Reds Insider
From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

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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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Reds vs. Cards, 6-30

Miles, ss
Schumaker, cf
Pujols, 1b
Duncan, lf
Rolen, 3b
J. Encarnacion, rf
Kennedy, 2b
Molina, c
Wainwright, rhp

Hatteberg, 1b
Phillips, 2b
Griffey Jr., rf
Dunn, lf
E. Encarnacion, 3b
Hamilton, cf
Gonzalez, ss
Ross, c
Lohse, rhp

Tonight's game marks the halfway point of this season for the Reds. They enter tonight's game with a 30-50 record.

In case you're curious....the 1982 Reds were 32-49 after 81 games on the way to a 61-101 record. According to retrosheet.org, the winning pitcher for the 1982 Reds in their 81st game was none other than current bullpen coach Tom Hume.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville beats Richmond…Richie Gardner continues to pitch well…Ryan Freel with 3 hits…Jeff Keppinger still leading the International League in batting…Chattanooga beats Huntsville in 10 innings…Luis Bolivar with the game-winning RBI…In his second game since his promotion, Craig Tatum isn’t letting up (4 hits)…James Avery with his first Double-A victory…They’re having a game in Chattanooga tonight to celebrate broadcaster Larry Ward’s 60th birthday – celebrities scheduled to pay tribute include The Famous Chicken…Sarasota rained out…Doubleheader today…Dayton falls to Ft. Wayne…2 days, 2 games, 14 runs and 27 innings but 2 losses for the Mustangs…the GCL Reds overcome the (GCL) Red Sox Nation…Neftali Soto continues to swing a hot bat.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Cardinals 4, Reds 2

Another eighth inning blowup. Marcus McBeth faces two batters, gives up two hits. Jon Coutlangus faces one batter, gives up one hit and the lead. Brad Salmon comes on gives up a couple of run-scoring hits.

The 2-1 lead becomes a 4-2 deficit faster than you can say Nasty Boys.

As I wrote earlier, I know the fans want Jerry Narron fired. But what were his alternatives tonight?

He could have pitched David Weathers two innings or used Todd Coffey or Ricky Stone instead of McBeth and Salmon. The league's hitting .301 off Coffey, and Stone had not pitched in a big league game in just about two years before Friday night. Stone did pitch a nice ninth. He'll probably get a chance in eighth with a lead soon. And why not.

The good news, Reds fans, is Bronson Arroyo (7 innings, 1 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 Ks) looks to have found himself.

Guess you are

The attendance for Friday night's tilt: 35,508. Bronson Arroyo went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits. Five strikeouts, one walk. Left with a 2-1 lead. It's first and third, no outs in the eighth, however.

Ricky Stone promoted

The Reds brought up Ricky Stone from the Triple-A Louisville and designated Victor Santos for assignment. Stone was 4-4 with a 1.70 ERA at Louisville. He had nine saves in 11 chances. He returned to baseball after taking 2006 off.

Minon matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville beats Richmond…Elizardo Ramirez with a quality start…Pedro Lopez with 3 hits…Ryan Freel gets 2 more hits…Mark Bellhorn homers…Richie Gardner pitching for the Bats tonight…Chattanooga falls to Huntsville…Sam Lecure with a shaky first inning but pitches well after…Luis Bolivar heating up…Sarasota beats Palm Beach…Daryl Thompson pitches 5 scoreless innings…Mike DeJesus extends his on-base streak…Dayton wins their first 2 games of the second half…Travis Webb with a solid outing…Denis Phipps provides the offense…Billings loses a heartbreaker in 15 innings…Excellent work from the Mustangs’ bullpen…Brandon Waring with 3 hits…GCL Reds lose to the Pirates…Neftali Soto swinging a hot bat…Despite the loss the baby Reds are leading the GCL with 92 hits and a .312 BA.

Chattanooga outfielder Jay Bruce ranks among all minor league batters with 29 doubles (T1st) and 48 extra-base hits (3rd, 1 off the pace).

April: 11-14, 14hr, .244ba, 3.76era
May: 12-17, 15hr, .258ba, 4.25era
June: 14-13, 28hr, .270ba, 4.12

Are you going?

The Reds open what is arguably is their best home weekend series from a fan standpoint of the season tonight. The World Champion Cardinals are in town. The weather's supposed to be good. So my question is: Are you making any effort to go? Or did the road disaster -- 3-6 on the three three-city tour -- sap the last bit of hope out of you? If you given up, what would it take to get you back?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville loses a tough one in 10 innings vs. Richmond…Bobby Livingston pitching well…Ryan Freel with 2 more hits…Joey Votto with a 3-run homer…EZ Ramirez on the mound tonight for the Bats…Chattanooga beats Huntsville…Jose Cosme heating up…The Lookouts have opened the season’s second half with 8 wins in 10 games…Sarasota falls to Palm Beach…Mike DeJesus extends his on-base streak…Dayton’s game was suspended in the second inning due to heavy rain and lightning…they’ll play the rest of that game along with the regularly-scheduled game tonight…Billings wins again…Big night for Reds seventh-rounder Brandon Waring…GCL Reds score 7 times on 14 hits but lose to the Orioles.

Congratulations to LHP Phil Dumatrait, IF Jeff Keppinger and 1b/OF Joey Votto who yesterday were selected to represent the International League in the July 11 Triple-A All-Star Game in Albuquerque.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Free gasoline

From the Reds (with the way it's going by August they may need a promotion where they pick you up and take you to the park):

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Reds and United Dairy Farmers are teaming up to provide fans with free gasoline.

Through July 29, fans who purchase four tickets to any game the rest of the season can receive a coupon good for $10 or $20 in free gas at Greater Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus UDF stores. The amount of the free gasoline coupon will depend on the seat location of the tickets.

To take advantage of this offer, fans must purchase tickets in increments of four via the Internet at reds.com/udf or by phone at (513) 381-REDS. The special cannot be used in conjunction with any other ticket discount offer.

Tickets must be purchased in advance of game day and be picked up at the ticket kiosks located at Great American Ball Park's Crosley Terrace and Gapper's Alley or at the Kenwood Towne Centre. The free gasoline coupon will be included with the kiosk's ticket printouts.

Reds vs. Phillies, 6-27

An adjustment to the upcoming Reds probables: Bronson Arroyo will pitch Friday on regular rest. Kyle Lohse, who had been listed as Friday's starter, will pitch Saturday.

Also: Left-handed reliever Bill Bray was sent to Triple-A Louisville today on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. Bray allowed three earned runs on four hits over 2/3-inning in the Bats' 6-4 loss against Richmond.

Bobby Livingston started and allowed one run on three hits over six innings. Ryan Freel played center field and went 2-for-5.

Votto, Keppinger and Dumatrait named IL All-Stars

From Bats director of media and public relations Svend Jansen....

Triple-A Louisville infielders Joey Votto and Jeff Keppinger along with left-handed pitcher Phil Dumatrait were today named to the International League team for the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game. The game will be played Wednesday, July 11 at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Votto, 23, is hitting .311 with nine home runs and 41 runs batted in. His .417 on-base percentage is third in the IL. From May 4 – June 20, Votto reached base in 42 consecutive games, the second longest streak in the IL this season. Last week he was named to the World Team for the 2007 All-Star Futures Game in San Francisco.

Keppinger is leading the IL with a .359 batting average and has hit safely in 43 of the 49 games he has appeared in for Louisville. The 27-year-old has played in three games with Cincinnati this year, batting .250 with the Reds. Keppinger has started at first base, second base, third base and left field for the Bats this season. He is tied for the team lead in multi-hit games with fellow All-Star Votto at 23 apiece.

The 25-year-old Dumatrait is tied for fourth in the IL with seven wins. He leads the Bats pitching staff in games started with 16 and his 88 1/3 innings pitched are good for fifth in the IL. Dumatrait was named Louisville Pitcher of the Month for April went he went 4-0 with a 0.63 ERA.

The 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game will be broadcast nationwide on ESPN2, pitting the International League All-Stars against the Pacific Coast League All-Stars.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Reds vs. Phillies, 6-26

Hatteberg, 1b
Phillips, 2b
Griffey Jr., rf
Dunn, lf
Encarnacion, 3b
Hamilton, cf
Gonzalez, ss
Ross, c
Bailey, rhp

Rollins, ss
Bourn, lf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Rowand, cf
Victorino, rf
Dobbs, 3b
Ruiz, c
Kendrick, rhp

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

4 out of 5…Louisville beats Pawtucket…Jeff Bannon with a career night…Ryan Freel rips a 2-run double…Chattanooga wins big at Huntsville…James Avery really pitching well…Jay Bruce with a huge night…Ryan Hanigan with 3 hits (1hr)…Johnny Cueto set to make his Double-A debut tonight…Sarasota wins a shootout…Mike Griffin swinging a hot bat…Griffin ranks tied for 1st in minor league baseball with 103 hits, and ranks 6th in the Florida State League with a .317 batting average…he’s batting .402 this month…Danny Dorn with 3 hits and ups his RBI total to 53…Craig Tatum continues to collect hits…Mike DeJesus extends his on-base streak…Dayton falls to South Bend…Chris Heisey with 3 hits…Billings’ 1 run was good enough vs. Great Falls…Mustang pitchers combine for a 2-hit shutout…Mike McKennon heating up…GCL Reds were off.

CHATTANOOGA: April + May = 29 HR, June = 25 HR

Monday, June 25, 2007

Rotation change

From the Reds:

Please note the following change in the Reds' rotation to keep Harang on regular rest.

Tuesday, RHP Homer Bailey
Wednesday, RHP Aaron Harang
Thursday, RHP Matt Belisle

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mariners 3, Reds 2

Bronson Arroyo looks life Bronson Arroyo '06. Ken Griffey Jr. hits two home runs and the Reds still lose. The ugly season keeps getting uglier.

The Reds are 0-4 in the last four series and they could have won all four with a win in the final game, so what I'm saying is they're defying the law of averages on their way to badness.

