He struck out a career-high four over two innings on Thursday vs. Milwaukee.

Reliever Mike Lincoln will be having cervical disc replacement surgery on Monday in St. Louis. Lincoln has been on the 15-day DL since June 17 because of a bulging disc in his neck. A prognosis won’t be known for Lincoln until after the operation, but I can’t imagine him returning any time this season.

During the off-season, Lincoln was re-signed to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Hairston 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Encarnacion 5
Dickerson 9
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

Edwin Encarnacion has been getting it quite together at the plate lately and is finally poised to get his batting average north of .200. Encarnacion came into Friday batting .323 (11-for-34) with two home runs and seven RBIs in 11 games since returning from over two months on the DL. Overall, he was batting .196.

“I feel great right now,” said Encarnacion, who was 3-for-3 Thursday with a three-run homer and RBI single. “I’ve been working hard to get my timing back. Right now, I’ve got my timing. When I came back, I tried to do too much and didn’t come through the first two games. I thought back to taking it slow, being more patient and not trying to do too much. That’s what I’ve been doing.”

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Lincoln DL'd, Roenicke recalled

RHP Mike Lincoln went on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, a move that was retroactive to Saturday, because a bulging disc in his neck. Reliever Josh Roenicke was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

In 19 games this season, Lincoln is 1-1 with an 8.29 ERA over 23 innings. He has struggled much of the season and unbeknownst to everyone, was pitching with the injury for a while.

“He didn’t want to say anything because he felt like he was letting the team down already,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Actually, I told him ‘hey man, it’s making it worse. Let’s not play with disc problems, back problems and anything with the spine.’ He said he was going to try and fight through it.”

Lincoln was told to rest for five days while he undergoes rehab and takes medication. Last season after returning from a four-year layoff because of an elbow injury, he worked a career high 64 games and was solid from the bullpen.

“With all the years he spent on the DL, the last thing he wanted to do was go back on the DL,” Baker said. “I understand that but I told him it’s not quite hero time. It’s admirable when your guys want to play, pitch and contribute.”

In 23 games for Louisville, Roenicke was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 11 saves. Over his 24 innings, he gave up 26 hits and three walks with 26 strikeouts. He hadn’t allowed a run over his last 11 appearances. The right-hander has converted his last 10 save chances in a row.

“The big concern is he hasn’t really gone back-to-back days or multiple innings,” Baker said. We’ll just have to break him in.”

Roenicke appeared in five games last season for the Reds as a September call-up.

Turned on a dime

The Reds seemed headed to what would have been the most painful loss of the year — a 1-0 defeat to Roy Oswalt because of a bases-loaded walk from Johnny Cueto in the fifth. That all changed in the top of the ninth when Ramon Hernandez hit a 1-2 Jose Valverde fastball into the first row of right field seats for a 2-1 Reds win.

Some quotes:

Dusty Baker on Cueto – who was strong early but walked six in 4 2/3 innings. His walk to Oswalt with two outs and no one on started the Astros rally.

“Cueto was matching him and pitching better but lost it with some near strikes in the fourth and fifth innings.”

“That was huge. That was real big. That’s prime evidence how walks will hurt you. It hurt us with Cueto and it hit hurt them walking Edwin.”

Baker again:

“That would have been a real tough loss, especially since they really didn’t deserve to win it. But they were winning. Especially when you walk in the only run and it’s 1-0 against a tough Roy Oswalt.”

Ramon Hernandez:

“I was lucky that ball got out. I was just trying to have a good at-bat and trying to get a single so I could get the inning going.”

“When I hit it, I just took off running just in case it hit the wall. We were losing 1-0 so I wasn’t sure.”

Mike Lincoln on the bullpen which pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings:

“Each guy came in and did his job. That’s what we have to do down there. The bullpen is pretty tight. We have a really good group of guys down there and it feels like we could put any guy in any situation.”

