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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nuxie update

The Old Left-Hander, aka Joe Nuxhall, was in great spirits this morning in the clubhouse. The reason? He played 18 holes of the golf yesterday -- and played well. "I was hitting the ball straight -- 230," he said. "I usually hit my 6 iron 120. I was hitting it 135. I was saying, 'what's going on? I look like I know what I'm doing.'" His score? "I would have shot 82 if I could putt," he said.

Nuxhall got so carried away talking about his golf game that he failed to notice that Gary Schatz, the Sports Ticker coorespondent, had shown up at camp. Lonnie Wheeler also joined the Ed Smith Press Corps.

But it was good to see Nuxie so upbeat less than a week after leaving the hospital.

Jerry Narron almost gave us the pitching lineup for the first couple of exhibition games. But he wanted pitching coach Dick Pole to tell the pitchers first.

Rob Butcher gave us the rotation a little later. Eric Milton will start the exhibtion opener Thursday, followed by Kyle Lohse Friday, Harang Saturday and Arroyo Sunday. That lines up for Harang to start Opening Day, as he did last year.

Narron also mentioned right-hander Brad Salmon as a pitcher who's been impressive early in camp. Salmon, 27, combined to go 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA and five saves at Chattanooga and Louisville last year. He throws hard -- not 98 mph -- but harder than the other relievers. His 72 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings at Louisville point to that.

My man Kevin Kelly is in the air on his way here. He'll cover the club tomorrow. The only baseball activity I'll witness tomorrow is the odd Wiffle Ball game on Siesta Beach.


at 10:08 AM Blogger justwinbaby said...

Thanks for your input John, it is great to get even more info quickly. You and Trent are the best. I would suggest you take the Anonymous option off this blog. People tend to be meaner and more rude if they can do it Anonymously.

at 1:10 PM Blogger cow town said...

Just a point of clarification in regards to Josh Hamilton and the Rule 5 draft. Posted below are comments from Jim Callis of Baseball America from an online chat shortly after Josh was obtained by the Reds. Bottom line is that because Josh cleared outright waivers previously in his career, he can opt for free agency instead of going back to the Rays.

Jim Callis
I've been at Baseball America since the 1988 Winter Meetings, and I don't remember there ever being as much buzz surrounding a major league Rule 5 draft pick as there was when the Cubs took Hamilton this week and then traded him to the Reds. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, Hamilton ranked atop our 2001 Top 100 Prospects list before a lengthy series of injuries and substance abuse derailed a promising career.

Hamilton has just 50 at-bats total over the last four years—all of them coming in 2006 before he hurt his knee and needed arthroscopic surgery—and just 89 above Class A since turning pro. So he wouldn't be ready for the major leagues even if he suddenly regained all the talent he had earlier in his career.

That said, I could see him sticking with the Reds. For one, they only have four legitimate big league outfielders on their roster right now and they reportedly would like to trade one of those, Adam Dunn. Even if Hamilton can't make the club, it's possible Cincinnati could work out a trade with Tampa Bay for his rights, which would allow him to go to the minors. The Devil Rays were upset to lose him, not because he's a prospect, but because he needs stability and regular playing time. The Rays could decide it's in his best interests for them to make a deal with the Reds.

If that doesn't happen, Rule 5 mandates that Hamilton spend the entire 2007 season on the major league roster. (Cincinnati could stash him on the disabled list, but he needs 90 days on the active roster before he could be sent to the minors in 2008.) To send him down in 2007, the Reds would have to put him on outright waivers, allowing him to be claimed by any club, which would face the same guidelines.

Normally, Rule 5 picks have to be offered to their former team for half the $50,000 draft price, but Hamilton is an exception. Because he already has been placed on outright waivers, he can declare free agency if he clears them this time, though he also could accept his reassignment to the Devil Rays.

It's far from certain how all this will play out, but it did send a jolt through the Rule 5 draft and the potential payoff, however small the likelihood of the payoff, makes it a low-cost gamble worth taking.

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