Results tagged ‘ Nick Masset ’

Postgame extra, Harang solid

Aaron Harang could smile for the first time in a while after a start. He will have a ‘W’ next to his name after a 6-2 win over the Astros. It was his first win since Aug. 9, 2009. Coming in, he had lost 13 of his last 14 decisions.

“The biggest thing is you’ve got to ask yourself what you think was going wrong and work from that,” Harang said. “There’s probably a lot of different things you could look back and attribute to the way I was pitching. But overall the No. 1 reason getting ahead and challenging guys.”

It was a good night for the Reds because:

*Aaron Harang threw strikes and was aggressive. Lots of fastballs. In his six innings, he allowed two earned runs and eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. 115 pitches. The big AB was in the 3rd when he struck out Lance Berkman with two outs and runners on the corners. The AB started with a 3-0 count.

“After that he went on cruise control and it was tough to get anything done,” Berkman said.

*Ryan Hanigan had a career high three RBIs, bringing his total to 10 for the season. He had 11 RBIs over 90 games in 2009.

*Jay Bruce seems to be coming around at the plate. After having three hits Sunday, he reached base four times Tuesday by going 2-for-4 with two singles, two walks and two runs scored.

*Nick Masset notched a nice 1-2-3 eighth inning for himself, with two strikeouts. Two appearances ago, he had a four-hit, four-run disaster vs. the Dodgers on April 20.

*K corner: Harang passed Paul Derringer for sixth on the Reds’ all-time list in strikeouts.

The not so good:

*Brandon Phillips reached with a leadoff walk in the third and got picked off first base as he was standing up with his hands on his hips. He wasn’t close to beating pitcher Bud Norris’ throw back to the bag.

*The top three of the order, including Phillips as part of the new-look lineup, was 1-for-12. Joey Votto singled in the top of the ninth.

Seen at the park: George H.W. Bush, the 41st President and a season ticket holder here, left during the sixth inning and got a standing ovation around home plate. Also — actress Melissa Gilbert, formerly of “Little House on the Prairie” was here, somewhere. She was in the seats for an interview with Fox Sports Houston.


“The biggest thing is you’ve got to ask yourself what you think was going wrong and work from that. There’s probably a lot of different things you could look back and attribute to the way I was pitching. But overall the No. 1 reason getting ahead and challenging guys.” — Aaron Harang

“When he’s on his game, he’s tough. Tonight he was.” — Jay Bruce about Harang

“Berkman is tough. He can hit. He hasn’t found his stroke yet. Hopefully we get out of town before he finds it.” — Dusty Baker on Lance Berkman’s third-inning AB. Berkman was 1-for-4 with a bloop double in the sixth.

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Postgame: Masset struggling

When it comes to Nick Masset, Reds manager Dusty Baker is standing by his eighth-inning set up man.

It’s been a very rough run for Masset lately Masset and Tuesday added to the list. Given a 9-5 lead in the eighth, he gave up four runs and four hits, including the game-tying three-run homer by Matt Kemp.

In eight games, Masset’s ERA is 14.14 (7 IP, 13 H, 11 ER, 2 HR)

We’ll get Nick straight,” Baker said. “He’s got the stuff. We’ve seen it. He’s going through a little bad period right now. We need him badly. He’ll find it.”

When Baker was asked if Masset could be moved out of the eighth inning, this was Baker’s response:

“Who’s the better replacement?” Baker said. “Everybody says ‘get him out of there, get him out there.’ He’s our best choice. That’s what we’re paying him for. He’s our choice in the eighth inning – him and Arthur [Rhodes].”

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Rolen-Masset, postgame extra

Scott Rolen got it done for the Reds in a big way Monday night. He was 3-for-5 with two homers but it was his soft liner to right field for an RBI single that scored Joey Votto in the top of the 10th that was his biggest hit.

“Joey made a good point in a postgame interview,” Rolen said. “He said that he felt my two home runs weren’t my two best at-bats of the game. That’s kind of exciting there at the end. I had a chance to try and move a guy over in the eighth and then got a chance to get a hit in the [10th.]”

