Record This Week: 3-4.
Overall: 3-4, third place, three games out.
International League Preview
Opening Day Roster
4/9: Rough start to the year for both Homer Bailey and the Bats in general as Columbus (CLE) pound them 12-4 at Louisville Slugger Field. Homer served up three gopher balls in 5.1 IP (L 0-1, 9 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)- one to 1B Jordan Brown (7 HR at AAA in 2008) and one to 2B Luis Valbuena (a five-foot-ten line-drive type). Only one of the three bombs, to DH Mike Aubrey, was to someone you’d consider a power hitter. Homer also committed two throwing errors. Bill Bray pitched 1.2 scoreless in relief of Bailey, but Robert Manuel’s AAA debut was a rough one (1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, a two-run homer to phenom Matt LaPorta). Louisville did get solo homers from 3B Adam Rosales (2-for-4, also a stolen base) and 2B Luis Bolivar; LF Jonny Gomes doubled in a run and scored one but also committed an error in the field.
4/10: Rained out and made up on 4/11 as a doubleheader.
4/11: MAKEUP MADNESS in Louisville saw the Bats sweep the Clippers, 5-1 and 5-4. As always, minor-league DH games are seven innings. This rule allowed lefty Matt Maloney to go the distance in game one; he scattered six hits, walked nobody, and induced a pair of double plays to compensate for only two Ks (W 1-0, 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). LF Wes Bankston slammed a three-run homer and Rosales again picked up two hits, this time with a RBI. Adam also provided the deciding RBI in the bottom of the seventh of game two with a sacrifice fly, chasing home C Wilkin Castillo after the utilityman had singled and gone to third when the Clippers’ Andy Marte had committed a throwing error on a force attempt. These scrappin’ heroics gave the W to Carlos Fisher, who whiffed both batters he faced in his first 2009 appearance. Starter Ramon Ramirez struggled (7.36, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K) but Adam Pettyjohn bridged the gap with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. Castillo finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, somewhat offsetting his four steals against and two errors (a throw and catcher’s interference). Rosales finished with three RBI in the game (four on the day), slapping a two-run single in the third as well. 1B Kevin Barker picked up the other two ribbies on a sac-fly and a groundout. Gomes struck out three straight times but threw out a runner at home plate in the fifth to preserve the 4-4 tie.
4/12: Louisville made it three in a row over the dastardly Clippers, 5-1, behind bombs from C Craig Tatum (a three-run shot) and SS Chris Valaika (two-run, and his first AAA hit). Both came off Columbus starter Kirk Saarloos, now in the Cleveland system after spending most of 2008 as a starter with AAA Sacramento (OAK). Bats starter Ben Jukich went five innings (W 1-0, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, E). Robert Manuel allowed three hits but no runs in 1.2 innings (9.00, 2 K) and Bray (1.1 IP, 2 K) and Josh Roenicke (1 IP) finished up without incident.
4/13: Righty Sam Lecure permitted just three hits over six innings in his IL debut (L 0-1, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR) but two were homers. Toledo (DET) also beat up Jeff Kennard for three more runs late, then withstood a Bats rally to hang on, 6-5. Rosales hit a two-run homer for Louisville in the seventh (#2) and the good guys got two off Mud Hens closer Scott Williamson in the ninth (Gomes RBI double and a wild pitch) but Tatum grounded out to strand Castillo (the tying run). Justin Mallett threw two scoreless innings in relief.
4/14: Bad night all around, even though a 5-0 shutout doesn’t look as much like a blowout as this was. First, starter Homer Bailey was ejected after permitting three solo homers through 2.2 innings, then plunking Toledo’s Wilkin Ramirez with a pitch (L 0-2, 11.25, 3 BB, 2 K). Carlos Fisher did come on to throw 3.1 scoreless with four Ks, although Manuel and Pedro Viola each served up a solo bomb in their respective stints. Mud Hens starter Chris Lambert threw a no-hitter until the eighth, where Wes Bankston’s double saved the Bats from ignominy. Lambert still struck out eleven in eight innings.
4/15: Toledo sweeps the Bats, hanging on to take the series’ final matchup 4-3. Starter Adam Pettyjohn kept the heavy-hittin’ Hens in the park, but they still collected six hits and four walks off the veteran lefty in 4.2 innings (L 0-1, 4 ER, 2 K). Kennard (2.1 IP, 3 K) and Bray (2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K) each pitched well. Gomes tripled in two more runs, although he is still batting just .200. Valaika picked up a single and double (.136).
Moves & Notes: Before any games were played, OF Drew T. Anderson, who batted .290/.333/.463 playing full-time with the Bats in 2008, was released after Jonny Gomes accepted his assignment and picked back up by the Brewers, his former team, who assigned him to AA Huntsville. (The Reds had two Drew Andersons coming into spring training; now they have none, with the Ohio State product Drew M. Anderson going to Tampa Bay in spring training for future considerations.) (4/9) RHS Daryl Thompson began the season on the 7-day DL (right shoulder inflammation). (4/11) LHR Pedro Viola was temporarily inactivated due to his mother’s cancer surgery and replaced with RHR Justin Mallett; this move was reversed on 4/14 and Viola was reactivated. Mallett was put back on the Billings roster.
Record This Week: 4-3.
Overall: 4-3, tied for first with West Tenn (SEA).
Southern League Preview
4/9: Mississippi (ATL) pinch-hitter Concepcion Rodriguez singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th off Derrik Lutz to push the Braves past the Carolina Mudcats in their opener, 4-3. Starter Dallas Buck’s AA debut went off just fine (5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, to 1B Kila Ka’aihue). Ramon Geronimo pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh. Carolina scored one in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded walk to the pitcher Buck and two more in the fifth on a Todd Frazier sacrifice fly and a Chris Denove single to tie the Braves at 3. Denove finished 2-for-3 with a walk and SS Zach Cozart’s High-A skippin’ AA debut was a fine one (2-for-4, BB). In addition to his sac-fly, Frazier also doubled, scored a run, and picked up an assist when he threw out a runner at the plate in the second inning.
4/10: Carolina holds on for its first 2009 victory, 5-4, despite blowing a three-run lead. Cozart singled home pinch-hitter Jose Castro with the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, then Geronimo survived a couple of baserunners in the bottom of the inning to earn his first save. Starting pitcher Travis Wood lasted only 3.1 innings due to pitch count and control problems, but he did permit just one hit (5 BB, 3 K). He also poked a bases-loaded double in the second to give the Mudcats their initial three-run lead! Ruben Medina held the lead (1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 K), but Camilo Vazquez served up three runs and Sean Watson one in the Braves’ four-run seventh. C Chris Denove doubled in Frazier to tie it in the eighth as Federico Baez (W 1-0) threw a scoreless frame and set up Cozart and Geronimo’s heroics.
4/11: Four hits and three RBI from Frazier (playing 1B here) spearheaded a 10-3 rout! Cozart was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI and CF Chris Heisey 2-for-3 (both doubles) with two walks and three runs scored from the leadoff slot. Jordan Smith looked far better here than he did in the Future Stars game (W 1-0, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Dutch lefty Alexander Smit’s AA debut followed (2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR).
4/12: The M-Braves even the series at 2 with a 7-4 win despite five errors and only seven hits. They scored four off the Mudcats bullpen, with Medina (L 0-1, 1.2 IP, 2 ER) picking up the loss. Starter James Avery went five (4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR). Heisey led off the first inning with a solo homer off Rehabbin’ Tom Glavine (!) and later added a RBI single, a second run scored, and two more walks. He’s hitting .462 through four games! RF Shaun Cumberland was 2-for-4 with a run scored and Cozart drove in two more.
4/13: Daytime action in Mississippi! Carolina takes the game 6-2 to win their first 2009 series. Starter Misael DeJesus, making his AA debut, fired six innings of two-hit ball (W 1-0, 3 BB, 4 K) for the victory. Watson retired six straight (three Ks) in a nice bounce-back from his last appearance. Heisey homered for the second straight game, connecting in the fifth for a two-run blast off Braves starter Ryne Reynoso (nice name). 1B Logan Parker also homered and collected a total of three hits. Frazier was 3-for-5 (including his fourth double) and so was RF Sean Henry. Henry appears to be in a RF platoon with Cumberland, in case you’re wondering. Both players had strong 2008 seasons and it’s a testament to the depth in the system that they’re both back at AA this year.
4/14: The Mudcats travel to Mobile (ARI) to face off against the BayBears! Carolina got a great outing from starter Dallas Buck (W 1-0, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 88 pitches, 53 strikes) and withstood a late Mobile rally to hang on, 8-6. Geronimo gave up two runs in the ninth, but Lutz came on to get the last man out, strand a runner, and notch the save. Camilo Vazquez also gave up two more runs himself; he’s got a 15.00 ERA through three relief outings and isn’t in the spot where can be struggling for long. Federico Baez stranded both of the runners he inherited following Buck’s departure, then pitched a scoreless seventh (0.00). It was Cozart again on the offensive end; he homered, doubled, singled, and drove in three and is batting .440 in his first week of Double-A. Impressive for a player that skipped a level! 3B Juan Francisco also slammed his first SL homer and finished 2-for-4 with a steal and two runs scored (.179).
4/15: Mobile scores the only two runs of the game in the sixth off Travis Wood, who turned in a second straight strong outing (L 0-1, 1.00, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Both runners actually scored after Ruben Medina inherited them from Wood. Only Sean Henry had multiple hits for the Mudcats.
Moves & Notes: C Korey Feiner, brother of former Reds farmhand Kevyn and an offseason FA signee, began the year on the 7-day DL.
Record This Week: 2-4.
Overall: 2-4, tied for last, four games out.
4/9: Sarasota piled up all of their runs in the first four innings, pounding the St. Lucie Mets 9-3. SS Alex Buchholz, skipper of Low-A, drove in four runs with a two-run homer, double, and single. LF Dan Perales hit a three-run homer, a nice start to his season. The player the Reds acquired from Arizona for Jon Coutlangus just over one year ago struggled badly in the FSL in 2008, batting just .206/.267/.345 in 68 games. 1B Yonder Alonso also had a strong start to his first full year, smacking a solo homer, drawing two walks, and scoring three runs. 3B Neftali Soto’s FSL debut saw him collect a pair of hits and a RBI. Starter Matt Klinker gave up five hits and three runs in four innings; the win went to lefty Phil Valiquette, the third pitcher of the night, who set down six straight with two Ks. Righty Logan Ondrusek threw two scoreless innings and lefty Joe Krebs one.
4/10: A ninth-inning Sarasota comeback fell just short as St. Lucie held on, 6-5. CF Justin Reed drove home two with a single with two outs in the ninth and Alonso walked, but Buchholz grounded out. Yonder did pick up a double in four official trips. Lefty Travis Webb, returning to the Reds after a year away, struggled in 3.1 innings (6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K). Righty Luis Montano permitted a pair of home runs in relief, earning the loss in his High-A debut (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Converted position player Jerry Gil allowed two hits and one run in two innings, striking out three.
4/11: Sarasota got two in the seventh and a Reed solo homer in the eighth to take this one, 4-2. Justin finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk, and a stolen base and RF Denis Phipps socked a double and triple. Zach Stewart, who worked out of the bullpen last year following his signing, started and went four innings (6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). Daniel Guerrero picked up the win with three innings of one-run relief (W 1-0, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K). 24-year-old lefty Jesus Carnevales, newly risen as a Red after his release from the Twins organization, pitched two hitless with three Ks for the save. C Devin Mesoraco struggled through another 0-for-4; he’s now hitless in 12 FSL at-bats.
4/12: St. Lucie scores the game’s only run in the seventh on a Soto throwing error, pinning Krebs with the loss (L 0-1, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB). Starter Jeremy Horst threw four scoreless (5 H, 1 BB, 3 K) and Enerio Del Rosario added two more. 1B Jason Louwsma was the only Red with more than one hit; they collected six in total, all singles.
