Results tagged ‘ Travis Wood ’

Reds, Mariners not serious yet

It appears that discussions between the Reds and Mariners about pitcher Cliff Lee have yet to hit the serious stages.A baseball source told Thursday that no formal proposals have been exchanged between the two teams.

“It’s just been the parameters and the types of players that they are looking for or not looking for,” the source said. “It’s been quiet lately.”

The first-place Reds are one of several teams in the hunt for the left-handed Lee, an ace-quality starting pitcher, who is earning $8 million this season with Seattle. He would essentially be a “rent-a-player” for Cincinnati since he can become a free agent at season’s end.

It’s been widely reported that the Mariners are seeking multiple big league ready prospects, which is an area where the Reds have some chips they could deal. Triple-A Louisville first baseman Yonder Alonso is blocked in the Majors by Joey Votto and Alonso’s teammate, third baseman Juan Francisco, is blocked by Scott Rolen.

The Reds also have young left-handed pitchers like Travis Wood and Matt Maloney, who have both recently been called up.

Postgame extra: Wood was good

The Reds kind of got away with one Thursday during a 3-2 win over the Cubs in 10 innings. There were 16 hits, and only three runs? Yowza.

The good —

*Travis Wood had a mighty nice debut and he was the biggest reason the Reds won the game — even if he wasn’t in the final decision. Wood took a two-hit shutout into the eighth inning before two walks undid a chance to win. He threw only 91 pitches and had four single-digit pitched innings.

*Wood retired 13 in a row at one point and 15 of 16. He topped out at 92 mph several times and had a full arsenal of cutters and changeups working.

“For a guy to come up in his first start and throw 10-11 pitches per inning for seven innings, especially at Wrigley Field, it’s something you really don’t see too much,” catcher Corky Miller said. “He did what he was supposed to do.”

*Scott Rolen turned a strong inning-ending double play in the eighth after the game was tied on Derrek Lee’s broken bat grounder. Had it not been turned, the Cubs would’ve taken the lead.

*Jay Bruce’s slide to break up the double play in the 10th on might have been out of the baseline but it was hard-nosed baseball right there.

“We’re taught to play the game a certain way,” Bruce said. “That’s how I play it and how we play it on this team. It does help win games. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone or anything like that. I was trying to prevent them from turning the double play.”

The not-so-good —

*Did I mention 16 hits and only three runs? The Reds were 2-for-11 RISP and stranded 13.

“We had plenty of chances,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Rarely are you going to see 16 hits and three runs. We left a lot of guys out there but we kept the pressure on them and eeked one across in the 10th inning.”

*Nick Masset hadn’t allowed a hit in his last five appearances, but gave it up today after inheriting the 2-0 lead. After Wood’s two walks to start the eighth, a sac bunt and Tyler Colvin’s single tied the game.

Background info —

Dusty Baker said that Arthur Rhodes and Bill Bray were not available for this game. Rhodes pitched the last two games and Bray pitched two games in a row and warmed up Wednesday.

More quotes —
“I got the zone, my pitches were working well and I was able to throw most of them for strikes and things were going my way.” — Travis Wood

“I saw him when he was 18 years old and we were both in the GCL together, roommates. He’s doing what he did. He’s learned how to pitch and use his stuff. He did great today. He came in here like it was any other outing in any other place and shut the Cubs down for seven innings.” — Jay Bruce on Wood.

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Monday vs. Philadelphia

Monday lineup vs. PHI

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

*Dusty Baker said the club has not decided on a starter for Thursday against the Cubs. “Soon,” Baker said.

I think it will be Travis Wood, who has a 2.82 ERA over his last 10 starts and a 0.63 ERA over his last four starts. He last pitched on Friday and worked eight scoreless innings.

*Homer Bailey (right should inflammation) threw for the first time today since he was shut down over two weeks ago. Bailey threw on flat ground and made 30 throws from 60 feet. He will increase the intensity and distance each day.

“When you don’t throw for two weeks and all of a sudden throw, it’s kind of like sitting on the couch for a long time and then walking,” Bailey said Monday. “The first few steps you’re like ‘oh man.’ After that, it’s all right, I’m good. It was pain free. Everything was nice and loose. Granted, it’s only day one but definitely they’re good signs.”

*Outfielder Chris Dickerson (right hand/wrist surgeries) is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday but that’s not even close to happening. Dickerson, whose rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville got scrubbed last week when he was sore following batting practice, got a cortisone shot in his wrist Sunday.

“It’s sore today and hopefully some of that point from the shot will go away and I can start swinging again tomorrow,” Dickerson said. “It’s not exactly following the plan of being out four-to-six weeks. I’ve talked with specialists from all disciplines and when you get into the wrist, it’s very delicate. And it can be very touchy sometimes.”

*Baker will have a deeper bullpen with Bill Bray joining fellow lefties Arthur Rhodes and Daniel Ray Herrera. The Phillies starting lineup tonight features four lefty hitters and two switch hitters. A fifth lefty is on the bench.

“It’s not a luxury. It’s something I think is a necessity at this point,” Baker said. “If your lefties are getting lefties out, that’s when the luxury comes in. Boy, do they have some lefties.”

*Through three games of his rehab assignment at Louisville, Ryan Hanigan is 1-for-11 (.091). Hanigan is scheduled to DH for the third time tonight in the game at Norfolk.

*After this series, the Reds don’t play again at Great American Ball Park until they open the second half of the season on July 16 vs Colorado…the 15 days without a home game is the Reds’ longest since a 15-day stretch from May 31-June 14, 2001.

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Series opener vs. Pirates

Monday lineup vs. PIT

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


*Homer Bailey found out he was going on the DL when he saw Enerio Del Rosario in the clubhouse, and asked trainer Paul Lessard what was going on. He was not happy.

“I just found out from Paul that they’re DLing me,” Bailey said. “They didn’t ask my opinion. I guess that’s where everything stands.

“I could understand missing one start but I’m not a doctor.”

“The recommendation is for him right now is to not doing anything for a week,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “He could pitch with it but it’s going to get worse, not better. The best thing to do is shut it down, let the inflammation subside and then he can start throwing again. It’s tough because I know he’s competitive and he wants to be out there. Sometimes, it’s better to take a step backwards so we can go forward.”

*The contenders take Bailey’s turn in the rotation on Friday are Sam LeCure, Matt Maloney or Travis Wood.

“We haven’t decided who yet,” Jocketty said. “We’ll probably make that decision the next couple of days.”

*Aroldis Chapman, whose start was scratched today for Triple-A Louisville, will throw on the side Tuesday. If all goes well, he could start Thursday for Louisville.

*Johnny Cueto is still on track to start for the Reds on Thursday, despite his blister issue from Saturday.

*After he threw 60 pitches yesterday, Micah Owings is only available to pinch-hit the next couple of days.

*If you’d like to learn more about how Del Rosario reached the big leagues beyond what was written today, check out my March 9 Spring Training story. I talked to minor league pitching coach Tom Brown, who was credited with turning Del Rosario into a sidearm pitcher.

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Leake is Reds 5th starter

The fifth starter has been determined. It’s Mike Leake, although the Reds have not announced anything.

Travis Wood learned first and returned to the clubhouse and started packing his stuff. About five minutes later, Leake walked back from his meeting trying to contain his smile. He and Wood bumped fists.

Leake confirmed he was given the good news.

“It’s kind of surreal right now,” Leake said. “It has to soak in a little.”

Leake, the eighth overall pick last summer, will be the first drafted pitcher to skip the Minor Leagues since Darren Dreifort of the Dodgers in 1994.


Players have taken the field for stretching/BP. Still in the clubhouse packing up their stuff was Aaron Miles, Wilkin Castillo, Chris Burke and Wladimir Balentien. Again, nothing has been announced. It would appear that Miles was released, which means the club is eating his $2.7 million salary for 2010.

What to make of spring numbers?

Often during lulls in spring games, press box conversations often drift into unlikely directions. Today was no different with topics of Carrot Top, Gallagher, Matt Stair’s new slim figure, Jamie Ramsey’s “nickel and dime” blog and other oddities popping up.

During the lengthy Tuesday game, lost by the Reds to the Padres by a 7-5 score, the press box conversation actually fell back into a good baseball topic. What can be made of some of these spring results by the Reds?

After today’s outing, Aaron Harang has a 9.88 ERA and had lousy-looking lines in his last two starts. Jared Burton has a 5.63 ERA and a team-high four home runs allowed, including one on Tuesday. Aaron Miles, coming off of a bad 2009 season, is batting a paltry .143 while regulars like Brandon Phillips (.125) and Orlando Cabrera (.175) are struggling.

When do we stop saying “it’s just spring” and start worrying — if at all? 

Keep these 2009 statisitics in mind:

Francisco Cordero had a 12.10 ERA in spring. He saved 39 in the regular season with a 2.16 ERA.

Arthur Rhodes had a 5.63 ERA in spring and 2.66 ERA in regular season.

Bronson Arroyo had a 5.95 ERA in spring and a 3.84 ERA in the season with 15 wins.

On the flip side…

Micah Owings was lights out with a 1.52 ERA in spring and had a terrible season (7-12, 5.34).

OF Darnell McDonald batted .300 in camp to make the team and was sent out by May.

Jay Bruce had a nice spring with a .300 average and batted .223 when the games counted.

Do Burton’s numbers mean he’s no longer a roster lock, especially with Logan Ondrusek looking great and throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings? Is Harang headed for another tough year?

They say numbers don’t lie, but in spring, they don’t always tell the truth either. That’s why I try not to make a lot out of anything based on spring stats, unless it’s a position battle between two guys without much of a track record (ie: Stubbs and Dickerson for center field).  

When it came to Harang, Dusty Baker was not worried.

“I definitely look beyond [the spring numbers],” Baker said. “He’s throwing the ball with better velocity and coming inside, and using his legs. If you don’t get the results, you have to find some positives in there. The positive is he’s throwing the ball good.”

*Baker will be in Las Vegas with the Reds for their evening split-squad game on Wednesday night. The club was scheduled to fly out on Tuesday night. That means bench coach Chris Speier will manage the Wednesday afternoon game vs. the A’s in Phoenix. Pitching coach Bryan Price will be at both games because he wants to watch both fifth starter contenders, Mike Leake and Travis Wood, make starts. Price will fly to Las Vegas right after the A’s game.

*There were six errors committed during the sloppy game. Drew Sutton’s two at shortstop probably did not help his cause for the last couple of bench spots.

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Playing lineup games

Here is the Reds lineup vs. Cubs

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

*The so-called “Opening Day” lineup has been pretty close to this one throughout spring.  Dickerson has often batted leadoff instead of Stubbs. Or, swap out Dickerson for Gomes and that could be the look vs. left-handed pitchers.

One potential cause for concern though is that the Reds haven’t hit well most of the spring. The .242 team batting average for spring is ranked 29th out of 30 teams. Last season, production was a huge problem and the Reds’ team average was second to last in the National League.

“I’m happy with the way it sets up. But I’m not real thrilled with the amount of production we’ve had yet,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said of his lineup. “It’s the best lineup I can come up with a few guys changing in and out or whatever. We still have some more potential lineups.”

Baker is keenly aware that fans have plenty of issues with the lineups he uses and share their views online or to the reporters. Many want Dickerson instead of Stubbs as the leadoff guy.

“That’s a possiblity,” Baker said. 

Most fans write to me and complain about Phillips batting fourth. Some want him to bat second.

“Where are you going to put [Orlando] Cabrera?” Baker said.

A reporter said it’s been suggested to him that Cabrera should bat eighth.

“Where are you going to put Hernandez?” Baker responded.

Me: “We can play this game forever.”

“Exactly and no one would have a set spot,” Baker said. “We have a good lineup. It’s not like we have some set Big Red Machine lineup. We don’t have a mega lineup. We still have some guys trying to prove themselves. Stubbs is still trying to prove himself. Dickerson is still trying to prove himself. Jay Bruce is still trying to prove himself. Gomes is just coming off his first decent year in four or five years.”

One thing to consider though — is the team average is from everybody that’s batted this spring. It counts guys coming over from Minor League camp and the prospects that got in later in games. Phillips (.128) and Cabrera (.189) are still struggling but Votto (.256) has heated up in recent days. Reading too much into spring numbers or exhibition game records can often be a futile exercise. 

Other notes from Monday morning:

*Aroldis Chapman could next pitch on Wednesday vs. Oakland in the split-squad game. His name is listed with ‘TBA’ as his innings total. Baker’s reports were good from Chapman’s one inning of work during a Minor League game on Sunday.

“They said he was throwing 91-97 mph,” Baker said. “They said he threw the ball well. He only went one inning. We’re going to see how he feels today and then make a determination.”

*It looks like the next wave of cuts will come after Wednesday’s split-squad game. There are still 40 players in camp.

