Results tagged ‘ Willy Taveras ’

Taveras hurt, Bailey learning

During an 8-5 loss to the Giants in 10 innings, CF Willy Taveras was booed lustily when he jogged out of the batter’s box and never ran all the way to first base on an inning-ending groundout to the pitcher. Taveras was lifted in a double-switch before the eighth but it turned out not to be a punishment for not hustling.

The Reds later announced Taveras had a mild strain of his right quadriceps.

“Willy actually got hurt on that bunt play when he was going down first base,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I could tell something was wrong when he slid head first into first base. Then when he didn’t run and everybody was on him, that’s not Willy. I knew something was wrong with him at that point.”

The seventh inning already wasn’t a good one for Taveras. In the top of the inning, Fred Lewis smoked a line drive to the wall. Taveras, who has a penchant for taking bad routes on balls, took a step in and then a circuitous route as the ball whizzed over his head.

Baker defended Taveras on the play.

“That ball was a rocket,” he said. “That’s the toughest ball in baseball in baseball. That was hit like a 2-iron. I didn’t think [the quad strain] had anything to do with it.”

The Reds can only look at a night like this with despair, knowing they had the best pitcher in the league on the ropes and couldn’t close the deal. Tim Lincecum tied a season high by allowing five earned runs and trailed 5-1 through five innings. He had allowed just four over his previous 33 2/3 innings.

It was a match-up of the Majors’ worst hitting team (.241) vs. the best pitcher (2.19 ERA) and best pitching staff (3.49 ERA)

Homer Bailey had his one bad inning in the sixth. The killer was that all four runs in the inning came with two outs following a walk. He was one strike from escaping the inning when Ryan Garko hit a misplaced fastball over the plate for the game-tying two-run double.

“That inning, I was missing everything by a few inches,” said Bailey, who allowed five runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings with three walks and four K’s. “I don’t know what to tell you. I was missing spots.”

It was another learning experience for Bailey, who is winless since July 27.

“He’s in a process where you can’t, or don’t want to, rescue him all the time,” Baker said. “Because then they never learn. It’s a tough way to learn your lessons. Hopefully, he will be better for it.”

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Frustrated Cueto

On July 1 after pitcher Johnny Cueto beat the Diamondbacks with a six-scoreless inning performance, he was 8-4 with a 2.69 ERA in 16 starts. He was a candidate for the All-Star team.

On Tuesday, Cueto was on the wrong end of a 6-3 defeat while giving up five earned runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings with two walks, two hit batters and four strikeouts. For the most part, he pitched decently.

The game started with Kosuke Fukudome’s leadoff homer. But the bigger damage came during the four-run sixth when all the runs scored after there were two outs. Cueto was hurt by the bottom of the order, too. Koyie Hill hit a liner to center field that got past a diving Willy Taveras and scored two.

“It was a great effort and great play but that’s how things have been,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It can’t keep going our way. It’s got to turn and go our way. It’s got to.”

Cubs starter Tom Gorzellany blooped a RBI single into center field and finished Cueto. One more run, charged to Cueto, scored off Daniel Herrera. Cueto was clearly agitated on the mound as the rally mounted. After he was taken out, he chucked his glove down the stairs to the clubhouse tunnel.

“He’s frustrated because he was making great pitches,” Baker said.

Cueto is now 0-6 with a 9.85 ERA over his last six starts. Overall, he is 8-9 with a 4.23 ERA.

“The good thing is I feel good. My arm feels good,” Cueto said. “But we’re coming through a tough situation, for the whole team. We’re not scoring too many runs and I need to be perfect on every pitch. Every time I make a mistake, I pay the consequences.”

Tough times at GABP — the Reds are in the midst of a 1-8 homestand with eight-straight losses, which they haven’t done since April 27-May 6, 2005. They have also lost 14 out of 15 games.

“I know in the bottom of my heart that this isn’t going to last,” Baker said.

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Jocketty manning the phone

Dusty Baker knew who his starting pitcher was for Friday but still wasn’t ready to say. Not until he confirmed with GM Walt Jocketty (my money is still on Justin Lehr).

Problem is, Jocketty is quite busy right now.

“Walt’s manning that phone today, big time. I haven’t seen Walt yet,” Baker said.

It will be interesting to see if any trades go down today, tonight or Friday. The deadline is at 4 p.m. ET. Reliever David Weathers walked through the clubhouse with a smile wondering if reporters had any latest gossip — but there was none.

“I’m counting on you guys to keep me informed,” Weathers joked.

The Reds had a lineup scratch this morning. CF Willy Taveras was removed from the leadoff spot with a sore left wrist. SS Alex Gonzalez was to get a day off but was put back in the lineup and Jerry Hairston Jr. was moved from shortstop to center field.

Reds lineup:

Hairston 8
Gonzalez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Gomes 9
Encarnacion 5
Nix 7
Tatum 2
Cueto 1

The new acqusition, OF Wladimir Balentien, arrived first thing this morning after a redeye flight from Seattle.

“I got here and talked to Dusty and I know a couple of other guys,” Balentien said. “I’m happy to get another chance. I’m happy an organization like Cincinnati gave me an opportunity.”

Unless it’s an emergency, I don’t see Balentien playing today or Friday. He will get at-bats against Edinson Volquez on Friday in a simulated game.

“He hasn’t hit in a week,” Dusty Baker said. “He’s been working out but had nowhere to hit.”

Catcher Ryan Hanigan was out for the sixth-straight start with a sore neck.

“Hanigan is a little better,” Baker said. “He was better a couple of days ago and he might have tried to come back too soon. Hopefully we’ll see tomorrow. Boy, we are injured.”

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A starter wins, Burton's asthma

Monday was exactly the stress-buster the Reds needed during a 6-4 win over the Padres. Homer Bailey set the tone with 7 1/3 innings and he was boosted by four homers — including two by Jonny Gomes. Brandon Phillips had a big three-run shot in the first.

It was just the third win by a Reds starter in 19 games since July 4. The other two were by Bronson Arroyo. Bailey extended himself well, especially near the end when he threw only eight pitches over his final four batters.

“This is a big game for us,” Gomes said. “Coming home, winning at home, getting a good outing from our starting pitcher, pretty much everything we needed and everything we’ve been lacking happened today, which means we can do it. That means there is an upside. We just have to build off of today.”

For the second time this month, Joey Votto was ejected from a game for arguing balls and strikes. In the bottom of the first with two strikes, Votto tried to check swing and was punched out by third base umpire Jerry Crawford on appeal. Votto was enraged and very animated as he barked at Crawford, who tossed him.

“He gestured, twice,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Jerry said he gave him a chance after the first one. It was a matter of frustration because he’s been called out on some questionable pitches lately.”

At a time the Reds have few healthy and productive hitters, Votto can’t be getting ejected like that. They need him too much. He was fortunate the Reds had other avenues of offense tonight.

Willy Taveras had a nice night in the field with two outfield assists. Taveras threw out Kyle Blanks at the plate with a one-hop throw in the second and Adrian Gonzalez on a throw to third base on a double play that ended the fourth.

“That’s the Willy I remember,” Baker said. “When I was with the Cubs, he threw us out three days in a row at the plate. I was kind of cussing Willy at that time. Now I’m loving him.”

Reliever Jared Burton got some positive news from some blood work done regarding his shortness of breath and shoulder injury. Burton was diagnosed with asthma. His shoulder is already feeling better, he said, after some rest.

“It was problem at the start of the season,” Burton said of the asthma after the game. “I thought it was a phase and continued to push it back and push it back. It finally caught up with me and I continued to wear my body down. Once it started bothering my shoulder, I came forward with it. luckily the blood work turned out OK.”

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Rosales up, what's next for OF?

Sorry for a late blog posting — but it’s been a little hectic and I fell behind. The first person I saw when I walked into the clubhouse was infielder Adam Rosales, who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace the injured Jay Bruce.

It was Rosales’ first-ever time in New York. The closest he’ll get to Manhattan is flying over it.

“They called me last night at 11 p.m.,” Rosales said. “I got all packing done and took a 7:15 a.m. flight from Louisville. It’s been a long day already for me. I’m catching a flight after the game to go to Salt Lake City to see the family. I didn’t get the full experience. I saw the Statue of Liberty from the window of the plane, Manhattan and the Empire State Building.”

The Reds have some moves to contemplate over the All-Star break and expect them to recalibrate the roster some for the second half. They are currently carrying 13 pitchers and want 12. Another position player will be added, manager Dusty Baker confirmed.

The club is down to four outfielders — Willy Taveras, Chris Dickerson, Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix. Throw Jerry Hairston Jr. into the mix and that makes five. Hairston has been playing shortstop mostly with Alex Gonzalez out. Rosales played a lot of shortstop at Louisville and could go there with Paul Janish and free Hairston up the outfield.

Or the Reds could make a trade before the July 31 deadline. Baker was asked if Bruce’s injury made more likely a bat would be added from the outside.

“It depends,” Baker said on Sunday. “Everybody knows you’re in need and they want to get the better of the deal. It’s harder to trade now than ever before because most teams want your young players. [General manager] Walt [Jocketty] has already been on the phone already. We’ll see.”  

It didn’t look likely that Drew Stubbs or Chris Heisey would get promotions. Stubbs, Cincinnati’s 2006 first-round Draft pick, came into Sunday batting .279 with two home runs and 25 RBIs for the Bats.

“What does that equate to here?” Baker said. “He’s still trying to figure out his stroke. Let’s not rush these guys like we did with a whole bunch of guys. If they’re going to be here, you want them to play every day. … Let’s let these kids play and develop. All we see is their batting averages. All we see is hitting. We don’t see the total game if you want to win in the big leagues. There is base running, throwing, getting signs and fundamental stuff. If they’re going to make mistakes, let them make them there.”

And finally, Baker was asked about the lack of national notice on Francisco Cordero but turned the answer into a different direction. He used it as a chance to fire a shot across the bow of ESPN, his former employer for one year in 2007.

“It seems like publicity we get is when we got killed, 22-1 [on Monday at Philadelphia],” Baker said. “They showed every hit. They showed everything. I took exception to that. Those are my people at ESPN, why do we get all the publicity in the world when it’s a joke?”

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Leake, Boxberger updates

It’s been pretty quiet on the top Draft pick front with the Reds but that could be changing soon. Progress has been made in negotiations with the top two selections — No. 8 overall pick Mike Leake and No. 43 overall Brad Boxberger.

“It’s going very well with both of those guys,” Reds scouting director Chris Buckley said by phone on Wednesday. “We haven’t been in a super duper rush because both guys pitched a lot and were tired. Hopefully, we’re pretty close.”

Both players happen to be representing by the same agent, Dan Horwitz. He is the agent for five of the Reds picks overall this year.

If Leake and Boxberger signed soon, neither would likely get a tremendous amount of work — especially Leake. This season, he has 142 innings pitched and he is less than a month removed from the College World Series.

“We haven’t pressed him too hard,” Buckley said. “The kid wanted some time off and we thought he should take the time off.”

The deadline to sign Draft picks is Aug. 17

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 8
Hairston 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Hernandez 2
Bruce 9
Encarnacion 5
Bailey 1

Chris Dickerson is playing mostly because Philadelphia is starting right-hander Rodrigo Lopez. Dusty Baker said that Willy Taveras would be back in the lineup Thursday when the Phillies start Jamie Moyer. Baker said that he was not platooning Dickerson and Taveras.

Ramon Hernandez is batting .250 this season but is hitting .333 with runners in scoring position. He is fourth on the team with 34 RBIs. He was the clutch dude with a game-winning RBI single off of Brad Lidge in Tuesday’s 4-3 win.

“Everybody has to like those situations,” Hernandez said. “You have nothing to lose and a lot to win.

You contribute and make your team win. You always want to be in that spot. I don’t mind.”

As a follow-up on Brandon Phillips’ sac bunt Tuesday — the Elias Sports Bureau said he was the first MLB player to produce two home runs and a sacrifice bunt in the same game since Arizona’s Conor Jackson did it Aug. 10, 2007, vs. the Nationals. Aaron Boone was the last Reds player to do that on May 28, 2002, at Florida.

