Results tagged ‘ Todd Frazier ’

Knuckleballs and missed chances

R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball messed with Reds hitters just as much as missed chances tortured them during a 4-2 loss to the Mets.

New York seized control of the game with a four-run seventh. The Reds were 1-for-9 RISP and had 11 men left on base. A shot at a .500 record was missed as the Reds fell to 51-52 as their short-lived winning streak ends at two.

 “We had chances a couple of times. They got the hits when they needed them and we didn’t,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said

Notes:

*Mike Leake deserved better again with 6 1/3 ip, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. He’s allowed 3 ER over his last two starts and has two losses.

*Dickey had only 57 pitches thrown through five innings and finished with 86 pitches/61 strikes over 6 2/3 innings.

*Paul Janish was 3-for-4 with a run scored in his first game after being recalled from AAA Louisville.

*Brandon Phillips made a nice diving stop to rob Carlos Beltran to end the top of the third inning.

*Logan Ondrusek did not fare very well. Upon entering in the seventh with a runner on first base and two out, Ondrusek gave up three-straight hits and allowed the one inherited run and two of his own runs. He had a 1.53 ERA going in and no runs allowed in his previous 11 appearances.

*Jose Arredondo had a shaky start to the ninth with a hit batter and a walk but he escaped with a 5-4-3 double play and a line out to first base to give the Reds a chance in the bottom half.

Quotes:

“I remember he throws different kinds of knuckleballs – some hard and some soft. You know the basic rule – see it high, let it fly. See it low, let it go. But it’s tough when never see it every day of the week. You can see it high still, and the ball still moves a little bit and you won’t get a good piece.” — Todd Frazier on R.A. Dickey

“During the beginning of the game, once you see him, the more you get used to him and you know what to expect. Once he comes out of the game, the next pitchers that you see, it’s pretty tough on you. When you have a dude come in throwing 100 mph when you’re so used to seeing 70 mph, you be like, ‘Man, wow.’ It messes your timing up. There’s no excuses, but Dickey messed me up for the remainder of the game. I was so used to swinging at the high pitch.” — Brandon Phillips

“Hopefully we’ll put together a string of five or six or seven together soon just to take some pressure off people. The good thing is this division is still up for grabs. Even though we’re not even close to mid-stride, all these other teams are letting us stay in it. We seem to keep battling and hopefully we can put something together.” — Mike Leake

“I don’t worry about it. I’m going out there when the phone rings and just getting people out. I faced the Reds many a time when I was with the Cardinals, so I’m familiar with their hitters. With Bruce, I know he comes up big a lot of times so I didn’t want to give in to him.” — Jason Isringhausen on the decision to pitch around Jay Bruce for a two-out walk in the 9th to face Phillips with the bases loaded. Phillips struck out to end the game.

Moves are coming…

I know that Todd Frazier and Matt Maloney are in town so we’ll be seeing them soon. The Reds players being sent out have not been told yet of the moves. Therefore, nothing official is out there yet from the club.

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

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

*In other news not as pressing, Joey Votto’s ESPN commerical started airing today and it’s pretty good.

*The Reds new Class AA team that begins play in 2012 will be named the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. So there you go.

More much to come later…stand by.

Frazier called up?

Hello from my blog’s Detroit bureau, where I just boarded my connection to Philadelphia.

CAA Sports, the agency representing Todd Frazier, sent out a tweet to congratulate him on his promotion from Triple A Louisville.

The Reds have not announced a roster move but I will keep you posted after I land.

Heisey looking good

It was another wild offensive day in the Cactus League for the Reds. This was a 9-8 victory, which has moved the spring record to 14-9-1.

The good:

The Reds collected 17 hits in the game.

*Chris Heisey went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, including a solo homer to left field in the top of the eighth. He was a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Heisey is batting .325 (13-for-40) this spring and has hit safely in 9 of his last 12 games. He seems to have all but claimed a reserve outfielder’s spot. Heisey started in center field again and despite a throwing error today, has shown that he can play all three spots.

*Todd Frazier cranked a three-run homer to left field in the  fourth inning off of Brewers starter Chris Narveson. It was his second long ball since Thursday. Frazier got off to a slow start and seems to be coming on.

*The Dave Sappelt hitting show had another strong day. Sappelt was 2-for-4, which actually lowered his average from .536 to .531.

*Dontrelle Willis pitched well in the game, despite giving up a three-run homer to George Kottaras in the bottom of the fifth. A one-out walk to Casey McGhee two batters before Kottaras hurt.

“Willis made one bad pitch on a breaking ball to George Kottaras and what got him in trouble was the walk also,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*Aroldis Chapman pitched two scoreless innings with two walks. Chapman also batted for himself in the eighth and slapped a single the opposite way through the left side.

“I turned to him and said ‘are you ready to hit?’ He said ‘oh no.’ And he got a hit. I’m glad for him,” Baker said.

Not-so-good:

*Reds pitchers combined to allowed 11 walks. Five came via Edinson Volquez, including four in the bottom of the third. Volquez walked two runs in and was removed after 2 1/3 innings. He was charged with five earned runs.

“I had a little bit of problem with control. It’s nothing big,” Volquez said. “It’s nothing but mechanical. I was jumping from of the rubber to home plate. … My arm is good, my body, everything is fine.”

Volquez believes he’ll be ready for the Brewers again on March 31.

“I have a good idea now of what they’re looking for,” he said. “It will be a good game.”

*Playing first base in the eighth inning, Yonder Alonso had his foot stepped on accidentally by former Red Chris Dickerson as he ran out a groundball. Alonso needed a couple of moments and was looked over by trainer Paul Lessard and Baker. But he was able to continue.

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Nice days for Leake, Willis

More than a few highlights today from a 5-1 Reds win over the Indians.

*Mike Leake provided four scoreless innings and allowed three hits in a strong performance. A few of the balls that went for outs were sharply hit into the outfield. But Leake also picked up five outs on the ground, which is generally his bread and butter.

“I felt good,” Leake said. “It’s been a progression. I’m trying to slowly get back into it and get stronger.”

*Hustle award of the day for Dontrelle Willis. He ripped a liner into the right field corner. He could have easily coasted into second base but never slowed and lumbered to third base with a head first slide for a triple. More importantly, Willis worked a scoreless inning with one hit. His chances of making the team are looking better and better. It was also his first game since spraining his ankle on Saturday. He didn’t appear to have trouble.

“If he makes the team, he might be in that long relief role,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He always could hit. Him and Leake can both hit. I want Willis to get some at-bats in case in the season we leave him in there. He can still run and hit. He threw the ball well too.”

*Aroldis Chapman survived a one-run ninth where he started out with a single, a walk and a RBI single from Lou Marson. Chapman received a mound visit from Bryan Price and head trainer Paul Lessard.

“He’s OK,” Baker said. “We thought we saw him limp a little bit. He said he was fine.”

*Todd Frazier notched his first homer of spring and knocked one the opposite way to right field for the game’s first run.

*The drumbeat from fans for the Reds to have Dave Sappelt make the club will only grow louder. In his first at-bat in the seventh, Sappelt had a RBI triple to right field. This spring, Sappelt is batting .538 with a team-high tying seven RBIs. Sappelt also leads the club with 14 hits and 24 total bases this spring.

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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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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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First time in Tucson

Greetings from Tucson Electric Park, where the Diamondbacks host spring games and their Triple-A team calls home. With rush hour in Phoenix, it was about 2 1/2 hours to drive down here. I’m not getting attached to the area since this is the last year of Spring Training in Tucson. Both the D-Backs and Rockies are moving to the Phoenix area next year.

Lots of wide open desert, cactus and sagebrush along I-10 to look at on the way down. There were also random mountains and buttes — I wondered if I saw Wil E. Coyote trying to drop an anvil on the road runner a couple of times.

Beyond the left field wall are the Santa Catalina Mountains. There is some snowy peaks on one spot called Mt. Lemmon. It doesn’t pick up as well in the photo.


tucson.jpgSome pre-game notes:

*As mentioned yesterday, CF Drew Stubbs enters Tuesday 2-for-20 with seven strikeouts this spring. Meanwhile Chris Dickerson is tearing it up and making a bid for center field. Is Stubbs normally a slow starter like this?

“I’d say traditionally, yeah,” Stubbs responded. “The key part is getting to where you feel like you need to be from a comfort standpoint. Ultimately, you’re getting prepared for the season. I felt like, from the first couple of games until now, the results haven’t shown it but I’m starting to settle in. I’m starting to have better at-bats, which is the direction I’m trying to go in.”

Manager Dusty Baker isn’t concerned about Stubbs’ numbers…yet.

“No but he needs to get going here pretty soon,” Baker said. “We’re about a third of the way through and a 3-for-4 or 3-for-3 and you’re right back there when you don’t have many at-bats. I’d like to see him make some more contact because he’s struck out a lot, and try a couple of bunts. He’s been working on them with Hatch early in the morning.”

