REDS NOTEBOOK: Coffey is staying in current relief role
WASHINGTON — As usual, when Todd Coffey came into Monday’s game he arrived at full sprint from the left-field bullpen, a long haul in RFK Stadium.
“Not as far as Coors Field (Denver) or Pittsburgh (PNC Park),” said Coffey. “And they have that thin air in Denver.”
The shortest run? Wrigley Field, where the visiting bullpen is at the end of the first-base dugout.
“I have to hurry to the mound in Wrigley when Coffey is coming in or he’ll beat me there,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said.
There are those who believe Coffey should be the closer instead of the seventh-inning or eighth-inning guy, but Narron doesn’t see it that way.
“Some people have the mindset that you bring in your best pitcher in the seventh or eighth inning, because that’s when the games are won or lost,” said Narron.
“I have all the confidence in the world in bringing Coffey into games with men on base. That’s what might keep him in that seventh- and eighth-inning role — his ability to do that,” he added. “It’s not easy coming in with men on base and face the middle of the order.”
Coffey giddy-upped to the mound early Tuesday. Narron summoned him in the sixth with two on and nobody out when the Reds led 6-3. He quickly got a double play.
Strangely, with three left-handers in the bullpen, Narron permitted Coffey to face left-handed pinch-hitter Daryle Ward and he singled for a run, then he struck out Alfonso Soriano to end the uprising.
Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson apparently wasn’t that impressed with Brandon Phillips when the franchise was in Montreal. Phillips originally was drafted by the Expos, but never made it to the majors before he was traded to the Cleveland Indians.
Asked about Phillips and his National League Player of the Week award, Robby said, “Not the same guy. Stolen identity.”
Phillips considered the comment a compliment about his improvement and smiled broadly.
“He said that? A hall-of-famer said that about me? That’s some compliment because even though I only saw him in spring training and played a few exhibition games, he’s a good guy and a great baseball man. That’s only going to make me play harder.”
A calling card
When Alabama resident Chris Hammond took a tour of the empty U.S. Senate chamber Tuesday morning, he left a calling card on the desk of Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. It looked to be an autographed baseball card of himself — in an Atlanta Braves uniform.
“It is a baseball card on the front, but it’s a testimonial on the back,” said Hammond. “I’ve met him and I thought he would get a kick out of it. I leave the cards everywhere — cab drivers, bellmen, waiters.”
Dunn not so dandy
Adam Dunn was in one of his now-and-then batting funks entering Tuesday’s game — 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts — but he isn’t coming out of the lineup anytime soon, not this guy who played 160 games last year, 161 the year before.
“Every time he goes up there, he has a chance to hit the ball out of the park,” said Narron. “It isn’t easy staying as hot as he was to start the season. When Ken Griffey Jr. comes back (Friday) it will take a lot of pressure off him. We have an off day Thursday and if there had been a left-hander pitching (for the Nationals) today I could have given him (Dunn) two days off.”
And does the guy have an eye, or what? Dunn was second in the majors with 21 walks, one less than Barry Bonds, who walks more than a postman in Manhattan.
Actually, Dunn might have a better eye because 11 of Bonds’ walks are intentional to only three for Dunn.
Dunn was third in the National League in homers with eight, behind Albert Pujols (12) and Morgan Ensberg (9).
Pujols is one home run shy of Ken Griffey Jr.’s record for home runs in April, set with Seattle in 1997. He has six games to match or break it.
Even though he hasn’t stolen a base in six games, Ryan Freel continues to lead the league with eight. And even though Dunn is entwined in a slump, he has scored 18 runs, tied with teammate Felipe Lopez for third in the league.
And here is one for you — Edwin Encarnacion’s 18 RBIs is sixth in the league and his eight doubles are the second most in the NL.
Contact this reporter at hmccoy@DaytonDailyNews.com