Results tagged ‘ Ramon Ramirez ’

McDonald improves, roster moves

I remember when journeyman minor leaguer Darnell McDonald was up here to start the season, fans were far from pleased. First, McDonald made the 25-man roster over the more popular Jonny Gomes. He even started on Opening Day because Willy Taveras was out. Then he struggled mightily and there was an awful lot of attention paid to the 25th man on the roster.

McDonald was designated for assignment on May 22 after he batted .175. But if you’re a 30-year-old former No. 1 draft pick that spent 11 years in the minors, you know something about resiliency. He batted .314 for Triple-A Louisville and was brought back up last week.

“He’s played very well,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I saw the talent level there. It’s just a matter of putting too much pressure on himself when he was here the first time and trying to stay. He went down and played, got his stroke and everything together and really contributed.”

McDonald has featured prominent in several games. In a 13-inning game at Milwaukee, he forced extras by throwing out Ryan Braun at the plate from left field. The next day, he hit the game-winning double over Braun’s head in the 10th inning. McDonald hit a two-run homer — the first of his career — in Sunday’s loss and in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader with the Pirates, he scored the winning run a wild pitch.

“When you play to try to be perfect and not make mistakes, you make more mistakes,” McDonald said. “Now I want to play loose and have fun. If you make a mistake playing aggressive, that’s fine.”

Roster moves:

After Game 1, the Reds made three transactions. Starter Johnny Cueto was activated from the DL and RHP Ramon Ramirez and 1B Kevin Barker were recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Laynce Nix was placed on the DL with a bulging disc in his neck. RHP Carlos Fisher was optioned to Class-A Sarasota and LHP Matt Maloney was optioned to Double-A Carolina.

The moves were not extra-harsh demotions for Fisher and Maloney. Because Triple-A Louisville is in the playoffs, any player sent down there would have to wait 10 days before returning. Carolina’s season ends on Sept. 7 and Sarasota’s ends on the Sept. 6. Both guys can come right back after that but will pitch for their teams in the interim.

It will be interesting to see how Cueto does. With the Reds situation, I think he might have been better off resting the rest of the season. I trust the opinion of the medical staff but why risk injuring Cueto’s tired arm (only 136 2/3 innings) when there is no pennant race at stake? Between last season (174 innings), winter ball and the WBC — he’s already had a lot.

Game 2 Lineup:

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


Follow updates on Twitter at:

Roster moves — Gomes and Fisher

Sorry for not blogging the roster moves earlier, but I was out with the family enjoying one of the area’s finest hamburgers at Zip’s. Our blog system has no mobile application. Good thing there was Twitter, which I was able to update. If you don’t follow me on that, I encourage you to do so for breaking news updates. It’s come in handy with all the news lately.

In case you missed the transaction, here it is:

The Reds purchased the contract of OF Jonny Gomes and recalled righty reliever Carlos Fisher from Triple-A Louisville. OF Darnell McDonald was designated for assignment. RHP Ramon Ramirez was optioned back to Louisville.

The Gomes-McDonald move was the one you were clamoring for and it’s definitely a good time for it. After a slow start, Gomes was hitting .282 and led the Bats with nine homers and 27 RBIs. He tore it up at the start of Spring Training before tailing off the second part.

One of the knocks about Gomes in Tampa Bay the past couple of years was that his type of swing suffered more with part-time play. He needs at-bats to stay sharp. I will be curious to see how his production here is affected by being a bench guy. Regardless, he will be a great clubhouse presence.

Fisher’s numbers have been great —  2-0, with a 2.00 ERA (18ip, 11h, 4bb, 21k, 0hr) in 13 relief appearances.

McDonald was the 25th man and didn’t do much with the limited chances he got. He batted .175 in 24 games, going 7-for-40 with one extra-base hit. He also struck out nine times and grounded into four double plays.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston 3B
Bruce RF
Phillips 2B
Nix LF
Hernandez C
Rosales 1B
Gonzalez SS
Arroyo P

Some quotes:

Gomes: “I started to get locked in towards the end. In the beginning, it was real cold out and I could run every excuse out there but it’s my responsibility to be professional and get off to a quick start, which didn’t happen. I mentally checked into Louisville, and got my swing going.”