And a two day’s later follow: Paul Janish is the first Reds position player to pitch more than once in the same season since Mel Queen did it seven times in 1966.

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Return delayed for Volquez

The Reds recently learned that they will be without Edinson Volquez for longer than expected. Volquez was shut down from throwing after a second MRI revealed there was still inflammation on the flexor mass muscle that connects the forearm to the bone by the elbow. The first MRI taken in early June when Volquez went on the DL with tendinitis didn’t reveal as much because he still had some swelling.

“I guess they found things that were more serious than anticipated,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s in good spirits so I guess that’s where it starts. It’s not serious enough to operate.”

Team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek will examine Volquez again on Tuesday but Volquez was told not to throw until the inflammation completely subsides. That will push back his return date, significantly.

“With a starting pitcher, you need time to build back up and rehab starts,” head trainer Mark Mann said. “You’re probably talking beyond the All-Star Break.”

“It just means it will take a little longer but we still expect a full recovery,” GM Walt Jocketty said. “You have to make sure it heals completely. Those things generally do.”

The Reds have still not named a starter to pitch on Saturday at Cleveland, which was the spot Volquez and first replacement Matt Maloney occupied.

“Nah, you guys name him,” Baker said.

OK, paging Homer Bailey. He is scheduled to pitch on Saturday for Triple-A Louisville so it lines up perfectly.

In five June starts, Bailey is 4-0 with a 0.47 ERA. In 38 1/3 innings, he’s allowed just seven walks with 38 strikeouts. With the news that Volquez will be out, this could be the best extended chance Bailey will get to prove he belongs in the Majors.

“Whoever starts on Saturday needs to give us some quality,” Baker said.

Reds lineup

Dickerson 8
Hairston Jr. 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Gomes dh
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Richar 5
Arroyo 1

Other news of the day:

Jocketty is keeping an eye out for some offensive help on the trade market but it’s been quiet.

“There’s not a lot of action going,” Jocketty said. “There are too many clubs that feel they’re still in it.”

Baker spent today working again in the cage with Willy Taveras, who did not start on Wednesday.

“If we have to go down there every day, he’s going to get it,” Baker said. “We weren’t wrong in our assessment of what we needed.”

Danny Richar got a start at third base, partially because he’s an extra left-handed hitter for the lineup against a right-handed pitcher. Baker said that Paul Janish would likely get a start at shortstop on Thursday and Jerry Hairston Jr. would move to third base.

Finally, Baker mentioned a chance encounter he had at lunch with former NHL player Shayne Corson at his Toronto restaurant. Why is that interesting? Because Corson had a long battle with anxiety attacks brought on by the premature death of his father at the age of 45. Corson played from 1985-2004, mostly with the Canadiens, Oilers and Maple Leafs.

“We had a really good conversation,” Baker said. “He had to skip a playoff game. I guess he went through it for a while.”

Obviously, the Reds have a player going through a similar issue in Joey Votto – who revealed his depression and anxiety issues on Tuesday.

“It’s very coincidental. It was almost planned,” Baker said of the Corson encounter.

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Votto's night, notes

Clearly Joey Votto isn’t entirely the cure for what ails the Reds. He was 1-for-4 in his first game back but his team notched just six hits in a 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays. Toronto had a 6-0 lead until the seventh.

Votto had a third-inning single — which he hit on the first pitch. He also had two strikeouts and a groundout.

“It was great having Joey out there,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He swung the bat pretty good considering he hadn’t played in a while. He’s going to get better every day.”

“I felt fine. My swing felt good,” Votto said. “I missed some pitches. I’m not going to say I’m rusty but it’s a little different hopping out in front of a big league pitcher than hitting batting practice and playing against A-ballers.”

Other notes:

  • Willy Taveras batted leadoff and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Danny Richar pinch-hit for Taveras in the ninth. In his last 26 games, Taveras is 11-for-106 (.104).

 

  • Chris Dickerson batted ninth and was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Dickerson is the Reds’ hottest hitter and is 9-for-12 over his current six-game hitting streak.