Then you have the whole Norris Hopper late scratch deal. Jerry Narron says he wanted to get Javy Valentin at-bats at DH. Junior Griffey says 10 minutes later that he asked to play right field.

I've got to believe Griffey's explanation. But I don't understand why Narron didn't simply say that.

Griffey also came right out and said he'd like to end his career here. He didn't exactly ask for a trade, however.

“I always thought I’d be back,” he said. “I just didn't know when. As an athlete you always want to retire with the team you started with. . . I’m no different than anyone else.”

“But I think I've got a few more years. I don’t think it’s any time soon.”

Griffey has another year on his Reds contract and the club has an option for 2009.

“That’s a lot of decisions that have to do with the front office,” he said. “All I can do is keep playing. If something happens, it happens. Right now, I've got to try to win as many games as I can with team I’m playing for now.”

Griffey, Day 3, Part II

Junior Griffey homered again the fifth. It was No. 584 of his career, so he tied and passed Mark McGwire for seventh on the all-time list on the same day.

Next up is my favorite Red, Frank Robinson, at 586.

It's 2-0 Reds, by the way, and Bronson Arroyo is pitching very well.

On Day 3, Griffey homers

For the record, Junior Griffey got the same kind of reception in his first at-bat Sunday as he did Friday and Satruday -- a prolonged standing O.

And he homered to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.

The place went nuts -- after a brief delay. No one, including Griffey, was sure if left fielder Willie Bloomquist caught the ball or not. Griffey stopped after rounding first. When it finally became apparaent that Bloomquist didn't have the ball, he continued his trot.

It was No. 20 for Griffey.

Hopper scratched; odd explanation

Norris Hopper was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup. He was to bat ninth and play right. Junior Griffey, who was going to DH, played right. Javier Valentin DHed.

Announced reason: Manager's decision.

Jerry Narron said after the game that he made out a couple of different lineups and he wanted to get Valentin at-bats.

But Griffey siad he asked to play right. "It wouldn't be fair to the people of Seattle for me to DH."

Hopper said the same thing.


Freel begins rehab

Ryan Freel was sent to Louisville today to begin his rehab. He will be used as the designated hitters. The hope is he'll play outfield Monday.

Still, no timetable on a return to the Reds.

Jared Burton (back) will begin a rehab assignment at Louisville tomorrow.

Mariners 9, Reds 1

The Reds are at the same juncture as they were going into the final game of their last three series: They need a win to take the series. They lost each of the last three rubber games.

The well-rested Bronson Arroyo goes tomorrow. Will he be able to get it going again with the two extra days rest?

Keeping Kyle Lohse on his turn certainly didn't work out Saturday night. He gave up a grand slam to the fourth batter he faced. That kind of defines a bad start.

The Reds, who scored 16 runs Friday, got one Saturday on Brandon Phillips' 14th homer in the eighth.

It was all over in two hours and two minutes.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Shaun and Junior

Shaun Alexander was on the field tonight during Reds batting practice at Safeco Field. He and Ken Griffey Jr. know one another somehow.

Griffey took him into the Reds clubhouse after BP to chat.

You could make a strong argument that they represent a pairing of the best baseball player and the best football player the Greater Cincinnati area has produced. No question in my mind in Griffey's case. Some might argue Roger Staubach over Alexander in football.

I saw them both play in high school. I saw Alexander play against Elder in the Pit in his sophomore or junior year. If memory serves, he was not playing tailback.

I saw Griffey play at Oak Hills the day before he was drafted. He misplayed a flyball, struck out twice and got caught stealing. I remember asking a scout if the performance would hurt him in the draft. "There were 26 teams here today," he said. "All 26 would pick him first if they had the first pick."

Good news on Freel (update)

Ryan Freel worked out today with the Louisville Bats. He took batting practice.

Freel's been out since May 29 after that collision with Norris Hopper. He's probably at least a week or two away. But the fact that he's able to resume baseball activity after a pretty severe concussion is good news.

“He should go out on official rehab in the next few days,” Jerry Narron said. “It’s how he feels. Right now, my understanding is he feels good and is not having any problems.”

Griffey: What might have been

This is something I put in my Reds Insider for the paper (and you get it with it spending the $1.50):

Ken Griffey hit a home run in roughly every 4.2 games as a Red going into this season. He missed a total of 435 games as a Red.

So if he hit home runs at that rate and played in every game as a Red, he would have hit 103 more home runs. Add that to the 563 he had going into the season, and it would have put him at 666 entering 2007.

Of course, Griffey would not have played every game. But even if he missed an average of 10 a year, he'd be in reach of 700. And Barry Bonds would only be looking at holding the record temporarily.

Reds 16, M's 1 (and a priceless memory)

Ken Griffey Jr. never said what he expected upon his return to Seattle. Turns out he couldn't have expected what he got.

“It was more than I expected, a lot more than I expected,” Griffey said. “Awesome, if you had to put in one word. It was something – that many people for that long, cheering. It was pretty unbelievable.”

The only trick was keeping the eyes dry.

“I was pretty good,” he said. “I had to take a couple of deep breaths. I looked around and it was touching. But I didn’t want to start crying. I didn’t want to home and have my kids say, ‘Daddy, you were a punk.’ But it was real touching.”

Someone asked Griffey if he nervous before the first at-bat.

“The first at-bat was OK,” he said. “It was other four. The first at-bat when he threw over (to first), I settled down. The second at-bat I was trying to get the runners over. The last three I was trying to hit it as far as I could.”

He struck out swinging on all three of those.

As for the game: David Ross and Brandon Phillips each went deep twice. Josh Hamilton hit a solo shot. And Aaron Harang pitched eight innings of two-hit ball. The only run he allowed was unearned. He's 8-2 with 3.59 and should be getting All-Star consideration. He’s 3-0 with 1.85 ERA in his last six starts.

“It would be outstanding,” Narron said. “He’s definitely deserving, not only for what he’s done this year, but for what he did last year. It would be good to see him make it.”

Griffey return, part IV

Ken Griffey Jr. came out of the game after striking out to end the Reds' sixth. The Reds led 16-1 at the time.

Griffey did not have a good night at the plate: 1-for-5, he struck out swining in his last three at-bats.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Griffey return, Part III

Ken Griffey Jr. singled in his first at-bat. It was part of the 4-run first for the Reds. They followed with a 2-run second.

Not a good night for Ryan Feierabend, the lefty with the misfortune to start for the M's on the Junior Night.

Griffey hit into a fielder's choice his second time up.

It was all for a good cause:

From the Reds: The 1,000 baseballs Junior autographed went on sale for $100 each at 10:00 a.m. here at the ballpark and sold out prior to the game.

The $100,000 will be divided evenly among Children’s Hospitals in Seattle, Orlando and Cincinnati.

Griffey return, Part II

The ovation Ken Griffey Jr. received from the fans before ranks as one of the sweetest moments you'll see in the baseball.

The fans were on their feet before the ceremony began. The cheers were deafening. There were a few wet eyes in the house when Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner came out to present Griffey with a framed photo of Safeco Field, or as announcer Dave Niehaus called it "The House Junior Built."

Griffey kept it together during his remarks. He did take a couple of deep breathes, and bit his lower lip a few times.

He mostly said thanks:

"Never could I imagine that it would be like this coming back. I spent eleven years here, eleven wonderful years here. I met my beautiful wife here, two of my three kids were born here. This place will be home.

"Everybody talks about ’95, me running around the bases, but to tell you the truth, it was Jay. He was in there everyday in the locker room telling everybody, ‘screw the wild card, we can win this.’ We were all young and didn’t really know any better and Jay said ‘Let’s do this!’ and I said ‘alright, let’s do it’.

"Edgar was the motor behind it because he protected me. I owe it all to these guys, these guys right here. These guys have been my supporting cast since 1989, on and off the field. I love Jay and Edgar to death, without those two guys, who knows where I’d be because they mean so much to me.

"And last, I just want to thank you guys (the fans), for being in the outfield and supporting us when we were terrible and not giving up on us. [Then came] the 1995 season and you guys are here 40,000 deep every night rooting us on. I don’t know too many of the guys over there, I haven’t played against many of you guys, but every day I look in the box score to see what you guys do. I get a couple of phone calls from Rick, letting me know what’s going on. Y’all just keep pushing because this city is all yours.

"I didn’t realize how much I missed being in Seattle. Flying in from Oakland, coming in over the mountains, [seeing] how pretty it was, landing at Boeing Field, driving up I-5, passing the ballpark, brought back so many great memories of being here.

"And last, I’d just like to say thank you for allowing me to go out there and do what I do."

Griffey return, Part I

Ken Griffey Jr. got a big ovation when he stepped in for batting practice. He's wearing his hat backward, by the way.

Probably 120 people crammed in the interview room for the Griffey returns to Seattle press conference.

Griffey was charming, funny, a bit thoughtful. It lasted about 30 minutes, but in the end Griffey really didn't say much.

"I'm excited to be back."

Griffey revealed a lot about why he wanted to be traded to Cincinnati when he said this: “The toughest part was ’99 when (my family) went back and spent eight weeks in the Florida, and I was here by myself. That took a toll on me – not having my little partner crime with me. I don’t think he realizes how much I care about him. That was probably the toughest.”

Playing in Cincinnati vs. Seattle: "It's really the same, other than the location -- and the weather."

Any regrets about leaving? "No, because my family was the No. 1 thing."

Does he think about the 1995 playoff run? “Do I think about ’95? Yeah. How much fun we had. The things that you always dream about, playing in the playoffs, winning a playoff game . . . The best moment of ’95 was when Edgar (Martinez) doubled (and I scored). Everyone jumping on each other at home plate. That will never leave my memory. Being a Seattle Mariner will never leave my memory.”

On that team being broken up: "Things change. Priorities change. Ownership changes. They want to go in different directions. It's one of those things where you say: OK, what's best for me at that time. Because ownership does it, too."

On playing center field in this series: "That's not up to me. I don't control that. I want to play shortstop. If it was up to me, I'd go straight to shortstop."

What's it like coming back? "It's just different . . . I don't know what to think."

Nervous? “I’m always nervous. Anytime someone else does something for you, you’re always nervous. Not that I’m nervous in a bad way. Once the game start, I’ll be OK. We were all looking forward, even though I didn't say a lot."

Finishing his career as a Red: "I can't control that, unless I decide (to retire)."

On future: “I don’t have any set goals as far as numbers. People around me the longest know that numbers don't mean that much. I have no idea how long I’m going to play. I know (son) Trey said if I play six more years he can make it to the big leagues. I guess when I stop having fun. I’m going to hang around to break someone’s records. That’s not fair to me or the sport.”

Live from Safeco: Oh, the highlights

They're showing the Ken Griffey Jr. highlight reel on the big screen at Safeco right now. In a word: Wow! I've probably seen every one of them. But when they run one after another, it's unbelievable.

At first glance, Safeco is pretty cool. Reminds me a bit of Miller Park. The roof is completely different, however, and the surroundings are about a hundred times better.

By official count: There are 12 framed magazine covers with Griffey's picture on the back wall of the pressbox. Three kinds of Starbucks coffee.

Welcome to the Southern League, Jay: Jay Bruce went 0-for-5 with four punchouts in the his Chattanooga debut. That's a platinum sombrero.

Center of attention

I've got no idea if it's even being considered, but it would be pretty cool to start Ken Griffey Jr. in the center field tonight. Maybe have them announce him in right and then have him swtich with Josh Hamilton before the first pitch of the bottom of the first.

Talk about getting the crowd worked up.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fans 55, Narron 0

That's comment count on the posting on the Reds' 5-3 loss to the A's Wednesday. Jerry Narron's decision to pinch-hit Juan Castro for Josh Hamilton caused as much rancor as any move he's made by my measure.

Fifty-five of you checked in. If anyone said, "I can see why he did what he did," I missed it. It's the kind of move that helps get a manager fired. It didn't cost the Reds the game. Josh Hamilton or Rod Carew could have hit, and the Reds still likely lose the game.

But it looked like a desperate move. Narron said he did what he did to get the right-left matchup (which I think is overrated, but that's another post) and because Castro was 1-for-1 off Alan Embree. You could argue that Castro got his one hit, so he's due to go 0-for-7 before he gets another one.

The pop psychologist in me says two things were behind the move: a) Narron is so frustrated he feels like he has to do something; b) he was subconsciously highlighting the shortcomings of the roster.

I didn't talk to Wayne Krivsky or Bob Castellini today, but I'm fairly certain they would have said what they said all along: No move is coming in the immediate future.

But the fans are obviously angry. Fifteen games remain before the All-Star break. My guess -- and it's just that -- is the Reds have to show some signs of life, some improvement or something gives at the break.

Votto, Bruce in the Futures Game

Joey Votto is on the International roster for the Futures All-Star Game. Jay Bruce is on the USA roster.

Does Votto still get to go if he's the majors? Don't think so. But we may find out. If there's buyers for Scott Hatteberg or Jeff Conine, the Reds have got to sell.

By the way, it's gorgeous here in Seattle.

Seattle: Junior's kind of town

They're sort of making a big deal out of Ken Griffey Jr.'s return to Seattle.

The centerpiece story in the Post-Intelligencer is Griffey's old buddy and outfield mate Jay Buhner talking about the glory days.

Inside the section, there's a column by Jim Moore where he he writes: "I presumed Griffey would receive a five-minute standing ovation and unified tip of the cap from everyone in attendance." There's a chart of longest and most memorable homers for the Mariners.

There's the promise for more tomorrow, including a Griffey poster.

Haven't seen the Seattle Times yet, but I'm sure they're doing similar things.

Griffey is tired of talking about it. But my guess is, after the press conference tomorrow, he'll loosen up and enjoy it. And I predict at least one home run.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A's 5, Reds 3

Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Reds walk into the seventh inning with a one-run lead . . . of course you know how it turns out.

Marcus McBeth gave up a infield hit, got an out, gave up another single. First and third, one out.

Jerry Narron goes for the lefty-on-lefty matchup. "I like doing that with a runner on third," he said.

So in comes Jon Coutlangus. He walks Mark Kotsay to load the bases. Then he walks Nick Swisher to force in the tying run. Eric Chavez hits a sac fly. You can start totally your scorebooks, this one is over.

Narron said he didn't let Matt Belisle pitch the seventh because he walked two in the sixth. He also said he hit Juan Castro for Josh Hamilton in the ninth "to try to get anything going. Two outs, nobody on. He was 1-for-1 off (Alan) Embree. If someone was on, I would have given Josh a chance to whack one out of the park."

Fair enough, but it looked like a this-is-my-roster-and-I'm-going-to-play-it move to me.

But this was bullpen's loss. It's happened over and over again. Different setup guys, same results. David Weathers is 14-for-16 on save chances, the rest of the roster is 0-for-8.

What do you do? I'd keeping switching the setup guys. Ricky Stone is tearing it up at Louisville. Calvin Medlock is lights out at Chattanooga. Bring 'em up. Could they be worse?

It's on to Seattle for the Griffey return.

Arroyo concert canceled

Baseball comes first for Bronson Arroyo.

From the Reds:

CINCINNATI, Ohio (June 20, 2007) – The second annual Perfect Pitch concert, scheduled for Sunday, July 1 at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky, has been canceled.

Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, the featured performer at the concert, said, “The timing isn’t good right now. My body is a little banged up, and I’m trying to help us win baseball games.”

Arroyo is slated to perform at Kahn’s Redsfest, presented by Great American Insurance, benefiting the Reds Community Fund. The event returns to the Duke Energy Center downtown December 7-8.

Fans who purchased tickets to the Perfect Pitch concert will receive a full refund and 2 tickets to a 2007 Reds home game.

Top pick signed; Bruce promoted

The Reds signed No. 1 draft pick Devin Mesaraco. Mesoraco, a catcher from Punxsutawney, Pa., was the 15th pick overall in the draft.

He will report to Sarasota tomorrow. He's expected to play with Gulf Coast League Reds.

"We had a lot of predraft discussions," scouting director Chris Buckley. "But he didn't graduate high school until Friday. So he wasn't eligible to sign until then."

Mesoraco's Punxsutawney High team ended up winning the Pennsylvania state title.

Speaking of top picks, Jay Bruce is getting promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. Bruce was hitting .325 with 11 home runs, 49 RBI and 27 doubles for Single-A Sarasota. Right-hander Johnny Cueto is also going up to Chattanooga.

Dayton right-hander Sean Watson, the starter in the Midwest League All-Star game, is being moved from Dayton to Sarasota. Watson, the No. 2 pick in last year's draft, was 5-2 with 1.88 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings for the Dragons.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

"Louisville rained out…they’ll play 2 today…Chattanooga perfect so far in the 2nd half…Camilo Vazquez outstanding…Luis Bolivar with 3 hits…Sarasota clinches the Florida State League’s 1st-half West Division title…Congrats to manager Joe Ayrault, his staff and the team…Eric Eymann with 3 hits…Jay Bruce homers and doubles…Johnny Cueto pitching for the Reds today…Several Dragons see action in last night’s Midwest League All-Star Game…Billings opens their season with a win at Great Falls…Enerio Del Rosario with a fine effort for the Mustangs…GCL Reds weren’t so fortunate in their lid-lifter."

It's interesting with Billings and GCL Reds opening up. Del Rosario is a 21-year-old from the Dominican. This is his third pro season. He only allowed 99 hits and one home run in 122 2/3 ininngs coming into this year.

Juan Rafael, another 21-year-old Dominican, pitched five hitless ininngs of relief for the GCL. He's in his fourth year.

The Reds have to start producing Latin players to completely turn it around.

Also of note: Catcher Miguel Perez, on rehab from Louisville, homered for the GCL Reds.

Reds 5, A's 2 postscript

One of things I like about Homer Bailey is he's a bit of smart ass with the writers.

Someone asked him if he's getting used to the big leagues after three starts.

"Yeah, I guess so," he said. "Bases are still white. We still uses wooden bats up here just like we did down there. Jerseys and cleats. Yeah, there's a lot more fans and bigger stadiums. That actually doesn't play a part when you're there playing."

We'll we try to attach significance to every start, he's an "I just pitch" sort of guy.

And he looks like he can pitch. He allowed only two hits. His fastball is good enough that when he's locating it, he can get by throwing it on nearly every pitch. The RBI double was on a change-up, by the way. He was still throwing 96 consistently in the sixth.

Jeff Brantley was very impressed with Tuesday's outing.

"That's pitching, boys," he said. "That's competing."

Bailey wanted to go out for the eighth.

“I wasn't really tired or anything,” Bailey said. “A starting pitcher never wants to come out of a game. I would have liked to (pitch the eighth). But the bullpen came in and did their job. It doesn't matter.”

The A's patience didn't pay because Bailey was getting ahead so quickly.

“I knew they were going to be patient,” he said. “I kept to my game plan and tried to get Strike 1. Once you get one or two strikes on them, they've got to swing the bat.”

He's 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA against three teams with winning percentages of that are combined 46 games over .500. Not a bad start to a career.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Homer's night: Reds lead 5-2

Homer Bailey went seven innings and allowed one on two hits. He walked four and struck out three.

He was lifted for Todd Coffey after 93 pitches. Begin the Jerry Narron bashing). Coffey got an out, then gave up Kurt Suzuki's first career home run. Jon Coutlangus then came in.

did not allow a hit until Mark Ellis led off the fifth with a single to center. He gave up a run in the sixth but stranded a runner at second against Nick Swicher and Eric Chavez.

Here's the rundown on Bailey's third start:

Bailey's first: 1-2-3. Hit 95 mph on the scoreboard gun a number of times. Got three groundouts. Eight pitches, I believe.

Reds scored three in the second. Alex Gonzalez's two-RBI was the big hit.

Bailey's second: Strikeout, groundout, walk, groundout for Bailey. Great play by Brandon Phillips on the third out.

Ken Griffey Jr. led off the third with his 19th home run. The RBI tied with Tony Perez for 18th all-time (1,652).

