Notes: Livingston looking to impress
Southpaw one of many in contention for fifth-starter spot
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Only 24 years old, Reds lefty Bobby Livingston already knows he isn't the type of pitcher who will mow guys down with his fastball.
Instead, he must work resourcefully.
Livingston changes speeds frequently to keep hitters off balance and needs to locate just right. While in the Mariners system from 2002-06, Livingston drew loose comparisons to a respected crafty lefty in former Mariners starter Jamie Moyer.
That wasn't a bad resource to have for a young pitcher.
"I tried to pick his mind about a lot of stuff," Livingston said. "I throw a few miles an hour harder than Jamie. But I try to pick his mind about moving the ball around, what he does against certain guys and even to where he stood on the rubber.
"I don't think throwing hard is for everybody. I personally think my better stuff is when I throw 85-89 miles per hour and hit my spots and have a little movement on the ball. That's been working for me."
In his first outing for Cincinnati, Livingston faced six batters over two scoreless innings of relief with one hit and two strikeouts. He is part of the long list of candidates trying to become the rotation's fifth starter.
"It's the first time we've seen him in a game," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It was nice to see him come out and pitch like that."
Livingston spent most of last season with Triple-A Tacoma and went 8-11 with a 4.59 ERA in 23 appearances, including 22 starts. He made his Major League debut in 2006, when he appeared in three games with Seattle as a reliever.
In an odd twist on the transaction wire, Livingston was with four different clubs in one week this past winter without ever leaving his Missouri home.
First, Livingston was waived by the Mariners in December and claimed by the Devil Rays, who promptly traded him to the Phillies. Major League Baseball stepped in and nullified Tampa Bay's claim and voided its trade since the Phillies were behind the Reds and others in the waiver claim order. Livingston was awarded to Cincinnati.
"I was very flattered that many teams wanted me," Livingston said. "I was waiting for a call from Tampa Bay. Then I get a call from Philly and then a call from the players' union."
Harang starts: Reds ace Aaron Harang gave up one earned run and five hits with no walks and two strikeouts in his spring debut on Saturday. Harang threw 42 pitches in the game and an additional 13 pitches in the bullpen after leaving.
"I felt like I was rushing a little bit on my fastballs," said Harang, who was 16-11 with a 3.76 ERA and 216 strikeouts in 36 games last season. "That's why everything was staying elevated for me. It's always nice to get that first one out of the way so you can kind of figure out what to work on."
The day was otherwise uneventful for the right-hander, who likely has four more starts remaining this spring. He was just happy to face an opposing team again.
"That's always a relief. You can get the game mentality going with the fans out there," Harang said. "You can't quite get that on the backfields throwing BP."
Since former Reds catcher Jason LaRue caught the majority of Harang's starts last season, this spring will also help Harang and starting catcher David Ross to get comfortable with each other.
"They're going to get a lot of work together," Narron said.
Hamilton hit ticker: Outfielder Josh Hamilton has hits in each of the Reds' first three games. On Saturday, Hamilton was 3-for-4 with a walk. He had two long doubles to the wall -- one to left field and one to right-center field.
Trying to improve what originally appeared to be long odds of making the team, Hamilton is 6-for-12 (.500) with a homer and two RBIs.
"The balls hit to left field, that's what we're looking for as much as anything. He used the entire field," Narron said. "It's fun to watch."
Majewski update: Reds reliever Gary Majewski doesn't appear to be close to making his spring debut in a game. Majewski has been held back since camp opened because of a sore right shoulder.
The right-hander is still on a rehab throwing program and tossing off the mound at less than 100 percent. Majewski's readiness for Opening Day looked less optimistic.
"I can not tell you when he'll be in a game," Narron said. "It'll be a week to 10 days probably before he goes off the mound to do anything that's other than what he's doing right now."
Mound work: New Reds reliever Dustin Hermanson, who joined the team on Friday, is expected to face his first hitters of the spring on Sunday during live batting practice.
Moments of silence: Before the Reds' Grapefruit League home opener, a moment of silence was held to honor members of the Bluffton (Ohio) University baseball team that died on Friday en route for a game in Sarasota.
Ed Smith Stadium also paid homage to Reds pitching coach Vern Ruhle, who died in January from cancer. Ruhle's widow, Sue, was in attendance at the game.
Morning bell: A night owl, Reds starter Bronson Arroyo is admittedly not a morning guy. But Arroyo jumped at the chance to start a 10 a.m. "B" game on Sunday against the Pirates.
"When I said 10 o'clock, he might have thought it was 'p.m.' That's why he was all over it," Narron said.
Coming up: Top prospect Homer Bailey will take the ball in the Reds' 1:05 p.m. ET "A" game against Pittsburgh in Bradenton, Fla.. Lefty Paul Maholm will start for the Pirates.