Results tagged ‘ Willy Taveras ’

Passing time during rain delay

It looks we’ll have to kill some time since it’s raining at Great American Ball Park. All signs are pointing to showers being out of here by 1:30 p.m. ET. Rain delays have been too common in these parts. It’s the 11th Reds game that’s been delayed and the eighth one at GABP this season.

*UPDATE: Game scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m.

Here is the Reds’ starting lineup, with Ryan Hanigan moved up to the fifth spot.

Taveras 8
Gonzalez 6
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Hanigan 2
Bruce 9
Hairston 5
Rosales 3
Maloney 1

  • Fans have emailed and complained about Hanigan hitting eighth much of the time but don’t get used to this. It’s a one day thing since Ramon Hernandez is getting a rest.

“It’s the best lineup I could come up with,” manager Dusty Baker said Thursday morning. “Hanigan is swinging a pretty good bat and can do some things with them. I just told him to pretend he’s hitting where he always hits and do the same thing. Don’t do anything more.

“You don’t want too many lefties together or too many righties. You can bring in one [reliever] to take care of four guys. You want to make them strategize some.”

  • As for Hernandez, he was 1-for-27 over his last eight games. He’s also played first base for 15 of the last 17 games during Joey Votto’s absence.

“When I started catching groundballs, I stopped hitting singles,” Hernandez joked. “It’s unbelievable how everything changed around so quickly. It’s never easy.”

Hernandez picked out a bat and headed for the cage.

“Today I’m going to the cage and hit lefty,” the right-handed hitting Hernandez said. “Maybe it will fix the right side. You never know.”

  • Baker said that Hernandez would likely catch at least a couple of games this weekend vs. the White Sox since he’s a former American Leaguer with the Orioles and A’s.

“He knows those guys better than anybody that we have here,” Baker said.

  • Willy Taveras got his one hit in the first inning on Tuesday that snapped a 0-for-32, but has gone 0-for-8 since entering Thursday.

“Hopefully the people stick with him a little longer,” Baker said. “The razzing and stuff doesn’t help at all. I can understand it but it doesn’t help. It actually makes its worse.”

  • According to Baseball Prospectus’ latest rankings, the Reds have a 13 percent chance of making the playoffs. In the NL Central, the Cardinals have a 49 percent chance, the Brewers have a 35 percent chance and the Cubs are at 26 percent.

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Baker and Phillips

We’ll never know exactly what Dusty Baker told Brandon Phillips about not taking on a 3-0 count when ordered. But we know it’s been handled.

“It’s the first time it’s happened to me since I’ve been managing and it’s the last time it’s going to happen,” Baker said on Sunday morning. “Simple. End of subject.”

Baker wouldn’t say but it’s likely Phillips was fined for the incident. He liked the desire, just not the execution.

“You wish everybody thought like that,” Baker said. “The thought process wasn’t wrong. You want everybody to think like that. I thought like that. If you’ve ever been in the military, you still have to follow orders. That’s what it boils down to. You don’t want to take that thought and desire away.”

Reds lineup:

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

Willy Taveras and his 0-for-32 skid were given the day off.

“I’m just going to work with him today, personally. When they’re on the field, I’ll be with him going over a few things,” Baker said. “It’s just a little different voice, probably saying the same thing.

“When we got Willy, everybody knew we got an unrefined product. Willy has a lot there. Just let us do our job to help refine him and make him better. If he wasn’t unrefined, then he wouldn’t have been in a lot of places in a short period of time.”

Saturday in KC

I”ve been amazed by the large numbers of Reds fans I’ve seen in Kansas City the last couple of days. I’ve seen them here at the ballpark, at a local watering hole, walking around the Plaza district, at lunch today and at the Negro League Museum. If you’re ever in K.C., I highly recommend you checking out the museum — it’s fantastic. You’ll learn a lot about some great players and the $8 admission is reasonable.

Dusty Baker took several Reds players to the Negro League Museum today, including Jay Bruce, Ryan Hanigan, Chris Dickerson, Willy Taveras, Paul Janish and Carlos Fisher.

“It was good. The guys learned a lot like going to a library,” Baker said. “It’s the second time I’ve been there. Everywhere you go, you see something different. It’s something special. The guys liked it.”

It’s been four years since I had last been to K.C. so I couldn’t wait today to pay a lunch visit at my favorite local BBQ place — Fiorella’s Jackstack. Dare I say, Jackstack’s BBQ sauce is as good as Montgomery Inn’s (gasp!) and I will be bringing some home with me. Like M.I., Jackstack’s original sauce has a sweet flavor.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Gonzalez 6
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Gomes DH
Bruce 9
Hernandez 3
Rosales 5
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

The people are the same — the order is slightly different than last night’s debacle. Gomes moved up from 7th to 5th and Rosales and Hanigan flip-flopped. Obviously, the person leadoff spot is the one that likely has you (choose one of the following:) unhappy, perplexed or irate. Put me down as perplexed.   

Here is the breakdown of offensive woe lately:

Jay Bruce……. 5-for-47
Chris Dickerson.. .296 in last 25g
Jonny Gomes…….. .462 in last 5g
Alex Gonzalez……….. .304 in last 6g
Jerry Hairston Jr….. 3-game hit streak
Ryan Hanigan…………… .286 in last 6g
Ramon Hernandez… 0-for-18, 2-for-29
Paul Janish………….. 3-for-19
Laynce Nix……………..3-for-22
Brandon Phillips…….. .318 since April
Adam Rosales………….  3-for-32
Willy Taveras……. 0-for-28, 1-for-33

Team…………… .175 in last 8g (49-280)

More on Taveras:

Baker was asked about Taveras, who besides not hitting well — isn’t running well. He’s been battling with a sore right hamstring, and was unable to beat out a bunt during the first inning on Friday.

“Speed men if they hurt something, you will be a little apprehensive,” Baker said. “He’s running better. He’s running smoother and getting out of the blocks a lot quicker.”

Taveras came into Saturday batting just .234 with a .288 on-base percentage. Baker doesn’t believe Taveras’ hamstring has an effect on his poor hitting.

“No, he wasn’t hitting before that,” Baker said. “We have to find a way to get him on base. He makes us go. Not to put it all on Willy, when our offense is clicking, Willy is getting on base a lot. He needs to get on base pretty soon or he’s about to go crazy. He holds a lot inside. He wants to do so well.”

As for why Hanigan was moved to ninth behind Adam Rosales, Baker wanted to take advantage of Hanigan’s ability to hit and run and go the opposite way and Rosales moves a little better ahead of Hanigan.

There is an off day on Monday but the Reds will stay on rotation and not skip anybody. Part of the reason is Bronson Arroyo hasn’t fared well the past couple of years vs. the Braves, who are in Cincinnati next week. Arroyo had one of his worst outings vs. Atlanta on April 25 — 9 ER, 9 H, over 5 2/3 innings.

I took a walk around the lower concourse of the remodel Kauffman Stadium before going back to the press box from the clubhouse. Out beyond the fountains in the outfield was the usual kids fare, like a mini baseball field, batting and pitching cages and a playground. One thing found that I’ve never seen before at a big league ballpark — a miniature golf course. 

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KC, the DH and Volquez news

Greetings from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City — one of the few ballparks from the 1960s and 70s that was built right (actually opened in 1973). During my American League days, this was one of my preferred places to visit. The sightlines are great, the field always looks good and of course, there are the fountains. When the weather is pleasant, it’s a nice way to watch baseball.

“It was big but it was pretty,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who last visited here in 1986.

The Reds last played here in 1999, and a power outage during the series opener forced a doubleheader.

 

kauffman stadium.jpgThe ‘K’ as it’s known, underwent a major $220 million renovation that was finished before this season. Although the grassy knolls in the outfield are gone — it looks fantastic. The video scoreboard is massive and they have the LED scoreboard in the fences also. The only complaint is they moved the press box a few floors up but it’s really nice.

“This field is way ahead of its time,” said Jonny Gomes, who played here often as a member of the Rays. “They just did that stuff in the outfield and guys think this park is brand new. A lot of guys that come here for the first time don’t realize it’s old.”

Gomes is the Reds’ first designated hitter of the season in Friday’s game and Baker said he would DH again Saturday.

“There’s nothing better than having a good day at the yard DHing,” said Gomes. “You work about three minutes and 30 seconds in the whole thing. On the flip side, you go crazy. There’s nothing worse than a bad day at the yard DHing when you’re just sitting on all your at-bats. It goes both ways and evens itself out.”

Gomes had 229 games logged as a DH over his previous six seasons. He batted .219 (174-for-794) as a DH but hit 33 of his 66 career home runs and drove in 108 runs in that spot.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Gonzalez 6
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Hernandez 3
Bruce 9
Gomes DH
Hanigan 2
Rosales 5
Maloney 1

Willy Taveras, in a career high 0-for-24 slump, was back in the leadoff spot again. Baker said it was because Taveras had experience playing the Royals in past years during Interleague play. However, Taveras was 0-for-4 in his previous meeting against KC starter Luke Hochevar.

Injury updates:

RHP Edinson Volquez (elbow tendintis) threw for the first time on Thursday back in Cincinnati since he went back on the DL on June 1. Volquez long tossed, throwing 25 balls at a distance of 60 feet. Volquez, who saw medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek on Wednesday, was scheduled to throw again on Friday.

“He’ll probably take a couple of days and when we get back, we’ll see where we are as far as getting him on a mound,” pitching coach Dick Pole said. “We’ll see how he feels when we get back. He said he’s had no problem with his elbow, his forearm – nothing. He felt fine.”

3B Edwin Encarnacion (left wrist chip fracture) was slated to take batting practice on Friday. It was to be his first hitting since having a setback with soreness last weekend.

Hello, Bad Boy:

As expected, there was a Steve Stewart sighting here. Stewart, the Reds’ former radio voice, now does Royals games. Stewart is going to join Marty Brennaman in the booth for the second inning tonight. No doubt, Marty will light up his old partner a few times for

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Bruce rested, Baker on Taveras

Geez…did you guys ever turn out for a running blog thread in the two days I was off — one whole response — from corbi11. I’m overwhelmed, really. I think that might have the equivilent of hearing crickets. Oh well. Let’s move forward.

Corbi11 asked about Jay Bruce in that comment he posted and sure enough, Bruce is getting a day off from manager Dusty Baker on Sunday. He’s on a 2-for-32 skid, also 6-for-52, and has his batting average down to .212 with a .300 on-base percentage.

“He told me I’m going to sit with him [in the dugout] a little bit and learn some stuff,” Bruce said. “I’m going to take it in. I’ll be ready for whatever task I’m given when it comes to that time.”

Baker is a fan of stacking rest days with scheduled off days, which was why Bruce got this day off.

“It’s tough on you mentally when you’re not getting hits and you’re used to getting hits,” Baker said. “He’s been the better the last few days with pitch selection and not chasing stuff.”

Baker didn’t think the 22-year-old Bruce was putting too much pressure on himself.

“I think they’re putting pressure on him with how they’re pitching him,” Baker said. “Putting pressure on yourself has nothing to do with what you’re swinging at. He would have imploded by now.”

Bruce worked a walk that led to the winning run in the 11th inning on Saturday. After being in a 1-2 count, he fouled off two pitches and drew the free pass with a full count. He’s also had a rash of warning track drives the past couple of weeks.

“Somebody told me once that will never even out – balls hit hard vs. hits that you get,” Bruce said. “I can’t get upset about it. All I can do is hit the ball hard and let it take it’s course. The bottom line is I’m not getting any hits lately. I expect a lot out of myself and it’s been a struggle lately. I think it will be good for me in the end.”

Reds lineup:

Hairston 3B
Dickerson CF
Phillips 2B
Nix RF
Hernandez 1B
Gomes LF
Gonzalez SS
Hanigan C
Arroyo P

More news:

3B Edwin Encarnacion is going for a MRI on Monday. His left wrist is still sore after several days of taking batting practice. Encarnacion has been on the DL since April 28 because of a chip fracture in his left wrist.

As well as Dickerson has played in center field lately, someone asked Baker if Willy Taveras’ job was still safe. Baker bristled at the notion.

“I get tired of hearing that. I really do,” Baker responded. “First the season started and it was ‘how come Dickerson isn’t playing every day?’ Then Nix was doing good and it was ‘how come Nix isn’t playing every day?’ Whoever is doing good, why aren’t they playing every day? It doesn’t work like that. We’re a team. Everybody is going to play.

“It was get Hairston out of there and play Rosales because he was hot when he came up. Now [Adam] Rosales is a little colder and I don’t hear as many people hollering about playing Rosales.

“You don’t shove Willy. Willy is my center fielder. You just have to feel fortunate you have somebody like Dickerson that can play when Willy is unable to play.”

Personally, I believe that Dickerson plays center field defensively better than Taveras. But I agree with Baker’s point. Fans go hot and cold on people week to week by how they’re hitting and you can’t run a team like that, especially during a long season when you have to get 25 players through 162 games.

Post-game:

Too many innings to write a new entry. The 14-inning loss by a 6-3 score was a day about chances. The Reds were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 16 on base. For the three-game series, they were 3-for-31 (.097) with runners in scoring position and stranded 36 men on base over the series and batted .195 (23-for-118) as a team. 

Bruce did get a pinch-hit double in the 7th inning, by the way.

I will be covering the draft from Cincinnati, so no game updates. But I will be updating info here for the Draft, and on Twitter too.

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Kent Mercker in the house

Towards the end of last season when he was injured and retirement was near, someone asked reliever Kent Mercker what his next vocation would be. Without hesistation, he said he’d be “turning vodka into urine.” Everyone around him in the clubhouse laughed.

That was quintessential Mercker, who was one of the smartest and funniest players I’ve encountered in this game.

But he’s found a part-time gig that brings him around the Reds again. Mercker is here at Busch Stadium to make his regular season radio debut working with Marty Brennaman tonight and Thursday. He’s slated to do a handful of games later in the season. I can only imagine he’ll make for entertaining radio during the games. Let me know how he does.

The reason for the change: Chris Welsh returned home for his son’s graduation and Jeff Brantley shifted from the radio booth to TV with George Grande.When Mercker first got here, he didn’t know where to go — so he went to visit a familiar face, Dick Pole, who was by the Reds bullpen — which is usually a no-no for credentialed media.

“I will light him up for that,” Brennaman said. 

A few years ago when the Reds stayed near a decepit mall in St. Louis adjacent to Union Station, the stores were all T-shirt shops and fudge stores. One day Adam Dunn was given a white T-shirt with a photo of Mercker’s smiling mug on it. Above the picture read “World’s Greatest Teammate.”

On to some news…

Willy Taveras is out of the lineup again because of a sore right hamstring. Taveras’ inability to catch up to Nick Stavinoha’s sixth-inning drive to center field let two-runs score on the double, including the go-ahead run in a 5-2 loss. Taveras spent a while in manager Dusty Baker’s office on Wednesday.

“He’s about the same,” Baker said. “I had a long talk with him today. We’ll hopefully try it again this weekend some time against the Cubs.”

Chris Dickerson started in center field but Jerry Hairston Jr. was back in the lineup and moved up to the leadoff spot. Hairston missed the last two games with a stomach flu. Why was Hairston moved up?

“No. 1, I wanted to split up right-left-right-left,” Baker said. “No. 2, last year Hairston was an outstanding leadoff man.”

The Reds were 25-19 last season when Hairston led off.

“Hopefully we can get some of the same,” Hairston said. “Whether I leadoff or hit second, I know my job is to get on base. Obviously hitting second, I may take a few more pitches to give the guy in front of you an opportunity to steal a base.”

Alex Gonzalez was also given a rest after he made the last 11 starts. Paul Janish got a start at shortstop.

“He’s been playing a lot,” Baker said. “I don’t want Janish to be out too long. I thought about doing it tomorrow but that’s not fair to Janish getting one start and he has to face [Cardinals Thursday starter Chris] Carpenter.”

Almost forgot to mention — no starter was named on Saturday yet. Baker said it was definitely not someone already up here. That seems to all but point to Matt Maloney to get the start vs. the Cubs.

Reds lineup:

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

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That's 1-4 on the trip…

This really isn’t the way the Reds planned for this trip to go. A 5-2 loss has given them four losses in five games on the road trip through beer towns Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Along the way, they’ve lost Joey Votto (stress), Edinson Volquez (elbow tendinitis), Jerry Hairston Jr. (stomach bug) and Willy Taveras (right hamstring). Brandon Phillips (thumb) missed most of the first game.

On the decisive hit Tuesday, a two-run double in the sixth by STL’s Nick Stavinoha, Taveras froze for a moment and then couldn’t chase down the drive over his head and to the wall in center field. Even if he took a step in, a healthy Taveras would normally catch up to that ball. He missed the previous three games with a sore right hamstring.

“Ordinarily he runs that ball down and the score is 3-2 with two outs,” Baker said. “I guess we have to go back to the drawing board on him. [Chris] Dickerson will play center field [Wednesday]. I thought Willy was in better shape, leg-wise, than that. So we’ll have to take a little more time.”

Bronson Arroyo had a tough night — five earned runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. He threw 111 pitches, including 14 in one AB to Skip Schumaker. Drilling Yadier Molina in the back with a two-strike fastball in the sixth led to the Stavinoha hit.

