He is not bad.
He is not bad.
"The guy I think could be really good in center is Adam Dunn. If someone asked me if Dunn could be a center fielder for the next 10 years, if he started working on it, no one could explain to me why he couldn’t do it." - Brad Kullman
What a great debut...2 singles, 1 2B and 2 walks.
What's the most impressive debut ever by a Reds position player in the majors? Anyone know?
Great post-game fact: Bruce was scheduled to do a phone interview for Baseball Tonight immediately after the game but he had to cancel due to complications stemming from "a pie in the face".
Unbelievable debut. Just downright amazing. I thought that double was a homerun off the bat but it never had the height. It's amazing how the ball just jumps off his bat.
Bruce shines in Major League spotlight
Rookie goes 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs in debut
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- A victim of veteran pranks already, new Reds center fielder Jay Bruce proudly wore the spoils of his spectacular Major League debut.
Bruce got two shaving cream pies to his face and a bucket of ice water splashed at him on the heels of Tuesday's 9-6 Reds win over the Pirates at Great American Ball Park.
Welcome to the big leagues, rook. That's the reward when you go 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored while reaching base in all five plate appearances.
"That's probably as good of a debut I've ever seen," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, a veteran of 40 big league seasons said. "He made his debut well documented and something he'll never forget. You see what's there. You see why he's so highly touted. He picked up here where he left off in Triple-A."
To chants of "Bruuuuuce" in his debut plate appearance from 17,964 fans, the 21-year-old Bruce drew a first-inning walk. His first hit came in the third inning when he lined a single to left field off of Pirates starter Ian Snell.
Perhaps Bruce didn't need the postgame ice water soaking. Baseball's top prospect already had the stuff coursing through his veins.
"I was a lot more calm than I thought I was going to be," said Bruce, who was batting .364 with a nine-game hitting streak when he was promoted from Triple-A Louisville. "It was fun getting warmed up and everything. It almost felt like another baseball game. I think the most important thing for a debut is getting a win and that was awesome. Hopefully, there's a lot more coming."
Snell (2-4) gave up six hits and seven walks in his five innings, but the Reds and Johnny Cueto were trailing by a 3-0 score after the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom half, Snell issued three straight one-out walks -- including one to Bruce -- before Brandon Phillips hit a sacrifice fly to center field. Then came the crushing blow.
Next up was Adam Dunn, who lifted a 1-0 offering into the next-to-last row of seats in right field for a 4-3 lead. The 454-foot shot was Dunn's team-leading 15th homer of the season, his third in four games and eighth in 12 games. The 252nd homer of his career also moved him past Ted Kluszewski for fourth on the club's all-time list. Dunn also had an RBI single in the sixth for a four-RBI night.
Cincinnati added another four-spot in that sixth, including a bases-loaded single by Bruce off of lefty Damaso Marte, for his first RBI. The lefty hitter sent the knock into left field, which impressed his manager.
"That's a positive sign, the fact he's using the whole field," Baker said. "A lot of guys come up and they're trying to pull and hit a home run. He's staying within himself and did what he does best."
In the seventh, Bruce sharply lined a two-out double to the right-field wall for his third hit. The last Reds player with three hits in his debut was Willie Greene on Sept. 1, 1992.
"I don't think you can write it any better than this," said Bruce, the Reds' first-round Draft pick in 2005.
The big nights by Bruce and Dunn covered up a lackluster night for the pitching staff. Cueto (3-4) gave up three runs, two earned, and nine hits over five innings while throwing 119 pitches. The 22-year-old right-hander, who walked three and struck out four, hasn't made it beyond the fifth three times over his last four starts.
"He threw a lot of pitches in a short period of time again, but he battled," Baker said. "He was in trouble almost every inning, but he held them to three to give us a chance to win the ballgame."
The Reds missed a chance to coast to a six-run victory when reliever Jeremy Affeldt gave up two homers for three runs in the ninth. Closer Francisco Cordero had to be used to get the final out for his 11th save.
