Results tagged ‘ Sam LeCure ’

Stunning win on Opening Day

That Reds penchant for the drama didn’t disappear after an off-season. Ramon Hernandez brought it all back, and then, some with a stunning three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. It gave the Reds a 7-6 win.

Cincinnati came into the ninth down 6-3 against Brewers closer John Axford. A fun conclusion for the Reds and their 42,398 fans at GABP…but not a well-played game overall.

Highlights:

*The Reds were 1-for-10 RISP with 10 LOB. They were 0-for-9 before Hernandez came through.

*Edinson Volquez was rocked for three homers, including two in a row to start the game. Carlos Gomez hit the second one and it sailed 429 feet into the upper deck of right field. Not a cheapie by any stretch.

*Jonny Gomes made an error fielding Ryan Braun’s two-out single. It put Braun on 2B and a Jordan Smith balk later put runners on second and third. A possibly tough insurance run scored on Casey McGehee single.

*The Reds were resilent, give them credit. They did not pack it in on a freezing cold day.

*Brandon Phillips’ nifty slide step to avoid McGehee’s tag saved a rally. McGehee should have just thrown to first base and that game likely doesn’t end like it did. Scott Rolen hustled hard to beat the throw to first base, as well. Asked to describe his speed, Rolen dryly replied “Electric.”

*Credit the Reds bullpen, especially Sam LeCure and winning pitcher Logan Ondrusek for keeping Milwaukee in check.

*Gomes nearly won the game himself with a long screamer of a fly to center field. It went for a sac fly but put Hernandez in position to win the game.

*Check out this photo gallery from the game.

Notes:

*The last Reds walk-off home run on Opening Day came from the bat of Joe Randa on 4/7/2005 vs. the Mets in a 7-6 win.

*Hernandez is the fifth Reds player to collect four hits on Opening Day.

*The Reds are now 4-9-1 in their last 14 openers. The tie, incidentally came vs. MIL in 2000, after an official game was called because of rain.

*The last time a team hit two home runs to begin a season was the Reds on April 7, 1969 vs. the Dodgers. Pete Rose and Bobby Tolan each went deep against Don Drysdale at Riverfront Stadium. Crosley Field.

*Cincinnati hadn’t won an Opening Day game since 2007, so it was the first in the tenure of Dusty Baker and Walt Jocketty.

Quotes:

“We don’t want to win it like that. We got lucky enough we got the win today. To me, it’s amazing. This is one of the best opening days I’ve ever had in my career. I’m so happy that I helped my team and my team won a ballgame.” — Ramon Hernandez

“They were getting some hits with runners in scoring position and we weren’t. If you keep putting them out there, sooner or later something good is going to happen. The key is opporutunies. If you don’t have opportunities, you don’t have much of a chance.” — Dusty Baker

“We ended the season on a walk-off last year to clinch the division and start it that way this year. We kind of struggled to put together productive innings today. We got some base runners and weren’t able to capitalize and get them across. I think it’s a huge shot in the arm for us to start the year. It’s always great to win the first one and in that fashion, it’s even more special.” — Drew Stubbs, who hit a homer in the fourth inning.

“I think I was a little bit excited in the first inning. After that, I calmed down and threw my pitches.” — Edinson Volquez

“Obviously, my opinion doesn’t really matter. But if my first inclination was that he was not out of the baseline, I would have made sure I kept going towards him a little bit more than I did instead of also trying to make a throw. In hindsight, I wish I had just come through and made a thtow to first and not even worried about him.” — Brewers 3B Casey McGehee on the non-tag of Phillips in the ninth.

“I got away with one in the at-bat before with Gomes. This time I paid for it.” — John Axford, who gave up the game-ending homer to Hernandez.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Lots of crooked numbers

If you’re one of those folks that love crisp pitching, quick innings and a low-scoring affair…be glad you were not at grand HoHoKam Park on Friday. For those that enjoy bountiful offense, it was hitter’s delight for both teams as the Reds eeked out a 14-13 win that featured a combined 40 hits.

“I told the guard sitting next to me in the second inning that this looks like a 13-12 game,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Then we had that five-run lead, I said ‘man, I’m nervous.’ Anything can happen in these games, especially in this park.  Our guys kept battling and we scored just enough.”

