Cozart stands out, the scouts say

By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DAYTON Several scouts are visiting Fifth Third Field this week, writing reports not only on the Dragons but on players from the teams the Dragons are playing.

It's so the major-league franchises have an idea of who to throw in or ask for on the bottom end of a major-league trade. (For instance, pitcher Daryl Thompson was the minor-league throw-in by Washington in the trade with the Reds two years ago.)

"I don't mind doing reports on the prospects," one scout said. "But we have to do a report on every player, even if he isn't a prospect. You have to come up with a lot of ways to say a guy can't play."

Just so you'll know, most of the scouts like Dragons shortstop Zack Cozart the best.

Reds exec visits

Paul Pierson, Reds assistant director of player development, has also attended the past two games. He wouldn't say if the Reds are planning to send the Dragons any more pitchers, even though they're close to a team record. The Dragons have used 24 pitchers so far. Two years ago, they set a franchise record of 33.

Chicken fowls out

The San Diego Chicken made a fifth-inning appearance before being told by the public-address announcer he had the wrong day. The Chicken is supposed to do his between-innings show tonight. He did spend the rest of Tuesday's game signing autographs on the concourse.

Quick recovery

Starter Kyle Lotzkar is going to be given some slack by his coaches because he's only 18, but he has had a rough start with the Dragons.

Chosen in the supplemental part of the first round last summer by the Reds in the draft, Lotzkar pitched with rookie teams in Sarasota and Billings, compiling an overall 0-2 record with a 3.10 ERA. He began this season at extended spring training, partly because he was experiencing neck soreness.

Tuesday night might have been his best outing, although it doesn't look like it with four runs scored on him in the first inning. Three of them were unearned.

Lotzkar, whose ERA was 9.00 after two previous starts with the Dragons, allowed a double to leadoff batter Evan Frey of South Bend when Dragons pitching coach Doug Bair paid him a visit. Lotzkar then recorded an out, walked a batter and appeared to be out of trouble on a bouncer hit to third baseman Brandon Waring.

Only problem was, Waring dropped the ball, a potential double play, allowing a run to score. One out later, Derrick Walker clobbered a Lotzkar pitch to the top of the left field concession stand.

After that, Lotzkar was fine, allowing only one more hit and walking two (all in the second), while striking out six in five innings.