“You would have liked whatever you’re going to do, do it early,” Baker said. “But we needed people and still haven’t made up our minds on a few. This is not how we planned it exactly but it’s how it is.”

*Reliever Logan Ondrusek has a 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his five outings this spring with two hits, no walks and seven strikeouts. He was impressing people even before games started and now has a chance to make the team. Not bad at all for a first big league camp.

“It’s a little different than I expected coming in, being a first-year guy and stuff,” Ondrusek said. “I figured I’d get my feet wet, meet the guys, meet the coaches and everything and show them a little bit and go from there. Being here this long, it’s an honor. I’m trying to prove I belong here and at some point during the season, help the team out.”

*It’s pretty much a bullpen day today with Fisher only pitching two innings.. Wells, Lehr, Maloney, Burton and Rhodes will follow. Homer Bailey is pitching six innings in a minor league game.

*Upcoming rotation:

Tues vs SD: Harang (6-7 inn)
Weds at OAK: Leake (5 inn). Chapman is listed with TBA innings
Weds at LAD: (Las Vegas): Wood (5 inn)
Thu vs TEX: Cueto (6-7 inn)
Fri at CLE: Arroyo (6-7 inn)
Sat vs CLE: Bailey (6-7 inn)

*For those interested, the following players will be among those on the trip to Las Vegas: Cabrera, Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Francisco, Dickerson and Gomes.

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More Chapmania on tap

Reds lineup vs. Rockies

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

Arroyo is scheduled to work five innings and Aroldis Chapman will take the final four innings.

Morning notes from the manager’s office:

*Dusty Baker said more cuts are coming today, post game, but not many.

*Obviously there will be more to write about later following Chapman’s appearance. With no DH, today should mark the first time he hits in a game.

Baker called Chapman’s swing “fair.”

“There are some things we’re rushing Chapman on – bunting, base running, game situations, when to tag, when to run and not to run if he gets on base,” Baker said. “I think Wood and Leake are much more advanced in that area. It would be easier on Chapman if he was in the American League and never had to hit or run the bases or anything. That’s the kind of ball he’s used to.

“As far as being on the bases and bunting, he’s probably at the low minors stage. As far as throwing, he’s at the big league stage.”

*A national writer was asking about Mike Leake this morning. Leake has impressed everyone in camp with his stuff.

“He’s right there also,” Baker said. He and wood have both been impressive and Lehr was impressive yesterday. Everybody wants some answers [about the fifth spot]. We don’t have any. I’m telling you the straight facts. We don’t know.”

But don’t go writing Leake into the fifth spot just yet, especially since he has zero minor league experience.

“We don’t know his endurance level,” Baker said. “We don’t know how he’s going to be every fifth day. In college, they basically pitch on Fridays.

“I’ve seen a tremendous control of the strike zone. He recognized at a younger age than anybody I’ve seen what a batter is trying to do. He came with very good recommendation from [former Dodgers teammate] Bob Welch, one of my good buddies who helps out at ASU. He told me he keeps the ball at the knees – cheese at the knees. He told me he could pitch.”

*The lone off day is on Tuesday and everyone is expected to bug out. At this time, no one is expected to show up to throw. Baker will not be here for sure. He is headed to Lake Roosevelt to go fishing.

There won’t be any mulling more roster decisions.

Baker will think about baseball just about anywhere — even in church.

“I’m praying for somebody,” he said.

But on a fishing boat — no chance

“That’s the only place I don’t think. I’ll say ‘damn, it’s been six hours and I haven’t thought about baseball yet.’ I turn my cellphone off, everything. See you when I get back.”

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Gomes preparing for daily grind

It’s a pretty quiet morning at the compound. Here are quick notes:

*For later today, I will be writing about OF Jonny Gomes, who is having a nice spring. Entering today. he’s batting .290 (9-for-31) with three home runs and nine RBIs. While many have expected the left field vacancy to be some sort of platoon situation, Gomes is trying to show he can hit both right-handers and left-handers. Last season, he batted .244 vs. righties and .307 against lefties.

“I just wanted to come in healthy and ready to go with a lot of flexibility for Dusty,” Gomes said. “I didn’t want there to be anything he’d ask me to do that I wasn’t ready or in shape to do – arm wise, defense wise, hitting-wise, hitting righties, hitting lefties,  playing left field, playing right field. I wanted to have my full bag of clubs.”

*Gomes, who took some weight off during the winter, is playing the road game today vs. the A’s, and facing a left-handed starter.

