View Full Version : Reds Notes (several different ones)

05-14-2006, 08:22 PM
Reds Notebook 5/11/2006

Dunn is back at first base to make room for Freel in the lineup.
By Hal McCoy / Staff Writer

CINCINNATI — The outcry was from Sidney to Gallipolis Thursday night — why in the name of Cy Young did Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron remove pitcher Bronson Arroyo after the eighth inning when he was pitching a 1-0 emerald.

Narron was a stationary target because David Weathers gave up a run in the ninth, costing Arroyo the victory in a game the Reds won in 11 innings.

Narron had reasonable cause — 117 pitches.

“One hundred and seventeen pitches. . .the ONLY reason he came out of there,” said Narron. “If it had been 107, he would have gone back out. With the way the eighth inning went and he had to battle to get out of it, I thought it was time.

“That’s something everybody in the world might second-guess me about, but I don’t second-guess myself,” Narron added. “If it was up to me, I’d pitch him 200 innings every time he goes out there and pitch him every other day. Believe me, I like seeing him out there.”

Arroyo said he could have pitched the ninth, but was given no choice.

“I wasn’t asked how I was, so I didn’t offer anything,” he said. “If I say anything when they don’t ask and I go out there and give it up, then it’s on me. I was OK, though. I was fresh and it was cool and I threw most of my pitches in the first three innings, 60 pitches. The point is, who is the best guy to go out there and get the last three outs.”

When Arroyo started fast, some said not to get giddy until teams see him at least twice so they can gauge him. Well, Arroyo has faced Chicago, St. Louis and Washington twice each and he was exceptional all six times.

“The experts who have been saying wait for the second time around aren’t as expert as they think they are,” said Narron. “Those are the people saying he is just a fluke.”

What does Arroyo think?

“They’re right, it’s early, and you have to prove it over time,” he said. “I’m sure as the year goes by, guys are going to start honing in on my style of pitching. That’s why I say it’s a chess match. I’m going to change, I have to change.”

First for Dunn

Adam Dunn played considerable first base during spring training, [note from TeamBoone: "considerable" = 1 game folks; yup ONE GAME; I emailed Hal] ostensibly so Wily Mo Pena could play left field. But when Pena was traded to Boston for Arroyo, Dunn shifted back to left field.

But he was back at first base Friday night.

“It gives us a chance to get Ryan Freel in the lineup (left field),” said Narron. “It’s definitely not an every day thing, just a spot start for Dunn. It’s just something we can do to get people on the field to keep ‘em sharp and get our best club on the field.”

Narron said Scott Hatteberg would be back at first base the next two days, but with two left-handers scheduled to face the Reds in Pittsburgh next mid-week, Dunn might play a game at first base there.

“Last year when we spotted Dunn at first base, he did well,” said Narron.

Mighty Stratton gone

When Chris Denorfia was optioned to Class AAA Louisville Thursday to make room for Ken Griffey Jr. on the Reds roster, a one-month legend was caught in the trickle-down effect.

Outfielder Rob Stratton hit five home runs in spring training last year, then wrecked his knee the first week of the season with Louisville and missed the entire season. He was released by the Bats.

Caution to the wind

Despite an all-day rain and a wet field, manager Jerry Narron didn’t hesitate to put Ken Griffey Jr.’s name in the lineup. Nor did he wince or hold his breath Thursday night when Griffey made a diving, rolling catch.

“I just believe you play the game hard and you play it all out,” said Narron. “If you try to protect yourself against injuries, that’s when you get hurt. Just play the game right and you can’t worry about it.”



Pitchers in minors can't replace Claussen
By Hal McCoy / Dayton Daily News

CINCINNATI | Hal McCoy, the hall-of-fame baseball writer for the Dayton Daily News, knows a thing or two about America's pastime. If you want to tap into that knowledge, send him an e-mail at hmccoy@daytondailynews.com.

Q The Reds are last in defense, while manager Jerry Narron consistently preaches fundamental baseball. Sparky Anderson's credo was defense up the middle, and aren't the Reds abysmal there? — Dave, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek

A The standings don't list teams in order of defense, and, the last time I checked, the Reds were in first place. Physical errors have nothing to do with fundamental baseball, so let's not get on Narron's case. Besides, your wife told me you couldn't catch a watermelon dropped in your lap. Yes, the three-headed catching position is iffy and shortstop Felipe Lopez sometimes bruises patrons behind first base with throws, but Brandon Phillips might be the best defensive second baseman for the Reds since Bret Boone, and Ken Griffey Jr. still covers ground like the U.S. Infantry.

Q Was the car owned by Ryan Freel that was burglarized the car he bought from Ken Griffey Jr., and is there maybe a jinx in the clubhouse? — Brian, Oakwood

A There is plenty of hi-jinx in the clubhouse, but no jinx. Isn't it strange that a guy who thrives on stealing (bases) gets stuff stolen from his car? And, no, it wasn't the car Freel bought from Griffey. He doesn't take it out in the rain so it doesn't get dirty, but fortunately he loves to play in the rain so he can muddy his uniform.

Q What does the organization think about Phil Dumatrait, Abe Woody and Sam Lacure, and could a couple of them step into the rotation if Brandon Claussen and Dave Williams continue to struggle? — Mark, Lexington, Ky.

A Dumatrait is in Double-A, while Woody and Lacure are in Single-A, a big step for Dumatrait and a giant step for Woody and Lacure that nobody takes in one leap. And their numbers aren't eye-popping enough to even consider something that drastic. Not even Wayne Krivsky is that bold or, to put it bluntly, that stupid.

Q Chris Machalak, a left-hander with big-league experience, is having a good year at Class AA Chattanooga and will pitch in the Hall of Fame game Monday for the Reds. Wouldn't you like to see the Reds give him a chance in place of Brandon Claussen, who is not all that good? — Ray, San Bernardino, Calif.

A With Ken Griffey Jr. finally off the DL, this week is Stomp on Brandon Claussen Week. Claussen has pitched a couple of good ones, so he isn't Ken-L-Ration yet. Machalak is 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA, but a guy with big-league experience who is any good should dominate in Double-A. And he may or may not pitch in Cooperstown. He will be with the team, but so will several pitchers and Eric Milton will start and pitch three to five innings (or 100 pitches).

Q Don't you think the Reds should give up on potential and give up on Adam Dunn, a one-dimensional player (power) who is a joke on defense? Maybe we can find a stupid general manager who will trade a good starting pitcher? — Ed, Bellbrook

A Say what? Potential? As of Friday, Dunn had for his career 592 hits, 400 RBIs and 171 homers and the guy is only 26. Some major-leaguers don't reach those numbers in their careers. If GM Wayne Krivsky said he would trade Dunn, 29 other GMs would be on speed dial in 10 seconds. His defense in left field? Hey, Wily Mo Pena almost was the left fielder and he makes Dunn look like Roberto Clemente.

Q Are you sticking with your prediction of last place for the Reds? — Carol, Tucson, Ariz.

A Every time I read the standings I feel as if I'm reading the paper upside down. I could say it's early, but it's not. Unless the Pittsburgh Pirates secede from the National League Central, no, the Reds won't finish last. Yes, they definitely can win the division and I'll give you three names as to why: Bob Castellini, Wayne Krivsky, Jerry Narron. The team thoroughly believes in the owner, GM and manager and a happy team with talent is a dangerous team.

Q What is the procedure for measuring the distance for home runs? — Gene, Dayton

A With Adam Dunn's home runs, you need a satellite. Actually, the footage is estimated by the team's media relations department. Every ball park has an architect's measurements as to how far it is to nearly every point in each ball park, and it is charted. When Ken Griffey Jr.'s game-winning home run landed in the seats Thursday night, a chart was checked to see the approximate distance to the seat Griffey hit and the announcement was made, "Estimated distance on Griffey's home run, 413 feet." But when Dunn clears the stands and the ball lands on Mehring Way, it is anybody's guess, but it is always a fur piece.

Q Why didn't manager Jerry Narron use Chris Denorfia in center field when Ken Griffey Jr. was out? Denorfia was tearing it up in Triple-A and is a strong fielder. He sat on the bench while Ryan Freel contributed nothing. — Jim, Dayton

A Denorfia once again is contributing mightily in Louisville. I'll wager you were one of the millions screaming that Freel must play every day, no ifs, ands or anythings. Yeah, Freel went into a nose-dive on a trip to Denver and Phoenix, but when he started the season like Ty Cobb, everybody said, "See, we told you." Freel is a good defensive player, wherever he plays, and we all know the disruption he causes on the basepaths, to say nothing of the clubhouse with his cacophonous cackle.

Q What moves do you see the Reds making when pitchers Paul Wilson and Eric Milton are ready to go? — Scot, Dayton

A Wilson and his ouchy shoulder probably are not close, maybe not before the All-Star break, if then, so it is a moot point. As hard as he works, as bad as he wants it, he isn't close and anybody who knows Wilson, the classiest man you'll ever meet, bleeds for him. Milton probably will be ready to pitch this weekend in Detroit. Who goes? Most likely it will be Elizardo Ramirez, Milton's stand-in after he underwent knee surgery.

Q I am amazed that you have time to put together so many articles. Do you spend every waking moment working? — BRF, Middletown

A My wife, Nadine, thinks so. But she always asks, "When are you going to get a real job?" Exactly. This isn't a job. It is a privilege and I'm lucky enough to get paid for it.


05-14-2006, 09:06 PM
Sunday, May 14, 2006

Williams finds a groove
LH sharp over 8 1/3 innings for best start as Red

This is what the Reds were hoping for when they traded Sean Casey for left-hander Dave Williams.

Williams, who has struggled for most of the young season, turned in his best performance as a Red on Saturday night.

He worked 8 1/3 innings in a losing cause, limiting the Phillies to two runs on five hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

Only one of the Phillies' runs was earned, and that came on a wild pitch by Todd Coffey after Williams had been lifted in the ninth.