Fisher: “I had just sat down at a theatre to watch “The Terminator” movie. The preview had just gotten done and I had a missed call. I had a funny feeling so I went outside. It was Rick Sweet. So I didn’t watch the movie.”

Homer Bailey, who starts Saturday: “I was little inconsistent, especially at the beginning. I had a terrible start. Since then, everything has gone fairly well. If you take out five innings out of everything I’ve thrown, then it looks very good.”

Dusty Baker said that Joey Votto is available to pinch-hit tonight and could start in Saturday’s game. The Reds will be seeing lefty starters the next three games in a row.

“I’d hate to bring him right back against those lefties but we need Joey in there,” Baker said. “It depends on how he feels today. The last thing we want to do is rush him back or put him under the pressure to rush back.”

Follow updates on Twitter at:

Volquez could miss a start

It looks like back spasms are still bothering Edinson Volquez. His side bullpen session was cut very short by more soreness on Wednesday. Afterwards, the Reds starter went into manager Dusty Baker’s office and told him he shouldn’t make his next start.

Volquez was to start on Friday but was moved back to Saturday today after Baker first heard Volquez was still sore. Bronson Arroyo will start on Friday against Cleveland.

“I was feeling it. I threw only a couple of pitches and still felt it on my left side,” Volquez said.

Volquez, who prematurely left his start on Saturday when mid-back spasms grabbed him in the sixth inning vs. San Diego, was asked if being moved back a day would be enough time to get better.

“I don’t think so,” Volquez said. “I told Dusty that it’d be better if I missed a start. I don’t want to go at like 70 percent. That’s no good for me or the team. He said he’d talk to [pitching coach] Dick Pole about it.”

Ramon Ramirez, a starter who was just called up from Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday to work from the bullpen, is an in-house candidate to take Volquez’s place in a spot start if needed.

In other medical news, first baseman Joey Votto had a doctor’s appointment Wednesday morning and was at another doctor in the afternoon. There is still no word on what has caused his dizziness. Votto is not an option off the bench as a pinch-hitter because of his condition. Plus, if he had to go on the disabled list, the Reds would not want to prolong his time out by sticking a less-than-healthy Votto into a game.

9:30 p.m. update on Votto: All tests have been completed, with results expected on Thursday. The club will provide an update then.

10:30 p.m. update on Volquez: He’s going for a MRI on Thursday. No determination was made about whether he will still start on Saturday.


Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston 3B
Phillips 2B
Bruce RF
Hernandez 1B
Gonzalez SS
McDonald LF
Hanigan C
Harang P

Alex Gonzalez is 4-for-6 lifetime with one homer, two doubles and four RBIs vs. Phillies starter Jamie Moyer. Willy Taveras is 2-for-5. Hairston is 3-for-17 (.176), For those wondering where Laynce Nix is today, he is 1-for-11 (.091) in his career vs. Moyer 

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Why Ramirez and not Viola?

RHP Ramon Ramirez arrived today to take Nick Masset’s place on the 25-man roster. Some people were wondering why Ramirez, who was 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA, was promoted when a guy like lefty Pedro Viola wasn’t. Viola is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA but he wasn’t on the 40-man roster and Ramirez was.

“We threw around Viola,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s doing pretty good. He’s a little inconsistent. He’s coming fast but we would have had to take a chance on losing someone by taking them off [the 40-man roster] in order to get Viola on. There were no names we could come up with.

“Then we said if it’s not Viola, which righties get lefties out best right now? So it was Ramon. Plus, he’s had a taste of the big leagues. He’s relieved, started, gone long and done lots of things. And he pitched well for us last year.”

Viola probably didn’t help himself by allowing four earned runs and three walks over a third of an inning during his last outing on May 15. Ramirez, who will be a swing man out of the Reds bullpen, has allowed three runs on eight hits over his last 15 innings. He threw a career-high eight innings on May 10.

Here is the adjusted rotation, which puts several guys back on their fifth day after the havoc in San Diego.

Weds: Harang
Thu:  Owings
Fri: Volquez
Sat. Arroyo
Sun: Cueto

Edinson Volquez, who had back spasms on Saturday, isn’t a lock yet. But he seemed to be doing OK today.

“We’ll see. I hope so,” Baker said.

1B Joey Votto (dizziness) is still out of the lineup. Votto and head trainer Mark Mann were still at a 2 p.m. doctor appointment. I will update later when I know something.

LATE UPDATE: No real news on Votto. He has more doctor appointments scheduled and he wasn’t talking. Here is the link to the story:

3B Edwin Encarnacion (left wrist chip fracture) has started swinging with one hand. No timetable yet on a return.

Monday’s Reds lineup:

Taveras CF
Hairston 3B
Phillips 2B
Bruce RF
Hernandez C
Rosales 1B
McDonald LF
Gonzalez SS
Cueto P

Follow updates on Twitter at:

Some medical updates

This email from the Reds came a short time ago:

LHP Bill Bray was examined today by Reds medical director Timothy Kremchek, who tomorrow will perform surgery on Bray’s left elbow. Bray has been on Louisville’s disabled list since April 16 with a strained left elbow.

Tomorrow the Reds are expected to disable RHP Nick Masset (strained left oblique muscle), retroactive to May 11, and recall from Triple-A Louisville RHP Ramon Ramirez.

Masset went 1-0, 1.23 in 11 relief apps for the Reds. Ramirez (#58) went 0-3, 5.08 in 7 starts for the Bats (39ip, 37h, 27r, 22er, 17bb, 28k, 4hr).

Reds 1B Joey Votto became light-headed following yesterday’s game at San Diego. Instead of flying home with the team, as a precautionary measure he was admitted for tests at Scripps Clinic at San Diego. He will be examined again in Cincinnati tomorrow. Votto missed 5 games last week with the flu and twice more left games with dizziness.

RHP Edinson Volquez today received treatment on his back without complaint. Volquez left Saturday’s start with mild spasms in his mid-back. He is not expected to miss a start.

I did some double checking on Bray and was told he isn’t neccesarily having Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Dr. Kremchek won’t know the extent of the injury until he has a closer look.

Fifth starter choices

The Reds main candidates for the rotation’s fifth spot have gotten at least one turn to pitch this spring. Here’s out it looks to this point:

Homer Bailey: 2 G, 1 GS, 4 IN, 0R, 1 H, 1 BB, 6 K

Micah Owings: 1 G, 1 GS, 3 IN, 0R, 2H, 0 BB, 2 K

Nick Masset:  1G, 1 GS, 1 IN, 4R, 3ER, 4H, 1BB, 0K

Daryl Thompson: 1G, 0GS, 2IN, 0R, 0H, 0BB, 0K

Ramon Ramirez: 1G, 0GS, 1IN, 5R, 0ER, 3H, 1BB, 1K

Notes: Bailey has looked sensational and Owings also looked strong. Thompson, who is considered to have an outside shot, was also strong. Ramirez gave up a grand slam following a two-out error that should have gotten out of an inning. Masset was a little too amped up and struggled in his start.

Other considerations: Bailey seems to have a new and improved attitude. Owings is good hitter and can also be used as a pinch-hitter. Masset is the only one in the group out of Minor League options. The club hasn’t ruled out sending any of the pitchers that don’t win the fifth spot to the bullpen. 

Based on one time through, who do you like in the fifth spot to this point? Who will get it? Who should win the job?


(Frigid) Monday lineups, notes

I feel bad for the Northeast and I know it’s not balmy in Cincinnati but here in Bradenton, it’s downright cold. The high is going to be 58 degrees but it usually feels about 10-15 degrees cooler in the McKechnie Field press box in Bradenton. Even when it’s 75 degrees here, everyone is bundled up because the wind whips through.

But that’s enough bellyaching for one day. You want lineups and news and here’s some to get you started:


Dickerson CF, Keppinger SS, Bruce RF, Phillips 2B, Encarnacion 3B, Gomes 1B, Nix LF, Hanigan C, Bankston DH

P – Bailey

RHP Mike Lincoln, LHP Aaron Fultz, LHP Daniel Ray Herrera, RHP Josh Roenicke are the pitchers available from the bullpen after Bailey.


McCutchen LF, Sanchez 2B, McLouth CF, Doumit DH, LaRoche 1B, Moss RF, Walker 3B, Wilson SS, Jaramillo C

P – Duke


  • Dusty Baker said the other day that Jonny Gomes would get some action at first base to show versatility. Look for Jacque Jones to get some time there too this week. Neither Gomes nor Jones have ever played first base in the Majors.

“Now’s the time to check it out. He’s been working over there,” Baker said of Gomes. “We’ll have plenty of time with Joey [Votto] gone.”

Gomes has never played first base in his life. Jones played there in high school and a little bit at college.

“I’ve taken a bunch of groundballs. I’ve had to learn a whole new position,” Gomes said. “I’ve been practicing and getting a feel for it. You can’t practice game situations. I’ll just go out and run it out there. It will be alright.”

“Even as far back as Minnesota, I used to mess around and take groundballs in the infield,” Jones said. “I almost played there when Justin Morneau got hurt one year.”

I will have more on this on the main site later today but needless to say, both players are outfield candidates trying to improve their versatility and increase their chances of making the team. Anything can help and it doesn’t hurt to try at Spring Training when the games don’t count.

  • Team Venezuela has asked for the services of fifth starter candidate Ramon Ramirez at the World Baseball Classic.

“During the game [Sunday], they called [GM] Walt [Jocketty],” Baker said. “He ended up leaving afterwards. It’s a tough decision for the kid but I told him we understood, no problem. Just go pitch lights out. He has a bona fide chance to make this club but who knows how many more chances he’ll have to represent his country? That’s a tough decision. We helped make it easier for him. He will be in their starting rotation.”

Ramirez is the fourth starting pitcher to leave for the WBC — besides rotation locks Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto and prospect Pedro Viola — who are all pitching for the Dominican Republic.

  • Baker said Team USA considered adding Jay Bruce for the outfield but selected Adam Dunn instead.

Finally, here is a picture of Pirates beat writers in the front row. They know how to dress for games here.




Friday's lineup, morning blend

Good morning. It’s a different one around here as the clubhouse is under lockdown for the annual union meeting with executive director Don Fehr and his crew. Hopefully after the meeting, I can get some more stuff flowing.

Here are your lineups for today, which are also a little different:


Taveras CF, Hairston SS, Votto 1B, Francisco 3B, Gomes RF, Dickerson LF, Keppinger 2B, Hernandez C, Bankston DH

P Arroyo


Victorino CF, Donald 3B, Ibanez LF, Stairs DH, Dobbs 1B, Jenkins RF, Ozuna 2B, Chavez SS, Marson C

P Carpenter

Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion got breaks today.

“We’ve only got 37 more to go,” manager Dusty Baker semi-joked. He was also doing some forward planning since there is a night road game on Saturday followed by a day game Sunday.

This will be the first chance many at the big league level get to see Juan Francisco, one of the promising sluggers in the system. The 21-year-old lefty hitter belted 23 homers at Class A Sarasota last season and another 18 homers in Dominican winter ball. Of course, there are a ton of strikeouts on the resume too — 123 last season but that’s not a chief concern right now.

“He can hit,” Baker said. “He’s what you want in young hitters – -he’s aggressive. You want a young hitter that you can tone down vs. tone up. You want guys to be selective and go deep in the count but that comes with more experience I think. Young hitters you want to see aggressive.”

In transactions: Johnny Cueto and Ramon Ramirez agreed to terms on one-year contracts. Only six platers remain unsigned for 2009. 


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