Mays' promotion not a clear signal, at least to Reds
By Hal McCoy
ST. LOUIS | By Hal McCoy
ST. LOUIS — Joe Mays owns 152 major-league starts and 83 minor-league starts, with a sprinkling of bullpen appearances on his biographical sheet.
By vocation he is a starter. After the Kansas City Royals cut him, the Reds signed him and sent him to Class AAA Louisville, where he made three starts (2-1, 3.20).
Just minutes after Monday's game ended, manager Jerry Narron's office door was closed as he chatted with general manager Wayne Krivsky: Mays was joining the team.
And it was immediately after starter Brandon Claussen laid another boulder-sized egg on the mound.
Despite all the clues that even Inspector Clouseau could find that the rotation is in Mays' immediate future, the Reds are spinning it otherwise.
Asked if anybody in the rotation should be worried, manager Jerry Narron said, "No, not really. No."
Asked if Mays would take Claussen's turn the next time through the rotation, Narron again said, "Not really. No. No, sir. But we definitely need Claussen to get his pitch-count down (114 in five innings Monday). Right now, Mays is our long man in relief."
"I'm starting in the bullpen and we'll see how things go," he said. "I'll roll with it, even though I haven't made a lot of appearances out of the bullpen in my career, something new for me."
What does a relief pitcher, a closer like Todd Coffey, do before games when he doesn't know if he'll pitch — and does pitch about half the time?
"I let my arm tell me," Coffey said. "And I listen to veterans like Chris Hammond, David Weathers and Kent Mercker make suggestions. Last year, I threw way too much. Now I play about three minutes of long toss, then I throw eight pitches off a mound to a catcher — two fastballs at 100 per cent, then two sliders, two sinkers and two changeups at about 70 percent.
"And I listen to what those three guys say because they've been there and they've had success. I'm fortunate to have them around me."
Mercker the tourist
The Reds' St. Louis hotel is attached to a rundown mall in the old train station that features cheap tourist shops that sell t-shirts, t-shirts and more t-shirts, plus a few discount shoe outlets, discount plastic jewelry shops and a candy shop where they make fudge while entertaining customers.
Said relief pitcher Kent Mercker: "Today I bought an Albert Pujols t-shirt, they let me stir the fudge, I bought an Albert Pujols t-shirt and I had my picture taken for one of those screen t-shirts that has my photo and 'World's Greatest Dad on it.' And, oh, I bought an Albert Pujols t-shirt."
On Tuesday, Mercker showed up with a t-shirt with his photo and the inscription, "World's Greatest Teammate." He gave it to Adam Dunn, who actually wore it.
Another Tall Texan
Dunn, who attended the University of Texas on a football scholarship on the Reds drafting University of Texas outfielder Drew Stubbs with their No. 1 pick: "I know who he is, I know of him, but I've never met the guy. But I love it. You can never have too many guys from Texas."
Stubbs is the fourth straight Texan drafted No. 1 by the Reds, following pitcher Ryan Wagner, pitcher Homer Bailey and outfielder Jay Bruce.
Just a spectator
Bernie Stowe has been with Reds since 1948, serving in auxiliary capacities from batboy to equipment manager. He still works home games but doesn't make trips.
He showed up Monday in St. Louis, but only to spectate. And his son, current clubhouse manager/equipment manager Rick Stowe, said pops wasn't happy.
"He sat in the stands, first time in 60 years," said Rick. "And we played one of the most exciting games in years (8-7 win on Ken Griffey Jr.'s three-run ninth-inning home run) and dad thought it was boring because he had to sit in the stands."
Not a good start
After considerable tub-thumping about left-handed pitcher Phil Dumatrait's promotion from Class AA Chattanooga to make his Class AAA debut in Louisville Monday, he gave up five runs and 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings of an 8-2 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Outfielder Chris Denorfia leads the International League in hitting at .342.