Tag:Russ Springer
Posted on: January 30, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2011 2:12 pm

Veteran reliever Springer quits for good

SpringerAfter 18 seasons, one missed year due to injury, 10 teams and a 41st birthday, Russ Springer is now hanging up his cleats, opting against pitching at age 42.

"For the first time in my career, it feels right," the right-hander says of retirement to the Alexandria Town Talk, after already attempting to retire prior to the 2004 season. He changed his mind once the Astros called and spent three years with the team, earning a trip to the World Series in 2005. 

Springer has two interesting stories in his career, neither of which include his two trips to the World Series. Springer appeared in the 1999 World Series with the Braves but lost, just like the Astros would fall to the White Sox six years later. The first is that he has worn the same glove every year since 1993, his second year in the bigs.

"I've had players ask me how much pine tar I had in this glove," he said, displaying the dark interior of the glove. "I'd tell them, 'That's not pine tar; that's a lot of years of blood, sweat and tears.'

Springer was wearing the glove on May 14, 2006 when he jumped into the national media for perhaps the first and only time in his career. Barry Bonds was at bat and pitchers everywhere were fearful of being a trivia answer to who gave up the 714th home run of Bonds' career, which would tie him with Babe Ruth. Springer drilled Bonds in the back and was ejected, fined and suspended for four games.

"I hate that I play 21 years developing a reputation and something like that happens, and it's what a lot of people connect with your name," he said. "It wasn't what everybody says it was. It wasn't a vendetta. I went back and looked at the tape afterwards, and I agree, it looks bad, but it wasn't what it looked like. The reasoning behind it stays in the locker room among teammates."

Including his previous stint with the Astros in 1997, he spent the most years with Houston in a nomadic career that started with the Yankees in 2002, then was shipped to the Angels in a package for Jim Abbot.

A few years later, Springer was sent to the Phillies as a player to be named later, but was released after the season by the Phillies. That's when he locked into his first year with Houston, then was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the expansion draft with pick No. 61. His time in Arizona was short-lived as he was dealt in late June to the Braves for Alan Embree. He returned to the Diamondbacks via free agency after the year and spent two seasons with them before a shoulder injury knocked out his 2002 season and threatened to end his career.

And yet, he'd go on to pitch eight more years, hooking up with the Cardinals for two years, splitting 2009 between the Athletics and Rays and joining the Reds for the second half of 2010 to be able to pitch for the team he grew up rooting for (albeit pitching just 1 2/3 innings before a back injury ended his final tour in the majors).

18 seasons is a long time, so how does Springer know it's time to hang up the cleats?

"When I thought I was going to retire [after 2009], I had a desire to go to the gym,". he said. "This year, I've had no pull towards going to the gym. I'm totally content to be with the family. There comes a time when you can ask only so much of your body physically, and you've got to stop beating it up."

While he never grabbed the attention of any fan base, Springer was quietly a durable middle reliever who just kept up putting numbers. His career 4.52 ERA is a bit skewed to the first four years of his career as he struggled to stick in the majors. From 1999-2010, his career ERA was 4.07, and he ripped off four out of five seasons (2004-08) with an ERA under 4.00, including three with an ERA under 3.

"I had some good seasons," he says. "I was never an All-Star, but I grinded out a career. This is a working man's area, and I think the people around here [Louisiana] recognize that. That's why this has always been home for me. A week after the season's over, I'm back here eating a corn dog at the Grant One Stop."

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 1:47 pm

Suspensions for Reds-Cardinals brawl handed down

The punishments for the Cardinals-Reds brawl on Tuesday have been meted out, according to Victor Rojas, an Angels TV broadcaster formerly of ESPN.

Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto has been suspended seven games, a harsh punishment but not entirely undeserving as Cueto was backed up against the home plate backstop, kicking willy-nilly . Jason LaRue came down with a concussion and Chris Carpenter suffered scratches on his back.

Managers Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker, who had choice words for each other and were ejected after a shouting match, were dinged two games apiece. The managers and Cueto were also fined along with Yadier Molina, Brandon Phillips, Chris Carpenter and Russ Springer.

Molina and Phillips were the instigators of the brawl after Phillips came to the plate in the bottom first. Philips had previously referred to the Cardinals as "little bitches ," which Molina took exception to and let Phillips know about it. The two jawed nose-to-nose before the fracas got out of hand.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 7, 2010 12:39 pm

Chapman debut will have to wait

Aroldis Chapman
The anticipated major-league debut of Aroldis Chapman won't happen this weekend.

The Reds, as anticipated, put right-hander Russ Springer on the disabled list Saturday with a hip strain, but called up to take his place was right-hander Carlos Fisher. There had been speculation that the roster move might bring up Chapman, the Cuban defector the Reds signed to a huge contract in January.

