Coutlangus keeps impressing: Whether lefty reliever Jon Coutlangus makes the final roster or not, he's definitely left a great impression on the Reds this spring.
The latest memorable moment came in Tuesday's game. Coutlangus inherited a fifth-inning, bases-loaded jam from starter Kyle Lohse. He got two lefty-hitting All-Stars, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, with called strikeouts. And Howard's strikeout came after Coutlangus fell into a 3-0 count.
"I was going to throw three balls right down the middle and let him hit me or whatever," Coutlangus said. "I didn't want to walk in a run. I threw three fastballs and they ended up being not down the middle."
Narron doesn't believe Coutlangus' future is limited to left-handed situations.
"I think with the movement he's got on his fastball, he'll be able to get out right-handers also," Narron said. "I know it's Spring Training, but he's gotten some really good left-handed hitters out. When you bring him in with the bases loaded and face Utley and Howard, that's pretty strong."
Drafted as an outfielder by the Giants in 2003, Coutlangus was converted to a pitcher in 2005. The Reds claimed him off of waivers last spring. This spring, there appears to be one bullpen vacancy up for grabs -- especially with lefty Bill Bray still bothered by a bruised left index fingertip. All signs are pointing toward Bray beginning on the disabled list.
Coutlangus has a 3.52 ERA in 10 appearances, totaling 7 2/3 innings. He only had one bad outing, when he allowed five runs (three earned) in one-third of an inning last week vs. Tampa Bay. His experience as a position player has proved helpful
"I know that as a hitter, you go 0-for-3 with Ks, the next day you have to come right back out," Coutlangus said. "That's how the bullpen compares some with being a hitter. You can be right back out there the next night and you have to shake it off."