“He’s looking breaking ball and I’ve beat him breaking ball all night,” Arroyo said. “If I throw a fastball anywhere on the inner-half [of the plate], he’s out. And I just tried to throw it too hard. It was a two-seamer and it just ran into his back. That was the catalyst that started the whole inning. Looking back, if I could take one thing back the whole game, I’d love to have that pitch back.”

And the Reds would love to have this road trip back.

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Burton demoted, Alonso to Carolina

To make room on the roster for Edinson Volquez’s return from the DL, reliever Jared Burton was told on Monday he was being optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

In 20 appearances, Burton has a 6.33 ERA. Of his 10 inherited runners, seven have scored. It’s been rough especially the last few outings. He’s allowed six earned runs over his last four innings.

“We know he has the stuff. We’ve seen it,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Burton. “They’re going to try and pitch him a lot. Sometime when you’re not doing what you know you can do, it’s a natural thing to lose confidence. We want him to go back, get his act together, come back and throw the way we know he can throw and come back with confidence and conviction.

“If he pitches the way he’s capable of pitching, it will be a temporary situation.”

In other situations, newcomer Carlos Fisher might have been the likely choice simply because of his lack of tenure. But Fisher has pitched too well since his call-up from Louisville to go back down.

Because of Josh Hamilton, many overlook that Burton was the other Rule 5 draft pick the Reds took in 2007. He emerged that season as a tough eighth-inning set-up guy and before he strained a lat muscle last summer, was even nastier against opponent.

“Hopefully you all know I’m not pitching the way that I can pitch,” Burton said. “For some reason, it’s just a little mental thing. I have to get a little confidence going and have some things go my way and get locked back in. I know what I can do. I know how much I can help the team when I pitch the way I’m capable of pitching.”

In other news, Willy Taveras still has a sore right hamstring but could appear later in the game. He should be back Tuesday. IF/OF Jerry Hairston is not playing Monday becuase of flu-like symptoms.

Another  transaction of interest for you: 1B Yonder Alonso was promoted to Double-A Carolina today. Alonso batted .302 with 7 HR, 37 RBIs 22 BB, 28 K and .378 OBP and .503 SLG for high Class A Sarasota.

Put me in the camp that does not believe Alonso should be promoted while Votto is out. Tearing it up at the Florida State League is a far cry from the big leagues. Had Alonso been posting those numbers at Double-A, I’d have no problem with him jumping two levels. Three levels? No. He was only Drafted this time last year. You don’t bring a guy in his situation up as a stopgap. When he comes up, it should be either as a September call-up or for good.

Reds lineup:

 

Dickerson 8

Rosales 5

Bruce 9

Phillips 4

Hernandez 3

Nix 7

Gonzalez 6

Hanigan 2

Volquez 1

 

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Volquez ready, Encarnacion update

RHP Edinson Volquez is ready to pitch again, really really ready to pitch. Volquez will come off the DL on Monday to start against the Cardinals.

“Oh man, I can’t wait. It’s been two weeks,” Volquez said.

Volquez hasn’t pitched since mid-back spasms had him leave his May 16 start at San Diego. After waiting a few days, he was placed on the DL for the first time in his career. Since then, he’s practically lived in a pool, where’s he done much of his rehab in water.

“No more, I quit,” Volquez said of his pool workouts. “You have to work double. It was my first time on the DL. I didn’t know it would be like that. Early to the ballpark and work more than everybody.”

That’s exactly what manager Dusty Baker had in mind.

“That’s how you want them, tired,” Baker said. “You want guys to refrain from going on the DL. That’s how it was in San Francisco. They worked a lot harder on DL than they did off the DL. If you go on the DL, you have to work.”

Volquez threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Saturday without any soreness.

A corresponding roster move will come either after Sunday’s game, or be announced on Monday.

3B Edwin Encarnacion is still a ways away from returning to the lineup.

“Edwin is going to at least be a couple of more weeks,” Baker said. “He was hitting .127 when he left so he has to go get some at-bats. I already talked to him about it. I said I’d rather you over ready when you come back than under ready. We can’t and he can’t afford to struggle when you get back.”

Encarnacion hit soft tosses in the cage for the third-straight day and is expected to take batting practice on the field this week in St. Louis. After that, it’s a rehab assignment. Encarnacion has been on the DL April 28 with a chip fracture in his left wrist.

“I never thought it would be this long,” Encarnacion said. “I have to make sure I’m 100 percent when I go back in.”

CF Willy Taveras was out for the second-straight start with a sore right hamstring. Chris Dickerson started in his place. Here is the (late for me to post) lineup.

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

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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