The highlights:

*Sam LeCure came in with seven scoreless innings over four relief appearances in the making of a strong bid for a bullpen spot. LeCure started vs. Chicago and had a long afternoon for just 2 1/3 innings of work. He allowed six earned runs and eight hits with one walk and no strikeouts.

LeCure had a one-walk, scoreless first inning but the hits started coming in a two-run Cubs second.

“I felt like I made some pitches in the second inning to get out of that deal,” LeCure said. “We had a potential double play that was going to be tough to turn.”

The lasers started coming in the third as four of his five batters faced reached with sharp line drive hits. Alfonso Soriano’s RBI double was the end.

“I made some pitches I was happy with even though I ended up giving up some runs,” LeCure said. “I haven’t pitched in trouble in all of Spring Training. I didn’t have a guy get to second base until today. I understand it’s going to happen. The last inning, they were hitting missiles all over the place. The ball was starting to come up some. Overall, I’m trying to take some positives from it. I pitched in some trouble, which I hadn’t done. I got stretched out more than I had. I think that will bode well for me when it’s time to pick guys for the team.”

*Daniel Ray Herrera, who is trying to earn a bullpen spot, inherited runners on second and third with one out from LeCure and both scored. A sac fly by Soriano followed. After a wild pitch, Darwin Barney’s RBI single on the ground to left field scored another run. Herrera returned in the fourth inning and picked up two outs. Then he allowed two singles and a walk but escaped the bases loaded jam.

*Jared Burton allowed  three earned runs and three hits over two innings with a homer.

*Matt Maloney gave up three earned runs and five hits over two innings with two walks.

*The regular players played seven innings. The lineup had an Opening Day-type look to it.

*Jonny Gomes, who came in batting .071, went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles.

*Scott Rolen (3rd inning) and Joey Votto  (5th inning) slugged their first homers of the spring. Both came against Carlos Zambrano on the first pitch. Rolen’s was a three-run shot and Votto’s was for two runs.

*Speaking of Rolen, I took my turn asking him about the discussion of how many games played. It will be seen in today’s feature. Not surprising, he doesn’t buy into the speculation nor worry about injuries.

“You have 162 games ahead of you. We’re going to be injured,” Rolen said. “We’re going to be beat up, banged up, bruised up and that’s a fact. It’s something that we know. So is everyone else in the league. That’s true. Hopefully we stay away from the big injury.”

*Reds starter Homer Bailey pitched on Friday in a Minor League game for Class A Bakersfield vs. Brewers Minor Leaguers. Bailey gave up four earned runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 76 pitches.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Surprise!

It was my first time to the Arizona city of Surprise today and the drive up Rt. 303 from Goodyear was basically this: farm, farm, traffic light, prison, farm, farm, traffic light, farm, Surprise. The mountains were in the vista throughout.

On the sign welcoming visitors to the city limits, it said Surprise was founded in 1960. I found that particularly interesting since back in Ohio and especially in my original home state of New York, you don’t see many towns founded after the 1800s.

The 20-plus minute drive was a bountiful one for the Reds, which notched a 5-2 win over the Royals.

Some notes:

*Travis Wood was pleased with his outing — 3 ip, 5 H, 2 ER (on Billy Butler’s two-run homer), 2 BB, 2 K.

“I felt good. My pitches were working pretty well,” Wood said. “[Butler] was able to drop the head down on an inside pitch and put up two for them.”

*As has been chronicled in the past, Wood is an off-season workout partner of All-Star lefty Cliff Lee. They live five minutes apart in Arkansas. Someone asked Wood about the idea of facing Lee with the Phillies this season.

“I would absolutely love that,” Wood replied.

*Sam LeCure looked rather solid himself with two hits and four strikeouts over two scoreless innings.

*Dontrelle Willis probably had the most impressive pitching outing of the day with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts. Willis was a nimple fielder as well. In his second inning of work, he made nice play retrieving Manny Pina’s grounder towards third base.

“We were yelling, ‘let that one go foul’ and after he picked it up and threw it, said ‘oh yeah, great play,’” manager Dusty Baker said.

Willis also covered first base nicely to get an out on a bunt play to the right side.

“He’s an athlete. I didn’t think he had a chance on that bunt,” Baker said.

*Over at the ‘B’ game this morning vs. the Indians in Goodyear, the Reds lost 7-6. Dave Sappelt had another good game by going 2-for-3 with a double. In ‘A’ games, he’s batting .533 (8-for-15).

“He can hit. He hit last year,” Baker said. “There’s more to being ready for the big leagues than hitting. Not to slight the kid at all, he’s doing great. There are a few things he has to work on.”

*Zack Cozart also homered in the ‘B’ game. Several of the Reds top hitters this spring are prospects. That’s no accident, the manager said.

“Like I’ve told you, spring is for the young,” Baker said. “It’s for young hitters, off-speed pitchers, winter ball guys and fastball hitters.”

*I talked to Fred Lewis for a Reds beat item before Tuesday’s game. Lewis is not 100 percent satisfied with his performance at the plate and working to get better. He’s been doing some tinkering with his swing, not all to his satisfaction.

“Eventually, I will be where I want to be,” Lewis said. “In the outfield, I’m pretty comfortable with where I’m at. On the offensive side, I’m not happy with it. I’ve figured out that I’m frustrated with what I’m doing. I keep telling myself to go back to square one and do what I was doing before I got here. You can do a lot of stuff in the cages but it only matters what you do on the field.”

And in a late stunner from Brewers camp, Zack Greinke will miss Opening Day with a fractured rib. Greinke suffered the injury last month, playing basketball. He will start the season on the DL. It’s been a tough time for the Reds NL Central rivals. The Cardinals already lost Adam Wainwright (elbow) for the season and their other ace, Chris Carpenter, is bothered by a hamstring injury.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

28 pitchers, 6 catchers get to work

Welcome to the first day of Reds Spring Training.

Most of this morning has been about formalities for the 28 pitchers and six catchers that officially reported today. Namely, it was physicals. There were blood pressure machines and other medical equipment spread out through the player development complex.

The team is meeting at around 10:30 AZ time and the workout begins at 11 a.m.

Reporters already met with manager Dusty Baker.

“It’s the start of the race,” Baker said. “When the plane left Sacramento yesterday, that was the start of baseball season for me. You wonder when the plane comes back home and the smoke clears, where you’re going to be. It’s a long race, a lot of things can happen, a lot of changes. We think a lot of positive things are about to happen.”

I will have more from Baker later in my stories on MLB.com. But one thing he did say is seven to eight pitchers would be prepared as starters. Besides the main three, that would include Bailey, Leake, Wood, LeCure and Maloney.

“That’s early,” Baker said. “Then you start cutting back once you decide which guys. Health is a big issue here too. You hope it doesn’t come into play but it usually does.”

Maloney and LeCure will also be prepared for possible bullpen duties.

“They’ve been knocking on the door here,” Baker said. “If it was an organization with lesser pitching, they’d probably be in the door. This is scouting, development, and the minor league system. It starts with scouting.”

Edinson Volquez is the only one not here so far. He was due to fly in later today from the Dominican Republic. Otherwise, everyone was present and accounted for.

More later…

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

T-minus two weeks, and counting

In exactly two weeks on Feb. 16, Reds pitchers and catchers have their report date to Spring Training and Goodyear, Ariz. They begin working out that same day. In many ways, this off-season flew by quickly. (Maybe not to you, however, but definitely to me).

Most of the time in the current era, players do not wait until the report dates to get started. Virtually all have been working out on their own at home since November or December and some pitchers start a throwing program around the holidays. Many of them will be early arrivals to the spring complex.

I was told that Justin Lehr and Chad Reineke are already on site throwing bullpen sessions. Dontrelle Willis has been working much of the winter with pitching coach Bryan Price near their homes in Scottsdale but moved over to Goodyear last week for drills and to get comfortable in the Reds bullpens.

Matt Maloney, Daniel Ray Herrera, Sam LeCure and Jared Burton are planning on arriving this week. Several more could be on the ground by next week. Price said he would be at the camp to work with the pitchers.

“I think it’s good to be there to provide some of the essentials of coaching,” Price said. “It’d be hard for me to be sitting at home knowing guys are there working out five days a week.”

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Edmonds to DL, Smith to AAA

The moves are official — INF Chris Valaika and RHP Sam LeCure were called up from Triple-A Louisville.

OF Jim Edmonds was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique.

RHP Jordan Smith was optioned to Louisville.

Valaika will wear No. 3.(118g, .304, 28 2b, 3 3b, 4hr, 53rbi, 3sb)

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

 

Valaika, LeCure Bay Area bound

The Reds have revealed nothing yet about planned moves Tuesday but Triple-A Louisville has when they announced that INF Chris Valaika and RHP Sam LeCure were called up.

LeCure, normally a starter, will provide some bullpen protection for the next couple of games.

This will be Valaika’s first MLB call-up. In 118 games for the Bats, he is batting .304 with four homers, 53 RBIs and a .330 OBP.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

No need for LeCure, Matthews

*Pitcher Sam LeCure came all the way to Houston but did not set one toe on the mound at Minute Maid Park on Saturday. He was Plan B in case Johnny Cueto couldn’t start tonight becuase of the flu. Cueto is OK, so LeCure wasn’t needed.

“I’m just here, and not here,” LeCure said.

LeCure was told to sit tight this afternoon just in case. He sat at a locker without a number on it and chatted with several players.

“I just came out to watch a game,” said LeCure.

The Reds scratched LeCure from his start Friday for Triple-A Louisville at Gwinnett about three hours before their game. He flew into Houston late Friday night.

“He just got a free trip to Houston. He understands,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*Baker said he tried to lobby Gary Matthews Jr. to stay in the organization before he opted out of his contract. Baker is close friends with both Matthews Jr. and Gary Matthews Sr.

“I talked to him this morning. I tried to convince him to wait,” Baker said. “He said after being in the big leagues this long, he just didn’t want to be in Triple-A anymore. He doesn’t have anywhere to go right now. He said thanks for the opportunity and he’ll see what happens.”

The decision not to bring up Matthews ultimately came down something basic. The Reds did not feel he was an improvement to what was already on the 25-man roster.

“Right now, Nix is doing a great job off the bench as a left-handed pinch-hitter. Nobody is doing better on the right side than Heisey. And Stubbs is doing better and getting better in center field. Sometimes, there’s not a fit.”

*Nix started and batted fourth vs. the Astros for one good reason. He is 7-for-15 (.467) with two homers lifetime vs. Roy Oswalt.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Bailey sore, LeCure for Sunday

 *Dusty Baker revealed that Sam LeCure will start on Sunday for the Reds. Homer Bailey was shut down because of he was sore. He will not even start on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville.

“Homer is not pitching. He came out a little more sore than normal,” Baker said. “We kind of anticipated that a little bit. We decided to scratch him and wait a little more.”

Bailey has been on the DL since May 24 with right shoulder inflammation. Baker did not detail the nature of the soreness Bailey was feeling. He will be examined by medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek this afternoon.

UPDATE: Here’s what Bailey had to say after a meeting with head trainer Paul Lessard:

“I threw the other day and felt great,” he said. “The last couple of days, there’s been some soreness in places where I usually don’t get soreness. We’ll evaluate and go from there. I’ll know more later once I see Kremchek.”

Bailey started feeling sore when throwing on flat ground the other day. His side bullpen session scheduled for today, was called off.

“It was just alarming, nothing life threatening,” said Bailey, who said the soreness was still limited to his shoulder, without getting specific.

Bailey pitched 4 1/3 innings for Louisville on Tuesday and allowed five earned runs and six hits vs. Syracuse while throwing 86 pitches.  

“I threw Tuesday and everything felt great,” Bailey said. “If it was anything seriously wrong, I would have felt it then. I didn’t feel it then. We’re trying to take it slow because we can nip it in the bud now or we can maybe suffer later.”

*In other injury update news, catcher Ryan Hanigan tested his fractured left thumb by hitting in the cage today. Hanigan said he was only swinging at 75 percent. He is due to get another X-ray today and his timetable will be known more after.

“It feels pretty good,” Hanigan said of his thumb.

*OF Chris Dickerson (right hand/wrist surgery) did some “dry swings” in the cage for five minutes and reported no trouble.

*OF Ryan LaMarre, the Reds’ second round Draft pick out of the Univ. of Michigan, signed today and is headed to join Class A Dayton. He is attempting to meet the team in Appleton, Wisc.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

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.”

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 407 other followers

%d bloggers like this: