Results tagged ‘ Wilkin Castillo ’

Keep an eye on Del Rosario

Reliever prospect Enerio Del Rosario has been one the more impressive arms in camp this spring. A sidearmed, sinker thrower — his pitches move…a lot and stay down. He could be an interesting call-up at some point if the Reds need late-inning help. You’ll want to keep an eye on his progress this season.

What’s interesting about Del Rosario is he nearly washed out as an overhand thrower. Class A Sarasota pitching coach Tom Brown got him to throw sidearmed and zing … it might have been a career salvaging fix.

“I hoped I could help him a little bit,” said Brown, who was moved up to Double-A Carolina for 2010. “He was just one of those guys that was an over-the-top four-seam fastball and threw 93 mph. He had a 9.00 ERA and that didn’t work real well. But he was such a great athlete. His ability to field his position, make quick decisions and do things almost like a shortstop. “[Then-GCL Reds skipper] Pat Kelly and I sat there and said you know what? Let’s give it a shot.”

Del Rosario reached Triple-A by the end of the season. In 50 relief appearances combined at three levels, he was 3-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 12 saves. This will be my story for later today…

Some notes from Dusty Baker’s office this morning:

*Baker is not opposed to the notion of carrying three catchers out of camp. But there’s plenty of stipulations needed for that to happen.

“It depends on the makeup of the club,” Baker said. “If you have three catchers, he needs to play more than one position. It depends on what we need – a right bat, switch, speed, utility. When putting a club together, you try not to have any weaknesses if you can help it. you try not to be too right-handed dominant or left-handed dominant. When you play certain clubs, they’re going to overmatch or outmatch you.”

The only extra catcher in camp that could play other positions would be Wilkin Castillo. He can play around the infield.

*To get more work for the players, the Reds are trying to schedule another ‘B’ game for March 14. They haven’t found a club, yet.

“We’re just trying to get a match,” Baker said. “That would be perfect for our pitching.”

*Here is the starting rotation plan for the next few days. Mike Lincoln has at least two more starts scheduled while fellow fifth spot candidate Matt Maloney is slated for his first.

Wed at LAA: RHP Mike Lincoln (0-1, 27.00) vs LHP Trevor Reckling                    
Thu vs Mil (ss):    RHP Johnny Cueto (0-1, 9.00) vs LHP Chris Narveson

Fri at LAD (ss):    RHP Bronson Arroyo (0-0, 0.00) vs LHP Clayton Kershaw 

Sat at Cubs (ss):   RHP Homer Bailey (8-5, 4.53) vs TBA                                              

Sun vs WSox:        LHP Matt Maloney (2-4, 4.87) vs TBA                                               Mon vs Oak:          RHP Mike Lincoln vs TBA  

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Chapman pitches, hitters guess

Aroldis Chapman faced five hitters for about 10 minutes worth of pitching in his session of live batting practice on Wednesday. By my count, he threw 32 pitches to Chris Burke, Chris Valaika, Chris Heisey, Yonder Alonso and Corky Miller.

Only one hitter — Heisey — made solid contact and that was one time.

“I haven’t thrown to a hitter in about eight months. I felt really good,” Chapman said through interpreter Tony Fossas. “I threw the ball very efficiently. I thought I had control and command of my pitches.”

Batters were talking to each other trying to figure out what they were seeing. After seeing Chapman’s changeup on his third overall pitch to Burke, people around the cage were heard going ‘oooh.’

For all of the talk about Chapman’s 100 mph velocity after his signing, it was his slider and changeup that had people in the cage talking, and guessing.

“That’s a nice little repertoire. Somebody should sign this kid,” Burke said after leaving the cage.

“I never really had a slider or changeup,” Chapman said. “The changeup is the pitch that wasn’t efficient and didn’t throw much. Since I got here, I’ve been working really hard on it and those are pitches I will be able to use.”

The session reminded me of the first time Johnny Cueto pitched live BP at camp. He showed good stuff right away and was an unknown entity. By the time spring was over, Cueto was in the rotation and essentially skipped Triple-A. (He did have four starts at Louisville the previous year).

“Chapman was very good,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “With hitters in there, he was very comfortable and threw good pitches. He threw a lot of strikes. He threw a really good changeup. All in all, it was a good day.

“The slider was pretty nasty. Very nice. It will be fun to see how this progresses. There’s a lot of competition for that rotation.”

Wilkin Castillo, who speaks Spanish, was Chapman’s catcher this time. He called all of the pitches and wasn’t shaken off once.

“His slider was 85-88 mph and breaking a lot. It was pretty nice,” Castillo said. “His fastball? Oh my God, it was 98-99 mph and strikes, down and in.”

