Reds defeat minor-league stars 9-6 in Futures game
Former Dragons on both teams provide fans with home runs and plenty of hits and memories.
By Marc Katz
Sunday, April 05, 2009
DAYTON — Exhibition games are played for the memories, not necessarily the final score.
And there were plenty of memories at Fifth Third Field Saturday afternoon, April 4, when the parent Cincinnati Reds beat their best minor-leaguers 9-6 in a Futures game attended by 8,956 fans under cool but sunny skies.
Four homers were hit by former Dayton Dragons, two for the Reds (Edwin Encarnacion and Luis Bolivar) and two by the Futures (Chris Valaika and Todd Frazier).
• The homers by Encarnacion and Boilvar (he'll open the season with Class AAA Louisville) hit the batter's-eye screen in dead center field, while Frazier's two-run blast cleared the left-field concession stand.
"My wife and family were here to see it," said Bolivar, who lives in Vandalia. "I feel pretty good right now."
Valaika's homer accounted for three runs as the Futures scored five times in the eighth.
"It's nice to do that in front of the hometown fans," said Valaika, who played for the Dragons in 2007. "And it's nice playing against the big club."
Frazier also was complimentary.
"If I could play here every day of the week, I'd do it," said Frazier, who was here for the final week of 2007 and 30 games last season. Valaika is scheduled to begin this season at Class AAA Louisville, while Frazier will begin at Class AA Carolina.
• Starting Futures shortstop Zack Cozart matched Frazier with three hits, and 11 former Dragons in all from both sides collected hits.
• Joey Votto and Jay Bruce were the biggest names in the Reds lineup as former Dragons, and Votto used his first at-bat to knock in a run with a double off the left-field wall in the first.
• Twelve former Dragons in all made it into the lineup for the Reds, including Votto, Bruce, Encarnacion, outfielder Chris Dickerson and starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, all expected to be on the roster for Opening Day on Monday. Infielders Paul Janish and Adam Rosales also played, and at least one of them — possibly both — will be with the team on Opening Day. Pitchers Robert Manuel, Carlos Fisher and Pedro Viola also played.