Join Date: Jun 2000
E-mail Bag and Reds Notes (5/21)
Sunday, May 21, 2006
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Question, from Tom: I find it very frustrating that the Reds' management doesn't seem to have a clue at times. Rick White - can he have pitched any worse? I sincerely hope he is released ASAP. And finally my last topic ... Adam Dunn. ... The guy is so one-dimensional. I read a scouting report last year stating that he probably won't get any better. I believe it is true. He is not hitting his weight and is an awful defensive player. ... Everyone seems to defend Dunn. I wish they would trade him and get what they can.
Answer: White is not alone in his struggles, but the Reds clearly need someone reliable in the setup role. I'd try a young arm - Matt Belisle, Phil Dumatrait, even Homer Bailey. As for Dunn, his defense is what it is. But his on-base percentage is .382, among the best on the club. He scores a lot of runs and drives in a lot of runs, despite being awful with runners in scoring position. Will he get better? I don't know, but he's still young. He's only 10 days older than Ryan Howard, who was last year's rookie of the year. Dunn went into last year with 118 home runs.
Q, from Ryan: What do you think Ryan Freel's prospects are for playing time? Why doesn't Jerry Narron give him the second base job? Brandon Phillips has struggled in May, as has Freel. But Freel's career stats are much better. How will Rich Aurilia's return affect Freel's playing time? How many utility players is too many? Any chance Dunn moves to first base and Freel moves to the outfield full time?
A: Ryan, you sound suspiciously like a guy who has Freel on your fantasy team. Freel's playing time is going to remain what it's been unless he gets hot and forces his way into the lineup. The Reds like Phillips defensively. And the team is 14-3 when Aurilia starts. And, no, I don't see Dunn getting moved to first base.
Notes: Phillips fine after twisting ankle
Milton feels good to be back after surgery
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Finding success after a prolonged slump, there was no way Brandon Phillips was going to let a minor injury keep him out.
The Reds second baseman twisted his right ankle in Saturday's loss while running to catch a fourth-inning pop up to shallow right-center field. Phillips slipped on the turf as the ball landed. Immediately feeling pain, he spent several moments down on the field, as his ankle was looked over by the trainer before he continued playing.
"I just twisted it. It was kind of crazy," said Phillips, who planned to tape up his ankle for the game. "It freaking scared the [heck] out of me."
After dazzling the Reds with a .349 average and 22 RBIs last month following his April 7 acquisition from the Indians, Phillips is batting .233 in May. He entered this weekend's series in a 2-for-18 skid.
The 24-year-old started clicking again the past two games. He had three hits in Saturday's game, including a third-inning homer. He had a three-run triple and a sacrifice fly on Friday.
"When you're starting to have results again, you try your best to stay in there," Phillips said.
Reds manager Jerry Narron believed Phillips' ability would eventually re-ignite him at the plate.
"He's had some good at-bats," Narron said. "With that kind of bat speed, he'll always have a chance to be a good hitter. He's like everybody else. He needs to make sure he doesn't swing at balls out of the zone. I'd like to see him the drive the balls away from him, but I think that will come."
Feeling good physically: In his first start back after a month on the disabled list, Eric Milton wasn't too thrilled with Saturday's results. He gave up five runs and 10 hits over five innings and left the game trailing, 5-1.
Physically, however, Milton said he felt fine and had enough leg strength. More arm strength will come with more starts.
"You give up five runs in five innings, it's not a good night," said Milton, who had arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee on April 24. "I felt good, which was the only positive. I felt strong after 90 pitches. I could have thrown 100 easily, so that was good."
Ken Griffey Jr.'s seventh-inning grand slam took Milton off the hook for a decision.
Milton's fastball velocity hovered mostly in the 86-88 mph range, according to the ballpark radar. In his final inning, he topped out at 91 mph -- closer to what he usually throws. The lefty said he didn't notice.
"I don't keep my eye on that," Milton said. "I'm just focused on the hitter and trying to judge his reaction. I just know that early in the game, I was trying to come inside and I wasn't getting it there. I really had to focus later on, when I was pitching inside, that I got it in on their hands."
Where was Coffey? That was a question on many minds Saturday night when Narron used Rick White and Chris Hammond for three innings before going to David Weathers for the ninth. The manager wanted to avoid overusing Coffey, who had pitched five of the last seven days.
"We were doing everything we could not to use Todd Coffey last night," Narron said. "When we got Todd Coffey up [Friday] to get us out of the seventh [and pitch the eighth], he was really done for last night."
Although White and Hammond got the job done with scoreless appearances, Weathers blew his third-straight save when Curtis Granderson hit the game-tying homer with two outs in the ninth. He got the loss when Detroit won, 7-6, on an error in the bottom of the 10th.
Had the game remained tied, summoning Coffey would have been difficult to resist. The right-hander, who leads the Reds' staff with 22 appearances, leads all National League relievers with a 0.70 ERA.
"If we had scored in the 11th, he might have pitched the bottom of the 11th," Narron said. "I might have made a call to the bullpen myself and begged."
"Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn