Results tagged ‘ Rick Sweet ’

At the Futures Game

Greetings from Chase Field and the All-Star game experience in Phoenix. When I landed last night, it was 104 degrees. But what was really strange was that later in the evening, it actually rained.

(This post is coming literally at the very moment Francisco Cordero blew the save and the game at Milwaukee. Yeesh, that’s three-straight blown saves in a row. That was one rough road trip to end the first half with.)

I will be trying to blog and tweet from here and provide pictures if opportunity arrives. Today is the XM All-Star Futures Game with Minor Leaguers from the U.S. and World squads.

Three members of the Reds are here. Catcher Devin Mesoraco, 1B/OF Yonder Alonso and Triple-A Louisville manager Rick Sweet, who is a coach on the U.S. team. Look for a detailed story later today on Reds.com/MLB.com

“It’s kind of a taste of the big leagues a little bit,” Mesoraco said of the experience. “We’re staying at a nice hotel downtown. We have a nice locker room with a lot of media around. It’s a cool experience.”

The U.S. team was using the D-Backs home clubhouse while Alonso and the world team was housed on the visitor’s side. Alonso has mostly played left field in Louisville but is playing first base today. He was thrilled for his friend and shortstop Zack Cozart, who was called up earlier in the week.

 “I was pumped,” Alonso said. “It’s good for him to get called up. I’m really happy for him. He’s done a good job. It’s even better when he’s doing so well. It shows what type of team we have at Triple-A. He set everything  up – him and Sappelt – batting first and second. All the other guys would come up – like myself, Hermida and Mesoraco – and most of the time get them in.”

While I was talking with Sweet, I asked about the arrivals of shortstop Paul Janish and pitcher Edinson Volquez, who were both sent down this week.

“They both reported and both were in pretty good spirits,” Sweet said.

Janish is working on his hitting with coach Smokey Garrett and roving instructor Ronnie Ortegon.

“He actually called me as soon as he got to the airport in Milwaukee,” Sweet said of Janish. “He said ‘I’m sorry to say this but I will be seeing you shortly.’  We have a plan for him. He reported that next day and played well. His attitude has been great. He knows he got a chance, it didn’t work out and now he has to get ready for the next opportunity. He’s a good kid. He’s a professional. It is what it is. That means he just has to get back to work. His attitude is great.”

As for Volquez?

“Obviously, he would have preferred to be there,” Sweet said. “He felt this time he should have stayed there. But all that being said, he came back, got his work in and threw a side. He’s starting today.”

The pre-game introductions at the Futures Game

Thursday afternoon notes

Today was day two of the live BP between Reds pitchers and Reds hitters.

Among those that threw included Dontrelle Willis, Francisco Cordero, Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Nick Masset and Jose Arredondo. Willis threw well and at one point struck out Yonder Alonso with a pretty nifty curveball.

Drew Stubbs cleared the fence hitting against Arroyo. Todd Frazier took Cueto deep over the left-center field wall with a hearty blast. Juan Francisco hit a booming homer to right field against Volquez.

Being so early in camp, don’t read too much into the results — positive or negative. Some of the hitters in were told what pitches were coming by the pitchers. It’s purely a get work in session under simulated game conditions.

I tried to get video of live BP today and yesterday but the quality was poor. I flunked out of videographer school.

*Other drills included pitchers fielding their position and throwing to different bases based on varying situations devised by coach Chris Speier.

*It was reported, and I confirmed, that 1B prospect Yonder Alonso switched agents recently. Alonso is now represented by Dan Lozano, who also happens to be the agent for Joey Votto.

*Speaking of Votto, he was feeling under the weather yesterday and not so great today with an upper respiratory issue. However, Votto was cleared to participate in the workout after being seen by the medical staff.

*For MLB.com/Reds.com stories — there will be a feature on outfield prospect Dave Sappelt. He moved quickly last season and earned two promotions and ended in Triple-A — partially on need but mostly because of performance.

“He’s a very exciting player,” Triple-A Louisville manager Rick Sweet said. “He’s aggressive. He swings the bat, puts the ball in play and runs. I would say the biggest thing is he creates havoc. He makes things happen. One thing about him is he’s not a low-key sit back and watch the at-bat player. He knows what he’s going to do and what’s going to happen.”

*In yesterday’s live BP, Jerry Gil’s velocity was hard not to notice. Gil, the former infielder that converted to pitching in 2008, can reach 97 mph.

“I feel way better than when I started pitching my first couple of years,” Gil said on Thursday. “I felt like my arm was going to fall apart. It hurt a lot in the beginning. But I got used to it and now I feel better. I thought pitching would be easy but it’s not that easy. You have to work hard.”

*Infielder Chris Valaika is trying to make the club as an extra player. Sitting on a bench could hamper his overal development if he’s not hitting every day, but Valaika felt it was something he could handle.

“That’s definitely a tradeoff,” Valaika said. “Getting your at-bats and playing every day is important for development. But just being in the big leagues and learning from Edgar [Renteria] and Miguel [Cairo] – guys that have been there and done that – I think that’s important as well.”

I’m getting an off day on Friday and will not be around the complex. Be sure to check for stories from colleague Barry Bloom, who will be on the case.

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Louisville coaching staff returning

From a Louisville Bats press release:

Manager Rick Sweet and his entire coaching staff will return for the 2011 season with the Louisville Bats. Last season, Louisville finished with a 79-64 record, and won their third consecutive IL West Division Championship.

Sweet, 58, is 466-394 in six seasons as the Bats skipper and is the all-time winningest manager in Louisville franchise history. Following a nine-year playing career (1975-83) as a catcher, including three seasons in the majors with San Diego, New York-NL and Seattle, Sweet began managing in 1987 and owns a career mark of 1,515-1,449 in 22 seasons. His 1,515 wins rank fifth on the active Minor League manager’s win list.

“We are all happy to be back,” said Sweet. “This will be my seventh overall season in Louisville and the last three have been outstanding. Louisville is the best place to be and I’m looking forward to possibly moving there and becoming a full-time member of the community.”

Adrian “Smokey” Garrett returns for his ninth season as Louisville’s hitting coach.  Garrett played 19 years of professional baseball (1961-79), including parts of eight seasons in the majors with Atlanta, Chicago-NL, Oakland and California. 

Former Redbird Ted Power will enter his sixth season as Louisville’s pitching coach.  Power enjoyed a 13-year Major League career, including five seasons (1983-87) with Cincinnati. 
Tomas Vera returns as head trainer for his third season in Louisville, while Gabe Moreno returns as strength and conditioning coach for his fourth season.

The 2011 season will mark the 12th year at Louisville Slugger Field and the 12th season as an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The Bats open their 2011 season at home on Thursday, April 7 vs. Toledo at 6:35.

My take: Rick Sweet is about as nice and positive as they come and he really knows the game and understands young players. Every player I’ve met that’s had him as a manager on their way up have only had high praise. This is a plus for the Reds to retain Sweet and the whole staff. 

Phillips' wrist, Votto sits

After Monday’s Game 2 victory where he went 3-for-4 with a home run, Brandon Phillips offered up the information, unsolicited, that he had a fractured left wrist, stemming from when he was hit by a pitch on Aug. 15. Phillips said it was a small hairline fracture, in fact.

“I’m playing with a fractured wrist that people don’t even know about,” Phillips said last night. “I’m here just grinding it out and finishing the season.”

On Tuesday, Phillips asked the reporters to gather around him in the clubhouse. This time, he recanted what he said on Monday — probably at the request of the medical staff who reported from the start that he had a deep bone bruise.

“My wrist is not broken. I didn’t mean to say broken,” Phillips said. “I know I didn’t say ‘broken.’ I said ‘fracture.’ I didn’t know ‘fracture’ and ‘broken’ meant the same thing. My wrist feels like it’s fractured. Yeah. That right there.

“The last time I took an X-ray, it said there’s nothing broke. Broken and fractured are the same thing. It feels like it’s broken, fractured, or broken — it’s the same thing. But my wrist really does bother me.”

All I can say is that was a weird moment. Broken and fracture might mean the same thing but deep bone bruise and fracture does not.

Let’s just move on….

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Phillips 4
Barker 1B
Rolen 3B
Gomes RF
Balentien LF
Tatum 2
Lehr 1

Joey Votto was given a break. Votto is mired a career-high tying 0-for-15 slump. He was also 0-for-15 in the first part of August.

“I think Joey needs it and deserves it,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I could tell his concentration is not quite there. He has a very high level of concentration. I can tell he’s frustrated. He doesn’t get angry but he’s been getting angry lately.”

Jay Bruce, who really did have a fractured wrist, took batting practice on the field for the first time on Tuesday and reported that all went well. It’s likely that Bruce will go to Triple-A Louisville this weekend for a rehab assignment.

“I have no complaints. I felt good. I felt strong,” Bruce said. “It’s all about repeating now. It’s all about doing it again day after day with no pain or discomfort.”

Catcher Ryan Hanigan (concussion) could also be headed to Louisville with Bruce for his own rehab assignment. Both Hanigan and Bruce would be eligible to participate in Triple-A postseason play, which Louisville begins on Sept. 9.

Catcher Ramon Hernandez is also making progress, just not as fast as he would like. Hernandez has been on the DL since July 20 because of left knee surgery. He tried squatting today and expected to try blocking balls tomorrow. He’s also been hitting off of a tee and running.

Hernandez hoped to be back with the team by the middle of September.

“It’s been really hard for me,” Hernandez said. “Right now it’s better but two weeks ago was when I should be feeling like this. I’m disappointed because I didn’t recover that quick. I feel like if I don’t play in September, that I will let a lot of people down.”

The International League announced today that Justin Lehr was the most valuable pitcher and Rick Sweet was back-to-back winner of Manager of the Year.

If you do the USA Today crossword puzzle today, I know the answer to 42 across. It says “Scott, who plays third.” The answer is Scott Rolen.

“You know you made it when,” Corky Miller wrote on a copy of the puzzle page before he taped it to Rolen’s locker.

Before Tuesday’s game, the Reds were planning to honor Erich Kunzel, the longtime Cincinnati Pops conductor who died today at age 74. Kunzel was a huge Reds fan, and co-wrote a song called “Hooray for the Cincinnati Reds” that made its debut on May 19, 1997 at Riverfront Stadium.

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