Results tagged ‘ Wladimir Balentien ’

Wanted: A healthy outfielder

The Reds have been playing the last several days with only three healthy outfielders. Dusty Baker said that Jay Bruce, bothered by a sore right side, isn’t going to return during the Cardinals series.

“I’m not even sure when in Colorado because we have a tough stretch of guys that would test that,” Baker said.

There is contemplation of getting another outfielder here but the Reds have no one in the Minors on the 40-man roster and no space to make room. One candidate at Triple-A Louisville, Wladimir Balentien, just went on the DL with an oblique. Baker said that Dave Sappelt is also being considered but indicated they could be looking outside the organization.

“We’re looking under bridges, rocks, everywhere. We can’t find one right now. Walt [Jocketty] is looking daily,” Baker said.

One in-house possibilty could be 1B/OF Danny Dorn at Louisville. Dorn is batting .307 in 81 games and Baker was impressed by him in Spring Training. Dorn is also left-handed, which would help the depth with Laynce Nix and Jim Edmonds on the DL and Bruce out.

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Postgame: Transactions coming?

The transaction wire should be active with Reds moves on Tuesday following a lousy night at the yard — an 11-2 Reds loss to the Giants.

*Laynce Nix went down with a sprained left ankle running out an infield single in the third inning.

*Jim Edmonds strained a right oblique muscle swinging at a pitch in the sixth.
*The club also learned that already injured RHP Russ Springer will need surgery to repair a herniated disc and will miss 6-8 weeks.

Nix didn’t believe he was going to miss any games.

“Slowing down, I sort of jammed my ankle into the ground,” Nix said. “I didn’t roll it or anything too significant. I don’t think it’s serious. It shouldn’t keep me out of action. I should be fine to at least pinch-hit.”

Edmonds, who was acquired in an Aug. 9 trade, is likely headed to the DL.

“This has been an ongoing deal with my Achilles and reacting to all the things I’ve been favoring,” Edmonds said. “It’s been sore the last week or two weeks. It was getting worse. The last couple of days not playing much, I thought it was going to get better. It gave me a false sense of security.”

*The Reds have no other outfielders on their 40-man roster but can free up a spot by moving Springer from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Wladimir Balentien could be a leading candidate since he’s tearing it up at Triple-A Louisville lately. Dave Sappelt is also playing well but has only 11 games in AAA and started the year in A ball.

*An infielder is always possible with Juan Francisco or Yonder Alonso already being on the 40-man.

*Edinson Volquez’s two-thirds of an inning was a bullpen buster as well, especially two days after Johnny Cueto lasted only three innings at Los Angeles on Saturday. Jordan Smith had to pitch a career-high 4 1/3 innings. Mike Leake was unavailable tonight because he worked on Saturday.

*That means another reliever could be summoned for reinforcements.

“We’re discussing that now. That really put a strain and stress on my bullpen,” Dusty Baker said.

More quotes from post-game —

“The main thing is for nobody to panic. It’s one game. You want to win every game. At this point we’re 5-2 on this road trip with two more games left. We still have a chance for a very good road trip.” – Dusty Baker

“A lot of people told me that – one day you got it and the next day, you can’t find it. Everything is fine. My arm is strong and everything.” — Edinson Volquez

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Miles released, Balentien outrighted

A couple of Reds transactions —

Infielder Aaron Miles cleared waivers and has been released. Outfielder Wladimir Balentien cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Class AAA Louisville.

Both players were designated for assignment on Opening Day but were told they wouldn’t make the team on April 2.
Having Balentien clear and remain in the organization is a plus and I know it was hoping he wouldn’t get claimed. He had a good spring and seemed to make improvements with his hitting.

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Bailey 1

Some notes:

*Will Homer Bailey be the first Reds starting pitcher to get a ‘W’ next to his name this season? With the bullpen a little spent, Dusty Baker was hoping for a lengthy outing. Baker wasn’t sure if Francisco Cordero would be available after he’s worked six out of seven days. Logan Ondrusek has had three days in a row. Micah Owings had two innings last night.

“I might have to go with Homer a little longer,” Baker said. “Or maybe he’ll be super sharp tonight. A complete game would be great.”

*Cordero also had to warm up three different times during Tuesday’s game.

*Nick Masset said he is ready again after a break on Tuesday.

*Chris Dickerson is starting in CF because Drew Stubbs has a sore back.

“It’s nothing major but I think he’s giving me a day or two to get cleared up,” Stubbs said. “It’s something I could definitely try to play through. [Baker] said, this early in the season, there was no point in pushing anything.”

*The Reds haven’t won their first three road games of a season since 1996.

