Results tagged ‘ Ramon Hernandez ’

Test for Leake?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Reds Sunday lineup vs. Cubs

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

This will be the first time Mike Leake will be facing a team for the second time. Pitchers can often have success the first time around the league like Leake has had because he’s not as known. Now teams have a book and background information to take into the second time around.

The last time Leake faced the Cubs, in his big league debut on April 11, he allowed one earned runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings. He did give up seven walks and struck out five. He’s since cut down on his walks.

Is it tougher for a rookie seeing a team the second time?

“It depends on what adjustments he makes to them and the adjustments that he sees they’re making to him. That’s the thing,” Reds manager Dusty Baker. “It could go both ways. No. 1, which he does very good, he reads swings. He’ll see if they’re trying to go to right field or taking pitches early or swinging early. They’ll show you their game plan pretty quick.”

Ramon Hernandez has worked well with Leake and he will be able to help with the adjustments as he also watches what the hitters are doing. It could be an interesting day and a nice test for Leake.

“That’s what Greg Maddux was so good at,” Baker said. “He would notice the difference in your stance, if you’re bent over, if you’re closed or if you’re open. That’s what he used to study in video. Everybody studies themselves, most of the time it’s bad or wrong and try to correct it — instead of studying the opposition. He’d notice all of those little differences.”

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Postgame extra: wild, wacky series

It was a wild, wild series with the Mets and it was capped by a 5-4 win in 10 innings on Orlando Cabrera’s walk-off home run off of the left field foul pole. That meant Cincinnati won two of three and moved to 14-14.

This series featured:

*Three games decided by one run and on a home run.
*11 homers combined by both teams — all solo shot. There were 8 by the Reds.

*All three games were tied in the ninth inning.

“As long as we win, that’s the objective,” manager Dusty Baker said. “This was some series here. We walked off. They walked off. We walked off again. Good thing we’re not playing them tomorrow or it would be their turn to walk off again. That was a great series.”

*The Reds have nine wins in their last at-bat this season. That’s just nutty.

“This is special,” Cabrera said. “I don’t think I’ve been on a team like that – that wins so many games in the last at-bat. It’s good and it’s bad. We put ourselves in some crisis situations sometimes. The good thing is we bounce back. Hopefully we can stay focused and keep a lead.”

The good from Wednesday:

*Brandon Phillips infield single to first base in the first inning. He hustled hard and beat the pitcher to the bag with a head-first slide.

*Miguel Cairo snapped a 0-for-13 skid. It was a soft roller past the shortstop.

*Jonny Gomes was 2-for-4 with a single in the fourth and a solo home run in the fifth that gave the Reds a 4-2 lead.

*Another nice outing for Nick Masset, who pitched a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts.  He got David Wright to fan on a 95 mph fastball and then got Ike Davis to whiff on an 82 mph changeup.

*Cabrera got his team-leading 16th RBI with his home run.

Not so good:

*Ramon Hernandez ran through a stop sign from 3rd base coach Mark Berry on Cabrera’s two-out RBI single to right field. Hernandez was easily nailed at the plate by Gary Matthews’ throw for the third out with Joey Votto on deck.

“Maybe he thought he was Speed Racer all of a sudden,” Baker said. “He didn’t see the stop sign and he didn’t hear anything. Sometimes that happens but it shouldn’t happen with Joey on deck.”

*Drew Stubbs was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. In 92 ABs, Stubbs is batting .174 with 30 Ks. Baker is considering change at the leadoff spot.

“I may have to re-think things now with Stubbs struggling some,” Baker said. “He came to me today and said his legs were feeling good again. He was having a little problem earlier.”

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Hernandez or Hanigan?

Tuesday’s Reds lineup vs. Mets:

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

Question of the day – Who is your preference at Reds catcher — Ramon Hernandez or Ryan Hanigan? Hanigan is generally Arroyo’s battery-mate, but he’s also catching others like Harang and Bailey. Hernandez has done well with Mike Leake. Pitchers have a 4.58 ERA with Hanigan — it’s 5.73 with Hernandez.

Hanigan enters tonight batting .389 with 10 RBIs. Hernandez is hitting .245 with four RBIs but has come on stronger of late.

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Intrasquad game notes

The Reds intrasquad game was a five-inning affair, won by the home team by a 4-2 score. The home squad starting lineup were mostly regulars.

For a roundup on Aroldis Chapman’s one inning of relief, click here.

Other items of note:

*Visiting team starter Aaron Harang struck out four over 2 1/3 innings. On a fastball away, Harang gave up a home run to right field to Ramon Hernandez.

“Hey, you’ve got to look out for your catcher and get his confidence level up,” Harang joked. “Mechanically, I’m getting right where I want to be.”

*Pitching coach Bryan Price was pleased with all of his pitchers. Homer Bailey, Chapman, Logan Ondrusek and Enerio Del Rosario were among the other pitchers.

“I was happy,” Price said. “From the beginning of spring training, you could tell guys came in shape – good throwing and body an cardiovascular shape. It was evident today. Guys were crisp with strikes, guys were down in the zone and had a pretty good feel for their off-speed stuff.”

*The game was treated as a dry run for the team ahead of Friday’s Cactus League opener vs. the Indians. It was the first time the Reds played a game inside their new home at Goodyear Ballpark.

“This is a beautiful ballpark,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I think it plays smaller than the dimensions. It’s not even hot yet. That sun is going to be a factor. We’re still trying to learn the ballpark.”

*Injury notes –

Todd Frazier has a bruised right quadriceps after being hit on the leg by a Chapman pitch. I was sitting behind home plate when Frazier was nailed by a 95 mph heater. It looked super painful.

Infielder Aaron Miles suffered a fracture on the tip of his right middle finger on Tuesday while fielding ground balls. The injury wasn’t considered serious. Once the swelling goes down, Miles can resume playing.

*Lineups are already out for Friday’s game:

Indians

Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Grady Sizemore  CF
Shin-Soo Choo   RF
Travis Hafner    DH
Jhonny Peralta  3B
Jordan Brown    LF
Andy Marte      1B
Luis Valbuena   2B
Lou Marson   C

Justin Masterson  P

Reds

Drew Stubbs CF
Orlando Cabrera SS
Joey Votto 1B
Brandon Phillips 2B
Scott Rolen  3B
Jay Bruce  RF
Jonny Gomes  LF
Ramon Hernandez  C
Lance Nix DH

Mike Lincoln P

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How Hernandez affects payroll?

The re-signing of catcher Ramon Hernandez for $3 million next season on Monday certainly sent a conflicting signal from the Reds.

Reports last week said that club was reducing payroll, which triggered speculation that a salary dump was near and that Brandon Phillips would be the most marketable player for a trade.

“All of that stuff was speculation by a number of different writers,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “They see that our attendance is down and so that must mean our payroll will go down. We were grouped in with clubs that are reducing payroll but we’re not in that position and hopefully won’t be.”

Jocketty denied attempts are being made to trade Phillips. He also said that the club isn’t necessarily slashing the payroll that was at $73 million in 2009.

“We really don’t know yet,” Jocketty said. “The final budget won’t be done until December and then we’ll have a better idea once season tickets sales come in. It may have to come down some but it’s too early to say. I have to approach that way but if it’s not [that way], we’ll have a nice surplus.”

With Hernandez now signed, it seems less logical [or popular with fans] that the Reds would turn around and trade key members of the roster like Phillips or Bronson Arroyo. But man are things getting tight. I count nine players making a combined $64.75 million in 2010.

They are:

Francisco Cordero – $12M
Aaron Harang – $12.5M
Scott Rolen – $11M
Bronson Arroyo – $11M
Brandon Phillips – $6.75M
Willy Taveras – $4M
Hernandez – $3M
Mike Lincoln – $2.5M
Arthur Rhodes – $2M

As for Hernandez, Jocketty had this to say:

“He was a priority for us this winter,” Jocketty said on Monday. “He’s familiar with the club and our pitching staff. We’re confident his knee has recovered. He and [Ryan] Hanigan, we feel, is a good tandem catching wise.”

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Hernandez re-signs with Reds

Back from a week’s vacation and news hits right away…

After deciding to decline his $8.5 million club option ($1M buyout), the Reds have re-signed primary catcher Ramon Hernandez to a one-year contract. The deal also includes a vesting option for 2011 that will become guaranteed if Hernandez appears in 120 games next season.

(Update: I have learned the contract is worth $3 million for 2010 and the vesting option would be worth $3.250 million if Hernandez can trigger the games played clause.)

Hernandez batted .258 with five home runs and 37 RBIS in 81 games in his first season with the Reds. His return means that Ryan Hanigan will likely return to his backup role.

“It’s a good place with great players,” Hernandez said of the Reds from his home in Miami. “I know they’ll do very good next season. That’s why I decided to come back.”

Hernandez said his agent, Eric Goldschmidt, worked on the deal over the weekend and told him that it was done on Sunday night.

Hernandez was not surprised when his option wasn’t picked up.

“I expected it to happen,” he said. “Hopefully next year, they’ll see Ramon Hernandez play the whole year.”

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Hernandez option not picked up

I talked to Reds GM Walt Jocketty Friday afternoon. He was at the airport waiting for a flight to Chicago, where will be attending the GM meetings.

Among the topics:

* Catcher Ramon Hernandez is definitely not having his $8.5 million option picked up and will get the buyout for $1 million. The Reds want Hernandez back, however.

“We’re not going to pick up the option,” Jocketty said on Friday. “We have been talking with his agent and trying to negotiate a new deal. We’re hoping he comes back.”

Hernandez would be a Type B free agent on the market, which means the Reds would get a first-round sandwich pick if he’s offered arbitration and signs elsewhere.

* When asked about the Brewers trading shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Twins for CF Carlos Gomez, Jocketty said the Reds had interest in Hardy.

“We talked to [the Brewers] several times,” Jocketty said. “We didn’t match up and they didn’t want to trade within our division, which was understandable.”

* Jocketty wants to retain catcher Corky Miller and outfielder Darnell McDonald after they were sent outright to Triple-A Louisville. Miller was signed to a 2010 contract with Louisville.

* As for arbitration eligible outfielders Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix, “we’ve talked a little bit,” Jocketty said.

* In more moves revealed later, infielder Danny Richar was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list, was outrighted off the roster and elected free agency. 1B Kevin Barker was outrighted off the roster and elected free agency; RHP Justin Lehr was signed to a one-year Major League contract through the 2010 season and then was outrighted to Louisville.

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Quiet, for now

The postseason has kept the news largely focused on the teams still playing and those with managerial vacancies. The Reds have been largely under the radar.

Some stuff to think about in the coming weeks:

The 40-man roster has to be set by Nov. 20. Among the prospects that will need protection are Chris Heisey, Travis Wood and Chris Valaika. Players drafted and signed at age 19 or older get four years in the minors before they have to be protected on a 40-man roster. The wait is five years for players taken at age 18 or younger. That means the Reds can wait one more year on Todd Frazier, who taken out of college in 2007.

“We’re in the process on developing a plan,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said on Thursday. “We have a number of players to protect on our 40-man roster, which means we have a lot of tough decisions on guys to keep on the roster or not.”

The $8.5 club option ($1M buyout) must be exercised or declined on catcher Ramon Hernandez. That doesn’t have to be decided until soon after the World Series. My take: the Reds won’t pick up the option but will try to re-negotiate for a lower-priced deal.

The shortstop situation is still fluid. Look for the Reds to scan the trade market.

Here are some other key dates:

Dec. 1, 2009
Last date for former Club to offer their free agents salary arbitration to receive compensation.

Dec. 7-10, 2009
Winter Meetings, Indianapolis. The Rule 5 Draft is Dec. 10 before everyone bugs out.

Dec. 12, 2009
Tender deadline

I was out of town when Bryan Price was named the pitching coach on Saturday. It sounds like a decent hire to me. Price was in Arizona with Brandon Webb and Dan Haren (and Micah Owings) and was in Seattle when young ace Felix Hernandez came to the Majors.

Jocketty liked Price’s ability as a teacher of young pitchers that can also handle the veterans well.

“He has experience teaching at the minor league level as a coordinator and coach and he’s had success at the Major League level,” Jocketty said. “He’s not a household name but once people see the work he does and how he relates with the pitchers, they’ll see why we liked him.”

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Cueto out, Maloney in

There is a good chance that Johnny Cueto won’t be on the mound for Thursday’s series opener vs. the Marlins. On Wednesday, Cueto had what what appeared to be the flu and was allowed to skip the taking of the team picture. He left the ballpark.

“We’ll back Cueto up if he’s not feeling better,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We sent him home. I doubt that he’ll be better tomorrow. He might be but he’ll probably feel weak.”

If Cueto can’t go, lefty Matt Maloney will take his place. Maloney had to leave his previous start in Colorado last week with a middle finger blister but he threw on the side Tuesday without issue.

8:39 pm UPDATE: The Reds made it official — Maloney will start instead of Cueto.

Reds lineup:

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

Although Baker said that Ryan Hanigan would get the bulk of catching duties when he returned from the DL last Wednesday, he has started only three of the last eight games including tonight. However, he appeared in seven of the games in some fashion.

Corky Miller, who has done a superb job behind the plate since coming up (team is 9-3, 3.07 ERA) and Baker is also trying to get Craig Tatum some work.

“You can only catch one at a time,” Baker said. “They end up getting in the games because of pinch-running and pinch-hitting. I have him slated for two of the four games with Florida and Miller for two. And Tatum today.”

The depth has been a plus during games like Tuesday’s win. Miller was on first base in the seventh inning when he was lifted for a pinch-runner that scored the go-ahead run.

“That’s why we wanted an extra catcher, especially at this time of year,” Baker said. “There’s a good chance we’ll run for all three of them and pinch-hit for at least two of them.”

The catching rotation could get more interesting when Ramon Hernandez returns from the DL, possibly as early as this weekend.

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Bruce back, Francisco up

OF Jay Bruce’s rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville was ended and he was activated from the disabled list on Monday.

In 10 games for the Bats, Bruce was 7-for-33 (.212) with five walks and six strikeouts. He was out briefly with a mild-strain of the groin, which he dismissed.

“It’s nothing,” said Bruce, who went 0-for-3 as the DH on Sunday. “I just didn’t want to take the chance of pulling my groin on a rehab assignment. It wasn’t that important. We took a precaution and it’s fine now.”

Louisville was eliminated from post-season play on Sunday during a 5-3 loss to Durham.

Bruce still wasn’t in manager Dusty Baker’s lineup — in part because he is 1-for-15 lifetime vs. Astros lefty starter Wandy Rodriguez.

“I just have to see him run and all that stuff,” Baker said. “That’s the main thing. He said his wrist feels fine. I just want to make sure his legs are right.”

You may remember that Bruce fractured his right wrist on July 11 at New York while attempting a sliding catch. In a sign he wasn’t afraid of re-injuring it, his right forearm had the scab from a raspberry while attempting a diving catch on the warning track at Durham.

Before going on the DL, Bruce was batting .207 with 18 home runs and 41 RBIs. He was also in a 0-for-14 skid. There were no thoughts of bagging the season even with just 19 games left and nothing to play for as a team.

“Hopefully I can finish up strong. That’s the plan,” Bruce said. “I want to help these guys win some games.”

The other notable transaction of the day — 3B prospect Juan Francisco was called up for the first time from Louisville.

In 131 games combined with Double-A Carolina and Louisville, Francisco batted .295 with 31 homers and 93 RBIs. He showed no signs of adjustment issues in AAA — he batted .359 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 22 games.

Obviously, the Reds have a third baseman for this year and next in Scott Rolen. Francisco is a potential left fielder down the road. He will spend time at instructional league this fall to learn the position he said he played just twice this season at Louisville.

“I can do it. I’m ready,” said Francisco, who speaks very little English.

Don’t expect him to see Francisco this season in left field, according to Baker.

“Like a lot of September call-ups, I’ll use him to pinch-hit and maybe play third base on days that Rolen doesn’t play,” Baker said. “That’s it for now. We’re working him out in the outfield. But you just don’t come up in the big leagues and just play outfield for the first time. [Billy Hatcher] will work him out every day and hope we see some improvement.”

Personally, I’d like to see Francisco get more than marginal amounts of play because I’d like to see how big league ready his swing is. But you also don’t want to embarrass a guy by sticking him the outfield when he doesn’t know the position well. Just being in the Majors for the first time has to be pressure enough.

Bruce had this assessment of Francisco after watching him the last couple of weeks at Louisville.

“He’s got some special pop, I’ll tell you that,” Bruce said. “He’s got a chance to be a really, really good player. It’s all about learning and making adjustments so we’ll see.”

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 9
McDonald 7
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

Injury report: Besides Bruce, Laynce Nix (neck), Ramon Hernandez (knee) and Willy Taveras (quadriceps) all took early BP on the field today.

“Nix is probably ahead of the other guys. He said his neck feels a lot better,” Baker said. “Taveras is still feeling something in his leg. Ramon could be in better shape or semi-ready by the weekend. He’s not in game shape. He says he feels a lot better than before he went down. At the same time, the guy hasn’t had at-bats either. We’re trying to win games too.”

Nix is eligible to come off of the DL on Tuesday.

Unlike Bruce — there is no more rehab assignments possible for the other guys because all of the organization’s Minor League seasons are over.

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