Paul Janish returned to the lineup yesterday and played 3rd base
The word is that Scott Rolen will be back there for tomorrow's game, with Janish returning to SS. It'll be the first game that the team will be virtually at full strength all season, as aside from Janish and Rolen, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Fred Lewis, and Jose Arredondo (presumably) will all be healthy and (hopefully) productive. No word on when Juan Francisco will return from the DL, as he has been on rehab assignment with the Bats this week. But with the return of Lewis, END will most likely stay in AAA.
As RijoSabes mentioned yesterday
Jose Arredondo's rehab assignment is up and the Reds have a decision to make. He's out of options and must be placed on the 25-man roster lest he be claimed on waivers by another team. But if you were wondering if Aroldis Chapman may be the unlucky one to be sent out in his stead, you can count him out. Dusty says he's staying. Pitching coach Bryan Price says he's fingered the trouble with the unpredictable flamethrower, so hopefully they can correct it and he can get back to layin' down dope rhymes. "His arm slot gets too low," Price said. "He gets across the ball. He’s pulling a lot of balls inside to right-handed hitters."
Dave Allen at FanGraphs takes a look at the Chapman sitch as well
and comes to the opposite conclusion. Using the (albeit inexact) science of Pitch f/x, he concludes that Chapman's release point is too high. While Chapman threw from more of a 3/4 arm slot last season, when he only walked five hitters in 15 innings last year, this year it seems his arm slot is tracking closer to an over-the-top delivery. Either way, let's hope Pryce can straighten him out.
Our old pal Bill Lack at RLN thinks the answer to the Chapman situation is simple:
he wants him sent down to Louisville to start pitching in their rotation. At this point it's more howling at the wind than anything else, but one does wonder if the unpredictable work schedule of the bullpen isn't fitting Chapman. He threw four times in five days earlier this season and saw his velocity drop to mere-human levels. Then he pitches four times in two weeks and he can't find home plate with a home plate finding device.
To be clear, I'm not espousing any plan to change Chapman's role with this organization. It's been made abundantly clear to us that he will spend this season in the bullpen, so any picketing and protesting is most likely for naught. But that doesn't change the fact that right now, Chapman cannot get major league hitters out. Of course, the way he's throwing, he probably couldn't get pony league hitters out either. So all we can do is hope they can identify what is wrong and correct it. As Bill points out, there really aren't any alternatives in the organization to replace his left arm in the 'pen right now anyway.
It's probably just a bump in the road
but Billy Hamilton is really not doing so well right now. Coach Delino DeShields sat him down for a one-on-one on Tuesday to try to straighten him out. "Athleticism is only going to take you so far," DeShields said. "At some point in the game, you’ve got to become fundamentally sound, and that starts with your work ethic." It sounds like the 20-year-old Hamilton is trying to skate by on his natural talent and good looks. "It’s just about being professional and continuing good work habits," he said. "When you’re in spring training and everyone’s being monitored, the guys are on top of it. Now that they’ve got a little more freedom, they tend to get away from some things that made them successful."
He's really struggling to hit from the left side of the plate, which he'd never done until last season. So that's part of it. He's striking out nearly 30% of the time, so that's part of it too. And he's not hitting for any power at all (.076 ISOp), so that's definitely part of it. But lookit, Snax has been on base with an opportunity to steal (either a single, a double, or a walk) 38 times so far this season. He's attempted to steal 29 times, and has been successful 24 times. That's a steal attempt percentage of over 75%. Not even Rickey Henderson himself dared attempt to steal that often (in 1982, the season he stole 130(!!) bases, he attempted a steal in 70% of his opps). Of course, Hamilton is running against low-A catchers and pitchers, but still. I just want to draw attention to the fact that we could very possibly be witnessing something truly extraordinary.
Red Hot Mama passes on the mouth-watering news
that Mr. Red's Smokehouse will be opening it's doors at Great American Ballpark for the first time tomorrow evening. It will be located at the end of the 1st base concourse, so if you are headed out to the game for Free Agent Friday, the fireworks, or maybe just to see Creedance Clearwater Revisted, be sure to stop by and get yourself a big ol' turkey leg. Or maybe just sit down and enjoy the ballgame.
In case some of you have been keeping an eye on the trade market for outfielders
it may behoove you to know that Grady Sizemore has a sore knee. Fortunately, it's not the one he had microfracture surgery on, but it's disconcerting nevertheless. The Indians don't think it's anything serious right now, but if Ken Griffey Jr has taught us anything it's that superfreak athletes like him and Sizemore can compile and injury sheet as long as Dickens.
In celebration of Justin Verlander's second career no-hitter
Poz takes a look at those pitchers in baseball history who pitched two or more no-hitters before their 29th birthday. It serves as a kind of guide to the kind of talent Verlander is and where such talents end up, and as always with Poz, it's an informational and entertaining read. Reds old-timer Jim Maloney turns up on the list, and this is what Poz has to say about him:
"(Maloney) seemed on the path to the Hall of Fame when injuries crashed his career at 29. He is unquestionably a caution for those of us who believe that Verlander will continue to pitch at a high level and will throw more no-hitters. Maloney was probably the third-best pitcher in baseball from 1963 through ’66, though few noticed because the two best pitchers were fairly noticeable: Sandy Koufax and Juan Marichal. Maloney had a Verlander-like fastball — or, more correctly, Verlander has a Maloney-type fastball — he could pump it up near 100 and stay there until the end of games. He threw five or more shutouts four times, struck out 200-plus four times, and as he was turning 30 he had a 120 ERA+ and almost 1,600 strikeouts. He also had those two no-hitters — one of them a 10-inning performance (with 12 strikeouts and 10 walks, yikes), the other a 13-strikeout game. Those injuries wrecked him. He not only never threw another no-hitter after 29, he also never won a big league game after he turned 30."
Ahhh, pitching talent. It's not as capable of totally defining or totally destroying a man as a woman is, but it's close.