*At 5-3, the club is two games over .500 for the first time since June 19, 2009, when it was 34-32

*For Jackie Robinson Day on Thursday, all Reds players/coaches will wear No. 42. In an added twist, they will do likewise on Friday at Pittsburgh because the Pirates have an off day Thursday.

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Monday morning notes

It’s raining again outside (third day in a row) so we know that drills. Indoors, a much larger media contingent is in the work room today with the Aroldis Chapman press conference coming up a few hours. Chapman also has a bullpen session this morning.

Some of the highlights out of Dusty Baker’s office this morning:

With Jonny Gomes not in the fold, at least yet, a reporter mentioned there was slim pickings for right-handed hitters in the outfield that have a chance at making the team.
“Who’s picking the team?” Baker fired back.

Currently, the three leading right-handed hitting contenders for left field are Wladimir Balentien, Todd Frazier and Chris Heisey. Balentien is a .190 hitter lifetime vs. left-handed pitchers, vs. .235 against right-handers — which goes against the norm. Baker doesn’t want to write off Balentien vs. lefties.

“It’s part of our job to teach him,” he said. “That’s one thing that I don’t like too much is that a guy gets labeled with what he can’t do so early in his career. You hope that you can teach him to have a varying philosophy on how to hit them. There are some guys here that can teach guys.”

Frazier is a possiblity to make the team but whether or not the club would be willing to consider him him for a utility role where he wouldn’t get regular at-bats isn’t known yet.

“That’s always a very tough question with a young player,” Baker said. “He is young in experience and professionally. Sometimes the meter runs a little quicker if you’re a college player vs. a high school player.”

There are also a lot of veterans vying for utility spots. There is Aaron Miles, Chris Burke, Miguel Cairo plus Paul Janish and Drew Sutton.

Miles reported to camp today carrying a Cubs equipment bag — his team last season. A .282 career hitter, he batted only .185 in 74 games for Chicago after signing a two-year contract.

“I’m just excited to get last year behind me and get back to the baseball I know I can play,” Miles said.

Miles explained some of the issues that set him back last season. More on that later on the main sites.

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Out of options

In case you were wondering, the following Reds players head into 2010 Spring Training out of options:

RHP Bronson Arroyo, RHP Homer Bailey, IF/OF Wladimir Balentien, RHP Francisco
Cordero, RHP Mike Lincoln and RHP Nick Masset.

This should only really affect Balentien, and possibly Lincoln. But remember, Lincoln is owed $2 million this season and pitched well for most of 2008 before his neck injury limited him to 19 games in 2009.

As a short explainer, players that are out of minor league options and sent down get 10 days to clear waivers. By the end of that period, they must either be traded, sent down outright or released. Most players get three minor league options that begin once they are on the 40-man roster. One option is good for one whole season’s worth of multiple call-ups and demotions.

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What's going on with Gomes?

With less than two weeks before the Reds start Spring Training, outfielder Jonny Gomes seemed far from assured of being signed.

Since last week when it was learned the two sides were talking about a Minor League contract, there has been little movement.

“Nothing recently,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Friday night. “We may re-evaluate where we’re at with our roster and with the number of people we have going [to Spring Training].”

If the Reds do not end up signing Gomes, they will not try to pursue another outfielder as a Plan B.

“We’ll either do something with him or stay with what we have until we get to camp and see how it shakes out,” Jocketty said. “There’s no real deadline. We’re playing it by ear. I don’t think there’s pressure one way or the other to get it done.”

There is still a vacancy in left field that will need filling this spring. Chris Dickerson, Laynce Nix, Wladimir Balentien, Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier are among the candidates.


Nice at Wrigley, Owings here

For many fans, Wrigley Field is the home of the world’s greatest Happy Hour…where work/school can often be ditched for day games and Old Style. For media, it’s a little different. No elevators, no Old Style (or other libations) cramped clubhouses and trying to get through 40,000 revelers to reach said clubhouse can make the Friendly Confines a very tough place to work.

Not that I’m whining about the poor media sap watching a baseball game for a living, really. Especially when you get a view like this. This is one beautiful place to watch a game, definitely on a day like this:

wrigley 1.jpgWrigley Field is totally old school, and old style. It still has that manual scoreboard. It still doesn’t have the videoboard for replays or mascots or any other artificial game enhancer. The ivy walls have limited advertising.

A lot of times, Reds fans will travel up from Cincinnati for a weekend Cubs series here. Even with the record the way it is, anyone coming up for Happy Hour at Wrigley?

wrigley 2.jpg

News of the day:

RHP Micah Owings was back with the team on Friday, still unable to hear out of his left ear following last Sunday’s beaning in Atlanta that left him with a perforated eardrum. Owings had cotton in his ear and still had five stitches at the top of his jawline near the ear, making it hard to shave.