*There are still seven candidates for the fifth starter spot. The not-so-hot outings by Travis Wood or Mike Leake did not prompt any new decisions.

“You don’t want anyone to get roughed up but you want to see how they’ll handle this,” Dusty Baker said. “You wanted to how they handled getting in trouble. Then you also want to see them the next time out after that. It’s hard to get a barometer on success only.”

*My take: I think it’s going to come down to Chapman or Wood, with Chapman being the favorite and the most deserving based on the performances on the field to this point. Chapman next pitches on Monday vs. the Rockies — he’s scheduled for four innings of relief.

*For the road game today, Chris Speier will manage and coach third base. Eric Davis is coaching first base and Ellis Burks is the hitting coach.

*There is only one more split-squad day after today, on March 31 when a team will go to Las Vegas. Baker said he would make the trip. The rest of the team hasn’t been determined.

“I’ll take the guys that are probably the most ready because they’re not going to get the work back here that the other guys would,” Baker said. “Guys I think need extra BP or are close will stay back probably. I will check which guys have family there. It’s a business trip but it’s also a reward for hard work trip as well.”

*The lone off day of spring is Tuesday and it will be very welcomed.

“I think only one other team is off later than us,” Baker said. “It will be a much needed off day. It’s synonymous to the regular season playing 18-19 days in a row, you have to push through it instead of looking for that off day. They’ve been busting it pretty good.”

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Adversity for Wood, Leake

For the first time in their big league camp, Travis Wood and Mike Leake saw how the other half lived. Both had lackluster outings during a 6-0 Reds loss.

Wood gave up three runs (two earned) and three hits with two walks, four strikeouts and a hit-batter. Leake followed and allowed three earned runs and seven hits in his three innings.

The fact that he’s still in camp and pitching indicates that Wood is very much in the fifth starter’s race. Coming into camp, Dusty Baker had never seen him pitch and only knew the stats.

[Double-A Carolina pitching coach] Tom Brown talked a little about him,” Baker said. “I trust what he has to say, big time. He told me he was small in stature but pitched like a big man.”

Wood gave up all of his runs in the first inning on two home runs. Both were in hitters’ counts — 2-0 to Edgar Renteria and 1-0 to Aubrey Huff — After that, he was pretty good and only allowed one more hit.

“It could have went better,” Wood said. “I fell behind. I had to battle. I did a decent job but a couple of guys got me early. I just didn’t have the best stuff today but I made it work after the first inning. I came back and battled through it.”

Baker was hoping to see how both pitchers would handle adversity since both have had smooth performances to this point. He even left Leake out longer than he normally might have.

“They both handled it pretty good,” Baker said. “Their body language was good. You couldn’t tell if they were winning or losing, which translates a lot to the opposition that they’re battlers.”

*Wood and Leake pitch again on Friday. This time, Leake will be starting

*A Bay Area writer was in the clubhouse today and asked about Petaluma, Calif., native Jonny Gomes. Last spring, Gomes started with a bang but faded the final two weeks and was sent down. After he came up to the Reds in May he slugged 20 homers in 281 at-bats. This spring, Gomes has a guaranteed contract

“Last year, I was sort of spotting him against guys I thought he had the best chance to succeed with,’ Baker said. “We thought he did a pretty good job with that. He lost some weight this year. It seems like he’s running better. He’s worked hard on his defense to get better. Jonny knows this is an opportunity for him to put himself back on the map. He hasn’t had a good year in three or four years.

“He had one pretty good year. That didn’t really sell to the baseball people. You have two good years in a row, now they’ll say ok, he’s back. This is an important year for Jonny to restablish himself as a quality player.”

*Aaron Miles led off and played second base and hit a leadoff single to left field in a 1-for-2 day. He was also caught stealing. It was Miles’ only hit in 13 at-bats this spring (.077 average) after he got a late start because of a fractured right finger. Miles also committed a fielding error in the first inning, which gave Wood one unearned run when Huff followed with his two-run homer.

*Logan Ondrusek had another nice outing in relief with two scoreless innings. He has 5 1/3 scoreless innings his four appearances.

*Before the game, players in the clubhouse were glued to the TV watching St. Mary’s upset Villanova in the NCAA Tournament. Cheering could be heard from inside Baker’s office.

“California schools don’t play basketball, according to the rest of the world,” said a smiling Baker, who is of course a Golden State native.

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