Results tagged ‘ Paul Janish ’

Fans itchy about Volquez, not Reds

Wednesday’s 12-4 Reds win over the Astros was one nutty game and an example of why Twitter sometimes isn’t the best mix for baseball.

As Edinson Volquez labored through a 44-pitch, four-run, 10 batter first inning, a few followers were in a full froth.

Some example questions I received tonight:

“Any chance of Volquez going to Louisville for some remedial work if he has one more bad outing?

“Is it time to send Volquez to AAA?? I like him, but he doesn’t seem to add up to all the hype..”

“Does Volquez even have options left?” (He does by the way)

“if…IF… he has another terrible outing, what are the chances he goes to AAA instead of Leake/LeCure when Bailey/Cueto return?”

Yeah, Volquez was pitching badly but it was certainly extremely early to be firing up a GPS unit for him to head to Louisville. Like after his poor first inning on Opening Day, Volquez reached down and put together a decent outing in the final four innings of his night. He retired seven in a row after a leadoff walk in the second. He had a 10-pitch third inning. And most importantly, he kept the Reds in the game to mount the comeback. Reds manager Dusty Baker had no intention of taking him out in the first or second inning if he could help it.

“I couldn’t go to my pen that quick,” Baker said. “We were trying to stick with him as long as we can. This is our first stretch of consecutive days without an off day, nine days in a row. If you get upside down on day No. 2, then you’re treading on dangerous ground with guys being able to pitch this early in the year. That’s not what you want.”

Volquez’s inconsistent moments bring to mind his Spring Training visa issues and how much it was downplayed. He missed two starts because of that and couldn’t make them up. In my mind, he’s doing it now in the regular season. It’s not an optimal situation. There are some rough edges. But he was dealing 96-97 mph fastballs and Houston hitters had some trouble keeping up. None of their hits on him were really pounded. So it’s not a physical issue.

Notes:

*Paul Janish is 8-for-18 (.444) and has hits in all four of his games played. He was 3-for-5 tonight.

*Brandon Phillips had three hits and is 9-for-20 (.450) for the young season.

*For only the second time in GABP history, there were no home runs hit in the last two games. The only other time that happened was Aug. 6-7, 2005 vs. the Marlins. There have been only 51 homer-less games in the 654 games played here.

*The Reds have scored 43 runs, their second-highest total in modern history through five games.
The 1976 team scored 44 runs in its first five games.

Quotes:

“Edinson, maybe he just needs to go out there and calm down a little bit. I know there’s a lot of pressure on him being the No. 1 starter and everybody is expecting big things from him. But he’s a great pitcher and we have his back. Hopefully, he’ll learn from the mistakes he made today, take advantage of it and go out there and pitch a good game.” — Brandon Phillips

“I thought they were going to take me out before I got to the fifth. Dusty came over and told me forget about strikeouts and get a groundball, fly ball and clean innings.” — Edinson Volquez

“The first two innings he had six strikeouts. It was like he was more dependent on the strikeouts than he was on our defense back there. He was throwing all his pitches when it wasn’t necessary to throws all his pitches. They were late on his fastball and then he’d throw something else.” — Dusty Baker

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Plugged back in

You may have noticed (or perhaps, not at all) that I was on vacation over the last week. I provided a couple of Reds stories in advance of time off. Hopefully you got to read them. They were: Paul Janish ready to be everyday shortstop and Todd Frazier seeking a fresh start in 2011

*Plus there was of course, Jay Bruce’s press conference and Joey Votto was named Canada’s athlete of the year.

 

*And over on “Better Off Red,” Jamie Ramsey had a nice Q&A with Bronson Arroyo — who never has trouble unplugging and traveling during the off-season.

Actually, I took a “staycation,” since I really didn’t go anywhere. The one thing I did do was unplug since  I barely checked email and didn’t look at Twitter once in seven days. I highly recommend it to those who are tethered to their smartphones and computers all the time. Trust me when I say you’ll get points from your family (and fun) when you don’t always have a drifting eye on your email and other things like Twitter. 

But of course, there was still the Internet and television and I certainly didn’t miss the big baseball news of the weekend — that Zack Greinke was traded to the Brewers. Since I got more emails from this winter than any other that the Reds had to get Greinke — I imagine this isn’t a good news story for you. Cincinnati was never really “in” on Greinke. They weren’t willing to part the haul of top young talent to get him and Milwaukee was. They’re making an all-in “go for it” move for 2011. They’re also taking a huge risk. 

That’s the not to say at all the Reds aren’t going for it next season. They simply feel that the young players they already have in place will mature and get better and can still contend without the giant risk taking. The Brewers will have an improved rotation to go with their potent lineup. I’m sure they will be a trendy pick to take the NL Central.

Unlike Cliff Lee, who has proven himself on the big game stage, Greinke had no such track record in Kansas City. I will be curious to see how he does in the National League, where it should be easier to pitch. I will write more about this on MLB.com/Reds.com later today.

The Reds will get to find out quickly — after all, they will have Opening Day vs. the Brewers on March 31, 2011. I’d be willing to bet Greinke will get that assignment.

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No surprises on Reds options

The Reds picked up the $11 million club option for 2011 on RHP Bronson Arroyo and the $1.75 million option on OF Jonny Gomes Wednesday. Not picked up were the $4 million option on SS Orlando Cabrera ($1M buyout) and the $12.75 million option on RHP Aaron Harang ($2M buyout). Both Cabrera and Harang become free agents.

None of these moves come as a shocker. Arroyo has been one of the Reds’ most consistent pitchers since he joined the club in 2006. He won a career high 17 games this season and has 200 innings pitched in six-straight seasons.

Gomes drove in a career-best 86 RBIs while batting .266 with 18 homers.

I have a call into the voice mail of GM Walt Jocketty. I expect he will still pursue Cabrera at a lower price, which he indicated he’d do when asked last month. There’s no word yet on progress towards a contract extension on Arroyo.

As for Harang,who was 18-38 in the last three seasons after he was 32-17 over 2006-07, this is the expected end of the line of his long tenure in Cincinnati. He certainly seemed to see this coming as he was emotional following a final start on the last day of the season.

UPDATE – I just got off the phone with Jocketty about the different decisions. Here are some of the quotes:

On Arroyo:

“We’ll certainly continue to work on doing a multi-year extension with him. I don’t want to go into the season negotiating. We’ll try to [get it done] before the start of the season.”

***I got a text back from Arroyo, who said he was “definitely” optimistic an extension could still get done with the Reds.

On Cabrera:

“It was a tough decision. We’re trying to protect ourselves with payroll and all the arbitration guys we have and the things we need to do. We’re not ruling out the possibility of bringing him back but it will be a while before we know.”

Jocketty said that Paul Janish stands to be the regular shortstop at this point, but obviously that would depend partially on what becomes of Cabrera.

***I talked to Jonny Gomes, who is at his home in Arizona. He was very pleased to know he would be returning to the Reds

“This saves my forehead,” Gomes said. “Last off-season, I banged it into every wall of my house being confused.”

Gomes was referring to being non-tendered and unemployed all of last winter until he signed the day the full squad reported to Spring Training.

“I have six years in [the Majors] but last year was my first time with 500 at-bats,” Gomes said. “Hopefully, I get another opportunity to do back-to-back years. It’s looking like it. Every year has been a battle with nothing guaranteed. I’ve always had a camp invite or a split contract. I’ve had pretty good numbers and success without a job guaranteed. I will battle for a spot at Spring Training and keep putting the pedal to the metal.”

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Postgame: Volquez sharpening

Edinson Volquez had one shaky fifth inning and it cost him during a 3-1 Reds loss to Arizona. He walked the first two batters and paid for it.

But the overall vibe about Volquez’s performance was positive.

Dusty Baker was asked if Volquez had his 2008 All-Star stuff back yet after his return from Tommy John surgery.

“He’s pretty close. His endurance is up. His velocity is up,” Baker said. “Since he went down to Dayton, his location is a lot better, his tempo, rhythm and just his overall delivery is better. He’s not forcing it. He’s just letting it flow, pitching nice and relaxed.”

In two starts since returning from a tune-up stint at Class A Dayton, Volquez has given up seven hits and three walks while striking out 17 over 13 2/3 innings. He is trying to land one of the rotation spots in the postseason and likely competing with Travis Wood and Homer Bailey.

“I think I’m close now,” Volquez said of his stuff. “The last two games, I’m pitching really good. My delivery is better. I throw more fastballs for strikes than before.”

More notes —

*Orlando Cabrera snapped his four-game hit streak. He was was 8-for-21 during it. He also had five doubles during this series.

*Paul Janish has an eight -game hit streak (11-for-31, .355)

*Drew Stubbs hit safely in eight of last 10 games. Check out this notebook item I did on Stubbs before the game.

*This was game 14 of a 20-game stretch without a day off. The next off day doesn’t come until Thursday of next week between Milwaukee and San Diego.

More quotes —

“You don’t play this game for 162 games, you really don’t. You can throw them all in the trash once the playoff start. But we have to get there first. You get there by playing the way we’ve been playing. I think we’ve done a good job of keeping our eye on the prize.” — Jonny Gomes

“We knew it was going to be a tough stretch physically and emotionally, and everything especially down the stretch.” — Dusty Baker on the 20-straight game stretch the Reds are in.

One other thing –

I am off for this weekend’s series at Houston. But I will return starting Monday in Milwaukee and will ride with you until the end — whenever that may be.

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Votto takes early lead

Monday lineup vs. Mets

Phillips 4
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Stubbs 8
Miller 2
Harang 1

*This just came my way from our folks at MLB.com:

Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees and Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds topped the early returns from the more than 10 million votes registered in the opening 24 hours of the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

On the National League ballot, Votto grabbed the top spot out-of-the-gate over the other four candidates, narrowly ahead of Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals; Billy Wagner of the Atlanta Braves; Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies; and Heath Bell of the San Diego Padres.

*The exact numbers and vote totals were not revealed.

*From the Elias Sports Bureau: Votto’s streak of 41 consecutive games in which he reached base safely came to an abrupt end on Sunday when he was ejected after striking out in the first inning. Paul Janish replaced him and went 4-for-4 with a home run.  Janish was the first Major Leaguer to enter a game as a substitute and go 4-for-4 with a homer since the Reds’ Paul O’Neill did it against San Diego on April 18, 1990, a game the Reds won, 11-7.  Manager Lou Piniella sent O’Neill into the game in the third inning as a pinch-hitter for right fielder Rolando Roomes.

*The high today in New York is 97, and it feels every bit of that and more in the concrete jungle of Manhattan and Queens.
 

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Postgame extra: another comeback

Mike Leake finally had a bad one but it was still all good in the end for the Reds, which took a 7-6 win over the Giants to earn a four-game series split. The Reds opened a 1 1/2 game lead on the Cardinals, which are idle Thursday.

The good —

*It was the Reds NL-leading 13th one-run victory and their 12th in the final at-bat. Also, the 21st come-from-behind win.

*Temporary leadoff hitter Brandon Phillips was 4-for-5. His two-run triple in the eighth tied the game at 6-6 and Phillps scored the winning run on Joey Votto’s roller up the middle through a drawn-in infield.

*Arthur Rhodes, again. His 1.2 IP were his highest since May 1, 2008. He earned the victory and extended his scoreless streak to 25 innings and 27 appearances.

*Defense. Paul Janish got a rare start at shortstop and made a splendid diving stop of Juan Uribe’s hot grounder to start a 643 double play with the bases loaded to end the fourth. Janish saved at least two runs, maybe three. Brandon Phillips started a 463 double play to end the fifth with a very fine play.

“Those are what saved the game for us,” manager Dusty Baker said. “You know how I am about defense. You play defense, especially up the middle defense, you save a lot of runs.”

*Francisco Cordero pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 17th save. It was the only perfect inning a Reds pitcher had all day.

The not so good —

*In his worst start for the Reds, the rookie right-hander pitched a season-low 4 1/3 innings and allowed a season-high 11 hits while tying a season high with five earned runs. He also allowed two home runs. Three-straight inning-ending double plays with the bases loaded — including the two mentioned above, helped save his bacon.

*Scott Rolen made an uncharacteristic E5 on a ball between his legs in the fifth with Del Rosario on the mound that scored what was the Giants go-ahead run charged to Leake.

*Nick Masset entered in the sixth and got two quick outs to end the inning. But he labored in the seventh, allowing a run and two hits.

*The game was a slog that felt longer than three hours, 28 minutes. The Giants left 13 on base while the Reds stranded nine.

*There was a weird scene in the eighth after Joey Votto singled. While on first base, Votto appeared to think that pitcher Guillermo Mota was saying something to him and the two exchanged words. Baker said that Mota was actually talking to his first baseman, Buster Posey.

“It’s the heat of the summer,” Baker said. “Tempers are usually shortest about this time.”

More quotes —

“I think what was different about this game is their coaching staff had a pretty good plan for me. They punched me right off the bat and I couldn’t react fast enough. Sometimes games are going to be like that. They didn’t square every ball up. I did make more mistakes than I wanted to.” — Mike Leake

“He wasn’t struggling. They were flaring him to death. They found every hole. They had a bunch of one-hand hits, bloopers. We had a couple too but they had more than we had, especially early. That’s why we kept running him out there. We didn’t want to go to our bullpen in the third or fourth. You could tell by the way things were going, you had a feeling it was going to be a high-offensive day.” — Dusty Baker on Leake.

“You can’t count these guys out here, man. We go out and play hard for nine innings. We play hard until the game is over.” — Arthur Rhodes.

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A break for Cabrera

Thu lineup vs. SF

Phillips 4
Janish 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Leake 1

Dusty Baker said last night that Cabrera would get today off. It was decided even before Cabrera’s four hit game. He did not mind at all.

“I’m an old man,” Cabrera said. “We just want to keep everybody sharp. Janish is a big piece of this team. We have to keep him sharp too.”

*The last time Brandon Phillips led off a game was April 13, 2007. This is his 12th career appearance batting first (10-for-45, .222, 3 HR, five RBIs)

*No decision has been made about Sunday’s start between Homer Bailey and Sam LeCure. Bailey has a bullpen session scheduled for Friday. He said there has been no ill-effects from his rehab assignment start for Louisville on Tuesday.

“I was sore but in all the good places. Nothing struck me as out of the ordinary,” Bailey said.

Bailey’s line vs. Syracuse was 4 1/3 innings with five earned runs and six hits allowed while throwing 86 pitches. He and the club said the outing went better than the line reflected.

“It felt, not new, but I didn’t get off the mound for two weeks. To get out there like that, it felt good,” Bailey said. “There were a few balls hit in just the perfect places that allowed runners to move over and stuff like that.”

Meanwhile, LeCure was preparing himself to pitch Sunday — just in case.

“I’ll just go about it like I am,” LeCure said. “If they tell me I am, I will be ready. I’m not too worried about it.”

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Janish away, Sutton up, Votto sore

Weds lineup vs. PIT

Cabrera 6
Cairo 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Nix 7
Stubbs 8
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

*Dusty Baker indicated yesterday that an off day was coming for Joey Votto but that’s not why he’s missing from tonight’s lineup. It turns out that Votto is out with a stiff neck.

Votto has the best numbers vs. Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf at 4-for-7 (.571) with one homer so it was unfortunate for the Reds.

“If you can’t go, you can’t go,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You know Joey Votto. If he could go, he was going to go. He called and left a message this morning. He went and saw the doctor and he thought it would better if he doesn’t play today.” 

*Also out is lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes with a sore foot. Baker hoped to have Votto and Rhodes back Thursday.

 

*Infielder Paul Janish was placed on the bereavement list to attend his grandmother’s funeral near Houston. IF/OF Drew Sutton was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Janish can be gone from three to seven days but was expected to be back Saturday.

*Sutton was batting .268 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 37 games for Louisville. He had hit safely in each of his last seven games (11-for 24, .458, 8 RBIs).  Sutton played 42 games with the Reds last season and batted .212.

*Edinson Volquez pitched a simulated game for the first time on Saturday in Goodyear. He threw 40 pitches total — or two 20-pitch “innings.” The club is still determining Volquez’s schedule going forward, but he could pitch in extended spring games as soon as next week.

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Janish and Heisey start

The Reds have a chance at a 4-1 home stand on this dizzly Tuesday.

Tuesday lineup vs. MIL

Cabrera 6 Heisey 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Heisey 8 Cabrera 6
Bruce 9
Hanigan 2
Janish 5
Bailey 1

Dusty Baker flipped Heisey and Cabrera to give Gomes more protection in the order.

Baker said this lineup was to give Scott Rolen the day off but that wasn’t as much the reasoning for Drew Stubbs’ break.

“It’s more about Heisey playing,” Baker said. “When we get to Atlanta, I’ll probably play Stubbs because they have a massive outfield there.”

Heisey has made the most of his limited chances — as a late defensive replacement on Saturday, he his assist from left field on a relay to the plate saved the game vs. St. Louis. He also led off last night with a key triple and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh.

“It’s to his advantage to do something,” Baker said. “When you’re a young player trying to stay here, you want to do everything you can do – whatever you can do. We like his ability. It’s not the issue. It’s just that right now, there’s not much room or space for him. Every young player I know went through that at some point.”

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Sunday morning notes

Good Sunday morning, although I realize it’s already afternoon in Cincinnati at least. While everyone else did the “spring forward” thing, Arizona doesn’t observe daylight savings. So now we are three hours behind on Pacific time instead of two hours back on Mountain time.

This will be the start of a hectic week in Reds camp. There is a B game this morning vs. the Indians here at the complex before the regular 1:05 p.m. “A” game against the White Sox. Another round of cuts are looming after Wednesday’s doubleheader, which loom large for many players trying to make the team.

“It’s a tough week,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Tucson [Tuesday], double header [Wednesday], day game right after the double header [Thursday], a night game [Friday] and then a day game after that. And then a split-squad right after that. Between the 16th and 21st is about as close to season-reality as there is.”

Other notes from the morning:

*Non-roster infielder Chris Burke is in the ‘B’ game lineup today. Burke has been out since near the start of camp with a fractured knuckle on his right ring finger. To make the club, Burke essentially has to condense his entire camp into three weeks.

“It is tougher, no doubt about it,” Burke said. “It’s my reality. I have to try and do the best with it, try to get caught up and try to play well.”

*There was talk earlier in camp of trying 1B Yonder Alonso in positions other than his natural one. But there has been little mention of it lately and Alonso has played only first base in games.

“I’ve only got so many spots,” Baker said. “We have 60 guys. The other spots that he’s going to go to is probably when he goes to minor league camp. He’s been working out in left field. I’m having a tough enough time with all of these players until I make some cuts to get guys time.”

*Baker hopes to schedule more ‘B’ games to give fifth starter contenders more innings. Two of them are working in the ‘A’ game. Matt Maloney is starting and Justin Lehr is scheduled to get one inning.

*For the time being, the Reds are still going to use the DH to hit for their pitchers. Aroldis Chapman will need all the work he can get. He hasn’t had to hit since he was 16 since Cuba used a DH in international play. Chapman is learning how to bunt.

“We’re working with him every day,” Baker said “This dude is working his butt off.”

*SS Paul Janish has two big league homers in 336 at-bats so he definitely enjoyed hitting a home run in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Saturday. Power hitter Juan Francisco crushed two homers in the game. I playfully asked Janish if there was a new “Bash Brothers” combo on the left side of the infield.

“I got back into the dugout and said ‘me and Francisco, we’re competing for the most power in camp,” Janish said.

*It might be of subtle notice but Reds minor leaguers are no longer required to wear their socks high over their pants. Being clean shaven is not mandatory anymore either. That rule extended to coaches too. Triple-A Louisville manager Rick Sweet is wasting no time growing a mustache.

Finally, here are Reds lineups:

‘B’ game

Anderson 8
Janish 6
Nix 7
Francisco 5
Alonso 3
Burke 4
Heisey 9
Mesoraco DH
Castillo 2

Harang 1

‘A’ game

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips DH
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Miles 4

Maloney 1

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