Baker pushes Fogg back so Harang stays on schedule
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By Hal McCoy
Friday, April 11, 2008
MILWAUKEE — There is a decision to be made — to skip or not to skip, and it has nothing to do with rope for Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker.
After the Reds complete a three-game series this weekend in Pittsburgh, they have an off day Monday, April 14, before a three-game series in Chicago.
It will be Josh Fogg's turn to pitch after the off day, but with the way Fogg pitched Wednesday against the Brewers (five innings, four hits, no walks, one earned run, three strikeouts), Baker is inclined not to skip him.
But he also wants to keep Aaron Harang on his normal four days of rest, meaning Harang pitches Tuesday in Chicago, followed by Fogg on six days of rest, then Edinson Volquez on five days of rest.
"We do want to stay with the hard, hard, soft, hard, soft pattern of pitchers," said Baker, referring to Harang, Volquez and Johnny Cueto as hard throwers and Fogg and Bronson Arroyo as softer throwers. "It didn't seem to affect Volkie the last time he went on extra rest — actually two times (counting his last start in spring training).
"We'll re-configure so that Harang stays on his turn, but I'm still learning these guys, and (pitching coach) Dick Pole is still learning," said Baker. "He knows Harang and Bronson Arroyo. He's still learning Fogg, Cueto and Volquez — who can use the extra day, who can pitch short."
Baker backs Bruce
For those who believe that Jay Bruce isn't with the Reds because of Corey Patterson, well, don't believe it.
"I want Bruce here just like everybody else," said Baker. "You don't think I want another Ken Griffey Jr. on my team for the next 20 years? It's just that he has to be ready and that could be soon, and it could be that we'll have both Bruce and Patterson."
Bruce is hitting .250 at Class AAA Louisville in his first six games with a home run, double, triple and four RBIs.
Boos for Cordero
Francisco Cordero shunned his old team, the Brewers, this winter by signing a $46 million deal to be Cincinnati's closer. So it was no shock when he walked in from the bullpen in the ninth inning Thursday that most of the 25,023 in Miller Park booed lustily.
It brought laughter to Ken Griffey Jr., who is taunted and booed constantly as he stands in right field in this park.
"Man, they booed your butt, they booed you more than me," Griffey said to Cordero. "The bullpen gate hadn't even opened and they booed you. I enjoyed that."
Said Cordero, with a smile, "So did I."
He responded with a quick 1-2-3 inning for his second save of the season.
A suicide squeeze?
A bunter he is not. When Aaron Harang saw third base coach Mark Berry flash the suicide squeeze sign, something Harang never had done, "I almost called time and went to Mark to ask, 'Are you sure?' "
But with the bunt still on, pitcher Carlos Villanueva threw a slider down and away, "And I couldn't reach it," said Harang, after watching Scott Hatteberg get caught between third and home.
His next time up, with runners on first and second, Harang shortened to bunt, then quickly straightened and slugged a single to left field.
Down on the farm
Tom Shearn (remember him from last September?) has not allowed a run in two starts for Louisville. He has pitched 10 innings and given up three hits, four walks and struck out seven.
Matt Belisle gets promoted tonight on his minor-league rehab assignment. After pitching 8 2/3 shutout innings for Class A Sarasota against Tampa, he pitched Thursday night for Class AA Chattanooga against Birmingham.
Quote of the day
Baker, discovering that Pete Rose is not allowed in Great American Ball Park unless he purchases a ticket: "I love Pete Rose, he was always great to me, invited me to his house for dinner when I was a rookie. Not letting him in the ballpark is like not letting a top-notch surgeon into a hospital."