Chapman has spent the entire season at Triple-A Louisville. He spent an uneven stretch in the rotation (5-5, 4.11 ERA) and was moved to the bullpen, where he has dominated (3-1, 2.61). The Reds still see him as a starter down the road, but he'll probably debut in the Reds bullpen before the season is out.

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters Fisher was called up because he could make longer appearances than Chapman, who hasn't thrown more than  two innings in his past 10 appearances.

"We needed some length," Baker said. "That's the one thing we were still missing in the bullpen when we sent Fish down. We didn't have a guy that could go three innings comfortably and a guy that could save the bullpen for the next day and the next day. That's what he gave us when he was here before."

MLB.com Reds reporter Mark Sheldon thinks an additional factor might have been the Reds' desire to make Chapman's call-up as comfortable for him as possible. The Reds are in Chicago, and Wrigley Field is a chaotic environment with a ton of media. The Reds might prefer that Chapman get acclimated in Cincinnati.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 2, 2010 12:33 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 2:20 pm

Chapman closer to the big leagues

Aroldis Chapman Aroldis Chapman is getting closer to the big leagues, Reds manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Erardi .

"We'll see how he is in the next couple of weeks," Jocketty said.

The Reds moved Chapman from the rotation to the bullpen in June and after a rough start, Chapman has dominated. In his last nine relief outings, Chapman hasn't surrendered an earned run. In 10 1/3 innings, he's allowed six hits, walked six and struck out 17, allowing an unearned run.

Overall, he's 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 15 appearances as a reliever, walking nine and striking out 29 in 18 2/3 innings, limiting batters to a .186 average against. In his first six outings, he allowed six earned runs in 8 1/3 innings.

The Reds still view Chapman as a starter in the future, but hope to use him out of the bullpen in a pennant race and potential playoff push, much like the Rays did with David Price in 2008.

The Reds currently have two lefties in their bullpen, Arthur Rhodes and Bill Bray. The team sent right-hander Carlos Fisher to Triple-A following Sunday's game and will call up 41-year old Russ Springer before tonight's game in Pittsburgh. Springer and Jason Isringhausen (who has given up an earned run in each of his two outings at Triple-A since signing with the team last week) are part of Jocketty's retirement home fishing for bullpen help.

The bullpen, especially the middle relief, has the Reds biggest concern through the first three months of the season, but in July, the bullpen had a 2.52 ERA, allowing 21 runs in 75 innings. In the first three months of the season, the bullpen had a 4.57 ERA.

One of the big reasons for the turnaround is that Nick Masset, who sported a 2.37 ERA last season, but had a 5.88 ERA through the first three months of the season. In July, Masset allowed just one earned run in 15 appearances with batters hitting .184 against him with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. Rookie Logan Ondrusek has allowed just two runs in 24 games since being recalled from Triple-A at the beginning of June and hasn't allowed a run in his last 17 outings, totaling 18 2/3 innings. Another rookie, Jordan Smith, has also been good with a 2.53 ERA in 18 games. He hasn't allowed a run in his last eight appearances.

A lefty out of the pen could give 40-year old Rhodes a little relief. Rhodes has appeared in a 50 games. He earned his first All-Star bid after an amazing start -- in his first 35 games of the season, Rhodes had a 0.28 ERA, giving up just one run in his first 33 innings pitch of the season with batters hitting .140/.220/.187 against him. In his last 15, Rhodes has a 5.79 ERA with batters hitting .270/.333/.568 against him in 9 1/3 innings.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: July 15, 2010 8:56 pm

Reds looking for experienced bullpen help

Russ Springer It turns out right-hander Russ Springer is exactly what the Reds are looking for -- old relievers.

The Reds signed the 41-year old Springer to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Louisville.

The Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Fay talked to Reds general manager Walt Jocketty , who said the team is looking mainly for bullpen experience as the July 31 trade deadline looms.

"I think what I'm looking for more than anything is a little more experience in the bullpen and bullpen depth," Jocketty said. "I still like our club the way it is. We've still got some guys coming back with (Edinson) Volquez and we're trying to get (Aroldis) Chapman ready for the bullpen. Chapman is going to help, but he doesn't have the experience."

Chapman was moved to the bullpen last month and hasn't fared well. In seven appearances as a reliever, Chapman has a 5.79 ERA, allowing seven hits, seven runs, seven walks in 9 1/3 innings pitched. He has struck out 14 and batters are hitting just .194 off of him as a reliever, versus .246 as a starter. Chapman was 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 13 starts.

As far as the Reds' rotation, Jocketty said Travis Wood and Matt Maloney will not be put in the bullpen and Aaron Harang's return from the disabled list is still unsure.

"He was a little stiff today," Jocketty told Fay. "We'll monitor him the next few days. We would like to get him back pitching. We're not sure how long that's going to be."

If Wood continues to pitch as he has, there will be no real hurry to get Harang back, especially with Volquez's return.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
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