Some other notes from Monday:

*Nick Masset got into trouble in the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs. But he made a huge 3-2, two-out pitch to Cody Ross. It resulted in a groundout. The pitch was a 97-mph sinker.

“The game was really tight,” Masset said. “My job was to go out there and put a zero on the board. I definitely made it interesting. We got out of it with a win. The team did a really good job.”

*That was Masset’s third-straight day of work.

“We were reluctant to use him tonight for the third day in a row. He was pressed into duty,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I’m sure he’s off tomorrow. He was good tonight. He got into trouble, got behind a couple of hitters and made some quality pitches. Those are some quality hitters over there.”

*Reds starter Johnny Cueto had an erratic evening as he pitched five innings and allowed four earned runs on nine hits with one walk and two strikeouts. A particularly rough 33-pitch bottom of the third spiked Cueto’s pitch count and he finished with 110.

*A Marlins rally in the third started with a one-out single past Orlando Cabrera and was followed with Hanley Ramirez’s walk. A Cueto wild pitch moved both runners and Jorge Cantu added a two-run double to center field and went to third on a Cueto balk. Dan Uggla followed with a RBI double to left-center field that gave Florida a 4-2 lead. Cueto left the game leading by a 5-4 score on Cabrera’s two-run homer in the top of the fifth.

“He lost his rhythm and was flying open,” Baker said. “He got it back together, long enough to go five innings. We were hoping he could go more. We just have to find a way for him to stay away from that high pitch count inning, especially this early in the season.”

*Jay Bruce snapped his 0-for-17 skid with a second-inning double and followed it with a fourth inning single.

*Rolen had a two-homer game for the 20th time in his career. The last time he did was 9/15/06.

*The Reds have three come-from-behind wins this season. They’ve also won four of their last five games after starting 0-2.

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Notes on Chapman, Arroyo, offense

To prevent duplication of effort, I will simply link to my story recounting Aroldis Chapman’s afternoon (the full version should be up soon). It was a strong start, no doubt. Hearing scouts say the radar hit 99-100 mph for a first spring game — needless to say, you don’t get that very often.

Based on the early going, it will be awfully hard for the Reds to send Chapman to the Minors if he continues pitching this well. In fact, he could be more comfortable in the Majors with the heavy contingent of Spanish speaking players, namely catcher Ramon Hernandez. It will be a fascinating storyline over the remaining month of camp.

Other items of note:

*Bronson Arroyo couldn’t have asked for a smoother first spring start — six up, six down. Arroyo struckout one and threw 26 pitches.

“I felt good. I had command of everything pretty much, which was surprising,” Arroyo said. “The first time out, you usually feel pretty uncomfortable. I threw everything – the changeup, a back-door breaking ball, sinker and everything was pretty good.”

*I was in the clubhouse talking to Arroyo and Chapman and missed Nick Masset’s outing. The line wasn’t too sparkling — one inning, three earned runs and three hits, including two home runs.

*Jonny Gomes had a nice game going 2-for-4. He hit a three-run homer into the left field bullpen in the fifth.

*Drew Stubbs also smoked a very long drive for a two-run homer in the third. It landed on the grassy berm in left-center field. The ball can definitely carry farther in the dry air but that long ball was no cheapie.

*In the 14-5 win over the Royals, the Reds had 13 hits. Stubbs’ homer gave them their first lead in three spring games.

“Our offense came alive today,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Guys looked good and no errors, that’s even better.”

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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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Masset gets two-year deal

Nick Masset avoided arbitration on Saturday by agreeing to a new two-year contract with the Reds through 2011.

The deal is worth $2.58 million in guaranteed money. The reliever will get $1.035 million in 2010 and $1.545 million in 2011. The are performance-based incentives as well.

Masset went from falling way short of the fifth starter’s job in Spring Training to a indispensible right-handed set-up man for the Reds.

“It was important to get him signed,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We were glad to get a two-year deal. It gives him a little security and us some payroll security. He worked hard and deserved it. We’re happy to get it done.”

Reliever Jared Burton remains the lone Reds player up for arbitration. Numbers are exchanged Tuesday. Based on the previous post last night, odds are strong there will be an agreement before the two sides enter a hearing.