A win made it possible for the shaving cream pies to fly, which happened as Bruce was being interviewed on the field during the postgame broadcast.
"I didn't do it," said right fielder Ken Griffey Jr., who knew the culprits. "I can be bribed."
"What can he be bribed with?" Bruce retorted about his well compensated teammate and boyhood idol. Touche.
It turned out that David Ross supplied the shaving cream while Aaron Harang provided the water.
Now Bruce can come back to the ballpark and do it all again on Wednesday.
"Jay, you can get here at 4 o'clock tomorrow, not 12," Griffey said as he walked out of the clubhouse.
Other than that, just another typical day in baseball, right?
"It's so much the same as the Minor Leagues, as far as the game," Bruce said. "It's just got a lot more fans, bigger stands, and better uniforms and stuff. And you're playing with freaking legends and superstars."
I miss Adam Dunn.
Already, Reds fans are chanting 'Bruuuuuuce'
Listen to this article or download audio file.Click-2-Listen
By Hal McCoy
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
CINCINNATI — He looks like the kid down the street, the one with the impish grin and the slingshot tucked into his back pocket, just searching for mischief.
Jay Bruce turned 21 little more than a month ago, barely legal to drink a Bud Light. And yet some fans consider this 6-foot-3, 205-pound bundle of baseball talent a human crane who will hoist the Cincinnati Reds upon his broad shoulders and carry them to heavenly days and heavenly nights.
And he teased and tantalized Tuesday in his major-league debut with three hits and two walks, turning on the fans even more than they were turned on by his mere presence.
On his fifth plate appearance, Bruce scorched a laser that nearly took off the right fielder's head before thunking against the wall for a double.
There is no big red 'S' on his jersey, just a wishbone 'C' like everybody else. He doesn't wear a cape, just batting gloves like everybody else.
Advice to everybody: Leave him alone, let him play, place no anvils on his back.
For this one night, though, can you say The Natural? Can you say Phee-nom?
Manager Dusty Baker has seen a slew of major-league debuts, but calls Bruce's, "As good as I've ever seen. He looked right at home and he has been looking forward to this for a long time. He made his debut well-documented. You see why he is so highly touted and picked up here where he left off in Triple-A."
While some consider him the savior, the Midwest Messiah, Baker considers him another piece in an evolving puzzle of a young baseball team, albeit an extremely talented piece.
"He is not the savior," said Baker. "We just want him to be himself. Just let him play and be himself — no labels on him, no comparisons. Let's just let him play, you know?"
There is no doubt about Bruce's make-up — and it has nothing to do with Revlon or Cover Girl or Mary Kay.
"He is a confident young man and he is a bright young man," said Baker. "And very competitive. I'm going to protect him some, but not a whole bunch. He's going to play most of the time. Maybe not against some tough lefty, we'll see. Right now, it is, 'Go play.' "
When Bruce stepped into the batter's box in the first inning, the miniscule crowd gave him a standing ovation and chanted, "Bruuuuuuce, Bruuuuuuce." Then he walked on four pitches and was on the back end of a double steal but was stranded at second base when Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion struck out.
So the legend begins, a young kid thinking about replacing a legend in Griffey.
"That was one of my goals as a kid," he said. "I wanted to play with Griffey and it has come true," even if his first glimpse was while he stood on second base and Griffey whiffed.
A star in the making, a star is born or is he already a star that had to shine over Louisville before he could shine over Cincinnati?
Said Baker, "I'm glad he is here. He deserves this opportunity because he earned it. That's what I like. We asked him (in spring training) to go down and play hard and work on his skills, and that's what he did. I hope he is here for a long, long time and I get to see him play and develop and get better and better."
Bruce wore a face full of shaving cream pie after the game and said, "You couldn't write it any better. Savior? Everybody knows there is not one player who can make a team a winner. It is a collective effort.
"We have the right people and I'm excited to be part of it," he said. "I had a blast and I hope there is more to come. It's all pretty surreal."