One other thing to keep in mind: Pitching coach Bryan Price had pitchers not use the “L” screen in front of the mound and not tell hitters what was coming. That’s not often the case in the first live BP. So hitters were really had a disadvantage on their second day of camp against all pitchers.

Chapman will pitch again on Saturday.

Here is what others had to say about Chapman —


“Obviously, it’s dominating stuff. If he’s going to keep the ball down like that and get ahead in counts, what can you really do? As a hitter, you have to be ready to hit the fastball. It’s going to give him so much leeway with the slider and changeup.”

“If he can command the ball down in the zone like he did today, sky’s the limit for him potentially.”

“It’s a lot like Randy [Johnson] was. When Randy could really command his fastball, what could you really do? You just hoped you ran into one. His slider to me was comparable. It was sharp and came out of the same arm slot. If he can get it in like that, as a right-handed hitter, the best you can do is hope to hit a groundball hopefully through the left side.”

“First impressions were great. I was surprised with how well he seemed to be in command of his stuff.”

“I’ve been playing long enough to know a special guy. You don’t need a radar gun to see when the ball is getting there. The ball was getting there. He’s got a little herky-jerky to him, which is good from a pitching standpoint. It’s makes us even more uncomfortable.”


“I didn’t feel that bad just because I know him. He’s my boy. I told him this morning that ‘if by any chance I have to face you, just don’t hit me.’ Whoever doesn’t know him, God bless, because it’s rough.”

Pitching coach Bryan Price:

“It was terrific. He was in the zone with all three of his pitches. I thought he was sharper against hitters than he was in the bullpen.”

“These guys have seen guys that throw hard. It’s when you get a combination of a guy that’s a hard thrower that can command a finesse pitch like a changeup and has a power breaking ball. That puts you at a big disadvantage when he’s got three choices, even when he’s behind in the count. Today, he could have pitched with any of those pitches behind in the count.”

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Votto officially activated

Greetings from Toronto…

It’s official now — Joey Votto was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. To make room for Votto, C/IF Wilkin Castillo went on the 15-day DL with a torn labrum. Castillo suffered the season-ending injury after he made a head-first slide on Saturday vs. the White Sox.

Check back here later for more and on Votto is meeting with the media in the Reds dugout at 4 p.m. ET today. It should be interesting to hear how much, or how little, he has to say about what’s been going on.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Hairston 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Gomes DH
Hernandez 2
Bruce 9
Rosales 5
Dickerson 7
Owings 1


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Gonzalez to DL, have surgery

There were a lot of festivities and preparations for the Civil Rights Game on Saturday. But there was also baseball business that had manager Dusty Baker preoccupied.

Baker was unhappy because he had to put SS Alex Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list. Gonzalez has four loose bone chips in his right elbow and will need surgery — something expected to happen on Tuesday. He will likely be out for four weeks.

“He took a swing yesterday and his arm locked up on him,” Baker said.

Infielder Danny Richar and catcher/infielder Wilkin Castillo were called up from Triple-A Louisville. As part of the transactions, left-handed starter Matt Maloney was optioned to Louisville and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. For those wondering, Encarnacion would be eligible for activation from the DL on June 27.

Maloney was 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA in three starts for the Reds, including on Thursday when he gave up six runs over 5 2/3 innings during a 7-0 loss to the Braves on Thursday. Because of a scheduled off day on Monday, the Reds won’t need a fifth starter until next Saturday at Cleveland.

Jerry Hairston Jr. started at shortstop on Saturday vs. the White Sox.

While the Reds took BP today (all wearing the Frank Robinson fan giveaway throwback jersey), Gonzalez was on the top step out of the clubhouse tunnel at the end of the dugout.

“What can I say? It’s tough luck,” Gonzalez said. “I want to be out there. I missed all of last season. To be out for a while this year is tough. I have to get it done.”

“I’ll come back in the middle of July and I hope the team continues to be in the race. When I come back, I will try to do what I’ve been doing this season.”

For those counting, Gonzalez is the third starting infielder to go on the DL for an extended period this season. Encarnacion hasn’t played since April 28 because of a chip fracture in his left wrist. Joey Votto has been out with the stress issue since May 30. And the one main infielder that avoided the DL, Brandon Phillips, missed five games with a hairline fracture of his right thumb.

“Remember in Spring Training when I said in order for us to win this thing we’d need everybody?” Baker said. “I hoped I wouldn’t be right but that’s how it is.”


Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Hairston 6
Phillips 4
Gomes 7
Hernandez 3
Bruce 9
Hanigan 2
Rosales 5
Cueto 1

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Votto to DL, Phillips back

It’s not very stunning that the Reds placed 1B Joey Votto on the 15-day DL, but reason listed was an unexpected twist. His injury has been listed as “stress-related issues,” and not the ongoing inner-ear infection.

The Reds held a closed-door clubhouse meeting after the team bus arrived. Votto is not with the club and it was believed he returned to Cincinnati.

“He’s dealing with a personal issue. He wants us to respect his privacy about that,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

No more details were revealed, at Votto’s request. There was no timetable for a return.

“They weren’t informed about what was wrong,” Baker said of the meeting. “I just told them we have to stick together, even more than ever. Whatever it is, we need to support him. This is like a member of your family. Right now, he needs their support and love and understanding something they might not even understand.”

Apparently, this has less to do with the inner ear infection than originally speculated but again — details are at a minimum.

“It’s partly that. Let’s leave it at that,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “It’s basically something that Joey needs some time away to deal with. We gave him that time. It’s not a big deal but it’s something that was affecting his ability to play at the level he wants to play at.”

C/IF Wilkin Castillo was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take Votto’s roster spot. As speculated last night, the Reds don’t have many options on the 40-man roster and since Castillo is primarily a catcher, Ramon Hernandez can move to first base full time. Ryan Hanigan can catch every day and the Reds won’t lose as much offensively in the lineup.

Baker also said that OF Jonny Gomes would start taking groundballs again at first base, where he saw some action at Spring Training. Gomes did not play any at 1B during his time at Louisville.

As Votto exits for a while, 2B Brandon Phillips (fractured right thumb) is back in the starting lineup for the first time in a week. Phillips pinch-hit Friday and bunted into a groundout in the ninth inning.

“One day, we’ll be whole,” Baker said. “These guys have been very resilient. We just have to be more resilient.”

Reds lineup:

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

CF Willy Taveras was scratched with a sore right hamstring. Taveras slipped on the outfield grass Friday in the sixth inning on Prince Fielder’s long fly ball. Chris Dickerson started in CF and will lead off.

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Strange days at GABP

This has been one goofy home stand, for sure.

There was the 12-5 blowout vs. Philly on Thursday where the Reds narrowed a 6-0 deficit to 6-5 in before giving up seven more runs. There were Joey Votto’s two homers on Saturday vs. Cleveland that were canceled out by Homer Bailey’s wildness and that was a nearly four-hour game. There were extra innings on Sunday, with the weird obstruction call on Adam Rosales in the seventh that tied the game and put the kibosh on a potential victory for Johnny Cueto.
Then there was the two-hour, three minute rain delay with two outs in the Houston fourth inning on Monday. Starter Aaron Harang waited long enough to get one out to qualify for a victory.

Somehow through it all, the Reds have won three of their last four.

Roy Oswalt is on the mound for the Astros on Tuesday. In case you haven’t seen this stat paraded around endlessly, Oswalt is 23-1 lifetime vs. them. He hasn’t taken the loss vs. Cincinnati since April 28, 2006. Against them in 2009, he has two no-decisions but a 0.69 ERA. Strangely, Oswalt is only 1-2 through 10 games this season.

Votto is back in the lineup today. How long can the Reds go with Votto and Brandon Phillips either out or at less than 100 percent?

If Votto is still bothered by the dizziness and hit two homers like he did Saturday, what will he do when the inner ear infection is finally behind him for good?

Are you worried about Jay Bruce, who enters today in a 0-for-13 funk? I wrote about Bruce on May 20 and how he was trying to be more patient at the plate. But he still keeps swinging at bad pitches (36 Ks in 158 ABs).

Reds lineup:

Dickerson CF
Hairston 2B
Votto 1B
Hernandez C
Bruce RF
Nix LF
Gonzalez SS
Rosales 3B
Owings P

In a shameless plug for myself, check out this article about Micah Owings and other NL pitchers that are very good hitters.

Additional news from the clubhouse:

  • Phillips hit some balls off the tee again today and also hit some underhand tosses. So far, so good. All signs are pointing to a return to the lineup on Friday at Milwaukee. There was a chance he could pinch-hit the next two games.

“He felt pretty good,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s having a little trouble throwing. He let it hang out pretty good they told me. He only felt it on a couple of swings.”

If and when Phillips does come back, he won’t be given any limitations.

“The doctor said he can’t do any more damage to it unless something insane happens,” Baker said. “Which is out of your control anyway.”

“It feels the same but the pills are working,” Phillips said. “I don’t know what I’m taking but they’re working.”

  • This is how Baker is handling the unpredictable nature of Votto’s dizziness and inner ear infection:

“He’s getting better but it’s still a day-to-day thing,” Baker said. “I check with him, check with the trainers. We’re doing the honor system thing.”

  • Harang feels OK the day after his unusual five-inning win on Monday.

“I think there have been times I’ve been more sore after a regular start than that one.”

  • Edinson Volquez has another bullpen session scheduled for Wednesday. Volquez threw “nice and easy” in the bullpen Monday and played catch on the field Tuesday.
  • RHP Nick Masset was activated from the 15-day DL as expected. To make room on the 25-man roster, C/IF Wilkin Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
  • CF Willy Taveras was just given the day off. Taveras has struggled some since his 14-game hitting streak ended in San Diego.

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Phillips thumb broken, roster move

X-rays on 2B Brandon Phillips revealed a fractured right thumb. He will rest for a couple of days and then see if he can play through it. He was wearing a splint on his thumb.

Phillips is trying to avoid the DL, especially after he missed the last three weeks of last season with a fractured right index finger.

“When I come back I will try my best to see if I can play with it,” Phillips said. “If I can’t, I will shut it down. I just told them to give me a chance to play with it first before they make a decision.”

As expected, Homer Bailey was optioned out this morning to Triple-A Louisville. The Reds didn’t need a fifth starter for a while. C/IF Wilkin Castillo was recalled from Louisville.

Bailey, who walked six and gave up six runs over 4 1/3 innings, took the news well.

“It’s not surprising. I had a feeling it was just for one start anyway,” he said.

Bailey was asked about his frequent shaking off of catcher Ramon Hernandez. They were out of sync last night throughout.

“Ramon has never caught me before, ever,” Bailey said. “That’s hard for him to be to put in that situation as well. For me if you have a catcher you’ve worked with in the past, there’s not really a whole lot of shaking.”

As for Castillo, his .207 average at Louisville doesn’t exactly scream for a promotion. However, he can be a third catcher and play shortstop, second base and third base. The Reds are strapped for depth.

“I can use him a lot of different ways,” Dusty Baker said. “With our need for bodies, he gives you a lot of players in one.”

And on top of everything else, 1B Joey Votto was scratched this morning from the lineup because he’s still feeling the effects from his inner ear infection. Votto could be available to pinch hit.

Reds lineup:

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

Some Minor League info:

RHP Justin Lehr is back for his third-stint in the organization since 2008. Lehr was acquired from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and will be assigned to Louisville.

The attempted conversion of former IF/OF Jerry Gil to a pitcher hasn’t been very smooth with his 1-6 record. But Gil has his best outing to date on Saturday for Class A Sarasota. He gave up two unearned runs over six innings with three walks, a hit batter and three strikeouts.


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Game on.

Today is the first day of the rest of the season…really. Grapefruit League action starts today and if we’re thinking alike — it’s a very welcomed date on the calendar.

For now, here is the Rays’ lineup. (See earlier post for the Reds)

Bartlett SS, Crawford LF, Longoria 3B, Burrell DH, Aybar 1B, Navarro C, Zobrist 2B, Gross RF, Perez CF   P Hernandez.

In transactions — LHP Bill Bray, SS Paul Janish and C/IF Wilkin Castillo agreed to one-year contracts. The Reds have eight players unsigned.

In other notes from the clubhouse:

Castillo and LHP Pedro Viola were not selected by the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic but no reason was given. Manager Dusty Baker did not rule out carrying three catchers so Castillo could benefit from the D.R.’s decision.

“For Castillo, it’s a chance to show more what he can do,” Baker said. “His chances were increased by not going without being selected.

“If you’re going to have a third catcher, you’d like him to be more versatile. He could play a lot of places.”

“I’m trying to make the team and I’m working hard,” Castillo said. “I am ready to play everywhere — wherever the manager needs me.”

The Reds’ lineup appeared to be similar to what you will see on April 6 for Opening Day.

“Pretty close,” Baker said. “It depends on who we’re facing. On Opening Day, we’ll see [Mets lefty ace Johan] Santana so it might be a little different.”

The lineup will be together for the next four days since Joey Votto, Willy Taveras, Jerry Hairston and Ramon Hernandez are leaving March 1 for the WBC. Baker used a DH in Jacque Jones and doesn’t plan on having pitchers hit until at least March 10. 

This is the first time big league baseball has been played in Port Charlotte since 2002 when the Rangers were in the facility. They moved to Surprise, Ariz., the following year. Since then, a $27 million renovation was done here and the ballpark looks like a very nice place for fans to watch baseball.


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