Cespedes Fever! Catch it!
Bruce, Dioner power big inning and win over Angels
The Reds batted around in the sixth to score all five of their runs. Jay Bruce and Dioner Navarro were among those driving in runs that inning. Mat Latos threw three innings, striking out three and walking none. He had an easy first inning but got hit in the second, allowing two runs on four hits - including a HR by Alexi Amarista. Devin Mesoraco threw out two thievers at second.
- Latos wasn't a particularly happy camper after his outing. According to BLS, Latos tolerated Reds PR guru Rob Butcher like a teenager dealing with an overbearing parent. After Butcher forced him to talk to the media, Latos gave terse responses to the reporters' questions. "So Mat, how'd it go? 'Fine.'"
Yoenis Cespedes, A's topped the Reds Saturday
The "Human Cespedes" hit a towering homerun and drove in two in his A's debut. Meanwhile, Bartolo Colon turned back the clock in holding the Reds to one run in four innings, while striking out four. Juan Francisco continues to fight his way out of Dusty's doghouse with two hits (including a double) and even a steal, though he also had an error.
- Johnny Cueto got tagged for three runs in two innings on Saturday and didn't strike out anybody. Andromache did the yeowoman's work of breaking down Cueto's outing and found that his fastball velocity and movement were about where she expected, although he tailed off some.
Young Billy Hamilton is eager to learn from the Hall of Famer
Barry Larkin arrived in camp recently as a special instructor, and Billie Quix is grateful for the instruction. Larkin said of Hamilton: "He's my wingman here. He came up and said: ‘Can we work together?' I give him as much as I can when I'm here. He's great kid."
Votto and Hal yuk it up
Joey Votto isn't the most talkative of guys, particularly with the press, so his obvious affection and respect for Hal is endearing. Hal tells us that last week, Votto asked him to name his all-time, desert island, aliens-are-coming-to-battle-the-best-baseballing-humans, top five Reds. Hal listed Frank Robinson as No. 1 and Johnny Bench as No. 2. Votto said he agreed. Then on Friday, Bench showed up in camp. Votto called me over next to Bench and said, "Hey, Johnny, I asked Hal for his Top Five All-Time Reds and he only had you listed second behind Frank Robinson. I had you No 1." Then he laughed and walked away. Votto approached me later, laughing as he said, "I had to do that to you." Indeed, it was a good prank. And I told Votto, "Some day you may be in my Top Five if you stick around here long enough."
Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick: not a fan of jerks
Fay takes a peak behind the curtain of the Reds' front office with a feature on the General Manager. On-field performance isn't the only thing Walt Jocketty considers in a potential player, Fay finds. Said Joey Votto: "I don't want to play with a bunch of jerks. Walt has done a good job of bringing in good guys." Similarly, free agents pursued by the Reds consider the character of the team's' brass. Said Ryan Ludwick: "I think knowing somebody who is in charge of bringing guys to the ballclub helps. If he was a jerk, I probably wouldn't have come here." Of course, the Cardinals showed last year that the mere presence of jerks is no impediment to a championship. BA-ZING!
Chapman back to the 'pen?
One of the collateral benefits of the Sean Marshall deal and subsequent extension was obtaining an elite lefty reliever, which would free the team to develop Aroldis Chapman as a starter. With the recent groin injury to Bill Bray, however, there's talk of returning Aroldis to the bullpen. It's very early, so we'll see. On Friday, Chapman threw two crisp innings against the Giants on Friday, retiring all six batters he faced and striking out two. Pitching Coach Bryan Price thought Chapman showed "the best mechanics he's seen since he's been here," according to Baker. Meanwhile, Bray is still expected to be ready by OD.
Logan Ondrusek looks to build on a solid 2011 after spending his winter in Bozeman, Mont.
Bozeman, the site of Montana State University, is where his fiancee is from. The towering Texan noted that it's "nice and quiet and peaceful. You can definitely disappear there for a while." Logan was a pleasant surprise for most of last year, throwing 47 innings with a 1.53 ERA through July 23. He got hit much harder in the last third of the season, reversing his previous 2:1 K:BB ratio and doubling his line drive rate. Baker noticed the fatigue and said that "we'd hopefully like to limit the number of appearances he has. Sometimes, it can't be helped. Ondrusek did well." It would help if Logan's sinker doesn't disappear again at the end of the year.
- Reds project to be the top defenders in the Senior Circuit
In advance of the release of the latest Fielding Bible, John Dewan introduces his player and team defensive projections. Although Dewan predicts that no single Red will be the best at his position, he figures that Reds' defenders, collectively, will save their pitchers' 29 runs. They're the only NL team among Dewan's top five.
- The day Ernie Lombardi chased a young scoundrel at the Polo Grounds
In this video love letter to the fabled park, one of the interviewees recounts a Giants-Reds tilt where a young fan heckled Lombardi for his infamous lack of speed. The Schnozz proceeded to go after the rapscallion and chased him the length of the Polo Grounds. The story begins around the 1:40 mark, but the whole thing is worth watching.
- The NYT tackles the controversy over youth pitching injuries and breaking balls
For several years now there's been a concerted movement to prohibit little leaguers from throwing curves, sliders, and other breaking pitches that place an inordinate strain on elbows. That's being questioned by some recent studies which show no additional injury risk from little fellas throwing the breaking stuff. Dr. Kremchek, the Reds' orthopedic surgeon, isn't buying it: "They have an obligation to protect these 12-year-old kids and instead, they're saying, ‘There's no scientific evidence curveballs cause damage, so go ahead, kids, just keep throwing them.' It makes me sick to my stomach to watch the Little League World Series and see 12-year-olds throwing curve after curve. Those of us who have to treat those kids a few years later, we're pretty sure there is a cause and effect."
- Some Reds minor leaguers enjoyed extra Spring Training this year
They were invited (required?) by the team to show up early to camp. Said Ryan Wright: "I'd say it's more beneficial than grueling, but it has been grueling. All the lifts and all the running we've put in, the guys at this camp will be as conditioned -- if not better conditioned -- than 95 percent of the guys playing pro ball. Hopefully it will help us stay injury-free for when we hit those dog days of July and August." But not all of the work was physical. There were also sessions on dealing with the non-playing aspects of the big leagues, such as handling the media.
- Could the baseball gods be this cruel?
After watching the Cardinals dogpile to finish the 2011 season, I don't think I could stomach this (utterly fantastic) scenario.