Somebody asked Bruce who pie-faced him and he looked at Griffey, who said, "I didn't do it, but I know and I can be bribed."
"What can he be bribed with?" asked Bruce.
Jay Bruce By The Numbers
21, 54 — Age, in years and days, on his major-league debut Tuesday
.364 — Batting average in 49 games for Class AAA Louisville this season
1.000 —ĘBatting average after his debut game with the Reds. He was 3-for-3 with two walks, two singles, a double, two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base.
30 — Scouts who attended each of his games as a high school senior
I miss Adam Dunn.
awesome Jay Bruce Dugout:
"BakersDozen: /signals for next three batters to strike out" had me on the floor.
"Since I've been with the Reds in 1989, we've never had a farm system this loaded," Bowden said. "If we were the New York Yankees and had unlimited dollars, we could have traded for Colon, (Jeff) Weaver, Rolen, (Cliff) Floyd, (Kenny) Rogers and Finley and gotten them all -- and still held onto our top five prospects. That's an amazing statement."
Bruce's premier premiere
BY BILL KOCH
If Reds outfielder Jay Bruce had followed his original plan, he would have been down in New Orleans on Tuesday night, finishing his junior year at Tulane University and getting ready to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Instead, 21/2 hours before making his major league debut at Great American Ball Park, Bruce stood before a swarm of reporters, stared into the bright lights of the TV cameras and talked about how thrilled he was to be in the major leagues.
"I'm pretty confident," Bruce said. "I think you have to be confident in order to be successful. I'm just going to take a positive attitude toward it and see what happens."
Bruce, 21, hasn't always been that confident. As the baseball draft approached near the end of his senior year at West Brook High School in Beaumont, Texas, he was convinced that he would be drafted no higher than the third round.
His mother, Martha, thought otherwise.
"He said, 'Mom, you don't know what you're talking about,' " Martha Bruce said.
In this case, mother knew best.
"Our plan was for Jay to go to Tulane," Martha Bruce said. "But we said if he gets drafted and the money is good enough that we have to back up a truck to unload it, we're going the other way."
Bruce was selected by the Reds in the first round as the 12th overall pick in the June 2005 draft. And yes, the truckload of money materialized in the form of a $1.8 million signing bonus.
"He graduated at the end of May," Martha Bruce said. "On June 16, we were putting him on a plane to go to Florida. We didn't have time to cut the string. It was really a hard thing for his dad and me both."
Martha Bruce, a teacher, and her husband, Joe, a master plumber, were on hand Tuesday night to watch Jay play his first game for the Reds, along with his sisters, Amy, 30, and Kellan, 26. It was the culmination of a long road that began when Bruce first played Tee Ball at the age of 3.
When he was 13, Bruce joined a select Little League team in Houston - a 90-minute drive from Beaumont - to play for former major league pitcher Doug Drabek.
As a sophomore in high school, playing on the West Brook varsity, he hit a home run that made his coach's jaw drop.
"The field was 310 feet down the right-field line," said Jacob Walton, the West Brook head coach who was an assistant when Bruce played there. "They had another field facing us. There were about 50 feet from that fence to the next fence. He hit the ball way to the first-base dugout. It was 500 feet easily.
"I was like, 'Oh, my God.' It was the farthest home run I think I've ever seen him hit. That clicked right there that we had something special, that we needed to get him going, get him trained the right way."
Bruce also pitched in high school, first as a starter and then as a closer his senior year. Walton said Bruce threw 94 mph, but his fastball paled in comparison with his hitting ability.
"He's got so much power," Walton said. "On the high school level, a lot of kids have power, but it's pull power. He had opposite-field power. That's very rare in high school. When you see that, you know something special is coming."
By Bruce's senior year, Walton said, professional scouts were flocking to Beaumont - 10 to 15 just to watch practice, 30 for games. Bruce hit .538 that spring with 12 home runs, 31 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
He was drafted by the Reds shortly thereafter, the truckload of money to follow.