*Todd Frazier is the DH today and has also played LF, 1B, 2B and 3B in games this spring. The search to get him a settled spot continues.

“We still don’t know yet,” Baker said. “We’re still trying to come up with a position. Does he play everywhere or what position is best for him? He has a very interesting history but we’d like to come up with a position. You’ve seen some life.”

*Reliever Carlos Fisher has been out since Friday’s 1 2/3 innings appearance vs. the Dodgers because of muscle soreness on the forearm near his right elbow, according to Baker.

*People have been asking about when cuts are coming. Here’s the best clue that can be offered:

“Generally, it’s around pay day. I’m not going to lie to you,” Baker said. “It’s around split-squad days when we need to bodies. Basically, the 17th is a split-squad day. It’s also pay day. Sunday the 21st is also a split-squad day and we have a pay day a few days after that. Then we’ve got 10 days before we get ready to get out of here. It’s where you no longer say ‘I’m getting ready’ and you need to be ready.”

I think it’d be a good assumption to believe that some moves will go down on Thursday.

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Cueto pitches, Wood impressive

Goodyear Ballpark hasn’t been the Reds friend, yet. As the road team this time, Cincinnati dropped a 4-2 loss to the Indians but outhit Cleveland, 9-7. Cincinnati is 0-2 after two games vs. the Tribe.

“We just have to get some timely hits,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s OK. We played better.”

Starter Johnny Cueto’s line — he allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in two innings. Cueto was burned in the first when leadoff batter Michael Brantley reached on Joey Votto’s E3 toss to the bag. It led to two runs scoring.

In the bottom of the second inning, Cueto walked Austin Kearns with a 3-1 pitch before next batter Andy Marte smoked a first-pitch fastball for a two-run home run to left field.

Overall, Cueto was pleased with the afternoon.

“It went very well today. I was working the pitches,” he said.

Other items of note:

*Five Reds pitchers that followed Cueto did not allow any runs over the remaining six innings.

*Fifth starter candidate Travis Wood had a very nice first outing with two scoreless innings with one walk and one strikeout. In the fifth, Wood retired the side in order with two routine groundballs before he struck out a batter on three pitches.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Baker said. “He’ll cut the ball in on you. He’ll run it away from you. He has a pretty good changeup.”

*Mike Leake also had his first spring action and threw a perfect one inning with one strikeout that also impressed the manager.

*Todd Frazier appeared as the DH for two at-bats late in the game. He went 0-for-2, including being called out on strikes his first time up.

*The Reds agreed to one-year contracts with their 26 remaining unsigned players. All of them are the 0-3 year service time guys that have no leverage. One positive sign is that no one was renewed. 

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Saturday morning notes

Two days after taking a 95 mph Aroldis Chapman heater to the right leg, Todd Frazier will see action in Saturday’s game vs. the Indians. Frazier had a bruised quadriceps but is fine.

Manager Dusty Baker plans to give Frazier a couple of at-bats as the DH later in the game.

“He’s champing at the bit,” Baker said. [The medical staff] had him unable to play but he says he’s able. We talked and they said he’s cool, he’s fine. That was yesterday.”

*Today will also mark the spring debuts of pitchers Travis Wood and Mike Leake. Both have eyes on the fifth spot of the rotation. Baker has never seen Wood in a game and watched Leake pitch once in the Arizona Fall League last year. He’s watched them throw in bullpens and live BP though.

“They’re not only young arms — they are pretty advanced pitching wise – location, movement, change of speeds,” Baker said. “They pitch older than their age. … I just hope they relax and throw strikes. I think they well.”

*Infielder Aaron Miles is still wearing a splint on his fractured right middle finger. Miles said he’s doing well and the fracture is at the tip of the finger (his fingernail was a gruesome black). Once he’s able to swing and throw through the pain, he will get back into action. The injury happened on Tuesday while working on double play drills. 

*Johnny Cueto will start today in his first game since last season. Cueto usually throws in winter ball but was prevented from doing that this past off-season. Will he be as sharp in the early going?

“Probably not,” Baker said. “You can tell the guys that played winter ball from the guys that don’t. Look at Asdrubal Cabrera yesterday, or Perez on their side. You look at guys like Viola, Castillo and Del Rosario on our side. They’re two weeks removed from playing. The same with Francisco.

“Johnny looks great. He looks in great shape. He’s throwing the ball great.”

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