“It’s another reason to let the beard go,” said the scruffy Owings. “I want to thank the [Reds] staff and the Braves staff and doctors for taking care of me. I was fortunate and blessed that everything came out alright.”

Owings was getting ready to workout for the first time since the incident but he wasn’t expected to be available for the Cubs series.

“He hasn’t done much. They didn’t let him do much,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I wouldn’t think he’d be available until we get home.”

Owings was able to fly to Chicago from Atlanta with no issues. As for getting back into the batter’s box again, he wasn’t concerned about facing another 93 mph fastball again.

“I was thinking about how many times I’ve been in the box in my life and most of the guys playing the game and how rarely it’s happened,” Owings said. “I’m always looking forward to getting into the box. At this point, you never know until you step in there.”

OF Wladimir Balentien was Baker’s right fielder in the original lineup but was scratched with a sprained right ring finger. Darnell McDonald got the start instead. Balentien was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Thursday’s loss at Colorado. Two of them came in run producing situations.

“He was trying to be a hero,” Baker said. “I knew something was wrong when they were throwing fastballs by him. I just couldn’t understand it. He’s had it since Seattle, actually. He was getting an opportunity to play and didn’t want to come out of the lineup. I can’t blame him. It’s the best opportunity he’s ever had. Perhaps we haven’t seen the real Balentien.”

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
McDonald 9
Tatum 2
Lehr 1

Reliever Nick Masset did something I never saw before in a clubhouse. As the Reds received special caps to commemorate 9/11, Masset soaked his with water and stuck it in a microwave. He was trying to shrink it.

“It’s a new hat and I’m breaking it in to fit better,” Masset said.

Baker was feeling a little low this morning. His wife, Melissa, had to put down the family dog on Thursday back in California. Baker often talked about Bailey, an almost 14-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer.

“She was the best hunting dog I ever had,” Baker said. “She had cancer and stopped eating.”

Baker will have a new companion this fall, Bella. Melissa got another dog of the same breed.

“My son named it,” Baker said. “It’s his dog. He has to clean up after it.”

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Wanted: run producers

Long before injuries decimated the roster, the No. 1 problem plaguing the Reds all season was run production. It’s something Reds manager Dusty Baker acknowledged on Thursday morning.

Baker was asked about his impressions of Wladimir Balentien, who hasn’t been remarkable but isn’t struggling either. Balentien has 14 walks, 19 strikeouts and a .272 average with two homers and eight RBIs entering Thursday. The manager wasn’t ready to comment much about Balentien’s future but he highlight what he’s seeking from his entire roster.

“I’m looking for some dudes that drive in some runs and hopefully don’t strikeout so much because we have enough strikeout people,” Baker said. “We’ve got four or five guys that are 1-to-3, 1-to-5 [strikeout] ratio guys. That’s a lot, especially if you’re not hitting the ball out of the ballpark a lot.

“We are striking out too much for me. That really bothers me because you have no chance to do something to help anybody. We need some guys that can drive in some runs. We need some RBI men. That’s what I’m looking for. If you look at our driving in runners in scoring position, we have some very low numbers.”

Some offensive stats:

The Reds are tied for last in the Majors (with the Padres) by batting .242. They are ranked 15th out of 16 teams in runs scored. They are 15th in hitting with runners in scoring position (.241). They are 11th in strikeouts and 15th in on-base percentage (.311).

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Gomes 7
Balentien 9
Rosales 5
Hanigan 2
Wells 1

It’s just a day off for Scott Rolen. Baker spoke to him and Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston after the trade and breaks when there are day games after night games will be common.

“We’ve got three straight day games in Chicago and no day off until another week after Chicago,” Baker said.

1B Yonder Alonso was promoted to Triple-A Louisville for the International League playoffs. In his first game, Alonso was 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. The Bats lost an 8-4 game to Durham. It’s a best-of-five series.

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Draft picks in the fold?

Word from Baseball America is that the Reds’ top two 2009 draft picks have signed. I’ve been told that deals with pitchers Mike Leake and Brad Boxberger are not officially done yet. They still have to take their physicals, which could push their actual signings back to Monday.

The deadline to sign all Draft picks is midnight ET on Monday night.

Baseball America reported that Leake, the eighth overall pick and a right-handed starting pitcher, will receive a $2.27 million bonus. Boxberger, a right-handed pitcher who was No. 43 overall as a supplemental first-rounder signed for $857,000.

LATE UPDATE: has confirmed the agreement to a deal. Both players are in Cincinnati to take their physicals on Monday.

Leake was 16-1 with a 1.71 ERA, 24 walks and 162 strikeouts in 142 innings over 19 games this season for Arizona State.  The bonus was over the MLB slot recommendation of $2.043 million.

This season in 14 starts for the Univ. of Southern California, Boxberger was 6-3 with a 3.16 ERA, 50 walks and 99 strikeouts.

Third baseman and prospect Juan Francisco is one step closer to the big leagues. Francisco was promoted and will be with Triple-A Louisville Saturday night. He took Kevin Barker’s spot after Barker was called up by the Reds.

In 109 games for Double-A Carolina this season, Francisco batted .281 with 22 homers, 74 RBIs and 64 runs scored (26 doubles, .501 slugging percentage.). He is first in the Southern League in homers, tied for first in RBIs, second in hits and extra base hits.

As for the big league team, injured third baseman Scott Rolen (concussion) was on the field today manning first base while infielders took groundballs. Rolen was scheduled to hit soft tosses in the cage Saturday and do some running on Sunday. If he’s not bothered by more headaches, he could begin to take batting practice.

Nothing is physically wrong with outfielder Wladimir Balentien, manager Dusty Baker said. Balentien is batting .346 since being dealt to Cincinnati but wasn’t starting Saturday for the third-straight game.

“He’s playing [Sunday]. I can’t play everybody,” Baker said. “He was supposed to play [Friday] but Gomes had three home runs [Thursday]. I talked to him. I don’t have to tell anybody anything. As a former player, you wonder why you’re not playing. You’d like to know why.”

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Adam Dunn, Arroyo, Volquez

The uniform was obviously different and a different color but Adam Dunn hadn’t changed a bit. Dunn,the former Reds star and current Nationals first baseman/outfielder, met with the media in the visitor’s dugout for a few minutes on Thursday. He teased a couple of people including Ken Broo and Seg Dennison and checked out Great American Ball Park from his new perspective.

“This is the first time I’ve stepped out here and looked and it looks red,” Dunn said. “It’s really red out here. It’s what I remember.”

Although fans often had a love-hate relationship with Dunn (loved the homers, hated the strikeouts, fielding and the team’s losing) — but he harbored zero ill will towards anything or anyone in Cincinnati. 

Dunn.jpg“I’m not bitter at all,” Dunn said. “I got an opportunity to play here since 2001. I enjoyed my time here. I met some great people. It’s a business. I understand that. I don’t hold grudges against anything. It worked out for a reason.”

There was a time when Dunn and owner/CEO Bob Castellini were looking to extend Dunn’s stay with the Reds but that obviously changed when Dunn was traded to the Diamondbacks just over one year ago. In the off-season, he signed as a free agent with Washington.

“I understand this is a business and that’s how it goes,” Dunn said of his end with the Reds. “They obviously did what was best for the organization and I still think Mr. Castellini is one of the best people I’ve met in my life. They’ll definitely turn this thing around here. I met a lot of great people here that are hard to replace because you’re with them day in and day out for x-amount of years. That’s the main thing I miss about it.”

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 8
Gonzalez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Gomes 9
Rosales 5
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

A lot of people seem to be making a big deal out of the the USA Today cover story on Bronson Arroyo out today. I like that Arroyo isn’t afraid to address any topic but I also feel like this topic was addressed on July 31 to both the Boston Herald and Cincinnati media. Even if he is taking things not on the approved list, he’s not taking anything on the banned list. He’s never tested positive for anything illegal since testing began.

UPDATE — 10 minutes after I posted this blog, USA Today has another story that MLB wants to meet with Arroyo. So, now it is a big deal whether I agree or not. 

Edinson Volquez was back in the Reds clubhouse among his teammates and wearing a rather cumbersome metal brace all the way up his right arm. On Aug. 3, Volquez had Tommy John surgery performed on his right elbow by Dr. Tim Kremchek.

“They gave me a DVD of the surgery and I saw what they did. It wasn’t good. That’s crazy,” Volquez said. “It was the first time I’ve seen that. I went back to my place and watched it on my computer. I wanted to see what they did to me.”

Always a smiling and optimistic guy, Volquez believed he could still return to pitch at some point in 2010. He should be allowed to begin throwing in December and possibly work off of a mound by March.

“Right now if everything goes good and I keep doing everything I’m doing now, I could be back in a year, maybe nine or 10 months,” Volquez said. “Kremchek I might be ready by May or June. Everything is going great right now. You can see there is no more swelling. They took the stitches out yesterday. I surprised them because they’ve seen me do a lot of stuff with my arm in exercises for the first week and a half. They’re happy now.”

I saw Homer Bailey in the clubhouse and other than a rather dark bruise in his left in-step from last night’s line drive by Albert Pujols, was moving OK. Bailey expected to be OK for his next start on Tuesday. Besides the usual ice treatments, he’s also a big believer in accupuncture.

Uniform change: Outfielder Wladimir Balentien swapped numbers. He went from No. 64 to No. 28, the former number of Edwin Encarnacion.

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