"He was so excited," Martha Bruce said of her son. "I'm sure he was just in shock because we lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Sometimes we didn't have enough, but Jay had more than any of my other two children because he was the baby. He didn't feel the crunch of our lack of money. We would always find money to get him where he needed to go."
Bruce used some of his new-found wealth to pay off his parents' house and to help his sister, Amy, buy a house. Only then did he purchase his first car, a Denali SUV.
"He did everything for everybody else before he did anything for himself," his mother said.
Bruce entered professional baseball having been brought up to do his talking on the field. As a kid, riding home from a pizza party after a game, some of Bruce's teammates were bragging about their exploits on the field.
Martha Bruce, who was driving the car, later told Jay that she never wanted to hear such boasting from her son.
Bruce also gained perspective from his relationship with his sister Kellan, who has a mild mental handicap.
"I think as Jay got older, he realized after he went off and started playing the game on his own how lucky he was to have the opportunity he has," Martha Bruce said, "to realize what little-bitty things in life matter."
That perspective on life stands out to those who know Bruce well.
"He spends at least a week or two every offseason staying at my house," said Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent. "He's just an incredibly warm, wonderful guy. He's the kind of guy you want to marry your sister.
"He's totally level-headed but he believes that unless he gets injured there's no chance that he's not going to make it and be a superstar. He's able to balance that strong belief in himself with an understanding that stuff changes very quickly."
It appeared after he was named Minor League Player of the Year last year by Baseball America and The Sporting News that Bruce was on his way to the big leagues. But he was bothered by a left quadriceps strain and hit only .262 in spring training.
He was sent back to Triple-A Louisville on March 20, 17 days after the Reds signed Corey Patterson to play center field.
"He felt like it was out of his control," Sosnick said. "At that point, he was going to focus on the things in his control. I think he realized hat Dusty Baker had a relationship with (Patterson) and had prior faith in him. For the time being, that was going to trump his being up there immediately."
Bruce was disappointed, but he committed himself to not letting the Reds' decision affect his play. He went to Louisville and hit .364 in 49 games, with 10 home runs and 37 RBI.
"No matter where I was, I had to play hard, I had to play my game," Bruce said. "Worrying about getting sent down wasn't going to help me any. It wasn't going to help me get back here. I just went down, played hard and took care of my business and just waited."
When Reds general manager Walt Jocketty saw Bruce rap out two hits with a home run in Louisville a week ago Sunday, he knew the Reds' prized recruit was ready.
"I liked his whole makeup, the way he approached the game," Jocketty said. "He's a very impressive young man. He's very talented. He's one of the most talented guys I've ever seen."
Now Bruce's time has arrived. Reds manager Dusty Baker promptly inserted him in the No. 2 spot in the batting order Tuesday and put him in center field.
"I'm glad he's here," Baker said. "He deserved this opportunity. He earned it. That's what I like. We asked him to go down and play hard and hone his skills, and that's what he did. I hope he's here for a long, long time. I want to see him play and develop and get better and better."
Of course, there have been plenty of can't-miss prospects who didn't make it when they reached the major leagues. Brandon Larson comes to mind in recent Reds history.
Certainly, Bruce is not a lock to become a star. But no one disputes his talent or his maturity at such a tender age.
"I feel like he was gifted," Martha Bruce said. "We taught him that God gave him that gift and now it's your obligation to put it into use."
Most Vottomatic Player
This is from John Fay. Bruce is a hit in television ratings as last night was the highest of the year by far.
From the FSN Ohio:
Last night's Reds/Pirates game on FSN Ohio did its highest rating of the season (9.7). That even tops the Opening Day rating of 8.7. Overall, our ratings are up 10% from the 2007 season.
I'll be curious to see what the crowd is tonight. Last night's forecast wasn't the best. Tonight's is better.
they need to sign him to a Longoria type deal ... right now.
What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand
I thought Bruce was "The Next Big Thing", not "The Deal".
What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand