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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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nationals 6, Reds 3

Bobby Livingston thought the game came down to one pitch -- 2-2 pitch he thought was was Strike 3 to D'Angelo Jimenez. Frank Merriwether called it a ball. Jimenez ended up walking. The next three batters got hits. A 2-0 lead was 4-2 deficit.

"It blew up," Livingston said. "What can you do? If I get that pitch, the game's completely different."

Livingston insisted his reaction to the call wasn't the problem. It went down as his worst outing as a Red -- 4+ innings, nine hits, five runs.

And the Reds offense is struggling. They had 12 hits but scored only three runs. That's four runs in the three games.

Dumatrait Thursday

Phil Dumatrait is starting Thursday. I don't why it's him and not Elizardo Ramirez, and I don't why they waited until after Tuesday's game to announce it. But there you have it.

One very happy pitcher

LOUISVILLE - Phil Dumatrait called his mother and broke the news Tuesday night, not long after he got the official word from Triple-A Louisville manager Rick Sweet.

Dumatrait, who has gone 10-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 21 starts, will make his major league debut against the Nationals on Thursday.

Here's some of what he had to say....

"I don't even know what to say. I've been waiting for this moment since I was 5 years old. To have the opportunity, it's just unbelievable. It's so overwhelming. I don't know what to say."

"I've gone out and I feel like, so far this season, I've thrown the ball pretty well. To be given this opportunity is unreal. I figure if I kept throwing the ball well that I'd get my opportunity sometime."

"I'm probably going to have around 18 people fly from Bakersfield, Calif. (his hometown) for my debut. I actually think they've already started looking for flights."

Live from Louisville Slugger Field

LOUISVILLE - With John covering the Reds in D.C. and Triple-A Louisville at home against Charlotte, I decided to swing by Louisville Slugger Field today to catch up with a few folks.

Louisville manager Rick Sweet on relievers Bill Bray and Gary Majewski: "I think (Bray) and Gary Majewski are ready to go back to the big leagues. Whenever (the Reds) deem it necessary and are ready, they are the guys that are the most ready to go back."

As John already pointed out today, Phil Dumatrait was scratched from his scheduled start tonight, but threw a side session in the bullpen. He is not listed on the upcoming probables for Louisville. Johnny Cueto is scheduled to start for the Bats tomorrow followed by Jason Kershner and Steve Kelly on Thursday and Tom Shearn on Friday.

Sweet kinda smiled when I asked about Dumatrait.

"He's throwing a side right now."

The Reds need a starter Thursday and Saturday.

"Today is Tuesday," he said. "Tomorrow is Wednesday."

Newly-acquired infielder Jorge Cantu is thrilled with being traded from Tampa Bay to the Reds. He started at second base tonight, but has played first base and could see some time at third base and left field.

"They want to move me all around the infield. That's for sure. I have no problem doing that. The main thing right now is to get more at-bats because I only have a little over 100 this year. That includes when I was up with Tampa and played every two weeks....I talked with the (Reds) general manager, Mr. Krivsky, and he told me that they wanted me to do that, get more at-bats, get me going and then evaluate me in two or three weeks."

Joey Votto is anxious to get The Call: "I’d like to get to the big leagues. Beyond that, I’m trying to make little improvements and refine my game and prepare myself for the big leagues.

"You know what? I think I made major strides with my defense last year and became a better hitter last year. I don’t feel like I’ve made huge strides in any department. I’m just trying to refine my game, get it as close to big league ready as possible.

Best line before the game goes to catcher Ryan Hanigan, who saw me interviewing Jay Bruce in the clubhouse. We later crossed paths in the dugout. Hanigan stopped and said of Bruce, the 12th overall pick in the 2005 draft: "Twenty. Twenty. He's going to be a good one."

UPDATE: The Bats lead 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Reds reliever Eddie Guardado is warming up in the bullpen. The left-hander, who is nearly 11 months removed from "Tommy John" elbow surgery, is scheduled to throw one inning.

Guardado also pitched Monday, and said going back-to-back would be a key test in trying to get back to the majors.

Guardado faces Charlotte DH Kenny Kelly (fly ball out), catcher Ryan Smith (strikeout looking) and center fielder Jason Bourgeois. With two outs, Bourgeois took an 85 mph fastball on a full count over the left field wall that ties the game at two.

Right fielder Kenny Perez walks on a full count and that's it for Guardado, who threw 11 of 21 pitches for strikes. The stadium speed gun had Guardado's fastball consistently around 86 mph with a high of 87 mph.

Krivsky on no trades

Wayne Krivsky downplayed the fact that the Reds made no trades on the day of non-waiver deadline.

“This is just the non-waiver,” Krivsky said. “It doesn’t mean that there still can’t be trades in August. There wasn’t anything out there today that was suitable for us, so we passed.”

“I’m always looking to improve the team. There wasn’t anything out there today that improved the team. We’ll stand pat and go with what we have right now.”

Disappointed? “No, not at all.”

Are there players in the minors ready to help the cause soon? “You never know about minor leaguers and how they develop. Everyone develops differently. I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you who’s going to be ready and who’s not. We give them to opportunity to play and give them the best chance to have success. Their performance dictates who moves up to next level.
“You can’t get too far ahead of yourself there.”

On the timing of Chad Moeller-Mark Bellhorn transaction: “We felt like we’d go with Bellhorn instead of Chad for the time being. That decision was made this afternoon.

Are there any deals still in the works" “You’ve got to get waivers on players. Until you get waivers on the players, there’s no sense talking about that. We’ve been talking about guys without waivers for months now. Everybody’s going to take a deep breath.”

On the TBAs in the rotation for Thursday and Saturday: “We’ll figure it out. We’ll let you know as soon as we notify the player. Someone will pitch Thursday and Saturday.”

Again, you're not disappointed: “No, not at all. We’re real happy about the trade yesterday, acquiring Matt Maloney, and we’re happy to acquire Jorge Cantu and Shaun Cumberland. We’ll go forward and continue the process of improving out inventory of minor league players and try to make the major league team better. The only restriction we have in August and September is we have to have waivers in order to trade a player.”

No deals II

We're going to talk to Wayne Krivsky in a bit. I don't think he'll shed a lot of light on what happened.

As for Phil Dumatrait, I wouldn't be stunned if he starts Thursday. I talked to Elizardo Ramirez he said his shoulder still bothers him from time to time.

No deals

John Fay reports that manager Pete Mackanin talked to general manager Wayne Krivsky shortly after the non-waiver trade deadline (4 p.m.), and Mackanin said that Krivsky told him the Reds didn't make any trades. The Reds did make one move. Catcher Chad Moeller was outrighted to Triple-A, and infielder Mark Bellhorn was called up.

Dumatrait pulled from Triple-A start

Kevin Kelly reports that Kirk Saarloos is starting for Lousville tonight. The Bats pulled Phil Dumatrait back from his start. Whether that means anything related to Arroyo remains to be seen.

Deadline nearer still

The other name I heard in the Braves-Bronson Arroyo talk was Yunel Escobar, the highly rated shortstop. He was Atlanta's second-round pick in 2005. He's a Cuban defector.

Deadline nears

Word is Braves are pushing for Bronson Arroyo. Jo-Jo Reyes is one of the players being offered. That would be hard to sell to the fans. IK'm hopping the Metro to RFK.

Reds transactions

From the Reds:

Today the Reds recalled from Class AAA Louisville RHP Elizardo Ramirez (#54), reinstated from the restricted list SS Alex Gonzalez and placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to 7/29, IF Juan Castro (sprained right elbow).

Greetings from D.C.

Four and a half hours from the dealine and all is quiet on the Reds front -- at least publicly. I just arrived at the Mayflower Hotel.

I showed at CVG at 6 a.m. for a 8:30 flight. Not a veteran traveler move. Misread my itinerary. Guess it was better than showing up at 10.

Anyway, I don't have a strong feeling one way or another about whether Adam Dunn will be traded. With all that time at airport, I was tempted to call Wayne Krivsky and see if waking him up from a deep sleep might get him to say something other than: "It takes two to make a trade." Doubtful.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lohse speaks

Kyle Lohse spoke to Philly pool reporter Paul Hagen:

What are your emotions right now? “I'm a little excited, happy to be going to a team in the race. But I’m disappointed we couldn’t get it done here. So it's a little bit of mixed emotions.”

Have you pitched better than your numbers would indicate? “I feel that way, but my numbers are what they are. I just try to go out there and give my team the best possible chance to win. I had a couple bad games here and there that kind of skewed the numbers.”

Did you suffer from a lack of run support? “That's probably pretty fair to say. I'm not big on using those things as an excuse, though. I just happen to be one of those guys that seems to happen to. But I'm not trying to put any blame on my teammates.”

So does it at least make you feel a little better to be coming to the team that leads the National League in runs scored? “That's always a good thing for a starting pitcher to hear.”

Sometimes when a pitcher doesn’t get a lot of runs he tries to be too fine: “That's something that happened to me throughout my career. You have some hard luck and then you make things worse because you're trying to be too perfect. ButI feel like I've done a better job of not doing that this year.”

Krivsky on the trade

Here's what Wayne Krivsky had to say on the Kyle Lohse-for-Matt Maloney trade and the impending deadline:

On the Maloney: “Matt Maloney is someone our scouts have seen probably his last three or four starts. It was someone – if the Phillies were willing to give him up – we were willing to pull the trigger. Our reports on him are very good – very durable, the Sally League pitcher of the year last year, left-handed, good size, knows how to pitch. We're excited to have him.”

On what they got for Lohse: “We wanted to make a good baseball trade. We feel like we got a guy we can really count on. There was a lot of interest in Kyle we felt like this was the best guy to acquire.”

On trade activity of lack thereof around baseball: “It'll pick up. But I could care less what anyone else does. I'm only worried about the Cincinnati Reds and making us better. I could give a hoot what anyone else is doing. We're busy, I can tell you that. We’re making some calls and we're getting some."

On what the Reds might do: “It takes two make a trade. If it's a transaction that makes sense to our people, we'll make it. If it makes us better, we make it. It's as simple as that.”

On how close Maloney is to the majors: “With any pitcher, any player, they dictate when they move. He's no different from anyone else.”

On interest in Lohse: "He’s been on everybody's radar. There was a lot of interest, many teams. It got down to the point two or three were very active. My preference was not to have Kyle Lohse get on an airplane and got to Washington. I made up my mind that it would be done today before he got on the bus because it would have awkward.”

On Lohse as a Red: "Kyle Lohse has tremendous stuff. He's a good big league pitcher. I'm sure he would tell you that he hasn't been consistent enough. This is a tough deal. There's not higher league than here. It's not a easy game to play. You take the good with the bad, the ups and downs. You try to get better.

"Keep it simple stupid. It goes for being a GM, too. I got my ups and downs."

Maloney for Ward?

The Reds traded Zach Ward from Minnesota for Kyle Lohse on July 31 of last year. Take a look at Ward's stats compared to Matt Maloney's, the guy the Reds got for Lohse today:

Ward 2-14, 3.30 ERA, 101 IP, 94 hits, 24 BB, 84 Ks
Maloney 9-7 3.94 ERA, 125.2 IP, 117 hits, 45 BB, 115 Ks

Ward's record seems out of whack with the rest of his numbers. And he is pitching in the Single-A Florida State League, and Maloney was pitching in the Double-A Eastern League. Ward is two days older than Maloney. (Maloney and I share the same birthday -- 27 years apart).

More on Maloney:

Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height/Weight: 6-4/220 pounds
Age: 23
Born/Resides: Huron, Ohio

Maloney was rated by Baseball America as the ninth-best prospect in the Phillies' farm system this year.

Philadelphia selected him in the third round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Mississippi. Baseball America rated him as the 106th best prospect in that draft.

Last season with Single-A Lakewood, he led the South Atlantic League in victories (16), strikeouts (180) and innings pitched (168-2/3), was tied for first with two complete games and second in the league with a 2.08 ERA. He held opponents to a .194 batting average, struck out 10 batters in a game three times, and at one point made 12 consecutive quality starts.

In 21 starts with Double-A Reading this season, Maloney was 9-7 with a 3.94 ERA, 115 strikeouts to 45 walks, 13 home runs allowed and a .246 batting average against. He leads the Eastern League in innings pitched (125-2/3) and ranks fourth in strikeouts.

The Reds will assign him to Double-A Chattanooga.

Here's an excerpt of an article Joe Adelizzi of the Asbury Park Press wrote in advance of the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in June 2006.....

"Perhaps it goes back to his Little League days when his father, Joe, of Huron, Ohio, began teaching him how to pitch.

"He was my coach and the first one to help me understand what pitching was about," Maloney said. "He didn't force me to be a pitcher. But when he saw that was what I wanted to do, he guided me."

His father taught him well, said BlueClaws manager Dave Huppert.

"He has three pitches, and he is close to mastering all of them," said Huppert, a former catcher who has seen some top guys in his 30 years in the games.

Maloney knows everything works off the fastball. He is not overpowering, although he can break 90 on the radar guns around the league. But he understands the value of location. It has served him well.

"If I can move my fastball around in the strike zone it makes my curve and changeup more effective,' said Maloney, who is 6-4 and weighs 220 pounds. It is not one of those chiseled athletic bodies, but it seems like one made for pitching.

"He may not look very athletic, but he seems to know what he is doing on the mound," said Murray Cook, a scout for the Boston Red Sox who has been following the BlueClaws for the last two weeks. "He has mound presence, something rare at this level."

Huppert senses something else about Maloney that he likes.

"He gets extra tough when men are on base. He goes to a level higher. That's an awful good sign," Huppert said.

Lohse to the Phillies

From the Reds:

Receive Lefthander Matt Maloney From Philly

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Reds executive vice president and general manager Wayne Krivsky today announced the acquisition of LHP Matt Maloney from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for RHP Kyle Lohse.

Your guess is as good . . .

as mine, as to whether the Reds will trade Adam Dunn before the deadline. Things have been quiet, which isn't unusual with the way Wayne Krivsky operates.

So would you trade Dunn?

How much would you need in return to do it?
I think fans are split about 50-50 on Dunn. But sending him out for prospects would not be popular.

mlb.com reports Texas is sending first baseman Mark Teixeira and lefty reliever Ron Mahay to Atlanta for catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia, plus Minor Leaguers Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus along with a player to be named. That will affect the market for Dunn. I think if the Reds could have gotten Saltalamacchia for Dunn, they would have made the trade.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Latest on Harang

Kevin Kelly is having Blogger problems at the ballpark, but he sends this piece of news from the Reds:

Reds manager Pete Mackanin said starting pitcher Aaron Harang, who came out of Saturday's game after one inning because of lower back soreness, was to be re-evaluated this morning.

"I spoke to him last night after the game," Mackanin said. "He said he didn't think it was a big deal. He said his back acted up last year a little. He didn't seem to be concerned at all, so that made me happy."

Right now, Harang is still scheduled to start against the Nationals on Thursday.

"We should know today, probably, or in a day or two. I'm not sure," Mackanin said. "We're waiting to see what the doctors are going to say."

Reds vs. Cubs, 7-29

Hatteberg, 1b
Freel, cf
Griffey Jr., rf
Phillips, 2b
Dunn, lf
Keppinger, ss
Valentin, c
Encarnacion, 3b
Belisle, rhp

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Reds acquire Cantu, Cumberland and cash from D-Rays

From the Reds..... Cincinnati Reds executive vice president and general manager Wayne Krivsky today announced the acquisition of IF Jorge Cantu, OF Shaun Cumberland and cash from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for RHP Calvin Medlock, LHP Brian Shackelford and future considerations.

Cantu, who is on the 40-man roster, will be optioned to Class AAA Louisville. The Bats and Tampa Bay's Durham affiliate are scheduled to play a doubleheader tonight at Louisville Slugger Field. Cumberland will be assigned to Class AA Chattanooga.

Cantu, 25, in 2005 produced a club-record 117 RBI and was named the Devil Rays' Most Valuable Player by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He led the Major Leagues by driving in 21.1 percent of the baserunners he inherited, and his RBI total that season was the most by an American League player prior to the age of 24 since 22-year-old Alex Rodriguez had 124 RBI in 1998.

This season, Cantu appeared in 25 games for Tampa Bay and 23 games for Durham.

Cumberland, 22, was selected by the Devil Rays in the 10th round of the June 2003 first-year player draft. In his first professional season he was named Princeton's Player of the Year and in 2006 he produced 16 HR and 98 RBI at Southwest Michigan. Cumberland has spent this season at Class AA Montgomery, where in 99 games he hit .246 with 6 HR an 34 RBI.

Reds acquire Jorge Cantu, Shaun Cumberland and cash

The Reds acquired infielder Jorge Cantu, outfielder Shaun Cumberland and cash from the Devil Rays today in exchange for pitchers Brian Shackelford and Calvin Medlock and future considerations.

Cantu is on the 40-man roster and will be optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Cumberland will be assigned to Double-A Chattanooga.

In 2005, Cantu produced a Tampa Bay club record 117 RBI and was named the Devil Rays' MVP by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. This season, he appeared in 25 games with Tampa Bay and 23 with its Triple-A affiliate in Durham. He batted .207 with four RBI for the Devil Rays and .244 with five doubles and 10 RBI with Durham.

Cumberland is a former 10th round draft pick by the Devil Rays. He was hitting .246 with six homers and 34 RBI with Double-A Montgomery this season.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey (E.Z. may be the guy if the Kyle Lohse is moved):

Louisville scores 5 times in the 11th inning to beat Scranton…Elizardo Ramirez with 6.2 scoreless innings…Aaron Herr with 3 hits…Doubleheader for the Bats today…Chattanooga sweeps a 5-game series from Mississippi…Jose Cosme and Luis Bolivar provide the Chattanooga offense…Sarasota falls at Clearwater…Chris Valaika extends his hitting streak…Dayton beats Peoria…Anthony Gressick outstanding in his 5ip…Jason Louwsma with 3 hits…Billings outslugs Missoula, 13-10…Brandon Menchaca with 4 hits…6 of the starting 9 had multi-hits and multi-runs…GCL Reds lose to GCL Orioles…Justin Reed and Jose Gualdron with 3 hits apiece.

IF Jose Cosme: 11-21, .524, 2hr, 4 doubles, 8rbi, 5r (has hit safely in 4-5g)
LF Luis Bolivar: 11-20, .550, 1hr, 3 doubles, 6rbi, 8r (has hit safely in 6 straight)
Team Pitching: 5-0, 5sv, 45ip, 19er, 42k, 3.80era,
Team Batting: 61-177, .345, 9hr, 34rbi, 35r

5gs, 3-1, 2.37, 30.ip, 21h, 5bb, 37k (leads the Southern League for strikeouts this month)

Guardado on assignment, upcoming probables

From the Reds....

The Reds today sent LHP Eddie Guardado (left elbow, low back) on a rehabilitation assignment to Class AAA Louisville...he is scheduled to pitch 1.0 inning tonight vs Durham.

Also, according to the gamenotes, the probable starters for the upcoming Nationals Series are as follows:

Tuesday - Reds RH Kyle Lohse vs. Nationals LH Matt Chico
Wednesday - Reds RH Bronson Arroyo vs. Nationals LH John Lannan
Thursday - Reds RH Aaron Harang vs. Nationals LH Mike Bacsik

My theory

I caught the end of last night's game in bar full of Cubs fans. They went from way up to way down pretty quickly. That was one very nice play by Ryan Freel and David Ross. Edwin Encarnacion's big night came at a good time for him. When Alex Gonzalez comes back, Pete Mackanin is going to be looking for places to play Jeff Keppinger. And Keppinger plays third.

Anyway, my theory, which I'll explore further in my Sunday Reds Insider, is that the Reds won't do a lot at the trade deadline. I think they'll trade Kyle Lohse and maybe Scott Hatteberg and/or Jeff Conine. Why? This is simply my theory, but I think Wayne Krivsky wants to give Mackanin an opportunity to get the permanent job.

If the Reds trade Adam Dunn, David Weathers and Bronson Arroyo for prospects, it would be difficult to continue to play as well as they have under Mackanin. By the way, the way the Reds are playing .636 baseball under Mackanin. If they play that well the rest of the way, they'd finish 81-81. That's the magic number (or numbers) for Mackanin to get the job in my opinion.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Santos up, Saarloos out

The Reds have outrighted relief pitcher Kirk Saarloos and brought up reliever Victor Santos.

Saarloos had not retired any of the past 10 batters he faced.

In five appearances with Louisville, Santos was 0-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

Reds vs. Cubs, 7-27

Freel, cf
Keppinger, ss
Griffey Jr., rf
Phillips, 2b
Dunn, lf
Conine, 1b
Encarnacion, 3b
Ross, c
Arroyo, rhp

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reds 6, Brewers 5

Another nice victory for the Redlegs. Francisco Cordero blew the save in the ninth and took the loss in the 10th. It's pretty impressive to beat a guy like that.

Watching the Brewers, you see why the Reds don't have to blow things up completely to hope to compete in the NL Central next season. The Brewers have led nearly all the way, and they aren't overwhelming better than the Reds -- at least this version of Reds. The Reds are suddenly winning games that they were losing before Pete Mackanin took over. A lot of that is attitude.

"In general this team, at least as far I'm concerned, looks like any other winning team I ever had," Mackanin said. "They look like they're into it. I don't want to get giddy about all this. I want to be under control. The key is when you lose a couple in a row how you rebound."

The Reds have passed that test. They lost three of four to the New York Mets and responded with a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves. They lost three of four to the Florida Marlins and responded by taking three of four from Milwaukee.


If Kirk Saarloos is on roster for tomorrow's game, the Reds have a credibility problem, well a bigger credibility problem. The last 10 batters he's faced have reached -- eight hits, a walk and a hit batsman. He's allowed eight earned runs in that span.

Thursday, the first batter he faced, Tony Graffanino, hit a home run to tie the game.

This is why I'm not managing: I would have given Ken Griffey Jr. the day off. Griffey's 3-for-4, with a homer, a double, two RBI and two runs scored. The homer broke an 0-for-13.

Injury updates

Here's the extensive medical report:

--Pedro Lopez goes on the DL with a fractured cheek bone. Juan Castro takes his place, despite the still sore elbow. Lopez will be released from the hospital today.

--David Ross is day-to-day with the finger injury.

--Josh Hamilton was cleared begin to strengthened his right wrist. He thinks he'll be allowed to hit by Wednesday or so.

--Eddie Guardado is headed to Louisville Saturday for a rehab assignment.

--Homer Bailey threw some today, just played catch really. He thinks he's two weeks away. Did the groin injury affect his velocity? "Oh yeah, when you start feeling it in the shoulder, it's time to shut it down."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reds 7, Brewers 3

This was a very nice win by the Reds. A lot of players had a part in it. But when you see a player down and bleeding like Pedro Lopez was, it kind overrides what happened in the game.

Lopez was hit flush in the face by an 83 mph Matt Wise pitch. I took a look in the binoculars and you could see the blood pouring from his mouth. He never lost consciousness. But it looked pretty serious. He was taken to the hospital. Dr. Tim Kremchek thought Lopez has a broken bone in his face.

"You feel the poor kid," Pete Mackanin said. "He was so excited to be here."

We'll know more tomorrow. The Reds were making a move to get a player up here for tomorrow's game. I've got no idea who. Enrique Cruz? Not a lot of middle infielders to choose from.

Kyle Lohse pitched well enough -- 5 2/3 innings, one earned run -- that the Reds will be able to move him is my guess.

Jeff Keppinger looks like a keeper. The Reds scored seven runs without a home run and an 0-for-5 from Ken Griffey Jr., who is 2-for-his-last-26.

First pitch in the series finale in 13 hours. Sleep fast, as Jack McKeon would say.

Lopez hit: Scary situation

Pedro Lopez was hit in the face by a Matt Wise pitch in the eighth inning. They're taking Lopez off on a cart right now. He bleeding heavily from the mouth. He did not lose consciousness. But he was in considerable pain.

Willy meets Jay

Scott Williamson gave up a three-run homer to Jay Bruce in Louisville's game with Scranton.

Williamson only went two-thirds of an inning. His ERA is 40.50. He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees on Sunday.

It was Bruce's fourth homer at Triple-A.

Ross hurt, Rose in the house

David Ross left the game after sliding awkwardly into second base. He suffered a dislocated right little finger. X-rays were negative. The finger was "relocated." He is day-to-day.

Pete Rose is at the game. He's sitting in the Front Gate outdoor luxury box.

Reds lead 5-0. The big blow was Jeff Keppinger's three-run double in the third. You really have to keep playing him -- at least till he cools off.

Hall vote

The Reds Hall of Fame voting begins Aug. 1.

It's a strong class. But I would think Barry Larkin is one to get in. Hal Morris and Chris Sabo will eventually get in.

Here's the release from the Reds:

Voting for 2008 Reds Hall of Fame Class Starts Aug. 1
Fans can vote online, by mail, or at Great American Ball Park
CINCINNATI (July 26, 2007) – Starting Aug. 1, Reds fans can start voting for the 2008 Reds Hall of Fame class. Fans can cast their ballot at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, at Great American Ball Park during Reds home games, online at www.reds.com, or by mailing their ballot to the Reds Hall of Fame. Ballots can also be picked up at participating hhgregg stores throughout the tri-state. hhgregg is the presenting sponsor of the 2008 Reds Hall of Fame fan vote.

Included on this year’s ballot are: Jeff Brantley, Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble, Dan Driessen, Tom Hume, Ray Knight, Barry Larkin, Hal Morris, Ron Oester, Joe Oliver, Paul O’Neill, Dave Parker, and Chris Sabo. The player receiving the most votes will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2008. Voting concludes Aug. 31 with the winner announced in September.

Fans voting online can visit www.reds.com and vote up to 10 times per e-mail address. Ballots submitted by mail should be sent to: Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum; Attn: Hall of Fame Vote; 100 Main St.; Cincinnati, OH 45202. Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 31.

New to the ballot this year is the opportunity to catch a Reds game with Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning. When fans submit their paper or online ballot, they can also be entered in to win two Diamond Club tickets to the Reds-Cubs game on Sept. 30, 2007, and be hosted by Browning.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Brewers 5, Reds 3

It sounds like Matt Belisle's spot in the rotation is all but gone.

"I’m not going to sit here and say Matt Belisle is solid in the rotation," manager Pete Mackanin said. “Nobody can think that, including Matt. You have to consistently prove yourself, or we’ll find someone else. It’s all about the team winning."

Mackanin is tired of watching Belisle throw fat pitches.

He used Milwaukee rookie Yovani Gallardo, who limited the Reds to one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings, to compare with Belisle, who allowed four runs on six hits in 3 2/3.

“(Gallardo) doesn’t have any better stuff than Matt Belisle,” Mackanin said. “He just has the ability to make pitches.”

Belisle is no longer surprised by the Mackanin's early hooks.

"Pete's not going to put up with that," Belisle said. "He's made that clear. You've got to earn it."

Michael Gosling pitched three innings of one-hit ball Tuesday. My guess is he starts in Belisle's place the next time out.

The flip side of this is, Belisle would give the Reds a live right-handed arm in the bullpen.

Gonzalez, Hamilton updates

Alex Gonzalez was at Great American Ball Park Tuesday. He threw some and hit. Pete Mackanin thinks he may return Friday.

Mackanin would like to see him get some at-bats before being activated.

Gonzalez was gone before the media arrived. He told Juan Castro that the boy is breathing better. "We keep hoping and praying," Castro said. "The best thing is for Alex to be with his wife and kids.

Josh Hamilton's wrist is still in the immobilization splint. It will be re-examined Thursday. Hamilton will probably need some rehab at-bats as well.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville and Dayton with tough losses in extra-innings…Bill Bray solid in relief…Chattanooga comes from behind to defeat Mississippi…Craig Tatum with the game-winning RBI…Sarasota falls to Dunedin…The Dragons’ Daniel Guerrero with an outstanding effort…Billings beats up on Ogden…Scott Carroll makes his pro debut…Brandon Waring with a productive night at the plate…GCL Reds drop their 7th straight.

Congratulations to Chattanooga’s Carlos Fisher and Dayton’s Misael DeJesus who were named Southern League Pitcher of the Week and Midwest League Co-Pitcher of the Week 7/16-7/22, respectively.

DREW STUBBS: After hitting .185 in June, Dayton’s Drew Stubbs this month is hotter than a Times Square Rolex. For July, Stubbs is batting .338 (23-68) with 9 doubles, 15 runs, 18 walks, a .477 on-base average and a .618 slugging percentage.

GET TO KNOW CARLOS GUEVARA: RHP Carlos Guevara (Chattanooga), 25, was selected by the Reds in the seventh round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. Since then, he’s gone a combined 10-13-36 with a 2.97 ERA, 96 walks and 360 strikeouts in 187 appearances over parts of 5 seasons spent with Billings, Dayton, Sarasota and Chattanooga. This season he was named a Southern League All-Star. In 36 relief appearances this year, he’s 0-2-12 with a 2.49 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched (14bb, .223oba). Guevara has converted 12 of 13 save opportunities and, if you don’t factor the two outings in which he allowed more than 1 run (5/8-2r & 6/13-3r), his ERA drops to 1.56.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Reds vs. Brewers, 7-23

Freel, cf
Keppinger, 3b
Griffey Jr., rf
Phillips, 2b
Dunn, lf
Conine, 1b
Lopez, ss
Ross, c
Harang, rhp

Hart, cf
Hardy, ss
Braun, 3b
Fielder, 1b
Estrada, c
Jenkins, lf
Mench, rf
Counsell, 2b
Capuano, lhp

Bowden and Dunn?

Howard Wilkinson passed this Ken Rosenthal item along to me about the Nationals trying to get Adam Dunn from the Reds:


Moving to Dunn to the Nats would show the Wayne Krivsky isn't gun shy after the eight-player trade with Washington last year. But I'd be surprised that the two clubs would get together with the Gary Majewski grievance still pending.

If the Reds do move Dunn, I think fans will be shocked by how little they get for him because of his contract.

A (small) move

From the Reds:

Today the Reds reinstated from the bereavement list RHP Aaron Harang...he fills the roster spot of RHP Ricky Stone, who cleared waivers and was outrighted to Louisville.

10,000,000: Based on projected attendance, on Friday the 10 millionth fan is expected come through the Great American Ball Park turnstiles...the lucky fan who represents that GABP milestone will receive gifts from the Reds, LG, Verizon, Penn Station, Great Clips, Widmer’s, National City, Skyline Chili, the Cincinnati Sports Mall spa, Kroger, LaRosa’s Pizza, United Dairy Farmers, Montgomery Inn and Pete Delois’ Recreation Outlet...Great American Ball Park opened in 2003.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Moves coming?

I expect the Reds will make a couple of moves today. Get the old Louisville bullpen shuffle going.

Todd Coffey and Kirk Saarloos out, Bill Bray and Gary Majewski or Bill Bray in, perhaps? I'm just guessing.

And if you thought Kyle Lohse has lost all trade value, consider this: Lohse's ERA (4.71) is lower than three of the four starters Milwaukee will run out against the Reds in the upcoming series. Chris Capuano comes in at 4.96, Jeff Suppan at 4.92, and Dave Bush at 4.83.

A better bullpen and offense will help your record. Lohse is 5-12. Suppan and Bush are 8-8. Capuano is 5-6.

Marlins 9, Reds 3

Reds manager Pete Mackanin got a dose of why the Reds are where they are the last three days in Miami. The Florida Marlins outscored them 30-5 to take the last three games of the series.

The Reds finished the 11-game road trip 5-6. They are 10-7 under Mackanin.

Reds starter Bronson Arroyo pitched decently Sunday but got little support. The Reds scored two run before they made an out -- on Jeff Keppinger's first homer as a Red. But the Reds did not score against until ninth. The Reds were 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position.

"That's unacceptable," Mackanin said, "just unacceptable. This missed opportunities made it whole different ball game."

Arroyo gave up a two-run homer to Mike Jacobs in the fifth and another to Dan Uggla in seventh. He went six-plus innings, allowing four runs on eight hits.

"Two mistakes," Arroyo said. "A 1-1 fastball down the middle and an 0-1 breaking ball. That's it. They beat me."

Arroyo left down 4-2.

But Mike Stanton gave up a run in the seventh. Then, for the second straight game, Kirk Saarloos started the eighth and failed to get out a batter. Of the last eight batters he's faced, seven have gotten hits, the other was hit by a pitch. It was 9-2 when Saarloos was replaced.

"What I see is a lot of bad pitches," Mackanin said. "It's not that these guys don't have the stuff."

Mackanin on the Junior play

Pete Mackanin was surprised as anyone that Ken Griffey Jr. got thrown out at second on his blooper that fell into left field Saturday night.

"I was like what happened?" Mackanin said.

Griffey was not running hard to first. When he saw the ball drop, he broke for second and was out easily. The play fizzled a rally. Rather than second and third, not outs. It was man on tihrd, one out.

"He knows he screwed up," Mackanin said. "It's nothing to be ashamed about. It happened."

How Mackanin handles Griffey is key to his future as Reds manager. Griffey has played hard under Mackanin. He's broke up a couple of double plays with hard slides. He's stolen three bases.

In this situation, Mackanin didn't feel anything needed to be said.

"He is probably as embarrassed as you can get. He knows he made a mistake. I don’t think I ever need to embellish on that. You could see it in his face. He was embarrassed. Those things happen. Unfortunately, it didn't help at that point in time.

“But Junior has helped win and is going to help us win games. Nobody’s going to through a season without making some kind of mistake. Call it a brain cramp."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Marlins 11, Reds 1

Pete Mackanin hadn't seen the bullpen implode until the last couple of nights. Saturday's implosion in the eighth was epic even by the Reds lofty standards.

The Marlins first nine hitters reached -- eight of them scored. Kirk Saarloos, Jon Coutlangus and Todd Coffey all failed to get an out in the inning. Ricky Stone finally stopped the bleeding after eight runs were in.

“We’re going to have to make some adjustments with the guys,” he said. “I don't know if they’re mechanical adjustments, mental adjustments. The players have to figure it out.”

Or, Mackanin added, new players will be here.

“There’s always a possibility of that,” Mackanin said. “This is not development here. We’re trying to win every game. Players audition every day.”

"Everybody's got pressure. It's a pressure-filled game. That's what competitors do: When they're under pressure, they perform. So, of course, on a daily basis you're under a lot of pressure. You have to perform. If you're performing under pressure, someone else is."

Spring in Vero?

There's been talk about the Reds shifting their spring operation to Vero Beach. It could happen -- if the Nov. 16 referendum in Sarasota is defeated.

That vote would approve $16 million in public funding to build a new stadium and keep the Reds in Sarasota for the next 30 years.

“We remain focused on Sarasota,” Reds COO John Allen said “But be know we face an uphill battle with the tax reform there.”

The Reds’ contract with Sarasota expires in October of 2008. Allen said the club has had discussions about extending it on a year-to-year basis.

“We don’t want to have to up and leave if the referendum should not pass in November,” Allen said.

Selfishly, I hope the measure passes. Sarasota is a great place to cover spring training. I think it works best for the Reds. Unfortunately for the Reds, the city has enough going on that it doesn't need spring training as badly as other places.

Alllen said the Reds haven't talked to any other cities. Vero comes up because the Dodgers are moving to Arizona in 2009.

Orlando is also talking about adding a team. Arizona is another possibility.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Marlins 10, Reds 2

Kyle Lohse didn't exactly showcase himself 11 days from the trade deadline. He went 6 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs (four earned) on eight hits.

If he doesn't hang the slider to Dan Uggla for a two-run double with two outs in the seventh, his line doesn't look so bad.

I think the Reds will be able to move him. They won't get a lot is my guess, but you've got to do it because he's a free agent. I'd run Homer Bailey, Phil Dumatrait, Elizardo Ramirez or Johnny Cueto out there before I'd pitch a free agent who is not going to re-sign.

Two things:
--I asked Todd Coffey about the Jeff Brantley comment. Coffey said he had not heard about it. "He's saying I haven't pitch how I'm suppose to pitch and I haven't," Coffey said.

--Ryan Freel was OK after hitting the wall, trying to a catch. But he was pissed at Armando Benitez. Benitez hit Freel with a 93 mph pitch in the eighth, the night after Freel hit a three-run homer off Benitez. Odd coincidence, huh? "I thought he threw hard," Freel said. "It went out pretty hard last night."

Cowboy v. Coffey

I went to Jeff Brantley before the game to ask him about what he said about Todd Coffey on last night's broadcast. Brantley called Coffey a "choker" without ever using the word.

Brantlely clarified Friday: “He chokes. I stand by that. Very firmly.”

Brantley made the remark during Coffey’s appearance Thursday. Ironically, Coffey pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to get the win.

Coffey came in with Reds down 5-3 and got a double play with runners at first and second. The Reds scored four runs to go up 7-5.

Coffey started Todd Linden with two balls. Here’s what was said by Brantley and MartyBrennaman from that point:

Brantley: Two-run deficit, he was fine. Two-run lead . . .

Brennaman: It's hard to understand.

Brantley: You can't . . . You can not throw the ball . . . I'm not even gonna say.

Brennaman: Well, it's hard to understand how a guy can come in when a team is behind and pitch so well, and then coming in to try to protect a lead . . . There's ball three. It's just truly amazing.

Brantley: You can't throw the ball with your right hand if your right hand is on your throat. You can't do both.

Brantley explained further Friday:

“When he comes in to preserve a two-run deficit, he pitches fine, totally different pitch selection, totally different (as far as) throwing the ball over the plate because he’s not worried about anything.

“When he comes in and we're one run ahead or two runs ahead, or if it's any type of close game, he chokes.”

Brantley says he's said similar things to Coffey and his motive is to make Coffey better.

No Griffey

Ken Griffey Jr. was not in the lineup Friday night against the Florida Marlins. This is going to be a regular thing under Pete Mackanin. Griffey also had an off day Sunday.

“We had a discussion with Griff, (trainer) Mark Mann and I,” Mackanin said. “We all agreed that from here on down we’re going to pick spots for him to take a day off. He’s not getting any younger. I think he’s going to remain productive. But we’ve got to make sure he doesn't tire out.”

And Griffey?

"The manager's office is like Vegas: What goes on in there, stays in there."

But what does he think of getting regular?

"I'm employee No. 3. I don't waiver on that."

Griffey, it sshould be noted, was smiling when he said that.

I think it's a good plan. The guys hasn't played more than a handful of games in September since 2001. If it helps keep him healthy, it's a great idea.

Bray to Louisville; Bailey update

From the Reds:

TODAY'S TRANSACTIONS: LHP Bill Bray (left shoulder tendinitis) today was returned from a rehabilitation assignment, was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and was optioned to Class AAA Louisville.

BAILEY UPDATE: RHP Homer Bailey yesterday went on Louisville's disabled list with a strained right groin...he was examined today in Cincinnati by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek, who diagnosed the strain as moderate...Bailey will be examined again in 2 weeks...he also was on Louisville's DL with a strained right groin from 5/14-5/21.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Reds 7, Marlins 5

Let's see: The Reds are 10-4 under Pete Mackanin. That's .714 winning clip. They've got 66 games. They play .714 ball the rest of way, they'll go 47-19 over the last 66 games and finish 88-74.

That's looks pretty much impossible. But the Reds going 40-26 the rest of way is suddenly imaginable. That gets the Reds in at .500, and Mackanin keeps the job.

“What's weird – I can't put a finger on it – but it’s different coming to the ballpark,” said David Weathers, who record his 19th save. “Everyone was so tense. Pete’s a laid-back guy. He's a funny guy. It's filtered into us.

“We come to the park believing we’re going to win.”

It's not just that they're winning; it's how they're winning. They won Thursday after blowing a 3-0 lead. They won after getting their starter (Matt Belisle) knocked out in the fifth. They won after failing to score after loading bases with no outs in the seventh. And they won on a three-run home from Ryan Freel, a guy who hadn't hit a home in two months.

The Reds are alone in fourth place in the NL Central.

Homer on DL

Homer Bailey was placed on the disabled list at Louisville with strained right groin. The Triple-A DL is seven days. "He'll miss at least one start," Wayne Krivsky said. "We'll see how it is."

Greeting fron Sunny Isles

I can hear the Atlantic surf as I type this. We're staying in the Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort. That's explains why I've got the urge to go with a comb-over hairstyle tonight. The place is very nice. But it's very hot here in Sunny Isles. Why couldn't we have come here in May?

I figured something was up with Aaron Harang. He met with Pete Mackanin and Wayne Krivsky before Tuesday's game. He never said anything about grandfather yesterday after the game. But it must have been difficult for him to pitch.

One thing more thing about yesterday's game: A lot people are anxious to trade Adam Dunn, but there is no question in my mind that the Reds lose that game without him. When he squares a 94 mph fastball, it's gone 94 percent of the time. That's a nice thing to have in the eighth. It happened fast. A walk, a swing and a 1-0 game is 2-1 game.

Isn't Sunny Isles where those people who own mobile home on the beach were offered million to sell out?

Harang on bereavement

From the Reds:

TODAY'S TRANSACTIONS: Today the Reds placed on the bereavement list RHP Aaron Harang, who has left the team for San Diego following the death of his grandfather, Dusty Harang...taking his spot on the roster will be RHP Ricky Stone, whose contract was purchased from Class AAA Louisville...Stone will fill the 40-man roster spot vacated by LHP Eric Milton ("Tommy John" surgery on 6/15), who was transfered to the 60-day disabled list...Stone made 3 apps for the Reds from 6/29-7/4 (0-0, 8.10, 3.1ip, 4h, 3er, 0bb, 2k, 3hr) and has spent most of the season with the Bats (41g, 4-4-9, 1.62, 44.1ip, 31h, 9r, 8er, 7bb, 30k, 3hr, .196oba).

KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK: In yesterday's 15-inning, 5-4 win at Atl, Reds pitchers recorded 19 strikeouts (Harang 8, Coutlangus 1, Stanton 3, Saarloos 2, Gosling 5)...was their highest total since 10/1/78 vs Atl, when 4 Reds pitchers produced 19 strikeouts in a 14-inning, 10-8 victory at Riverfront Stadium (Tom Seaver 11, Manny Sarmiento 4, Mario Soto 3, Dan Dumoulin 1)...courtesy Elias Sports Bureau.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Reds 5, Braves 4 in 15

The Mac Magic continues. The Reds are getting two-out hits. They're making plays. They're 9-4 under Pete Mackanin. And for the first time 57 days, they're not alone in last place in the NL Central.

And you starting to believe the season isn't lost? The players are.

“We’re a good team,” Brandon Phillips said, after he drove in the winning runs and saves the gmae with a leaping grab to start a double play on his day off. “Our record is bad. But we're a good team. We’re starting to put it together. We’re learning from each other. Pete’s doing a good job. He said: ‘Go out there and have fun. If you don’t want to play and win, we'll find someone else to do that.’”

Mackanin is trying to keep the one-game-at-a-time approach. But with the kind of roll the Reds are on, that's not easy.

“It's premature to get overly excited about it, although the only way for us to go is to get excited about it,” Mackanin said. “Run with the thing and believe we’re on a bit of tangent here. I like to believe, ‘all right, we’re going to be good the second half.’”

LaRussa and rumors

From Buster Olney's blog on espn.com:

Tony La Russa has been manager of the Cardinals for 12 years, and St. Louis chairman Bill DeWitt noted over the phone Tuesday that his contracts have been neat and consistent -- three-year deals, four of them. "Every time his contract has been in its last year, I've asked him -- how about a renewal?" DeWitt said. "And every time, he's said, 'You know, I'm going to wait until the end of the season. I think he just doesn't like doing a deal in advance. ... I'd like to do a deal with him now."
But DeWitt understands, and says he will talk to La Russa at season's end, again. "If he says he's fired up to come back, we'll negotiate an extension," said DeWitt. "This is a Hall of Fame manager. His record speaks for itself. ... He's been extremely important. His biggest asset is getting players to play as hard as they can. He's got this motto that you play nine innings every night, and good things happen."

I have a feeling, maybe it's more than a feeling, that the Reds will try to make a run at LaRussa after the season. What makes all this really intriguing is the relationship DeWitt has with Bob Castellini and Joe and Tom Williams. Would DeWitt give LaRussa permission to talk with the Reds?

LaRussa would be expensive, and he'd bring his coaching staff, which is expensive, too.

Olney's also got a Braves-Bronson Arroyo rumor posted. Chip Caray asked me last night if the Reds were going to trade Arroyo. I think they're listening. If the Braves are offering Jarrod Saltamacchia, they could go from talking to trading quickly.

2,500th for Junior

Ken Griffey Jr. grounded one through the left side against the shift for a single in the first v. the Braves. It was his 2,500th hit. He's 84th player to reach that mark.

2,500 Hits
Listed below are Griffey's milestone hits:
1 4/3/89 vs Oak 2B Dave Stewart
500 5/7/92 vs Tor HR Jack Morris
1,000 8/16/95 at Min 1B Frankie Rodriguez
1,500 7/14/98 vs Tex HR John Burkett
2,000 6/18/02 vs Sea 1B Joe Pineiro
2,500 7/18/07 at Atl 1B John Smoltz

Harang v. Smoltz

It's kind of odd, but Pete Mackanin said after last night's game it was a big one for the Reds to win because they were facing John Smoltz today. Good point. But Aaron Harang is starting for Reds.

Smoltz: 9-5, 3.07 ERA, 105.2 IP, 108 hits, 22 BBs, 96 Ks
Harang: 10-2, 3.70 ERA, 133/2 IP, 123 hits, 37 BBs, 120 Ks

Smoltz is a probably a Hall of Famer -- 202 wins, 154 saves -- but Harang has been as good or better this year. And their numbers were similar last year.

Mackanin didn't mean what he said as a slight to Harang, but it explains why Harang doesn't get a lot of respect around the league.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reds 6, Braves 5

If the Pete Mackanin can survive a game like Tuesday's, maybe the Reds have turned it around. Tuesday's game was the kind they've been losing on all year. But they hung on, despite the eighth inning Mike Stanton meltdown.

“Hey, a win’s win,” Mackanin said. “I don’t care if it’s 6-0 or 6-5. We’re creeping along.”

The Reds are more that creeping along. They’re 8-4 under Mackanin and have won three of four series since he took over.

Bronson Arroyo continued his resurgence with seven innings of three-hit shutout ball. But it went from 6-0 to 6-4 really fast.

Stanton gave up a long two-run home to Andruw Jones and a two-run triple to Kelly Johnson – all with two outs.

But David Weathers got the final out of eighth.

“Stanton hasn't been as effective as he'll be,” Mackanin said. “It all happened so fast, it was kind of a blur. But we held on.”

Weathers worked the ninth, allowing a run, for his 18th save.

“When you got a two-run lead, you can give up one but not two,” Weathers said. “It’s the old Alabama bend-but-don’t-break defense.”

All six of the Reds runs scored on two-out hits.

And, yes, Jeff Keppinger will be in the lineup somewhere for the series finale tomorrow.

So so Homer

Homer Bailey allowed no runs on one hit through five innings for Louisville against Durham tonight.

But he allowed five runs in the sixth, only two were earned. He threw 33 pitches in the inning.

His line: 5 2/3 innings, four hits, five runs, two earned runs, three walks, four strikeouts, 97 pitches, 55 strikes.

Keppinger at SS

Jeff Keppinger is starting at shortstop and hitting second tonight against the Braves. Pete Mackanin was asked what keeps a guy like Keppinger, 27, from breaking through. He's a career .320 hitter in the minors. He's hit .280 over 186 big league at-bats.

“Unless you you've got plus tools in a certain area – you're either a plus runner or have plus power or you’re a solid .300 hitter – you've got to prove yourself on a daily basis. You get a short period of time to prove yourself. If you’re not spectacular, you take a second seat to somebody else.”

"A guy like Keppinger needs to get a chance to play on semi-steady basis to show he's an every-day player.”

That's the baseball Catch 22: He'll probably not get enough playing time on a regular basis to prove that. He's very similar to Brandan Harris, the player the Reds got in the Washinton deal. Harris finally got a chance to play when the Reds traded him to Tampa Bay and he's thrived at the plate.

Alex Gonzalez probably will not join the Reds until the opener of the Florida series on Thursday. He remains on the bereavement list.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville loses to Durham…Elizardo Ramirez with a quality start…Jesse Gutierrez homers…Homer Bailey on the mound tonight for the Bats…Lookouts were off yesterday (National Get Out of the Doghouse Day)…Sarasota splits a doubleheader at Daytona…Ben Jukich with a solid outing…Pedro Viola really pitching well…Danny Dorn provides some offense…Dan Denham makes his organization debut…Dayton loses to Clinton…Chris Heisey swinging a hot bat…Billings beats up on Ogden…Josh Ravin outstanding…Kel Jones with a big night and enjoying a very productive month…Billings Montano pitching for the Mustangs tonight…GCL Reds fall to the GCL Twins…Neftali Soto having a fine season thus far.

KEL JONES, 21, (27th round selection in the 2006 draft)
June 2007: 12g, .250, 14-56, 7r, 3 2b, 1hr, 7rbi, 3bb, 0sb, .393slg., .300obp
July 2007: 14g, .370, 20-54, 14r, 3 2b, 2hr, 11rbi, 7bb, 5sb, .537slg., .435obp

Monday, July 16, 2007

Reds 10, Braves 3

Ken Griffey Jr. hits historic home runs all the time, as he did Monday night, passing Frank Robinson for sixth all-time with No. 587. His homer, by the way, was only one of the Reds' 16 hits for extra bases.

But Griffey is playing as well overall as he has for the Reds -- ever. He made a terrific running catch in the ninth. He went the other way against the shift in the first ininng to get the first run of the night in. He broke up a couple of double plays with hard slides recently.

He looks like a rejuvenated player at 37. His numbers -- .286, 24 homers, 63 RBI, .393 on-base, .565 slugging, 56 walks, 55 strikeouts -- make him look awful good on the trade market.

I wouldn't trade him, however.

Would you?

Sounds like Pete Mackanin is Griffey's corner.

“He's not worried about setting that record,” Mackanin said. “He's playing nice and relaxed. He keeps the guys loose. He goes about his business professionally. I got nothing but accolades for him.”

How about Bobby Livingston? He gives up a lot of hits -- 25 in 17 innings -- but his ERA is 3.18 after three starts. He deserves another couple of starts.

Junior History

Ken Griffey Jr. hit a three-run home run in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves tonight. It was 587th of the his career. That means he's hit the most of anyone ever to wear a Reds uniform.

The blast moved him by former Red Frank Robinson into the sixth place alone on the all-time list.

Oscar Villarreal became the 373rd different pitcher on the Griffey homer victim list, the 15th different pitcher this season.

The Reds lead the Braves 6-0.

Krivsky on Bailey

Homer Bailey will make at least more start at Triple-A. It could be more. Bailey got hit around in his last outing.

“He struggled -- 90 pitches in 3 1/3, by anyone’s measurements, is not what we're looking for," Wayne Krivsky said. “I'm sure it’s not what he was looking for. He struggled with command I’m sure.”

Is there any concern about Bailey's velocity?

“No,” Krivsky said. “I will say in general terms a lot of times people put high radar gun readings in the paper – I’m not singling anyone out here – but in general a pitcher might touch 97. And they say he throws 97. It might be one pitch a game. He pitches more – we call it a comfort zone, where he pitches for the most part – it might be 91 to 94, where he touches 97 or 96.

“Those numbers can be inflated. Even though he touches it for one pitch, it’s not like he pitching that range the whole game.”

Bailey was in the 91 to 93 range in the Louisville outing and touched 94. But he walked five and got the ball up.

“Velocity is overrated," Krivsky said. "Look at Tom Glavine the other day.”

Glavine's fastball was hitting 85 -- tops -- when he two-hit the Reds for eight innings. But command was not a question with Glavine.

Hamilton update

From the Reds:

"OF Josh Hamilton (sprained right wrist) today was examined in Cincinnati by hand specialist Dr. Andrew Markiewitz, who confirmed the original diagnosis...Hamilton will be examined again in about 10 days…he is eligible to be reinstated the first day of the upcoming homestand."

By the way, he's eligible a week from today, so he's not coming off at the earliest possible date.

I asked Wayne Krivsky if the injury was worse than first thought:

“We’re not doctors. We do what the doctors tell us. He had a appointment with a hand specialist today. He was put in a different type of splint that will immobilize for 10 days, two weeks, then they’ll check it out again.

“We’re being guided by what the experts tell us.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mets 5, Reds 2: (Pete's big test)

Pete Mackanin talked a little bit this week about how the true test of a manager is how he and his team reacts to losing three or four in the row.

Mackanin's test is coming early. The Reds lost three of four to the Mets in Shea. The Reds are 6-4 under Mackanin. That's the best 10-game start of any the Reds' last eight interim managers.

But all the good karma of the 5-1 start is leaving quickly. Mackanin was thinking about that as the loss to the Mets played out Sunday.

“I found myself in the last few innings – the guys were in the mode: we’re not going to win this game – it’s a process," he said. "Certainly, that was one my thoughts: If we do lose two or three in a row, how do we snap out of it? Prolonged slumps are what kills you in this game.”

The Reds go to Atlanta to start a three-game series tomorrow. The Braves won't be an easy club to get it going against. They've won four in a row and seven of eight.

Mets 5, Reds 2

Kyle Lohse's string of good starts ended at two Sunday.

Lohse went 4 2/3 ininngs, allowing five runs on six hits. Lohse had allowed a total of two runs on nine hits in last previous two starts.

That made him attractive trade bait. Now, not so much.

He gave up three in the second. Adam Dunn made it a 3-1 game with his 25th -- a 450-foot blast off the oout-of-town scoreboard.

Lohse gave up a two-run homer Jose Reyes in the fifth.

Brandon Phillips singled in a run in the sixth.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mets 2, Reds 1

When there's a managerial change, you tend to look closely at how the new manager does things differently than the old manager.

Saturday night, the Mets had a runner at second, two outs, and a right-hander hitter (Lastings Milledge) up. My guess is Jerry Narron would have either walked Milledge and brought in a right-hander to face pinch-hitter Damion Easley, or Narron would have brought in a right-hander to face Milledge.

I don't think Narron would have done what Pete Mackanin did. That's allow left-hander Mike Stanton face Milledge. Milledge singled in the winning run.

"I thought about walking Milledge,” Mackanin said. “Easley was on deck. I'm fine with my decision . . . You've got Milledge who isn’t an established hitter and Easley standing back there who is.”

I'm OK with his decision as well. I didn't work out, but I always thought Narron overdid it with left-right matchup.

The Reds didn't lose because Mackanin let Stanton pitch to Milledge; they lost because they only got two hits off Tom Glavine. They were only in the game because one of the hits was Brandon Phillips' 19th home run.

Some numbers

Javy Valentin just threw out his first base-runner of the year -- and it was Jose Reyes. Valentin was 0-for-17.

Brandon Phillips, with his home run tonight, is on pace for 33 home runs, 28 steals, 98 RBI and 110 runs. Pretty good year. No Reds second baseman has hit 20 home runs since Bret Boone hit 24 in 1998.

Gonzalez back on bereavement

Alex Gonzalez was a late scatch from the lineup. He was placed on the bereavement list. He's returned home to attend to his infant son, who is ill again.

Gonzalez missed five days in April to be with the boy.

Pedro Lopez started at shortstop in Gonzalez's absence. It was Lopez's first action as a Red.

Gravy train

A women behind the Reds dugout is trying to get former Red Danny Graves work with the Mets.

She had a sign directed to Mets GM Omar Minaya and manger Willie Randolph citing Graves' stats with the Long Island Ducks.

The sign pointed out that Graves is 3-2 with a 2.55 ERA and a league-leading 18 saves. The Atlantic League website confirmed the numbers are correct.

Graves’ teammates include Carl Everett and Edgardo Alfonso and a long list of former Reds – John Riedling, Lance Davis, Joe Valentine, Mark Watson and Pete Rose Jr.

Check it out at: http://www.atlanticleague.com/

Friday, July 13, 2007

Reds 8, Mets 4

When a guy comes in 10-4 with 2.71 ERA -- as John Maine did Friday for the Mets -- jumping on him early is a good idea. Brandon Phillips did that by hitting the first pitch he saw well out to the left for a grand slam.

Phillips tied a career-high with six RBI on the night. He may look more like a sprinter than the cleanup hitter, but he's doing the job.

“He's not scared,” Pete Mackanin said. “He’ll take on the challenge. There's more to hitting clean-up than hitting home runs but he’s doing that well.”

Phillips has 18 home runs -- one more than he hit last year, which was his high as a professional.

“I'm happy to have a job,” Phillips said. “Hitting fourth is a privilege. It shows he trusts me.”

Phillips extended his hitting streak to nine games. He’s hitting .366 with four home runs and 13 RBI during the streak.

Aaron Harang pitched six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, to improve to 10-2. He walked two and struck out eight. Harang has won five straight decisions.

The Reds are 6-2 under Mackanin.

Griffey trade talk II

I was doing Chris Spielman's radio show today when Spielman or his cohost mentioned a report that Ken Griffey Jr. had submitted a list of teams to the Reds which he would accept a trade to.

I couldn't find the report. But if it's out there, it's not true, said Griffey's agent, Brian Goldberg.

"We haven't submitted anything," Goldberg said. "And the Reds haven't come to us with any teams."

That doesn't mean Griffey won't be traded. Wayne Krivsky probably has some idea of where Griffey would be willing to go. And the way Krivsky operates, he'll keep talks quiet if humanly possible.

Right now, if I were to bet, I'd wager that Griffey does not get traded. You probably can get a line on that somewhere.

Saarloos trade completed

This came as a shock to me because I didn't remember players-to-be-named were involved. From the Reds:

SAARLOOS TRADE COMPLETED: The Reds and Athletics have completed the 1/22/07 trade in which RHP Kirk Saarloos and a player to be named were acquired in exchange for RHP David Shafer and a player to be named...the Reds have received RHP Daniel Denham (who will be assigned to FSL Sarasota), while the A's received RHP Julio Manon (Sacramento)...Denham, 24, this season went 1-1, 6.10 in 16 relief apps for Class AA Midland and Class A Stockton...Manon, 34, went 1-0, 4.50 in 6 relief apps at Class AAA Louisville and Class A Sarasota.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mets 3, Reds 2

There's a fine line between being reckless and being aggressive. Ryan Freel went for a diving catch in the fifth. If he makes it, people are talking about how they love the way he plays.

But he didn't make it, and Lastings Milledge scores the winning run from first on a single. If Freel played the ball on the hop, Milledge stops at second.

Brandon Phillips tried to go from second to third in the ninth on a groundball to shortstop. If he makes it, he's a wild pitch away from scoring the tying run. But he didn't come close to making it, and a potential rally had lost its steam.

“Both Freel and Phillips, I know they feel terrible about what happened,” Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. “They were aggressive mistakes. They play all out. Sometimes you’ve got to reel it in a little.”

The Reds only had four hits on the night, so they may have lost anyway. But when you're playing a team like the Mets on the road, you can't afford mistakes -- aggressive mistakes or not.

Homer's night

Homer Bailey got roughed up in his start for Triple-A Louisville: 3 1/3 innings, six runs, six hits, five walks, four strikeouts. He was facing the Dave Miley-managed Scranton club.

Dutch treat

From the Reds:

The Reds claimed off waivers from the Twins LHP Alexander Smit. He has yet to be assigned to a Reds minor league affiliate.

Smit, 21, went 1-4 with 1 save and a 5.86 ERA in 18 appearances (8 starts) this season with Class A Fort Myers, including a 3.86 ERA in 10 games as a reliever (8er, 18.2ip). Last season with Class A Beloit, Smit went 7-2 with a 2.99 ERA in 34 appearances (13 starts). He was named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for August 7-13.

Smit, a native of the Netherlands, was ranked by Baseball America as the Twins’ 14th-best prospect in 2003. In 2001 and 2002 he was a member of the Dutch National Junior Team and was selected to play on the Dutch Olympic Team in the 2002 International Cup in Cuba.

Wayne Krivsky said Smit will go to Dayton.

Hamilton on the DL

The Reds placed Josh Hamilton on the DL with a sprained right wrist. He's returning to Cincinnati to have an MRI. The cast was removed, and Dr. Tim Kremchek examined the wrist. The move to the DL is retroactive to Saturday.

Hamilton hurt the wrist swinging a bat in the on-deck circle.

"That's it," manager Pete Mackanin said, "no swinging the bat to warm up. It's too dangerous. Just go up there cold."

Catcher Chad Moeller took Hamilton's roster spot.

"It's better," Hamilton said. "But not where it needs to be."

Mackanin plans to use Norris Hopper more in Hamilton's absence.

Bruce to Louisville

Jay Bruce, the Reds No. 1 position player prospect, is going to Triple-A Louisville -- temporarily. He's with the Bats while Dewayne Wise is on the DL.

Even the short stint shows that the Reds have a lot of confidence in Bruce. Not many guys can hold their own in Triple A at 20.

What if he's hitting .400 when Wise gets healthy?

"That's something we'll have to decide at the time," player development director Terry Reynolds said.

My guess is if Bruce does well in Louisville, we'll see him in the Cincinnati in September.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Griffey trade talk

I just talked to Wayne Krivsky. I asked him about what Ken Griffey Jr. said to Peter Gammons about believing he'll be traded before the deadline.

Krivsky would sooner undergo a root canal than talk about trades.

"I'm not going to talk about lists," Krivsky said. "I don't have a list. Some guys are harder to trade for contractual reasons. But I'm not going to get into untouchables."

Griffey is a 10-and-5 guy so he can rejection any trade. I've got a call into his agent to see if the Reds have talked about which teams Griffey would be willing to go to.

I think the perception is out there that the Reds are about to begin a fire sale.

"I don't worry about perceptions," Krivsky said. "I worry about reality. We're trying to make quality baseball decisions whether they help us win games now or later."

Hall director named

From the Reds:

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum Board of Directors President Robert S. Castellini today named Rick Walls executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

On August 1 Walls will replace Greg Rhodes, who resigned from that position earlier this season. Rhodes will remain with the Reds as team historian.

Castellini said, "We are pleased to have been able to find someone with Rick's combination of strong museum management skills, sports background and knowledge of the Cincinnati Reds' market place."

Walls, 38, previously worked for The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Since April 2005, Walls has been the executive director of the College Football Hall of Fame. He was responsible for all operations of that $15 million, 58,000-square foot facility in South Bend, Indiana. With a budget of $1.7 million, the hall hosts more than 200 events annually, including the Enshrinement Festival and legends luncheon series.

From 1997-2005, he worked for the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in Morristown, New Jersey, first as east region coordinator, then as director of public relations and awards/special projects and finally as director of operations. In his most recent position there, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the foundation.

When the College Hall of Fame was located next to Kings Island amusement park near Cincinnati, Walls was the assistant director of the traveling hall of fame and then collections manager. When the hall moved to South Bend in 1993, he was instrumental in the design and planning stages for the construction of the new facility.

Walls majored in sport industry at Ohio University and graduated from there in 1990 with a bachelor's degree of science in sports sciences. Before he was hired by The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, he was an intern for WLWT-TV 5 in Cincinnati.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Four in the top 100

Top Prospect Alert has come out with its midseason Top 100. Four Reds guys made the list: 5. Homer Bailey, 6. Jay Bruce, 28. Johnny Cueto and 40. Joey Votto.

It's interesting that Cueto wasn't rated in the preseason.

Here's the link to list:


From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville heads into the All-Star break with a win at Toledo…The Bats rallied for 2 runs in the seventh to win…Calvin Medlock earns his first AAA win…Paul Janish makes his AAA debut…Pedro Lopez today named International League Player of the Week…Chattanooga is off for the All-Star break…Carlos Fisher, Drew Anderson and Carlos Guevara will suit up for tonight’s Southern League All-Star Game…Sarasota loses a tough one vs. Lakeland…All good things must come to an end – Mike DeJesus’ 36-game on-base streak halted (it’s the longest such streak in the league this season)…Dayton loses at South Bend…Justin Turner swinging a hot bat…Logan Parker, too…Billings gets beat vs. Helena…GCL Reds lose to the GCL Pirates.

Joey Votto and Jay Bruce shine in yesterday’s Futures Game in San Francisco.

Stone clears

From the Reds:

RHP Ricky Stone has cleared waivers and was outrighted to Louisville.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sports Rockin' and Williamson

I did Channel 5's Sports Rock tonight. I'm the gray-haired guy sitting next to George Vogel. I uttered the phrase "I agree with Wild Man," at one point. Watching yourself on TV is frightening. Scott Williamson was on the show after our segment. His wife said Scott's agent has talked with the Reds. Williamson is healthy and ready to pitch.

Reds 4, Diamondbacks 3 in 11

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. The Reds were unquestionably lucky to win Sunday, because they weren't very good.

They struck out 16 times. They were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. They couldn't get a bunt down to save their lives.

But they won.

Pete Mackanin hasn't brought any magic formula to Reds. But he's 5-1.

"Change for change sake can help," he said. "When the manager gets fired, it's blow to everyone. It's a wake up call."

Four sign

The following draft picks have signed:

Rd Player Pos. B-T Age Ht. Wt. DOB School
1A Todd Frazier SS R-R 21 6-4 215 2/12/86 Rutgers University
1B Kyle Lotzkar RHP L-R 17 6-4 205 10/24/89 South Delta High/Delta, BC
2 Zack Cozart SS R-R 21 6-1 190 8/12/85 University of Mississippi
3 Scott Carroll RHP R-R 22 6-5 210 9/24/84 Missouri State University

Hamilton update

Josh Hamilton is sporting a cast on his sprained right wrist today. Here's what he had to say about what happened Saturday....

"I’ve been having a little pain in it the last week. I’ve had a similar thing in my left wrist before. I just taped it up then and worked through it and it went away. I was on deck yesterday before the first at-bat, just taking some dry swings and it popped. It was just like a rush of fire going up my pinkie and went numb, up through my forearm. I went and hit the first at-bat and it just got worse and worse. I tried to swing before my second at-bat on deck and I couldn’t swing it."

"They wanted to put me in either a splint or this (cast) and I told them to put me in this because I’d be more likely to take the splint off than actually let it rest.

Reds GM Wayne Krivsky about Homer Bailey

"It wouldn't be going on if there weren't three days off. When you're on option, you've got to go 10 (days) unless somebody gets hurt. We'll figure it out. He's pitching Thursday in Louisville.... He's good about it. He understands and this gives us another position player for the next five or six games, whatever it is."

"It keeps him on his regular schedule. He's working on some things with Dick (Pole, Reds pitching coach). It was something that was discussed even before the game (Saturday)as a possibility. We wanted to see how the game played out. After the game we met again and decided it was the best thing for the team."

Homer down, Lopez up

From the Reds:

The Reds today optioned to Louisville RHP Homer Bailey and recalled from Louisville IF Pedro Lopez.

Bailey wasn't going to pitch until after the break.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hamilton out (updated)

Reds center fielder Josh Hamilton came out of the game before batting in the third inning. He has a sprained right wrist. A cast will be placed on the wrist and Hamilton will be re-examined Thursday in New York by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek.

Edwin Encarnacion batted in Hamilton's place and remained in the game at third base. Ryan Freel, who started at third base, moved to center field.

Hamilton reached base on an error by Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew in the first inning.

Reds Transactions (updated)

The Reds have....

- placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Friday, IF Juan Castro with a sprained right elbow. Castro said before tonight's game that he has a partially torn ligament in the elbow that may require surgery if rest does not help.

- optioned to Triple-A Louisville RHP Marcus McBeth

- designated for assignment RHP Ricky Stone

- recalled from Louisville RHP Kirk Saarloos

- recalled from Louisville IF Jeff Keppinger

- returned from a minor league rehab assignment and reinstated from the 15-day disabled list RHP Jared Burton

Reds vs. Diamondbacks, 7-7-07

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

Byrnes, cf
Drew, ss
Hudson, 2b
Reynolds, 3b
Tracy, 1b
Hairston, lf
Salazar, rf
Snyder, c
Webb, rhp

Friday, July 6, 2007

Reds 8, Diamondbacks 1

When Kyle Lohse pitches like he pitched and the Reds hit three home runs, managing is a pretty easy gig.

“That was one of the nicest games to watch,” Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. “I felt like I was sitting in rocking chair. Kyle Lohse was in command the whole way. Not once did I feel like he was losing it.”

Mackanin is 3-1. He's done exactly what he need to do and get off to a good start.

Lohse’s line -- nine innings, one run, two walks and five strikeouts – belied how well he pitched.

He only gave up one hit through the first eight innings.

“Boy, oh, boy, it he could do that nine out of 10 times, or eight of 10, he'd be special,” Mackanin said.

And if bull frog had wings, it wouldn't bump it's butt on the ground, as old editor of mine used to say.

That's the rub on Lohse: He's wildly inconsistent. That’s why Friday’s win only made him 5-10.

Trading Lohse, who is free agent after the season, makes sense. And an outing like Friday's only ups his value.

Historic homer

Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 586th career home run Friday night, tying him for sixth place all-time with former Red Frank Robinson.

It was Griffey's 23rd of the year. It's raining homers at Great American: Adam Dunn in the first, Brandon Phillips in the third and Griffey in the fifth.

It's 6-0 Reds. Kyle Lohse is working on a one-hitter.

From Mackanin

The post All-Star Break rotation:

Bronson Arroyo Thursday v. the Mets
Aaron Harang Friday v. the Mets
Matt Belisle Saturday v. the Mets
Kyle Lohse Sunday v. the Mets
Homer Bailey v. the Braves

"You how I chose that?" Mackanin said. "Dick told me what to do."

Mackanin deferred to pitching coach Dick Pole in other words.

Other tidbits:

--Bill Bray is close. He's throwing two inning tomorrow.

--Mackanin would like to catch Javy Valentin three days a week.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Reds 6, Giants 3

This was a big win for one Pete Mackanin. For him to have any chance at the permanent job, he's got to get things turned around quickly, very quickly. My guess is Reds would have to come in at .500 for the season for him to be brought back.

That may be impossible for this club to do, but stranger things have happened.

Getting series win, after the six series drought, was a start.

Does it mean things are starting to turn around?

David Weathers: “It's hard to say. There’s a little bit different feel in here. Everyone feels the pressure and burden of the manager getting fired. We don't want to go through that again.”

Bronson Arroyo: “It’s big us. I think obviously having a manager every one wants to off on right foot. We’re at the bottom of the barrel. But attitudes can change quick.”

Mackanin: “This is a great momentum builder for us. Hopefully, we can carry this over to the next series. That's how you build momentum. You get that winning feeling again.”

Mackanin knows that the lineup and pitching changes are important. But the big thing he must repair is the mindset.

“What I need to bring to this team is a new personality,” Mackanin said, “something to get us going. Jerry Narron was a real good manager. He knew how to run the game. . . Changing the atmosphere, the attitude is what I’m going to add. I’m no Casey Stengel, but, hopefully, I can add a little inspiration.”

Williamson: Worth a flyer?

The Baltimore Orioles designated Scott Williamson for assignment. Given the state of the Reds bullpen, he might be worth a flyer. He was 1-0 with 4.40 ERA in 16 games. He's battled injuries. But his numbers -- 16 strikeouts, 12 hits in 14 1/3 innings -- tell you his stuff is still there. His walks (eight) were a little high.

I think he still lives in Indiana. And he's still only 31.

New-look lineup

How do like this:

Hamilton cf
Phillips 2b
Griffey rf
Conine 1b
Dunn lf
Freel 3b
Gonzalez ss
Ross c

That's against RHP Matt Morris. "Different look, different feel," Pete Mackanin said. It's Jeff Conine's first start against at righty this season, according to Conine.

Further reasoning from Mackanin: Josh Hamilton's on-base is higher than Ryan Freel's. Freel's been better with runners in scoring position.

Barry Bonds is playing, and it's raining like heck right now, by the way.

Stanton activated; Salmon sent out

From the Reds:

Today the Reds returned from a rehabilitation assignment and reinstated from the 15-day disabled list LHP Mike Stanton; optioned to Louisville RHP Brad Salmon.

Stanton has been on the DL since June 17 with a strained left hamstring.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville falls to Indianapolis…Richie Gardner recovers after a shaky first inning…Bill Bray with a scoreless inning of relief…Joey Votto with 3 hits (1hr)…Since batting .192 in April, Votto has gone 80-for-217 (.369, .449obp) to raise his batting average to .322 (4th in the International League)…his 95 hits and .421 rank third…Aaron Herr homers…Chattanooga loses in 10 innings to Mississippi…The Lookies squandered a 4-run lead…Jay Bruce with 2 hits (and another double)…Bruce ranks among all minor leaguers in several offensive categories…Adam Rosales homers…Sarasota’s game was suspended due to rain…Dayton gets blanked vs. Great Lakes…Mike Stanton pitches a scoreless inning…The Mustangs were shutout vs. Helena…Phil Valiquette lights out in relief…Angel Cabrera with an 8-game hitting streak…the GCL Reds lose to the (GCL) Red Sox Nation…Justin Reed with 4 hits…The Baby Reds are off today (61st anniversary of the bikini).

Sarasota’s Mike Griffin (109, T5th) and Chattanooga’s Jay Bruce (106, T9th) rank among all minor league batters in hits.

(I think Stanton actually gave up a run -- on a home run)

First-round woes

A reader e-mailed asking how the Reds first-round picks from the last 10 years were doing. The answer says a lot about where the Reds are right now:

Three are in the majors: Austin Kearns 1998, Ryan Wagner '03 and Homer Bailey '04.

Three are out of baseball: Brandon Larson '97, Ty Howington '99 and Chris Gruler '02.

Four are in the minors: David Espinosa '00, Jeremy Sowers '01, Jay Bruce '05 and Drew Stubbs '06.

The killer was Howington, Espinosa, Sowers, Gruler in consecutive years. Sowers didn't sign. The three others were busts.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Giants 9, Reds 5

Matt Belisle was shocked by the quick hook by Pete Mackanin.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Belisle said.

Belisle gave up five runs in the fourth, including four on Fred Lewis’ grand slam, in the fourth.

New manager, new standard for what gets a starter pulled.

“I really like Matt Belisle,” Mackanin said. “He ran into some adversity and he didn’t show a lot of fortitude. It looked like he got out of synch. Unfortunately, it cost us that big inning.

“That obviously put a big hurt on us.”

The reason Belisle got pulled?

“For me, what it boiled down to is after the bit of adversity,” Mackanin said, “I didn’t like the quality of the stuff afterward. I can’t take the chance to send him out the next inning without the command of his pitches. I’m going to have to go to somebody else, and I’d rather give them a fresh start.

“Hey, this is the major leagues. You want these guys to develop . . . "

Brenly would listen

Bob Brenly told Paul Sullivan from the Chicago Tribune that he'd be interested in talking to the Reds about their managerial opening.

"I'm interested in listening to anything," Brenly said before Wednesday's game at RFK Stadium. "But I haven't heard from anyone."

Subtle differences

Pete Mackanin pinch-hit for Matt Belisle with one out in the fourth and nobody on. Belisle had given up five runs in the fourth -- including four on Fred Lewis' grand slam. My guess is Jerry Narron would have let Belisle hit.

The move looked good when Ricky Stone retired the first five he faced. It didn't look so good after Ray Durham and Rich Aurilia hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the sixth.

Giants 7, Reds 3

Stone, by the way, has given up three home runs in 3 1/3 innings for the Reds. He gave up three in 42 1/3 innings for Louisville.

Lineup, no Bonds

Barry Bonds is not in the lineup for the Giants.

The Reds is as follows:
Hatteberg 1b
Phillips 2b
Griffey rf
Dunn lf
Encarnacion 3b
Hamilton cf
Valentin c
Castro ss
Belisle p

One of the things Pete Mackanin said he is going to try to do is catch Javy Valentin more.

"He'll get better defensively," Mackanin said. "He's no Johnny Bench, but his bat is a valuable asset."

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

On the manager front

I told been told this much on the manager front: The Reds have made at least preliminary contact with Joe Girardi. Bob Brenly is on their list but he has not been contacted.

As Bob Castellini said on FSN money is not going to eliminate anyone from the the list. Obviously, the list could expand after the season when the really big names come available.

Brenly, two firsts and a third in his three full seasons in Arizona, is very intriguing -- to say the least. His Ohio ties give the Reds an in.

Reds 7, Giants 3

Brandon Phillips is, Pete Mackanin joked, his favorite player. Hitting a grand slam in a manager's debut will do that.

Phillips went 3-for-4 with three runs, four RBI and couple of nice plays on the night after he caused a stir. I talked to Phillips about what he said before the game. He didn't know it got the run it did. He did not back off.

He said he was mostly talking about media attention, which the players he mentioned have no control over. So his comments may have been misguided, but he said none of players said anything about what he said. "I got no problem with anyone," he said.

Postgame, he said: “It doesn't matter who the manager is, it just felt good to get a win. I was hoping and praying that it went over the fence. It felt good. It felt good to put our team on top. Our team has been struggling with runners in scoring position.”

Conine comes through

Jeff Conine's two-out RBI double just tied the game for the Reds.

Mackanin press conference

Here's a little bit of Pete Mackanin on Pete Mackanin:

"I'm not a yeller or screamer."

On rules: "You have to show respect for the game. You have to show respect for me. I won't accept lack of hustle. I won't accept sloppy play."

"I'm strict to a certain degree."

"I come in with eyes wide open. This is not a pleasant situation. I'm trying to help get the organization back on track."

"We have components. We've got to get the record to what it should be."

Reds vs. Giants, 7-3

Freel, cf
Phillips, 2b
Griffey Jr., rf
Conine, 1b
Dunn, lf
Encarnacion, 3b
Gonzalez, ss
Ross, c
Harang, rhp

Roberts, cf
Winn, rf
Durham, 2b
Bonds, lf
Klesko, 1b
Molina, c
Feliz, 3b
Vizquel, ss
Zito, lhp

Freel back, Moeller designated

More news today....

The Reds are returning Ryan Freel from his minor league rehabilitation assignment and will reinstate him from the disabled list before today's game. Catcher Chad Moeller will be designated for assignment.

Homer Happy

Rob Butcher was kind enough to pass this along. It's courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau...

Tonight’s game between the Reds and Giants will feature 2 players with a total of 1,335 home runs (Bonds 750, Griffey 585).

It is the highest home run total between 2 players entering a game since Cleveland played at Milwaukee on 8/1/76 and featured 1,341 homers between Frank Robinson (586) and Hank Aaron (755).

The game with the most homers between 2 players occurred on 7/17/73, when the Mets played at Atlanta. Willie Mays entered that game with 658 homers and Hank Aaron had 697 for a total of 1,355. Aaron homered in that game to bring the total to 1,356.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

The Bats use Jesse Gutierrez’ solo homer to beat Indianapolis…Bobby Livingston really pitching well…Jeff Keppinger with 3 hits to improve his league-leading average to .370...Ryan Freel with a hit, a walk and a steal…Bats monthly awards announced…Chattanooga drops 2 games…Johnny Cueto outstanding…Jay Bruce homers…Sarasota loses to Dunedin…Mike DeJesus extends his on-base streak…Dayton has won 2 in a row…Juan Francisco with a 4-hit night…Drew Stubbs adds 3 hits…Chris Heisey with a 3-run homer…Billings loses to Missoula…Kyle Maunus belts 2 homers…The Mustangs in their last 4 games are 1-3 despite having scored 42 runs…GCL Reds lose to GCL Orioles…Neftali Soto continues to swing a hot ba


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