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OnBaseMachine
02-24-2007, 05:49 PM
Notes: Reds opt to close by committee
Narron doesn't see one predominant closer on team
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Don't look for the Reds to have anybody break out and save 40 or more games this season.

At least that's not what manager Jerry Narron is expecting. Narron would welcome having a lights-out closer at the back end of the Reds bullpen, but he doesn't see among the collection of strong arms in Spring Training anybody who might be capable of such yeoman's duty.

"We've got guys who can get eight saves, 10 saves," Narron said before practice on Saturday morning. "David Weathers ran off a stretch last year -- what did he do, nine straight or something for us? He's capable of that.

"But when you start asking a guy to save 45 or 50 games or whatever, that stuff just isn't there."

What is there, as Narron put it, are guys like Weathers, Mike Stanton, Eddie Guardado and Kerry Ligtenberg, veteran arms with a long resume but without the superior weapons they possessed in their earlier days.

That's left Narron to play the closer-by-committee game, which has had mixed success in the recent history of baseball. The committee approach seems to leave the relief corps in a constant state of uncertainty.

"The biggest thing is trying to get guys in the roles that they should be in, and put their minds at ease at roles they're in," Narron said. "One night you might be closing; one night you might be pitching in the seventh or eighth inning.

"That's not easy. I understand that."

And if Narron had to pick a closer for, say, a game today or Sunday, whom might he pick? It would depend on the situation, he said. Guardado, a non-roster invitee, should be a candidate, but "Easy Eddie" is sidelined trying to recover from arm trouble.

So with Guardado unavailable, Narron pointed to Weathers and Stanton as his choice, though that's no endorsement of either man at this stage of Spring Training.

Reds news: Right-hander Gary Majewski remains four or five days away from being able to throw, Narron said. ... Narron offered no news on center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and his fitness for full duty. Griffey's still recovering from a broken left hand. ... Narron held an abbreviated workout for players here Saturday. The team played host to its annual "Reds Rally" at noon in downtown Sarasota.

Looking good: Josh Hamilton, former No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, continues to show promise. Hamilton's bat has looked electric, but Narron cautioned he's only hitting in a cage, which can't tell everything about a player.

The 25-year-old Hamilton has plenty of rust to shake off his game after being away from baseball for almost three years.

As Narron put it, "It's not gonna be easy."

Narron also liked what he's seen of pitchers Bobby Livingston, Paul Wilson and Matt Belisle, but the Reds manager is quick not to rate their performances too highly just yet.

"It's a batting cage around 'em," he said of the structured throwing sessions. "They are gonna get a chance to pitch, and we'll find out."

And the question is ... The Reds have retired eight numbers, including the numbers of Johnny Bench (No. 5) and Joe Morgan (No. 8). Who was the first Reds player to have his number retired?

Did you know: Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang became the first pair of Reds right-handers since 1965 to pitch more than 230 innings. Arroyo threw 240 2/3 innings and Harang 234 1/3.

The answer is ... In 1965, the Reds retired Fred Hutchinson's No. 1. Hutchinson, a popular and successful manager, retired a year earlier for health reasons and died of cancer later that year. To honor his courage and his character, Major League Baseball honors a player each year who embodies Hutchinson's spirit with the "The Hutch Award."

TV star: Arroyo drove to Orlando on Friday to film a 30-second TV spot for ESPN along with Gary Sheffield and Carlos Lee. Much of their time on the film set was spent sitting around and waiting. It led to a long, long day.

"You get a taste of what it's like to be a real TV star," said Arroyo, who also made an appearance while there on Rome Is Burning. "It took 7 1/2 hours to shoot a 30-second commercial."

Hit parade: Tickets are on sale for the preview of the Pete Rose exhibit in the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. The event will be held at 6 p.m. ET on March 13 in the museum, and Rose, baseball's all-time hits leader, will be at the Riverfront Club to meet and greet fans.

For more information about the event and to buy tickets, call (513) 765-7926.

Play ball! The Reds will open their Grapefruit League schedule Thursday with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070224&content_id=1814147&vkey=spt2007news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

thatcoolguy_22
02-24-2007, 06:03 PM
Narron also liked what he's seen of pitchers Bobby Livingston, Paul Wilson and Matt Belisle, but the Reds manager is quick not to rate their performances too highly just yet.


http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070224&content_id=1814147&vkey=spt2007news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

If Wilson's arm has recovered he would be an interesting pick for the 5 spot. Send Saarlos to the 4 and take Lohse to the closer. Thus removing the commitee.

I always liked wilson and if his arm has recovered with his year off he could possibly be an asset IMO

edabbs44
02-24-2007, 06:31 PM
If Wilson's arm has recovered he would be an interesting pick for the 5 spot. Send Saarlos to the 4 and take Lohse to the closer. Thus removing the commitee.

I always liked wilson and if his arm has recovered with his year off he could possibly be an asset IMO

If Lohse bombs early, I could see Homer getting the call in May and Kyle getting a tryout at the back end of the pen.

thatcoolguy_22
02-24-2007, 06:48 PM
If Lohse bombs early, I could see Homer getting the call in May and Kyle getting a tryout at the back end of the pen.

however it happens I owuld like to see Lohse forced into attempting to become a closer

OnBaseMachine
02-25-2007, 01:13 AM
With no true closer, Stanton-Weathers platoon looms
Click-2-Listen
By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

Saturday, February 24, 2007

SARASOTA, Fla. The question drew a sly smile from manager Jerry Narron. It was one he continues to hear almost daily, and when it came from a regular beat writer, he said with a laugh, "You're killing me."

It was about the closer situation and the lack of a true closer until Eddie Guardado recovers from Tommy John surgery.

"Unless somebody down here, like Todd Coffey, because he was here last year, or one of the younger guys in camp (Bill Bray), or somebody new in camp, just has a great, great spring, where they look like they're just dominating everybody, it would be David Weathers and Mike Stanton at the end of the game, depending upon whether the biggest hitters are left-handed hitters (Stanton's duties) or right-handed hitters (Weathers' duties)," said Narron.

"Anybody other than Stanton or Weathers would have to dominate everybody and without question," Narron continued. "I don't know if we have that kind of big arm in camp to change anything. We have guys capable of closing, but we don't have one guy capable of saving 40 out of 45 games or saving 45 games.

"We have guys who can get eight saves, 10 saves. But when you're asking for 40 to 45 saves, that kind of stuff isn't there not until we get Guardado back. Until he gets back, we got to get it done some other way. That's what we need. Two or three guys to get us 10 saves," Narron added"

On the 'loos'

Former Reds ace Super Mario Soto is in camp again working with the pitchers and teaching one of the best change-ups ever possessed by any pitcher.

Asked if any pitcher has impressed him this spring after a week of throwing, he said, "All the pitchers are looking up to me, from last year, but so far I can see Kirk Saarloos being real nasty. If he throws strikes, he's real good. His ball moves, never goes straight."

Saarloos remains one of several candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation and has bullpen experience.

Coffey in the morning

Todd Coffey is on Dew Patrol, showing up in the bullpen for extra work even before the rest of the team begins stretching exercises.

"Working on my split-finger fastball," said Coffey, who has been trying to perfect the pitch for a year so he can use it in games. "I threw nine good ones today and one that just missed down-and-away, so it is really coming along."

Coffey is excited because new pitching coach Dick Pole worked in San Francisco with closer Rod Beck, whose best pitch was a split-finger.

Wilson impressive

Paul Wilson has been impressive in his bid to come back from nearly three years of arm miseries. His velocity has been stunningly good.

"I feel better than I can ever remember," he said. "For sure I feel better than I have in two years. So it's forward and upward."

Narron said Wilson is in the fifth-starter mix but volunteered to pitch in relief if needed. Said Wilson, "Bullpen, pinch-hitter, coach first base, bat boy anything for a chance to stay in the game. Even when I wasn't hurt the last two years, I never felt good, so you end up questioning everything."

Rehab report

Pitcher Gary Majewski still isn't throwing off a mound after a week of workouts, "and is probably four or five days away," said Narron.

Ken Griffey Jr. still hasn't taken batting practice and Narron wouldn't commit to a starting date after chatting for several minutes at Griffey's locker before Saturday morning's practice.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2007/02/24/ddn022507redsnotes.html