Jocketty also drew a line in the sand. If there isn’t a deal before the numbers are exchanged, there will be no willingness to settle before the hearing date.

“We are taking a little tougher approach,” Jocketty said. “We’re telling agents that we want to get deals done before the numbers are exchanged. Hopefully, it’ll be done by Monday. If not, we’re going to arbitration. We’re not messing around with it. Too many agents want to exchange numbers so they can inflate them. We’re not doing it anymore.”

Reds arbitration history

Relievers Nick Masset and Jared Burton both filed for arbitration on Friday. It was a formality and both can avoid a hearing if they reach agreements on contracts. Players and teams will exchange figures on Tuesday. Hearings are scheduled any time between Feb. 1-19.

Based on the Reds history, it’s a good bet hearings will be avoided with both players. Last year Edwin Encarnacion flew all the way to Arizona for his hearing but signed a two-year contract before it was time to go inside.

Here is the history of the Reds and arbitration through 2009:

2008 Salary               $3.3 million
Weathers                   $4.6 million
Team                          $3.0 million
Settled                       $3.5 million with
1/28/09                       club opt for 2010
                                    $400,000 buyout

2008 Salary               $450,000
Encarnacion             $3.7 million
Team                          $2.55 million
Settled                       2-year deal for
2/17/09                       $7.6 million

Phillips          Settled
Belisle            Settled

Beat Chris Reitsma

Beat Bruce Chen

Beat Danny Graves
Beat Osvaldo Fernandez
Lost to Sean Casey

Beat John Hudek

Lost to Joe Oliver

Lost to Bip Roberts

Beat Greg Swindell
Beat Glenn Braggs

Beat Randy Myers

Lost to Danny Jackson

Beat John Franco

Beat Ted Power

Lost to Dave Van Gorder
Beat Eddie Milner

Lost to Paul Householder
Beat Joe Price

Lost to Joe Price
Lost to Mario Soto
Beat Bruce Berenyi

Lost to Tom Hume
Lost to Mario Soto
Beat Frank Pastore

Beat Dave Collins
Beat Paul Moskau
Beat Mike Vail

Lost to Dave Collins
Lost to Ray Knight

Nix's neck not good

Outfielder Laynce Nix has been conspicuous in his absence the last few days. An MRI taken on Friday revealed he has a bulging disc pushing against his spine.

“I’ll be fine in a couple of days. I hope to play by Monday or Tuesday,” Nix said. “I had collision three years ago, which is what it stemmed from. I never had an MRI on it until yesterday. It revealed some minor damage but nothing we can’t take care of.”

Reds lineup:

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

To make room for LHP Matt Maloney’s recall to start today’s game, 1B Kevin Barker was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Barker batted .364 (4-for-11) in nine games since his Aug. 14 promotion.

“He did a good job for us pinch-hitting,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “There are a couple of other guys here with more versatility. I talked to [general manager] Walt [Jocketty] and we’ll get him back after the [Triple-A] playoffs unless someone gets hurt or doesn’t respond.”

2B Brandon Phillips is hitting .207 (12-for-58) in his last 15 games entering Saturday. He has been bothered by a sore wrist that was hit by a pitch on Aug. 20, but Baker wasn’t offering any excuses.

“It’s almost September,” he said. “Everybody is bothered by something in September. If you’re not bothered by something this time of year, you haven’t been playing very much.”

Closer Francisco Cordero was considered unavailable on Saturday. Cordero had pitched the last four days in a row and in the last five games over six days. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cordero pitched four-straight days for the first time since July 3-6, 2008. He has pitched in five consecutive games for the first time since he pitched in a career-high six straight games from May 4-9, 2007.

To handle the ninth, Arthur Rhodes, Nick Masset and Jared Burton were considered available on a situational basis.

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The Grand Slam.

In nine seasons of covering baseball, I’ve seen several dramatic moments but Manny Ramirez might have topped them all.

One pitch. One grand slam. A 6-2 Reds loss.

And on Manny Ramirez bobblehead night, no less.

Ramirez was not starting because of a bruised left hand that was struck on Tuesday night by a Homer Bailey fastball. In a 2-2 game after Bronson Arroyo loaded the bases with two walks and a single to load the bases with one out in the sixth, 56,000 fans licked their chops with anticipation.

Dodger Stadium roared when Ramirez appeared from the dugout to pinch-hit. It was even louder after he demolished Nick Masset’s first-pitch sinker. The ball even landed in the “Mannywood” section. Everyone knew it was gone on contact.

Mannywood, yes…but it was pure Hollywood. No script could be written better – for Dodgers fans. Rarely have a heard a ballpark be louder. They say they have laid back fans here, but definitely not on Wednesday night.

“That’s stuff I had seen out of Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You go home seeing what you came to see.

“It’s about as dramatic as you can get — a grand slam on your own bobblehead night. First he was in the lineup and then they scratched him. He came in, saw one pitch and hit a grand slam. You don’t get more dramatic than that.”

Arroyo, who played with Ramirez on the Red Sox, wanted to face him. They had never faced each other before.

“I played with the guy long enough that I probably have an insight on his mind than anybody else here for sure,” Arroyo said. “But it’s Dusty’s call. It’s his job, not mine. … I feel like I would have got a double play ball and we would have been out of the inning. That’s the way you think about it. I don’t think anybody was worried about his hand. I know Manny. He’ll take a day off if he gets hit like that even if his hand is perfect. Don’t ever think when he goes to the plate that Manny Ramirez is hurt, because he’s not. If he was, he wouldn’t be standing in the box.”

From Masset, who was trying to induce an inning-ending double play.

“That’s pretty much where I wanted to put the ball,” he said. It just didn’t sink the way it normally does. It was middle-in. I was trying to jam him, get a groundball and get out of the inning. I basically tried to go at him with my best stuff and it didn’t work out.”

The only good news to come out of the sweep in LA (0-12 record since 2006), was the Cardinals have also lost three straight. The Reds lost no ground on first place and remained 5 1/2 games back. But at 44-50, they are a season-high six games below .500.

I’m off for the Cubs series….plenty to discuss I’m sure. Have at it.

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Stop, rumor time

It’s the time of year you know is coming but can never really brace yourself for properly. I’m not even sure what to call it.

Trade deadline rumor-a-rama? Silly season (that’s more about winter rumors)? The chasing of rumors, legit or not that rarely pan out time of year? I’ll keep working on it.

Anyway, there have been two rumors linked to the Reds the past couple of days and I thought they should be addressed.

The Toronto Sun is reporting today that the Reds have had “internal discussions” about Blue Jays third baseman Scott Rolen. It’s a natural thought — Rolen played for the Cardinals when GM Walt Jocketty was there. He’s a bat needed for an offense bereft of run producers. Maybe they did discuss him. Lots of players get discussed, year-round. Many GMs and front offices have a big giant board in their office with every club’s players on it.

Here’s the problem: Rolen is making $11 million this year and is owed $11 million next year. He’s 34 years old. The story says the Reds are “dangling” Edwin Encarnacion, who makes $2 million this year and $4.75 million next year.

Unless Toronto is willing to eat much of that money, the Reds aren’t looking to take on that kind of salary hit to their payroll. It’s just a plain fact. 

On Thursday, the Denver Post dropped that the Reds were interested in third baseman Garret Atkins, possibly for relievers David Weathers and Nick Masset. That’s just not happening. I was told from someone in the know that Colorado has called every team in the league trying to unload Atkins. So far, no takers.

Atkins is making $7.05 million this season and batting just .227 with six homers and 27 RBIs. He wouldn’t an offensive upgrade from Encarnacion…who the Reds would still have on the roster in this scenario. Neither guy can play a bunch of positions.

And a Reds official made it clear to me that Masset isn’t going anywhere. Not when he’s doing what he does for such a reasonable salary ($418,000).

If the Reds are buyers, they wouldn’t get rid of two key parts to the bullpen.

I would look for smaller moves. The Reds have a deep farm system and will be able to use it, within reason. Don’t look for giant transactions for rent-a-players like Matt Holliday. This team is finally headed in the right direction and it wouldn’t take a blockbuster move to win the NL Central this season. If they stick to the plan they’ve had lately, they can be contenders both this year and the long term.

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