Bailey's third: Walked the leadoff man, then got a flyout and a double-play ball. (Another terrific play by Phillips). 34 pitches after 3.

Bailey's fourth: 6-3, walk, strikeout of Eric Chavez on 95 mph fastball. Line out to second -- yet another nice play by Phillips.

Bailey's fifth: Ellis leads off with a single. Bailey's gets a 3-6-1 double-play ball, but his foot isn't on the bag when he covers. No problem. Two pitches later, he throws a 6-4-3 DP ball.

Bailey's sixth: Flyout (Only his third air out of the night). Hit 96 on a 3-2 pitch to Travis Buck, then walked him on 80 mph curve on the next pitch. Mark Kotsay doubled into the right-center gap to score Buck. Goes 3-2 on Nick Swisher. Two 96s in a row. Swisher pops out. Gets Chavez to pop foul on a 3-1.

Bailey's seventh: Strikeout, pop foul. Routine flyball to center.

Arroyo gets extra rest

From the Reds:

Please note the Reds’ rotation for Seattle has changed to:

Friday, RHP Aaron Harang
Saturday, RHP Kyle Lohse
Sunday, RHP Bronson Arroyo

That give Arroyo an extra two days rest.

Guardado returns, sort of

John Fay reports that reliever Eddie Guardado has returned from his minor-league rehab assignment but that he'll remain on the disabled list because of lower back stiffness, and the team will not add him to the 25-man roster until that heals.

On the Dunn rumor

My old buddy Tim Sullivan floated the Adam Dunn-to-San Diego rumor by Padre GM Kevin Towers. Towers' reply: "Not worth chasing."

The report in San Diego was left-hander Justin Hampson, right-hander Clay Hensley and another player for Dunn.

Dunn's contract status -- his option goes away if he traded -- probably would not concern the Padres. They're looking for a bat to get them over the top, even if a it's a rent-a-bat.

Hampson and Hensley are both 27. Hampson is 2-1 with a 0.81 ERA. Hensley is currently pitching in Triple-A. He was 11-12 with a 3.71 ERA last year.

The trade seems to make sense. Maybe the combination of players changes and it happens.

Sad news on Hoeppner

Just saw on the ESPN ticker that Terry Hoeppner died of brain cancer. I covered Miami in Hoeppner's first two years as head coach. He was a great guy -- just one of those positive, as-always-upbeat people who make you feel better about life. He could coach, too. Seemed to have it going at Indiana. He'll be missed.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville rallies late to beat Buffalo…Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his latest rehab appearance…Joey Votto extended his on-base streak…Chattanooga opens the second-half with a win…Richie Gardner continues to be lights-out…the Lookouts hammer out 17 hits…Sarasota with a huge comeback victory…they’re trying to hang on for that first-half FSL West title…newcomer Ben Jukich takes the mound tonight for the SaraReds…Jukich was one of the players to be named later in the 4/27 trade with Oakland that sent Chris Denorfia to the A’s for Marcus McBeth and 2 PTBNL…Jukich had been pitching for Class-A Stockton (3-4, 5.40era, 12 starts – 3er over his last 2 starts 11ip, 9k, 2bb)…Jay Bruce yesterday was named Florida State League Player of the Week for June 11-17…There will be 8 Dayton Dragons in uniform tonight for the Midwest League All-Star Game…starters include 2b Justin Turner, SS Chris Valaika, 3b Juan Francisco and RHP Sean Watson…Billings and the GCL Reds open their seasons tonight.

2004 Richie Gardner (Chief Bender Award winner) vs. 2007 Richie Gardner: Through first 14 outings
2004: 9 starts, 7-2, 2.54era, 67.1ip, 25r, 19er, 11bb, 63k, 9 outings of allowing 1 run or less
2007: 14 starts, 7-2, 1.92era, 84.ip, 23r, 18er, 19bb, 60k, 9 outings of allowing 1 run or less, 9 quality starts

Small World Part IV -- Deno sighting

I was riding up the escalator last night to the BART platform when I noticed the guy in the front of me was none other than Chris Denorfia.

Denorfia was traded from the Reds to A's, of course.

"I asked if I could come out for the series," he said.

Denorfia is coming back from Tommy John. He's been rehabbing in Cincinnati. "I'm almost ready to throw," he said. He's going to move to Phoenix next month to rehab at A's facility there.

I like Marcus McBeth and I think Norris Hopper gives about what Denorfia would. But, after watching the A's, I have little doubt that Denorfia will work out for them. Billy Beane knows how to put a club together.

A's 6, Reds 1

The scary thing about Monday's loss for the Reds is this: They're facing better pitchers, statistically at least, in the next games here. Joe Blanton was 6-4 with 3.62 ERA coming in. Tuesday's starter, Chad Gaudin, is 6-1 with a 2.85 ERA. Wednesday's starter, Dan Haren, is 8-2 with a 1.64 ERA.

The Reds managed seven hit off Blanton -- all singles.

You probably turned this one off after Kyle Lohse gave up the 3-run homer to Mark Ellis in the fifth.

"That pretty much put it out of reach the way Blanton was throwing," Lohse said.

True, that.

The Reds are 27-44. Dave Miley was 27-43 when he got fired in 2005.

Monday, June 18, 2007

More Arroyo and extra rest

The Reds have discussed the possibility of the giving Bronson Arroyo extra rest to see if it will help him regain his form.

“We've discussed it,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “But we haven’t discussed with Bronson.”

So would Arroyo be open to that.?

“Last year -- the way I threw all season – I felt like I had a right to say, ‘hey, I want to go every fifth day.’ Aaron (Harang) still has a right to say that. I have no right to say anything. I've had five out of six (bad) outings. I’m on the bottom of the totem pole.”

Classic honest Arroyo. And, as you might guess, he didn't say "bad outings."

Possible pick up?

On of general manager Wayne Krivsky’s credo is: You can never have too much pitching. So you’ve got to wonder if the Reds would be interested in left-hander J.C. Romero.
The Red Sox released him after designating him for assignment on June 8. He was 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA and a save in the 23 games for Boston. He walked too many – 15 in 20 innings – but he’s a former Twin so Krivsky is familiar with him.

Dunn POW, from Oakland

Adam Dunn named National League Player of the Week.

It's his second NL Player of the Week Award (5/6-5/12, 2002). He hit .500 with four home runs, eight RBI and 1.042 slugging.

This is my first trip to McAfee Coliseum, nee Oakland Coliseum, since the 1990 World Series. It was a lot nicer then. The luxury-box filled addition that closed off center field sort of ruined the feel.

"There is no there" quote about Oakland is true. But I'm staying in San Francisco, which is quick BART ride away.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Time to skip Arroyo?

The Reds off day Thursday would allow them to skip a starter. Bronson Arroyo sounded like a guy who could use some extra rest after Sunday's 11-4 loss to Texas.

Arroyo says he's fine physically. But he admitted he’s a bit worn down. His struggles began after a 129-pitch effort in San Diego.

“I’m fine,” he said. “But I don’t feel strong, but nothing’s bothering me. I don’t feel like have as much zip on my fastball. That can pose a problem. People don’t have to respect my off-speed stuff as much.”

Arroyo’s trying to get that zip back.

“You’re always tooling with your diet and your supplements and your workouts,” he said. “I got a find to a way to get back where I’m strong enough to beat guys with a fastball even when they know it’s coming.”

Again, the Reds have an off day Thursday in Seattle. That will give Arroyo an extra day of rest. The Reds could skip him altogether and give him 10 days or so rest.

Rangers 11, Reds 4

Ugly loss to end the homestand. Bronson Arroyo had another rough outing: Six innings, eight hits, seven runs (six earned). Three errors -- David Ross, Juan Castro and Alex Gonzalez. Three relievers combine to give up four runs in ninth.

The highlight for the Reds: Adam Dunn went 2-for-4 with two home runs. His trade stock has to be up. Hes' hitting .350 with five homers and 11 RBI over his last 14 games.

The Reds finished the homestand 4-5.

Phillips out, no break

Brandon Phillips left Sunday's game after being hit on the left hand by a Kevin Millwood pitch. Phillips ran the bases. But left the game an inning later. His hand was x-rayed. The x-rays were negative. He's day-to-day.

Stanton on the DL

From the Reds:

Mike Stanton is going on the DL with a strained left hamstring.

We are selecting from Louisville the contract of LHP Michael Gosling (13gs, 5-3, 3.00, 78ip, 71h, 23bb, 65k, 7hr). He will wear 36.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Majewski out, Salmon in

From the Reds:

Today's Transactions
The Reds recalled from Class AAA Louisville RHP Brad Salmon, optioned to Louisville RHP Gary Majewski and transferred to Louisville on a rehabilitation assignment LHP Eddie Guardado.

Medical Updates
Eric Milton this morning had season-ending "Tommy John" surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow...the 2-hour procedure was performed by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek...Ryan Freel, who suffered contusions to his head and neck in an outfield collision with Norris Hopper on 5/28, was examined by head and spine specialist Dr. John Brannan and was cleared to begin light aerobic activity…he will be examined again next week.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Angels 9, Reds 7 (postscript)

You have to rank this game there with the finale in Colorado on the disappointing loss scale. The Reds didn't blow an six-run lead like they did in Denver, but had they won this one they would be feeling pretty good about themselves. Two of three from Angels, following two of from the Indians would have been something to build on.

But whenever the Reds get a little momentum going the bullpen sucks them back into the abyss.

I'm not sure what you do with Gary Majewski, he of the 15.88 ERA, but I wouldn't put him in a game that's close until he can get on some kind of roll in mop-up outings.

Homer Bailey did a lot of good things. The 1-2-3, 8-pitch first against the guys who beat up on the Reds in night before was impressive. Letting Orlando Cabrera walk to third with stolen base in the third was not.

“A young guy’s going to be inconsistent,” Jerry Narron said. “I’m sure over time he’ll nail it down. There’s a lot of things in Homer’s game he has to work on. He’s not quite a complete pitcher yet.”

Thursday Bailey’s fastball and change-up worked well. But his curveball got hit.

Chad Moeller, who caught Bailey, thinks he’ll get where he need to be.

“He’s very competitive,” Moeller said. “He’s got a great arm. I like the way his change-up is coming around. His curveball will be there in time. His competitiveness is the biggest thing. He wants to be out there and attack the hitters. I like that fact that he likes to work inside. Some pitchers are hesitant about it. He’s not.”

Bailey's day: Angels 9, Reds 7

Homer Bailey went six-plus innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. He wasn't as bad as his line sounds. But the bullpen was as bad as it can be.

He left with a 5-3 lead and runners on first and second.

The bullpen blew the save right to pieces.

Gary Majewski followed and gave up a hit, a walk and another hit to make it 6-5. That was it for Majewski. His ERA is 15.88, by the way. Mike Stanton came in. He gave up a sacrifice fly and two RBI singles to make it 9-5.

The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the inning on Adam Dunn's second two-out, RBI single of the day.

The Reds got the tying run to the plate in the ninth against Francisco Rodriguez but could only make it 9-7.

Reds took a 5-3 lead in the seventh. Ken Griffey Jr. tied it with his 16th of the year in the sixth. Alex Gonzalez gave the Reds a 5-3 lead with a two-run shot later in the inning.

Josh Hamilton left the game after the fifth with complaints of dizziness.

Here's Bailey's day:

Homer's first: Chone Figgins: Strike looking, strike looking, 4-3. Orlando Cabrera: Foul, strike looking (94), Soft liner to first. Vladimir Guerrero: Strike looking, F3. Eight pitches, all strikes.

Homer's second: The second was not so good. Bailey walked the lead hitter, got an out and gave up three straight hits and two runs. It's a 2-1 game. The Reds scored one in the first on Dunn's two-out, RBI single.

Homer's third: He gave up a leadoff double to Cabrera on a ball that Josh Hamilton got to and had go off his glove. Cabrera stole third without a throw. Guerrero got him with a sac fly. It's 3-1.

Homer's fourth: Got an out on the first pitch to Jose Molina. Walk. Then two groundouts. He's at 69 pitches. Fourth was his best inning since the first.

Homer's fifth: Another very good inning. 1-2-3, only eight pitches. Got Guerrero on the called third strike (by the way, Bartolo Colon has struck out six -- all on called third strikes). Bailey's at 78 pitches total.

The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the fifth. Chad Moeller reached on an error and scored on Scott Hatteberg's single.

Homer's sixth: Faced the minimum. He allowed a leadoff hit, then got a double-play ball. He's at 90 pitches.

Homer's seventh: He walked the first two hitters and was done. He got to see close-up how bad the bullpen can be.

On Guardado, Freel

Eddie Guardado, fresh off the first half-clinching save for the Dayton Dragons, is headed for Rochester. He'll pitch for Triple-A Louisville Friday, Sunday and Monday.

"If that goes good, I'm ready to rock," Guardado said.

That would work with his plan to be pitching for the Reds for the Seattle series next weekend. Guardado, coming back from Tommy John surgery, pitched one inning for the Dragons. He allowed a hit and threw 13 pitches. He hit 88 mph, which is close to what he was throwing before he was hurt.

Ryan Freel said he's feeling much better -- the headaches and dizziness are gone. He'll go through a battery of tests tomorrow. "I hope they clear me," he said. Freel hasn't done any kind of physical activity since his May 28 collision with Norris Hopper.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Angels 6, Reds 3

When Vladimir Guerrero comes in on an 0-for-13 slide as he did Wednesday night, you can be pretty sure when he comes out of it, he's going to do some damage.

The Reds were the victims of that. Vlad went 3-for-5 with four RBI and a couple of doubles. It didn't help at all that the guys hitting in front of Guerrero -- Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrebra -- went 2-for-4 and 3-for-4.

"That's asking for trouble," Jerry Narron said.

So the fate of the series rests on one Homer Bailey. First pitch is in 14 hours and 10 minutes. Sleep fast, as Jack McKeon used to say.

Something to remember about trades

With all the debate about trades, one thing to remember is things are entirely different in the free agent era. If the Reds trade Adam Dunn for some 22-year-old pitcher with a great arm and little major league service time, they essentially freeing up $13 million of payroll for 2008. Money they can spend on free agents.

That wasn't the case when Frank Robinson was traded. You basically were getting players for life then. And the difference between Robinson's salary and Pappas' wasn't enough to buy free agents -- if free agents had been available.

Last year's trade with the Washington Nationals was a case of that. The Reds got two players not eligible for arbitration, plus a free agent to be in Royce Clayton, for two players arb-eligible. So when Clayton didn't work out -- spectacularly so, I might add -- the Reds simply took some of the money they would have paid Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez and signed Alex Gonzalez. (By the way, that trade would look better from the Reds' standpoint, if they hadn't let Brendan Harris go).

But back to the point: If the Reds trade Dunn, you've got to look at not only what they get but at what they do with the money they would have paid him. Now, getting a good player for him would help, but it's not the only way to measure the trade.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Reds 5, Angels 3

Solid starting pitching. Good defense. A little timely hitting. Manufactured runs. And strong relief pitching. This is how the Reds expected to win all year.

It hasn't happened much until lately. David Ross squeezed in the third run and Ken Griffey Jr. got in the fourth with a sac fly Tuesday.

"We made everything count," Jerry Narron said.

They had to -- they struck out 16 times in eight innings. But let's not dwell on the negative. The Reds have won four of five and are 8 1/2 back in the NL Central.

Ross had the line of the night about the squeeze: "It was hardest ball I've hit all week."

Gags come easier when you win.

The trade for Chris Denorfia was completed. The Reds get 24-year-old left-hander Ben Jukich from the A's. He was 3-4 with 5.40 ERA at Single-A Stockton. They also got Marcus McBeth in the deal.

Riding with Bob

I had computer problems before the game, so I walked back to office to get it fixed for grab a spare. I'm waiting to go up on the elevator when Bob Castellini gets in. He has an office in the Enquirer building.

He was remarkably upbeat. Winning three of four and averaging 35,000 does wonders.

"When we get Eddie (Guardado) and (Bill) Bray, it moves everyone else back," he said. "Things line up."

He's a glass half-full type of guy. You've got to admire his enthusiasm and think a fire sale isn't just around the corner.

By the way, my computer is toast. I'm using a backup. Wish me luck.

Pizza with the players, No. 1 in ratings

From the Reds:

SHOPPING WITH A JOCK: From noon to 1:00 p.m. tomorrow at Dick's Sporting Goods at Deerfield Towne Center in Mason, 8 Reds players will host a shopping spree for young fans from the Reds Rookie Success League...Dick's is donating $100 in equipment to each kid, and the Reds players will match that total...scheduled to participate in the pizza lunch and shopping spree are Matt Belisle, Eric Milton, Aaron Harang, Scott Hatteberg, Kyle Lohse, Jon Coutlangus, Jeff Conine and Ryan Freel.

TV RATINGS: It was a big weekend for the Reds – taking two of three from the Cleveland Indians in the “Battle of Ohio,” and posting the #1 spot in prime time television both Friday and Saturday nights.

Earning an 8.2 household rating on Friday, June 8, the Reds on FSN Ohio topped the following programs: Numb3rs (6.8), Ghost Whisperer (6.0), 20/20 (4.9), and Close to Home (4.7).

And with a 6.8 rating on Saturday, June 9, FSN Ohio bested: the CBS Saturday Movie (4.7), 48 Hours (4.0), the ABC Saturday Movie (2.9), and Law & Order: SVU (2.8).

A 1.0 rating equates to approximately 9,000 homes in the Cincinnati market.

Coffey up; Burton on the DL

From the Reds:

TODAY'S TRANSACTIONS: The Reds today placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to yesterday, RHP Jared Burton (low back spasms); recalled from Louisville RHP Todd Coffey; reinstated from the 15-day DL and optioned to Louisville RHP Elizardo Ramirez (sore right shoulder)...Ramirez is scheduled to start for the Bats tonight.

The old lower back spasms, eh?

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's official: Tommy John for Milton

From the Reds:

On Friday, Eric Milton will have season-ending "Tommy John" surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

Bill Bray had an MRI today that revealved inflammation in his left shoulder. He has been recalled from his rehabilitation assignment.

On Dunn, Bray and Milton

Wayne Krivsky had not heard about the SI.com report saying the Reds are listening to offers on Adam Dunn. But he had the usual to say about it.

"I'm not going to comment on that," he said.

So I tried a different approach. Given the Reds' place in the standings and the inconsistency this year, isn't it reasonable to assume that everything is on the table?

"I'm not going to comment on that," he said.

Dunn is obviously pretty attractive to a teams looking for a power bat. But how much he would bring in a trade will be affected by his contract. He has an option for $13 million with a $500,000 buyout for '08. But the option is voided by a trade, and he becomes a free agent. So for Dunn to get maximum value, the Reds would probably have to allow him to negotiate with the club he's being traded to, so the club will know its getting more than a two- or three-month player.

"There's a 48-hour window that allows you do that," Krivsky said.

Other Reds news:

--Bill Bray was examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek today. "It was really good news, just some shoulder inflammation," Krivsky said. "He could be throwing off the mound by this week."

--There will be an announcement coming on Eric Milton this week. "I'll let (PR man) Rob Butcher handle that," Krivsky said. About only thing Butcher announces on injured players is surgery. It's typical for pitchers to try to rehab elbow injuries, then when it doesn't respond have Tommy John surgery. If that's the case, Milton's career with the Reds is probably over.

But back to first item. Do you trade Dunn? If so, for what?

Hall's free; FSN Father's Day Special

From the Reds: The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is celebrating Pete Rose’s 44-game hitting streak with free admission to fans with a same-day ticket to a Reds home game from June 14 through July 31. In 1978, Rose’s hit streak started on June 14 and continued through July 31 before being snapped on August 1. Rose’s playing career is currently being honored with the PETE exhibit at the Reds Hall of Fame. . . FSN Ohio’s Father’s Day telecast of the Reds/Rangers game, presented by Texas Pete, will feature a reduced commercial format and highlight Reds players and coaches as they share thoughts and memories of fatherhood. Steve Liverani, Senior Vice President and General Manager, FSN Ohio, made the announcement.

Weekend in review

Obviously, the Reds wrapped up a pretty good series against Cleveland with the 1-0 win in 12 innings Sunday. The key to the run in which the Reds have three of four has been starting pitching. Over the last four games, Reds starters have a 2.05 ERA.

If the Reds are to right the ship and get back in it -- and that's an "if" that is larger than all outdoors -- starting pitching is the key. Avoiding bullpen meltdowns would be nice also, of course. But good starting pitching goes a long way. The guy in the rotation who's struggled, Bronson Arroyo, starts tomorrow when the Reds open three games series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Baseball needs more teams with five-word names). He was better through six in his last start, unfortunately for the Reds, he pitched 6 2/3.

On the bullpen front: Marcus McBeth looks like he can help. But it's a little alarming that Bill Bray is up here to get checked out. Could be nothing or the dreaded shoulder problems.

I'm headed to Great American today to purchase 12 tickets for an outing for my wife and her co-workers for Thursday's tilt. (They want cheap seats and you have to go to the park to avoid the service charge). Will be interesting to see what kind of seats are available for Homer Start II.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reds vs. Indians, 6-10

Hopper, rf
Phillips, 2b
Dunn, lf
Conine, 1b
Encarnacion, 3b
Hamilton, cf
Gonzalez, ss
Ross, c
Harang, rhp

Sizemore, cf
Blake, 3b
Martinez, c
Garko, 1b
Nixon, rf
Peralta, ss
Dellucci, lf
Barfield, 2b
Sabathia, lhp

Indians transaction: The Indians optioned pitcher Jeremy Sowers to Triple-A Buffalo before today's game and recalled pitcher Matt Miller.

Saturday in review

A few thoughts from the Reds clubhouse after Saturday's 8-6 loss in 11 innings against the Indians...

* Indians left fielder David Dellucci wiped out a two-run Reds lead in the eighth inning when he hit a 3-and-2 sinker from relief pitcher Gary Majewski over the left field wall to tie the game.

Majewski had Dellucci 0-and-2 before throwing three consecutive balls that drew objections from some of the 37,935 fans at Great American Ball Park.

“The pitches were close,” Majewski said. “It’s one of those games where you try to pitch to a guy’s strike zone. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Did he ask home plate umpire Bill Miller how close the pitches were?

"I've learned as a player, you ask where they are if you don't have quite a few years under your belt. They get kind of mad at you and, for future reference, you really don't need that."

Reds manager Jerry Narron said: “There were some pitches there that we would’ve loved to have had. Seems like we’ve had some calls go against us that were pretty close pitches. I guess we’ll just have to keep taking a look at it and let somebody else make a decision on how they call the game.”

Reds opponents have now scored 53 runs in the eighth inning this season.

* The Reds stranded two runners in the 10th inning after a splendid catch by Indians right fielder Franklin Gutierrez.

With runners on first and second and two out, shortstop Alex Gonzalez hit a fly ball that drifted into the right field corner. Gutierrez caught the ball just before he slammed into the bullpen fence.

“I hit it good, but I know that guy,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve played with him in Venezuela. I wasn’t surprised he caught the ball…. He can play.”

Friday, June 8, 2007

Reds 4, Indians 3

Homer Bailey obviously has the stuff to be successful. But the question with a young pitcher is: Does he have the stuff?

A great fastball, breaking ball and change-up are great, but having the stones to trust that stuff when the games on the line is just as important.

Bailey did that in the fifth Friday night. With the bases loaded, with the crowd roaring, when a gapper would have thoroughly wrecked his line and debut, Bailey threw a 93 fastball right past a looking David Dellucci to escape with the lead.

“I told myself these are big-time pitches,” Bailey said. “Bases loaded, two outs. Get this guy out. The last thing I wanted to do is give up a hit and the lead.”

His teammates were duly impressed.

“He buckled down and got the out,” Ken Griffey Jr. “It was a lot of fun to watch.”

“That’s not an easy situation,” David Weathers said. “A packed house. All the expectations thrown on you. I think he handled it well.”

Bailey savored the roar as he walked off the mound after getting Dellucci.

“It was awesome,” Bailey said, “especially after that last strikeout, you kind of shut it off and you feel the crowd. It was really amazing.

“Days like this, you'll never forget.”

Five innings, two runs on five hits, against one of the best hitting teams in baseball. And he got the win.

“It was a nice outing,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “It gives us hope for the future.”

It certainly does. It was just one night, of course. But it sure looks like Bailey has the stuff and the stuff to be a good one.

Homer leaves with 3-2 lead

Reds took a 3-2 lead on Jeff Conine's third home run of the year -- a two-run shot to left in the fourth.

Homer Bailey showed some major brass in the protecting in in the fifth. He went five innings, allowinhg two runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out three. He left with a 3-2 lead. The only downside was he only went five because the Indians pushed his pitch count to 114.

The strikeout of David Dellucci for Bailey's final out with the bases loaded and the crowd on its feet was the highlight of the year so far.

Here's the Bailey play-by-play:

Homer's first: First pitch, a ball outside. Second was a 93 mph strike. Ball 2. 93, 2-2. Foul ball. Foul on 96 mph. Grady Sizemore strikes out on an 89 mph pitch. Casey Blake grounds out 5-3.
Travis Hafner falls behind 1-2, then singles to center.
Victor Martinez gets ahead 2-0, fouls one back. Outside, 3-1. Swings through a 92 mph fastball. Full count. Foul to left. Doubles to left-center, scoring Hafner. Indians, 1-0. Might have had a play at the plate but Norris Hopper missed the cut-off man. 3-1 to Trot Nixon. 27 pitches. 3-2. Flyout to right. 29 pitches, 19 strikes.

Brandon Phillips tied with a home run the opposite way to right -- his 11th. Tied, 1-1.

Homer's second: Walked David Dellucci to start the second, then retired them in order, although Josh Barfield's flyout to left went to the wall. Bailey's at 42 pitches.

Homer's third: Top of the order. Strikes out Sizemore swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Blake and Hafner both ground out -- Hafner on a 96 mph fastball. Bailey's at 60 pitches.

Bailey hit in the third. Grounded out on 3-2 pitch.

Homer's fourth: Got ahead of Martinez, then bouced two to go full. Single to right. Nixon doubles. Delluci hits a sac fly. Nixon out going to second. Indians 2-1. Hits Barfield. Balk. Barfield to second. Mike Rouse intentionally walked. Cliff Lee grounds out. Pitch count: 91.

Homer's fifth: Sizemore singles. Blake pops out. Goes up 1-2 on Hafner on pitch No. 100. Walks Hafner on a way high curve. Martinez flies out to wall in center. Sizemore to third. Bailey's at 106 pitches. Walks Nixon on four pitche to load the bases. Crowds getting into it. Everyone's one their feet. Stirke one. Homer! Homer! Strike 2. 1-2. C alled Strike 3. Everyone goes nuts.

The place isn't full. But Bailey got a rousing ovation when he was announced.

From Tino, a frequent e-mailer:

Gary Nolan was 18 for his debut (4/15/67) for the Reds. Johnny Bench was a 19 year old Catcher in 1967 for his debut (8/28/67). I do not show younger battery mates ever for the Reds let alone any MLB team outside of the WW II Years.

Tino D.
Trivia is my life

Nolan born 5/27/48
Bench born 12/7/47

Don Gullet was 19 for his debut.

First starter stat

Chris Welsh said he had stat.inc run the numbers for all pitchers who made their debut as starters since 2003. There was 150 of them. The average outing was 5 ininngs, 3.3 runs, 3.1 earned runs.

The Reds would take that from Homer Bailey tonight.

"(The Indians) have got the kind of club that runs up pitch counts," Jerry Narron said.

So how you think Bailey will do?

Homer's entrance

Homer Bailey made his grand entrance. Photographers and videographers recorded his walk up the dugout steps to take batting practice.

Quite a moment, well, not really. He looked like he knows shat he's doing in BP. He only had eight at-bats for Louisville -- one hit, one strikeout, two RBI.

Jerry Narron planned to talk to him before the start. "It's not going to be a Knute Rockne speech," Narron said. "I'll tell him basically to work with (catcher David Ross)."

Narron expects Bailey to say he's not nervous.

"But, if he's not nervous and doesn't have a lot of adrenaline pumping, there's something worng with him," Narron said. "It's going to be interesting. I look forward to it."

Narron says the key for Bailey is simple.

"The best pitch in baseball is a well-located fastball," Narron said.

In other words, if the Bailey can locate the fastball, he's got a chance. If he doesn't, it could be a long, or rather short night.

Freel update

Ryan Freel was in the clubhouse Friday. He'll be examined at 6 p.m. by Dr. Tim Kremchek. It doesn't sound like Freel's going to playing any time soon.

He is still experiencing headaches and dizziness. He hasn't been told he had a concussion but he thinks he did.

"I was knocked out," he said. "If that's a concussion, I'm sure I did."

He's had at least "seven or six" concussions in the past, "maybe nine or 10."

"They haven't said anything about post-concussion syndrome," Freel said. "But that what it sounds like. I've never had the lingering effects like this before. It was always a couple of days.

Scary stuff.

Wow! Coffey optioned

From the Reds:

"The Reds selected from Louisville the contract of RHP Homer Bailey...he will wear #34 in his Major League debut as tonight's starting pitcher.

"RHP Todd Coffey was optioned to Louisville."

That's a bit of a shocker. Marcus McBeth really must of showed them something in that one outing.

Coffey had no idea this was going to happen. I saw him pick up a "Louisville Bats" bag when he was leaving last night.

I said, "Still got the bag, huh?"

He said, "The only good thing about this is bag is holds a lot of stuff. I'm getting rid it of when when I get back."

If Jared Burton wasn't a Rule 5 player, there's no way Coffey's optioned.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Reds 5, Cardinals 1

You know what I don't understand? For all of you who thought ninth-grade algebra, good point. But what I was going to say is how someone can be alternately so bad and so good like Kyle Lohse. Lohse pitched 8 1/3 great innings Thursday to beat the Cardinals 5-1.

He's 2-1 with a 1.54 ERA over his last three starts. Over the previous three starts, he was 0-3 with a 15.30 ERA. So he's been 10 times better lately. Same guy, same arm, same stuff, completely different results. Puzzling.

“It's in there,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “Stuff-wise, he's as good as anybody. We really feel like the worst is behind him and he’s going to continue to pitch well.”

A video session with pitching coach Dick Pole started the turnaround.

“It wasn't anything major,” Lohse said. “It just looked like I wasn't being aggressive. I was falling off, trying to be a little too fine.”

If nothing else, Lohse is becoming a very attractive chip to trade at the deadline.

The Reds finished the three-city, nine-game road trip 4-5 -- not bad overall, but semi-awful when you consider they won the first two games of it.

“For the most part, we've played well on this road trip,” Narron said. “We could had a couple more wins but we couldn’t nail them down.”

That's why that loss in Colorado Sunday still stings.

On the draft

Three or four years from now I may have been proven absolutely wrong, but I like what the Reds did with the first two picks in the draft.

A good catcher can be the foundation of a franchise. Devin Mesoraco, the high kid from Punxsutawney, Pa., the Reds took No. 1, is a smart, athletic and probably would have gone higher if he didn't have "Tommy John" surgery two years ago. And it sounds like he wants to sign.

Todd Frazier, the shortstop from Rutgers the Reds took No. 2, background is a little like last year's No. 3 pick Chris Valaika. Frazier played at high level very successfully for a long time from the Little League World Series to Team USA.

That said, you never know with a baseball draft.

"I think it went well hopefully," scouting director Chris Buckley said. "We got a whole bunch of players we like. We think it turned out pretty good."

After taking four position players, a catcher and three pitchers on Day 1, Buckley expects to go heavily on pitching in the draft's second day.

Second pick: SS Todd Frazier

The Reds picked Rutgers shortstop Todd Frazier with their second pick (34th overall, compensation for Rich Aurilia).

The local kid Andrew Brackman going to the Yankees 30th may be the most interesting pick of the day. If Brackman's shoulder is OK -- he didn't piitch in the NCAA regionals because if it -- the Yankees may have the steal of the draft.

Frazier was the winning pitcher for Toms River, N.J., in the 1998 Little League World Series championship. Here's what the Rutgers website says about him:

The shortstop painted himself throughout the Rutgers record book in 2007, finishing in the top-6 in every single-season offensive category, excluding triples. He broke the Rutgers single-season record for home runs (22), home runs by a leadoff hitter (22), runs scored (87), walks (62), doubles (24) and total bases (187), all set this season. He also finished second in slugging percentage (.757), second in at bats (247), tied for third in runs batted in (65), fifth in hits (93), and tied for sixth in stolen bases (25).

Frazier has also placed himself on several Rutgers career record charts through just three seasons. He is the Scarlet Knights' all-time leader in home runs (42) and runs scored (210), and is second in walks (138) and total bases (434), and third in hits (241), slugging percentage (.625) and stolen bases (65), and fifth in runs batted in (152).

Frazier, who played with the USA Baseball National Team last summer, was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year at the conclusion of the regular season. He finished the season fourth in the nation in home runs (22), fourth in runs per game (1.38), eighth in walks per game (0.98) and 11th in home run per game (0.35).

Reds pick catcher

The Reds pick Devin Mesoraco, a catcher from Punxatawney, Pa.

Read he could go as high as fourth.

He's 6-1, 195 pounds. Also played shortstop. Had "Tommy John" surgery.

From minorleaguebaseball.com: "Mesoraco has answered any questions about his arm following Tommy John surgery a year ago and is on the rise among catching prospects. He's a complete catching package, with hitting ability, power, good hands, a plus arm and outstanding leadership ability."

From baseballamerica.com: "The more players who slide out of the top 10 picks based on signability, the better for Mesoraco, who has asserted himself as a first rounder who was expected to sign quickly for slot money anywhere in the first 30 picks. He could be taken as high as No. 4 to Pittsburgh. One of most attractive assets is the balance of his game."

BA had him No. 14. The Reds picked 15th.

He was the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year. From the Gatorade release: "At the time of his selection, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior catcher was batting .467 with four home runs and 16 RBI, amassing a .632 on-base percentage and a .911 slugging percentage. He is ranked amongst Baseball America’s top 100 high school prospects, confirming his status as one of the top backstops in the nation. . . Mesoraco has maintained a 3.61 GPA in the classroom."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Cardinals 6, Reds 4

I know you would have taken Bronson Arroyo out after the sixth. But can you blame Jerry Narron for trying to get one more inning of him? Given the bullpen's ability to blow any lead, I can understand why Narron did what he did.

Arroyo was pretty good until the seventh. "I tried to freeze Albert (Pujols) with a heater in. It stayed middle-away." Pujols hit it 412 to left-center. It was Arroyo's 119th pitch of the night.

He said he felt normal going into the seventh.

“I felt fine, about average for what you feel going out for the seventh inning,” Arroyo said. “I was a little tired. Once you get up over 100 pitches, you’re going to a little tired.”

The other thing of note was Marcus McBeth's debut. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, a rare thing for the Reds. Nine pitches, seven strikes -- 92 mph fastballs, 82, 83 mph chane-ups.

The Reds need a roster spot Friday for Homer Bailey. Sending McBeth back to Louisville would empty the bandwagon of the few fans still riding it. The Reds better do some roster magic with Jared Burton or something. When the bullpen's ERA is close to 5.00, you've got to keep a guy who appears to have good stuff and isn't afraid to throw in the strike zone -- even if that's based on one big league outing.

LaRussa v. Harang

Tony LaRussa said this after Tuesday's game in which Aaron Harang hit Gary Bennett on the back of the head with a pitch:

"There isn't anything in baseball that I object to more," La Russa said. "Whether we hit them or they hit them, I've said it for almost as long as I've been managing: I'd suspend a guy two weeks to start with. A month the next time and then a season, if a major league pitcher doesn't have better command than that."

Bennett left the game with contusion on the back of his head. Harang was slightly taken aback when the what LaRussa said was relayed to him.

"He can say whatever he wants," Harang said. "Accident happens."

Harang said he had never hit anyone in the head at any level.

"It got away from me," Harang said. "After the game, I called over to talk to Gary to make sure he was all right. He understood it wasn't intentional. There were no hard feelings."

Draft day

Are you going to watch the draft tomorrow on ESPN2?

I know people love the NFL Draft (I'm not one of them), but the baseball draft is really inside stuff.

I talked the Reds scouting director today. They like the high school third baseman from Houston, Kevin Ahrens. But, when you pick 15th, someone they like better could fall to them. Chris Buckley, the Reds' scouting guy, doesn't have a strong high school vs. college leaning, although the three top picks last year were all college payers.

Here's a draft story from the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel that says a lot about why where the Reds are where they are:

By Mike Berardino
Staff writer
He was going to be a Red.

Derek Jeter was sure of that.

That's what the scouts were telling him. That's what he kept hearing onthe eve of the 1992 baseball draft.

"I was supposed to go to Cincinnati," Jeter says, 13 seasons into a Hall of Fame career.

Then along came draft day, and with the fifth overall pick the Redsinexplicably switched gears. They took Fort Lauderdale's Chad Mottola, a power-hitting outfielder from St. Thomas Aquinas High and the University of Central Florida.

Picking one spot later, the rebuilding Yankees quickly snatched upJeter, the spindly high school shortstop from Kalamazoo, Mich., and therest is history. "Chad probably did me a favor," Jeter says. "I would have been stuckbehind Barry Larkin for a long time. I thank Chad."

While Jeter has won four World Series rings with the Yankees, Mottolahas bounced around to eight different organizations, including a briefstint with the Marlins in 2001.

Still playing at age 35, Mottola is primarily a designated hitter with Triple-A Syracuse in the Blue Jays' system. His career major league totals: 59 games, 25 hits, four homers and a. 200 batting average.

Cardinals 4, Reds 3

Jerry Narron gave us this stat on after the game: Aaron Miles had walked one time in 70 at-bats, hitting left-handed. Jared Burton walked him on four pitches.

Miles, of course, came around to the score the winning run in the ninth. The Reds are reeling again -- three losses in a row, four of five.

This game should have never come down to the ninth. The Reds left 15 on base and were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

Burton's got great stuff. But he clearly doesn't trusted it, thus the seven walks in 8 2/3 innings.

Narron seems to really be in the these-are-players-I've-got-so-I'm-going-use-them mode. He used Mike Stanton in the seventh and Gary Majewski for the eighth. That worked out. Burton didn't. Burton's a Rule 5 guy, meaning the Reds have to keep him on the roster or risk losing him. If you're playing for this year, you can't afford to keep him on the roster.

But the Reds are 11 1/2 games out now, so it's looking more and more like the future is not now.

And, no, I don't know why Marcus McBeth hasn't gotten into a game. Before the game, Narron wanted to use McBeth with a lead. The Reds never got one. He did warm up in the ninth, however.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Narron on Bailey

Homer Bailey was a big topic of conversation in the Reds clubhouse. Here's a bit of what was said:

From Jerry Narron:
“He’s put up very good numbers in Triple-A. He has a chance to come the major leagues. It’s nice to see somebody here who you think has earned his way here. He’s definitely done that with what he’s done in Triple-A, He’s a guy from our organization who has a chance to get ever better.”

Why now? “We need a fifth starter. Things worked out for him. You want to see guys be challenged. There’s no question about that. It’s definitely going to a challenge for him.”

On facing the Indians: “There are no easy assignments. There aren't any easy assignments. There aren't.”

What he’s improved most? “What I've heard is he’s throwing more quality strikes."

Are expectations too high? “I don’t know. I really don’t know what people expect. He has a chance to be a very good major league pitcher. There’ll be ups and downs.”

Is he here to stay? “I don’t think this is going to be a one start-and-out deal. I sure hope it’s not.”
From Todd Coffey, who just returned from Louisville: "I saw him twice. He was outstanding in the Charlotte. In Durham, he battled. He looks good."

Is he ready?
"That's tough to say. It's up to him. If he stays within himself, he'll be OK.

From Marcus McBeth, who also saw Bailey pitch for Louisville: "He's something to watch. He's fun to watch."

From Josh Hamilton saw Bailey pitched in his last outing: "He started a little slow in the first couple of innings. Then you can see the dugout, he was getting fired. When it got to be the third, fourth, fifth, he had lot more intensity. He was spotting it up well, keeping guys off balance. He looked good."

"Bring him up. Give him a chance. Why not?"

Tickets available

From the Reds:

There was a significant spike in ticket sales after we announced that Homer was pitching Friday.

Tickets still remain for all 3 games of the series against the Indians.

The lineup vs. the Cards

Hopper RF
Hamilton CF
Phillips 2b
Dunn LF
Encarnacion 3b
Hatteberg 1b
Ross C
Castro SS
Harang P

Alex Gonzalez is available. But the strained hammy is still sore. Jerry Narron has been trying to Ken Griffey Jr. a day off, with Josh Hamilton back and Norris Hopper hot, tonight's the night.

Bailey to pitch Friday, what's it mean?

Homer Bailey debuts Friday. From the Reds:

RHP Homer Bailey, the Reds' No. 1 pick in the June 2004 first-year player draft (seventh overall) will make his Major League debut Friday night vs. Cleveland at Great American Ball Park...he will wear uniform number 34...Bailey has been at Class AAA Louisville all season (10 games started, 6-1, 2.31 ERA, 58 IP, 39 hits, 24 BB, 51 K, 3 HR)...he will become the first player selected by the Reds in the 2004 draft to play in the Major Leagues.

Bailey's scheduled start means that Matt Belisle will pitch Saturday.

So what do you think? As a reader pointed out, this is not a cure-all, but, as a Reds fan, what do you compare this to? Is it like Adam Dunn coming up when he went from AA to AAA to the Reds? Is is as big a deal as the media (I plead guilty on all counts here) is making it? Will go the game? Change plans to try to watch?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Transaction and talking to Bailey

Just got in from Denver.

Spoke to Homer Bailey on the way from the airport. He has not been told anything definitive. I ended our conversation with: "Guess, I'll see you this weekend."

"I hope you're right," he said.

There will be a Bailey story in the paper tomorrow and online at some point tonight.

From the Reds:

Prior to tomorrow night’s game in St. Louis, the Reds are expected to return from a rehabilitation assignment, recall from Class AAA Louisville and reinstate from the 15-day disabled list OF Josh Hamilton and recall from Louisville RHP Todd Coffey.

They will take the roster spots of RHP Brad Salmon, who today was optioned to Louisville, and OF Dewayne Wise, who has been outrighted to Louisville.

Since May 22 Hamilton has been on the 15-day disabled list with gastroenteritis. He hit safely in all 6 of rehab appearances for the Bats (8-24, .333, 1 2b, 4hr, 6rbi, 2sb). When he went on the DL Hamilton was hitting .261 with 8 HR and 18 RBI in 37 games for the Reds.

Coffey began the season with the Reds and went 1-1, 4.94 in 26 relief appearances before he was optioned to Louisville on May 24. He did not allow a run in 6 appearances for the Bats (5.2ip, 3h, 1bb, 9k, .158oba).

Salmon went 0-1, 4.50 in 11 relief apps for the Reds.

Wise appeared in 5 games for the Reds.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Rockies 10, Reds 9 in 10

So I'm thinking after Gary Majewski gets the flyout to end the seventh and keep it an 8-5 game: If Majewski can pitch a clean eighth, it would be a very good sign for the Reds.

You know what happened next. Majewski gives up three straight hits. David Weathers comes in and gives up a three-run triple. The Rockies take a 9-8 lead. The Reds tie it in the 9th and then lose it in 10th.

Just your run-of-the-mill major meltdown.

Bob Castellini was among those in the stands. I don't know if that means anything or not. Seems to me that Jerry Narron and Wayne Krivsky aren't on the same page at times lately, i.e, Narron saying Homer Bailey is going to start and Krivsky saying that it hadn't been finalized.

Bottom line: After all the fretting over Josh Hamilton not being here, over a lineup with Dewayne Wise, Juan Castro and Chad Moeller in it, if the bullpen get seven outs with a four-run lead, the Reds win the game.

Matt Belisle disputed Jerry Narron's claim that he was tired. But Belisle was having trouble putting batters away. My only quarrel with Narron: If Marcus McBeth is here, why not use him?

Homer it is

Jerry Narron said Kyle Lohse will start Thursday.

"Saturday is TBA," Narron said. "And it's TBA, not TBD."

What all that means is Homer Bailey is starting.

TBA stands for "to be announced;" TBD stands for "to be decided."

The Reds obviously have decided to pitch Bailey, the 21-year-old right-hander. Bailey pitched Saturday night for Triple-A Louisville. He won to push his record to 6-1. He allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings. It was his worst outing of the year.

So why not announce it? "I don't know what the rules are," Narron said. "Can you announce it if he's not on the roster?"

Saturday's game is against Cleveland at Great American Ball Park. The game was part of the "Power Packs," so it probably had a strong presale.

Hamilton explanation

GM Wayne Krivsky has felt the heat he's getting about not bringing up Josh Hamilton today.

His reason:" "He was really gassed after his first game or two. It made a lot sense with immune system and everything not to travel that much for one game. One game is important by so is a guy's health."

Hamilton hit four home runs in his first five games on rehab with Louisville. But the Reds decided to wait until Tuesday, after Monday's off day, to return him from the disabled list.

"It wouldn't have been wise and prudent to put him through all that travel after all he's been through," Krivsky.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Rockies 4, Reds 1

The Reds got nothing going off Jeff Francis, which should not be a surprise because Francis is a left-hander and he's coming off a month in which he 4-2 with 2.23 ERA.

The Reds are now 7-17 against left-handed starters.

The game certainly pointed to some of the flaws in the Reds roster. Juan Castro came to the plate in the seventh as a pinch-hitter representing the tying run. Castro's hitting .145.

And Mike Stanton pitched the seventh and eighth. He gave up a run that pretty much put things out of reach with Colorado closer Brian Fuentes coming on. Stanton's ERA is 5.23, but he's signed through '08, so the Reds seem intent of having him pitch his way out of the abyss.

The list of relievers Jerry Narron trusts right now is pretty much Jon Coutlangus and David Weathers.

It could be Homer

With Bobby Livingston being optioned to Louisville Saturday, he won't be eligible to come back in time to pitch next Saturday. That's when the Reds need a fifth starter.

If not Livingston, who? There's a very good chance it will be Homer Bailey. The other choices are Phil Dumatrait or Victor Santos.

"It's going to come down to Dumatrait, Santos or Homer," Jerry Narron said.

Bailey went into tonight's start 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA. Dumatrait is 5-4 with 3.79 ERA and struggled in his last start.

Santos will be in the bullpen leading up to Saturday, so an outing or two could eliminate him from consideration.

"(Bailey's) got a chance," Narron said. "He's pitched well. I'd like to see him come here and pitch well and contribute. I think it's going to be hard for him to pitch as well as the fans expect."

The Reds play Cleveland at home Saturday, by the way.

Small world

Another one from the It's A Small World (but I'd hate to paint it) file: I'm at an overlook in Rocky Mountain National Park today, a couple hundred feet below to the Continental Divide, when I look to my right. I see a guy that looks like David Weathers.

Upon closer inspection, I realize it is David Weathers. He and couple of buddies from home were making the Trail Ridge Road tour. "All the the time I've been coming here, I've never been up here," Weathers said.

He found, as would you, it's worth the time and miles.

McBeth up; Livingston down

From the Reds:

Today the Reds optioned to Class AAA Louisville LHP Bobby Livingston and recalled from Louisville RHP Marcus McBeth.

McBeth wears uniform number 59.

It should be noted that the Reds don't need a starter for eight days because of Monday's off dsay.

Reds 4, Rockies 2

You could almost feel this one slipping-sliding away in the seventh and eighth. But it didn't. That's a very good sign for the Reds. They've won four of five for the first time since the first five games of the season.

It was a nice nice outing by Bobby Livingston, who got his first big league win: 6 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 1 unearned run, 1 walk, 0 Ks. He left with a 4-0 lead.

Brad Salmon put the game in immediate danger as soon as Livingston left by walking the only two batters he faced. An error by Alex Gonzalez allowed one run to score. A misplayed ball by Ken Griffey Jr. allowed the other. But Jon Coutlangus bailed out Salmon, and David Weathers bailed out Coutlangus.

"It was good team win, " Livingston said.

Salmon is fortunate that Todd Coffey can't be brought back up until Tuesday because the coaching staff can't be very happy with Salmon right now.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Coors, Lo-Do experience

Every time I walk to Coors Field from the Westin, I get ticked off all over again that Great American Ball Park wasn't built at Broadway Commons.

Coors made Lower Downtown Denver what it is: One of America's great downtown neighborhoods. There are shops, restaurants, bars, condos and offices all around. I've been coming to Denver at least once a year for 25 years, so I've watched it happen.

I'm not saying that putting the park at Broadway Commons would have done the same thing to Main Street. But I'm certain that a lot more would have happened than has happened around GABP, which is pretty much nothing.

I know that Broadway Commons was voted down fair and square. But that was after the big dollar people in town put money behind the campaign against it.

Bad choice.

By the way, I was hoping to happen past the Real World Denver house on my way. I didn't. I'm on of the world's oldest fans of the Real World. My favorite moment this year was when the girl came home in tears after walking around in 5-inch heels looking unsuccessfully for a nail place. She was shocked no one was sympathetic to her plight. As Letterman says: Take seven really whiny kids, put them in a million dollar house with no jobs, and, yeah, that's the real world.


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