Final score: Twins 10, Reds 4

For starter Micah Owings, it was a decent first time on the mound for the Reds. Owings threw three scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and two strikeouts. Only two balls were solidly hit — Brendan Harris’ double to the center field wall in the first inning and a tailing liner to center field that Willy Taveras where made a nice diving catch in the third.

Owings mostly threw fastballs in the first two innings and kept the ball down pretty well. By the third, he started mixing it up. Considering it was the first game action he had seen since August when he was shut down with a sore shoulder, Owings was pleased.

“Initially warming up during pre-game stuff, you start thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve been out there,” Owings said. “It was nice to get back out there and compete. Everything felt pretty good. For the first time out, I was pretty happy. The arm felt good, most important.”

It wasn’t a smooth first outing for Francisco Cordero, who gave up two earned runs and four hits (including two infield singles) in the fourth inning. Brian Buscher’s two-run home run to right field was the big hit off Cordero. I happened to miss the whole inning because I was in the clubhouse talking to Owings.

After Cordero, David Weathers worked a perfect fifth inning. In the sixth, Arthur Rhodes gave up two earned runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in the sixth.

A four-run seventh got the Reds on the scoreboard. Danny Richar lined a single and scored on Juan Francisco’s RBI single to left field. Craig Tatum added a RBI single to left field and Kevin Barker hit a two-run double to right field.

For those itching to get Joey Votto moved to left field to make room for Yonder Alonso, it wasn’t an easy day for the kid at first base. Alonso missed a scoop in the dirt in the seventh and committed a run-scoring E3 on Luke Hughes’ slow, slow roller up the first base line in the eighth. That would have been the third out. The next batter, Brock Petersen, hit a grand slam to right field. So that was five unearned runs off pitcher Ramon Ramirez that inning.

“Yonder was a little out of control and too aggressive,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He comes in early every morning and works on his defense. He’s getting a lot better.”

 

 

 

Encarnacion to change hitting approach

Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, owner of a new two-year, $7.6 million contract that avoided arbitration, made his camp debut on Wednesday. In a good mood for obvious reasons, Encarnacion said he committed in the off-season to returning to his old approach of hitting.

“I want to try to stay more to the middle. Last year, I tried to pull too many balls and hit more homers,” Encarnacion said. “That’s why my average went down. I will be more consistent with my hitter. I know I can do it. I’ve done it before. I know I can hit better than that and I just have to keep working.

“You can’t go to the plate hitting like crazy. You have to go up with some plan. That’s what makes you a better hitter.”

One of the better clutch run producers before 2008, the 26-year-old Encarnacion  batted .251 with a career-high 26 home runs but only 68 RBIs in 146 games.

During his playing career, Reds manager Dusty Baker said he made similar mistakes.

“Sometimes it happens at that point of your career. It happened to me. It’s a disease – I call it home run-itis,” Baker said. “You start liking the trot. What happens is you end up hitting lower, less RBIs and have just as many homers. I got a letter from Joe Black, I’ll never forget it. I still have the letter. He told me to ‘remember you’re a hitter, not a slugger.”

Other notes from Wednesday:

Jerry Hairston Jr. worked out with the outfielders when workouts began on Tuesday. Baker said not to read too much into that. Hairston is also considered a backup shortstop option to Alex Gonzalez.

“It was day one. You have to start somewhere,” Baker said.

Hairston told me he will play shortstop for Team Mexico at the World Baseball Classic. His mother is Mexican.

Live BP:

It’s one of those days of the year when pitchers have total dominance over hitters — the Reds went through live batting practice. Pitchers faced hitters and threw at game speed. On one field, a group of hitters faced Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto in succession.

Volquez and Cueto throw in the mid 90s with some nasty breaking stuff.

“I don’t even want to get in there,” joked Norris Hopper as Volquez pitched.

The only hitter to really connect on a pitch was Daryle Ward, who cleared the right field fence against Cueto. On another field, Homer Bailey, Arthur Rhodes and Mike Lincoln also faced hitters.

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