4/14: The Reds scored two in the seventh to go ahead of Palm Beach (STL) 3-2, but Gil and Guerrero were each tagged for two runs over the next couple of innings and the Cardinals got the come-from-behind win, 6-3. Starter Matt Klinker, looking to improve on the 5.50 ERA he posted in the FSL stint in ’08, allowed just two runs over six innings (6 H, 1 BB, 6 K). Gil took the loss, his first decision (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB). CF Jeremy Reed tripled, scored, drove in a run, walked, and stole a base from the leadoff slot. Alonso had a RBI single in four trips (.211).
4/15: Three straight losses, with the Cardinals tallying four in the seventh off Reds relievers Logan Ondrusek (2.1 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 Km, throwing error) and Phil Valiquette to win it, 5-2. Travis Webb pitched well for four innings despite getting the L (0-1, 4.91, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). SS Alex Buchholz lashed a pair of doubles and while Mesoraco went hitless in two more official at-bats (.059), he did draw two walks and score a run. DH Carson Kainer (2-for-3, .357) and LF Dan Perales drove in the Sarasota runs.
Moves & Notes: Ben Davis, the 32-year-old former major-league catcher and #4 overall draft pick who is converting to the mound, began the season on the Reserve List as he prepares for game action. RHS Scott Carroll, who pitched in Sarasota a bunch in ’08, was placed on the restricted list.
Record This Week: 1-5.
Overall: 1-5, tied for last place, five games out.
4/9: The Dayton Dragons suffered through a very ugly opener at One and Two-Thirds Field, as the Great Lakes Loons (LAD) poured it on four Dragons pitchers in a 14-3 drubbing. Lefty Matt Fairel’s professional debut lasted just two innings (L 0-1, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Righties Jordan Hotchkiss and Mike Bohana both were hit hard as well, although four of the seven runs allowed by Bohana were unearned (three Dragons errors, two by outfielders). Lefty Mace Thurman whiffed six in 2.2 innings of relief with just one run allowed. CF David Sappelt was the only Dayton batter with more than one hit; he singled, doubled, and stole a base from the leadoff spot. DH Kyle Day tripled and scored a run. 3B Frank Pfister picked up the Dragons’ only actual RBI with a groundout; the other two runs scored on wild pitches.
4/10: Righty Josh Ravin, who’d struggled mightily as a Dragon in 2008 (7.19 ERA, 50 BB in 56.1 IP), fired six shutout innings (W 1-0, 3 H, 1 BB. 3 K) to help Dayton to its first win, 6-1. Aguido Gonzalez struck out the side in the ninth. Four Dragons (Sappelt, Day, 3B Jose Gualdron, and C Jordan Wideman) collected two hits apiece.
4/11: Behind five shutout innings from 2008 first-round pick Ethan Martin, the Loons permitted the Dragons just three hits and shut them out 2-0. Starter Curtis Partch (5-11, 5.00 in 33 G with Dayton in 2008) pitched pretty well (L 0-1, 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K). Lance Janke set down nine straight in relief with four strikeouts.
4/13: Rained out.
4/14: MAKEUP MADNESS! The Dragons sadly lost both ends of their makeup doubleheader to Peoria (CHC), each game 5-4. The Chiefs scored four in the third off starter Leo Astorga (L 0-1, 3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 0 K), although Thurman took over and held Peoria scoreless the rest of the way (1.59, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K). DH Jose Gualdron drove in two and Sappelt was 2-for-4. Dayton scored two in the top of the seventh in game two on a pair of bases-loaded walks to 1B Humberto Sosa and Gualdron (playing 2B this time), but RF Byron Wiley popped out and 3B Frank Pfister hit into a force play to end it. Day tripled in two runs in the first inning and C Kevin Coddington was 2-for-3. SS Cody Puckett scored two runs.
4/15: Starter Matt Fairel scattered eight hits over 5.2 innings (4.70, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) but after stranding two to end the sixth lefty Drew Bowman served up Peoria’s two deciding runs in the seventh (L 0-1, 9.00, 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K). The Chiefs held on for the comeback victory, 3-2. DH David Sappelt smashed his first MWL homer and closer Scott Gaffney whiffed three of the four men he faced.
Moves & Notes: OF Andrew Means, the Indiana University wideout who debuted at Billings in ’08, was placed on the restricted list.