View Full Version : Reds minor league notes(Friday, April 14)
04-14-2006, 08:07 AM
Browning and Wood: Striking similarities
BY KEVIN KELLY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
DAYTON - Tom Browning struck out more batters in 1986 than any other Red on the pitching staff that season.
It stands as the last time a left-handed pitcher drafted and developed by the Reds led the team in that category.
Travis Wood is a ways from pitching in the major leagues, but 16 games into his pro career, the Reds' second-round draft pick last year already has posted some impressive strikeout totals.
Entering Thursday, the Single-A Dayton pitcher was tied for the Midwest League lead with 15 strikeouts in 82/3 innings. In 571/3 innings overall in the minors, Wood is 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA and has struck out 82 batters while walking only 22.
"You never can expect strikeouts," said Wood, a 19-year-old from Alexander, Ark. "You just expect to have a good game and do your best."
In his second start this season, against Lansing on Tuesday at Fifth Third Field in Dayton, Wood allowed four doubles over five scoreless innings in a 2-1 win.
His struck out 10 and walked one.
"I was impressed with the way he pitched inside," Dayton manager Billy Gardner said afterward. "He went inside for effect, which helped his changeup. His changeup had real good deception, and it makes his fastball better."
Baseball America rated Wood as the third-best prospect in the Reds' farm system after a solid debut in rookie ball last season.
In 14 appearances with the Gulf Coast League Reds and Billings Mustangs, Wood went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 67 strikeouts to just 20 walks in 482/3 innings.
Opponents batted .166 against him.
"Last year definitely gave me the confidence to know what I can do and what my limits are," Wood said. "I know I can compete out there."
Wood throws a two-seam and four-seam fastball that tops out in the low 90s. He also throws a changeup and a curveball.
"The curveball is the pitch that has needed the most work from high school to last year," Wood said. "I need to keep working on all my pitches but emphasizing the curveball."
04-14-2006, 08:08 AM
Bruce showing promise, progress
Single-A Dayton OF a top Reds prospect
BY KEVIN KELLY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
DAYTON - Jay Bruce is one of those first-to-arrive-and-last-to-leave baseball players.
One day this spring, before the clock struck 8 a.m., he entered the weight room at the Reds' spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., and found another outfielder already at work.
"I walked in and Ken Griffey Jr. was on the bike," said Bruce, whom the Reds selected 12th overall in last year's draft. "So I rode the bike next to him for about 15 minutes."
They talked a little about the World Baseball Classic, and baseball in general, but mostly Bruce just listened to the 12-time All-Star, whose talent he has admired for years.
"He's awesome - down-to-earth, funny, just a regular person," Bruce said. "I don't know him too well. Hopefully, one day, I'll get to know him pretty well."
Griffey was 19 years old when he debuted with the Mariners in 1989.
Bruce turned 19 just a few days before his first full professional season began with Single-A Dayton last week. He's the youngest player on the Dragons' roster.
"I'm just like everybody else when I step between the lines or when I walk in the door," Bruce said before Tuesday's 2-1 victory over Lansing at Fifth Third Field. "We're all trying to get to the same exact place, and we all have to perform to get there."
Baseball America rated the Beaumont, Texas, native the second-best prospect - behind 2004 first- round pick Homer Bailey, a pitcher - in the Reds' farm system after last season.
Before the Reds drafted Bruce in the first round and gave him a $1.8 million signing bonus, he batted .538 with 12 home runs, 31 RBI and 13 stolen bases as a high school senior.
Bruce's initial exposure to professional baseball came with affiliates in the Gulf Coast and Pioneer leagues. In 54 games last season, he batted .266 with nine home runs, 38 RBI and a .341 on-base percentage.
"No big adjustments for me, I guess," Bruce said.
"The way the ball came off the bat, as an outfielder, was different," Bruce added. "Hitting was the same, because I hit with wooden bats a lot in high school. A lot of it was just playing every day - waking up and doing it every day."
Entering Thursday, he had six hits in 30 at-bats (.200). He and B.J. Szymanski have alternated playing right field and center field for Dayton.
"The plan right now is to expose them to both positions," Dragons manager Billy Gardner said. "I think the center field position is more of a high-visibility position. I think it pushes them defensively."
Bruce and Szymanski, the Reds' second-round pick in 2004, do that well enough on their own. Though more than four years apart in age, they bonded during spring training and are sharing an apartment this season.
"We just clicked instantly," Bruce said. "We're both from Texas and are trying to play a similar game by the hitters we are and the outfielders we are.
"We try to talk as much as we can and learn from each other. I learn a lot from him every single day."
Gardner and Dragons hitting coach Alonzo Powell have been impressed with Bruce's eagerness to learn and improve.
"He wants to learn," Gardner said. "You take that work ethic and his physical ability, which he has a lot of, and you've got a player with a pretty good upside."
Powell has been working with Bruce on hitting the ball to the middle of the field, and he fields plenty of questions from him about the mechanics of hitting.
"Jay always wants to get better," Powell said. "You like to see that in a young kid. He's always offering to do extra hitting. A lot of times I've got to tell him to take a day off and we'll do some tomorrow."
Bruce admits to pushing too hard at times. He said his impatience comes from having a major-league goal in mind and enjoying the pursuit of it.
"They call it a job and everything, but I don't understand how people could call this a job," Bruce said. "It's fun. It's what I love to do and what I've loved to do ever since I could remember."
04-14-2006, 08:13 AM
Bats glad for warm home opener
By Brian Bennett
After a cold start to the 2006 season, literally and figuratively, the Louisville Bats are looking forward to a long stretch of warm, friendly surroundings.
The Bats make their Louisville Slugger Field debut at 7:15 tonight against Ottawa. After opening the season with eight road games, the team will play 11 times in the next 10 days at home.
"We're definitely ready to come home," Bats manager Rick Sweet said yesterday.
The International League didn't do the Bats any favors by sending them to frigid Ottawa to open the season. Rain and ice canceled two straight days of action, and without any batting cages available, the team's hitters had a hard time finding their timing. Louisville lost its first three games to Ottawa, scoring a total of just four runs.
The offense seemed to heat up in the warmer weather at Syracuse. The Bats split the four-game series against the SkyChiefs while scoring 19 runs.
"The last couple of games, we've had a lot more consistent at-bats and a lot more consistent approaches," Sweet said.
Starting pitching has been strong. Bats starters had a 3.03 ERA heading into last night's game.
"Our starters are young, but they're very solid," Sweet said. "They've been giving us some great games."
Right-hander Elizardo Ramirez (0-1) will start tonight's game for Louisville. The Lynx are expected to counter with right-hander Chris Piersoll (1-0, 0.00 ERA).
"I still think we've got a very good ballclub," Sweet said. "We got off to a little bit of a shaky start, but I think we're back on track."
Last night's game: Mike Mahoney drove in four runs as host Syracuse downed the Bats 10-4.
Chris Denorfia's two-run homer in the first inning gave Louisville an early lead.
Brian Buchanan and Ryan Jorgensen connected in a two-run fifth for the Bats.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Brian Bennett can be reached at (502) 582-7177.
04-14-2006, 08:14 AM
Lookouts Make It Three-Straight Over Mudcats Thursday
Chattanooga Wins In Ten Innings, 4-3
by Tim Evearitt
posted April 13, 2006
Not many of the Thursday night crowd of 3,025 was on hand at BellSouth Park in the tenth inning. They missed seeing an exciting finish to the game as Joey Votto raced across home plate with the winning run. Chattanooga (6-2) beat Carolina (3-5), 4-3.
Votto led off the Lookouts 10th with a sharp single up the middle. He took second on a wild pitch. After an intentional walk to Eric Crozier, Chattanooga had runners at second and first. Luis Bolivar hit a grounder to second baseman Kevin Randel who booted the ball as Votto raced home. The throw was a bit wide and late.
In ten games played this year, the Lookouts have not won (or lost) by more than two runs.
Starting pitchers Tyler Pelland of Chattanooga and Carolina’s James Russ were locked in a pitcher’s duel until each team scored three runs in the middle innings.
Chattanooga broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
- Alex Sanchez singled to right;
- Joey Votto hit a sharp line drive single to right sending Sanchez to third;
- Sanchez scored on Aaron Herr’ sacrifice fly out to medium center;
- After Miguel Perez struck out swinging, Eric Crozier hit a triple to the center field wall as Votto scored the second run of the inning;
- Luis Bolivar’s single to center plated Crozier. Lookouts 3 Mudcats 0
The Mudcats caught the Lookouts in the top of the fifth inning.
- Patrick Arlis hit a one-out double to right;
- B. J. Garbe connected for his first hit of the year a two-run homer high over the left field wall
- After pinch hitter Michael Tucker flew out to right, Alejandro De Aza singled;
- Manager Jayhawk Owens went to his bullpen replacing Pelland with Carlos Guevara
- With Rex Rundgren batting, De Aza stole second and Rundgren drove him in with a single to center. Lookouts 3 Mudcats 3
Neither team scored in the sixth or seventh innings.
The Lookouts loaded the bases in their half of the seventh thanks to three walks off reliever Scott Tyler. Manager Luis Dorante made a pitching change bringing in his ace 23-year old lefty, Taylor Tankersley. (Tankersly is rated by Baseball America as the #7 top prospect of the Florida Marlins.) He responded by striking out Chris Dickerson to end the threat
With the score still 3-3, the Lookouts and Mudcats went into extra innings.
It got really interesting when the umpires, after conferring, reversed a call that had resulted in a double-play to end the Mudcats 10th inning. The Lookouts returned to the field and the Mudcats proceeded to load the bases with just one out. A double play by the Lookouts saved the day.
Chattanooga won in the their half of the tenth inning.
The Lookouts finished the game with nine hits. Votto was 3-for-5 and Alex Sanchez 2-for-5.
Chattanooga used five pitchers. Brock Till (2-0) pitched the 10th inning and got the win.
The Lookouts left 10 runners on base and the Mudcats stranded 7.
Carolina's B.J. Garbe had the only home run in the game.
* * * * *
The teams meet again Friday night for game four of their five-game series. Game time is 7:15 p.m.
04-14-2006, 08:14 AM
FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE
Sarasota Reds collect 14 hits in beating Lakeland
BY PHIL DENIS CORRESPONDENT
SARASOTA -- The Sarasota Reds had their most productive offensive performance of the Florida State League season Thursday night at Ed Smith Stadium when they defeated the Lakeland Tigers 7-3.
Sarasota (3-5) tied its high in runs and had a season-high 14 hits in winning their second consecutive game with major league rehabilitation players Jason LaRue and Quinton McCracken in the lineup.
Right-hander James Avery (1-1) got the win after pitching 52/3 innings and allowing seven hits and one run. Carlos Bohorquez gave up four hits and two runs in 11/3 innings before former Sarasota High and Manatee Community College standout Jeremy Schmidt closed it out with two innings of one-hit scoreless work.
McCracken collected three singles from the leadoff spot and Jay Garthwaite hit his second home run, a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the second inning in front of 678 spectators.
Brandon Roberts, Adam Rosales, Mark Schramek and Trevor Lawhorn each contributed two hits to the Reds' attack.
LaRue had an RBI single in Sarasota's six-run fifth.
Sarasota's scoreless innings streak of 162/3 ended in the sixth inning.
LaRue, the parent club's starting catcher, had arthroscopic surgery performed on his right knee on March 27. McCracken played in his fifth game as he rehabs a sprained right ankle.
Sarasota will close out its five-game homestand tonight at 7 against the Tigers. There will be a pre-game concert beginning at 5:30 featuring Clyde's Island Trio.
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