 

  • For those wondering why Ryan Hanigan goes back to sitting on the bench despite batting .325, check his clutch numbers. Besides his eight RBIs, he has a .167 average with runners in scoring position. Ramon Hernandez, who started 18 of the previous 20 games at first base while Votto was out, is a .292 hitter with runners in scoring position. Hanigan will get more chances to catch because Hernandez will need some breaks from the ever-increasing grind.

 

  • Edwin Encarnacion was the DH and went 0-for-4 on Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville during his latest rehab assignment game.

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Dickerson starting, Inbox open

I am planning on doing another edition of the Reds Inbox (formerly called the Mailbag) for Monday. Please click on the comments section below this post to send a question that might be included. You can also e-mail them to mark.sheldon@mlb.com. Just put ‘Inbox’ in the subject area.

The Reds lineup is out and Willy Taveras is not leading off or playing today. It’s Chris Dickerson in the top spot and playing center field.

Dickerson 8
Hairston 5
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Hernandez 3
Bruce 9
Gonzalez 6
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

Reds manager Dusty Baker said it won’t be an extended break for Taveras, who is on a 1-for-45 clip at the plate and 8-for-94 (.085) over the last 23 games. The White Sox have lefty starters the next two games.

Baker revealed some displeasure with the second-guessing of his decision to stick with Taveras.

“I know he’s struggling but we tend to jump from one guy to the next guy on who we want to play or who is not playing or whatever,” Baker said. “First everybody wanted [Laynce] Nix to play instead of Dickerson or somebody instead of somebody else. They want Dickerson instead of Taveras. It’s a long season. You have to go with a guy’s track record too.

“Quite honestly, I’m getting a little tired of justifying who I play and how long and when. We’re doing what we can do right now.”

Speaking of Laynce Nix, this weekend he will get to play against his younger brother Jayson Nix, a bench player for Chicago.

“I don’t really get excited about too much but getting to play against him and see him in uniform, it will be good to spend some time with him,” the older Nix said. “It will be fun.”

Joey Votto, who went 0-for-2 for Class A Sarasota on Thursday, got six at-bats during an extended spring intraquad game in Sarasota today. It was believed he had two hits.

What’s the plan for Votto ahead? Sarasota is off for the Florida State League All-Star game.

“We’ll have to talk with him and see,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “He’ll probably be out on a rehab for a while. He’ll probably move up a level or two.”

It’s highly possible that Votto could go to Double-A Carolina, who will be at home for five games starting on Monday. Class A Dayton is home this weekend but then breaks next week for the Midwest League All-Star game.

“I think he’s leaving today to go to Dayton,” Baker said.

Carolina seems even more viable a stop now that first baseman and 2008 top draft pick Yonder Alonso broke the hamate bone in his right hand. It happened while swinging at a pitch in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Tennessee. He is on Carolina’s disabled list.

“We’ll probably bring him here to be looked at. That usually requires surgery  but I haven’t heard for sure yet.”

UPDATE at 7:05 p.m.: Alex Gonzalez was a late scratch because of right elbow tightness. Paul Janish started at shortstop and batted eighth. Ryan Hanigan was moved up to bat seventh.

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What to do with Taveras?

In the previous blog post, I mentioned Willy Taveras and his struggles and Dusty Baker’s hopes that fans will ease up on the uber-struggling center fielder.

Taveras is now 0-for-13 since getting a first-inning single on Tuesday that snapped a 0-for-32 streak. He’s in a 1-for-45 clip overall. He is now batting .219 with a .270 on-base percentage, dreadful and plainly inexcusable numbers for a leadoff hitter.

During his 0-for-5 day in Thursday’s 7-0 loss to the Braves, Taveras struck out with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning. In the fifth with runners on first and second and no outs, he couldn’t get a bunt down and with two strikes, popped out to first base. That brought out the boos from the fans at GABP.

Baker was asked if it was time to move Taveras out of the leadoff spot.

“I don’t know,” he responded. “You’re asking me questions I really haven’t had time to think of. The problem is, I had Jerry [Hairston Jr.] leading off and he wasn’t getting on either.”

To me it’s a no-brainer…move Taveras down. Let Hairston try again, or go with Chris Dickerson.

If not Taveras, who should leadoff for the Reds?

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