"I never felt down the whole season," Williams said. "I just tried to put together the rhythm every fifth day so I could put together something like this."

Williams, who lowered his ERA from 7.85 to 6.32, found himself locked in a battle with the Phillies' Jon Lieber, who carried a perfect game into the seventh inning.

The two pitchers seemed to feed off each other as the game progressed.

"I was just trying to put up a zero to match him putting up a zero," Williams said.

Williams' outing was a welcome sight for Reds manager Jerry Narron and may have helped to solidify Williams' spot in the starting rotation after Eric Milton comes off the disabled list.

"Their guy went into the ninth inning allowing one hit and we still have a chance to win the game," Narron said. "That just shows you how well (Williams) pitched."

CAUTIOUS APPROACH: Two days after returning to the lineup, Ken Griffey Jr. was given the night off Saturday.

"We've got a day game (Sunday)," Narron said. "He played two straight games after being out (four) weeks. We're going to try to use some common sense with the man and make sure he's healthy all year. The good thing is he's sitting there where we can get an at-bat for him."

Quinton McCracken made his fourth start in center field in Griffey's place, and his error on a routine fly ball in the seventh opened the door for the Phillies' first run.

WILSON THROWS: Paul Wilson, still recovering from last June's shoulder surgery, long-tossed Saturday for the first time since having his minor-league rehab stint shut down last week because of fatigue in his right shoulder.

"He felt good," said Reds trainer Mark Mann. "He's going to take tomorrow off from throwing and have another long-toss session on Monday, and ... how that goes will determine when his next bullpen (session) is."

Mann said Rich Aurilia, on the disabled list because of a right groin injury, is progressing nicely.

"He has not had any complaints once he got over that initial four or five days of soreness," Mann said.

Aurilia is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday.

MILTON READY: Milton, a left-hander who has been on the disabled list since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee April 24, is expected to pitch in Monday's Hall of Fame exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Cooperstown.

Narron said Milton will be limited to 75 or 80 pitches.

PRAISE FOR HAMELS: Narron was impressed after watching Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels throw five shutout innings against the Reds on Friday night.

"He had a good fastball," Narron said. "It looked like he had good late movement. He threw some good changeups. He had some of our guys swinging at changeups out of the zone. There's no question he has a chance to be an outstanding pitcher."

Reds outfielder Adam Dunn was impressed, too. Asked by a Philadelphia writer for his assessment of Hamels, Dunn couldn't contain himself.

"Give him $150 million, put him in the Hall of Fame, send him home and say, 'Thanks for everything,' " Dunn said.


Pitchers improve in the interim
With Ruhle gone, Hume fills void

No one is more eager to have pitching coach Vern Ruhle return to the club than Tom Hume, the Reds' bullpen coach who has taken Ruhle's place on an interim basis.

But while Ruhle continues his treatment for cancer, Hume has done a good job working with all of the pitchers instead of just the relievers. He says he's merely building on what Ruhle started when he became pitching coach last season.

"I like what I'm doing, but in this situation I'm not going to say that I want to do it because when Vern comes back that's his job to have," Hume said Saturday. "You hope he comes back because you want him to get well."

Under Hume, the Reds entered Saturday's game with a team earned-run average of 4.51, 10th in the National League. That's an improvement over last year's 5.15 ERA, which left the Reds last in the league.

How much Hume has had to do with that improvement is hard to say. Certainly, the acquisition of Branson Arroyo, with his 5-1 record and 2.03 ERA, has been a major factor.

"They do it themselves," Hume said of the pitchers. "All we can do is lead them."

But Reds manager Jerry Narron likes what he has seen of Hume as a pitching coach.

"He does a great job," Narron said. "He relaxes the guys. He's been here awhile. He's got a great rapport with all these pitchers.

"I think he's just going to get better and better as time goes along. I think he has a chance to be an outstanding pitching coach. I think he's a pretty good one right now."

Hume, in his 11th season on the Reds' coaching staff, has an unassuming personality and a disarming sense of humor. He uses both qualities to reach the pitchers.

"I try to keep them loose all the time," Hume said. "I've tried to take the things that I had in the bullpen and carry it to here, try to get them to relax and have fun at what they're doing.

"I know it's a job but they have to go out there and have fun, too. It's a game. When they get into a tough situation, I don't want them to get tight and squeeze the ball. I'll go out there and maybe say something off the wall, not necessarily about pitching."

Hume is tied for fourth on the Reds' career saves list with 88 and ranks fourth in franchise history with 457 career appearances.

He's been around the game long enough to know there are highs and lows for everyone and that it does no good to dwell on either.

He's also been around long enough to know that the pitching coach can sometimes take as much heat as the manager. He saw it happen to his friend and mentor, Don Gullett before the former Reds left-hander was fired last June.

"I've been through it before," Hume said. "I've taken heat when I played. If somebody gets on you, you kind of bite your tongue and just keep going. You have to move ahead. You have to go through those mountains, go over the top of them and move on. That's what I've tried to tell these guys."

05-14-2006, 09:16 PM
1 game in all of ST? Yeesh.