Answering the call-up is every player's dream
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By Marc Katz

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A lot more goes into promoting a baseball player than just his record.

In the case of Homer Bailey, who was promoted from Class AAA Louisville to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night, ability was the first consideration, followed closely by results, enhanced by expectations.

When reliever Misael DeJesus was recently promoted from the Class A Dayton Dragons to Louisville to pitch one inning, it was for an even greater variety of reasons.

That Louisville needed a pitcher was reason No. 1. "So we look at who's available," Reds pitching coordinator Mack Jenkins said. "Then we look at a player's demeanor. DeJesus was getting pretty good results. He doesn't have any fear. We thought he would relish the challenge. It's part of his makeup."

DeJesus didn't have the best record with the Dragons, but he had most of the necessary qualifications. His inning resulted in an unearned run, a hit and a walk, but he also struck out three.

Gonzo shows his stuff

Rafael Gonzalez has spent so much time in Dayton, you'd think he's about to make it his permanent home. Well, probably not. He's 8-1 with a 2.38 ERA. A fourth-round 2004 draft choice, the 21-year-old is in his third season with the Dragons. In each of the other two, he eventually was sent back to rookie ball.

"He's a different pitcher, a different person," said Jenkins of Gonzalez.

Jenkins wouldn't say it, but a promotion is in Gonzalez's near future.

Promotion watch

Reds Director of Player Development Terry Reynolds added to the conversation of promoting and demoting players.

"Most of the time, they've got a need at the major-league level," Reynolds said. "Decisions are made as an organization. There has to be a spot to move. Guys who deserve to move (up) may not get to move."

Seven Class A Sarasota Reds made the Florida State All-Star team. Five of them played for the Dragons last season: outfielder Jay Bruce, infielders Mike Griffin and Adam Rosales, and pitchers Carlos Fisher and Logan Ondrusek (who has been converted from a reliever to starter).

Also on the team which will play its All-Star game next Saturday are pitchers Josh Roenicke and Richie Gardner.

Dragons manager Donnie Scott says every player is a prospect until he isn't playing anymore.

"I played with Tony Fossas in rookie ball in 1979," Scott said. "He wasn't a prospect. He was an out-of-shape left-handed pitcher. He pitched 10 years in the minor leagues."

Then, beginning at age 30, Fossas pitched 12 years in the majors for seven teams.

"To sit here and say a guy isn't a prospect isn't right." Scott said. "If a guy is working and keeps producing, someone will see you."