Tag:Sam LeCure
Posted on: January 3, 2012 3:22 pm

Beyond the closer -- baseball's best facial hair

By C. Trent Rosecrans

When it comes to baseball facial hair, all the glory seems to go to the closers -- from Rollie Fingers to Rod Beck to the modern-day duo of Brian Wilson and John Axford. Wilson's beard has made him baseball's version of Peyton Manning -- appearing in more commercials than games. And then there's Axford, the Brewers' closer won the title of Mustached American of the Year from the American Mustache Institute, despite the fact he's Canadian.

Well, why should closers have all the fun? We need to get back to the glory days of the 70s and 80s when mustaches weren't just for the closers, they were for everyone in baseball. So, with that in mind, here is some of baseball's best mustaches, beards and other facial hair variations that are sported by players other than closers.

The outfielder -- Toronto's Eric Thames


Thames gets bonus points for versatility, changing his facial hair throughout the season, from simple stubble to some fantastic sideburn-mustache combos. Kudos to Thames for several of his combinations and his sheer willingness to experiment. A true All-Star in terms of facial hair.

The infielder -- Seattle's Brendan Ryan


Ryan finished the season clean-shaven, but hopefully he's using the offseason to get this glorious 'stache back in shape for spring training. Ryan also knows how to sport some awesome stirrups, so the man knows his style.

The starter -- Minnesota's Carl Pavano


Pavano's 'stache has its own Facebook page, as well it should.

The middle reliever -- Cincinnati's Sam LeCure


LeCure used his mustache to raise money for prostate cancer as part of the Movember movement. While a native of Missouri, LeCure went to college at Texas, so he's taken note of the great gunslingers of the old west for inspiration for his 'stache.

The manager -- Seattle's Eric Wedge


Like Ryan, Wedge shaved late in the 2011 season. Let's hope Wedge brings back the mustache -- which just commands respect. 

The bench coach -- Tampa Bay's Dave Martinez


Martinez didn't shave his beard, but he did give it a good trim late in the season. But you've got to give the guy credit for keeping that glorious monster alive during a Florida spring and summer. Sure, Tropicana Field is air conditioned, but you've got to leave the ballpark sometimes and that humidity is deadly.

The umpire -- Jim Joyce

Joyce became a household name for the way he handled his blown call costing Armando Galarraga a perfect game in 2010, but his mustache screams authority and confidence, meaning we believe him now when he says out or safe -- no matter what's happened in the past.

The mascot -- Mr. Redlegs


Mr. Met is probably the best mascot in the game, but the Reds took the Mr. Met template and one-upped him with a handlebar mustache -- which is like the bacon of facial hair, it makes everything better.

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Posted on: November 30, 2011 2:13 pm

Homegrown Team: Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto

By C. Trent Rosecrans

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.

During the series, we've seen some lineups that would be completely foreign to the hometown fans, and some a little less so. The homegrown Cincinnati Reds, for better or worse, look quite similar to the team that took the field at Great American Ball Park this past season. While there are similar strengths, the same problems also crop up.


1. Jay Bruce, RF
2. Justin Turner, 2B
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Adam Dunn, LF
5. Juan Francisco, 3B
6. Drew Stubbs, CF
7. Devin Mesoraco, C
8. Zack Cozart, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Johnny Cueto
2. Mike Leake
3. Homer Bailey
4. Travis Wood
5. Zach Stewart


Closer - Aroldis Chapman
Set up - Todd Coffey, Logan Ondrusek, Jordan Smith, Josh Roenicke, Enerio Del Rosario
Long - Sam LeCure

Notable Bench Players

Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Adam Rosales, Ryan Hanigan, Chris Heisey, Chris Denorfia, Chris Dickerson. The Reds hypothetical situation behind the plate is the same as their current situation, one underrated catcher and two promising prospects, a problem most teams would envy. The hypothetical Reds also have no real spot for Alonso, although a short leash on Dunn could have this homegrown team toy with the notion of trying Alonso in left -- just like the real Reds.

What's Good?

The lineup's going to put up runs, that's for sure. There are some lineup construction problems, but this team can flat out hit, especially in their home ballpark. The defense isn't as good as it is in real life, it's still not too bad (with the exception of Dunn). The team has a lot of talent behind the plate and the bench is deep with some versatility.

What's Not?

The Reds were unable to repeat their 2010 division title in large part because of the failings of their starting rotation -- that's not fixed with these five. There's also no real answer to the team's search for a leadoff man, just like the real Reds. This bullpen isn't as experienced or strong as the real thing, either.

Comparison to real 2011

While there are some key personel missing, like Brandon Phillips and Francisco Cordero, there's also an added boost to the lineup of Dunn (we'll just assume he would have performed closer to his career numbers than his historically bad 2011 in the familiar confines of Great American Ball Park than in Chicago), the offense would have been about the same. The pitching, though, is still a problem, so this squad may fair a bit worse than the team's 79-83 record. However, the team is interesting, talented and young.

Next: Kansas City Royals

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Posted on: May 29, 2011 7:27 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2011 7:35 pm

Baker disagrees with pitcher's tweets

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sam LeCureThe Reds have several tweeters on their team, led by @DatDudeBP (or, if you're not into Twitter, second baseman Brandon Phillips), as well as left-hander Matt Maloney (@Mo56Maloney) and right-hander Sam LeCure (@MrLeCure).

Maloney and LeCure were the only two relievers not used in last week's 19-inning affair against the Phillies. Maloney was later put on the disabled list (and then transferred to the 60-day disabled list earlier today). Instead, Carlos Fisher threw 95 pitches in relief.

Three days later on Saturday, Fisher was back on the mound for an extra-innings affair, because Baker said LeCure wasn't available.

That was apparently news to LeCure, who took to Twitter.

Sam LeCure 

"No. 1, I don't read tweets," Baker told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "No. 2, he was available without all his weapons. What I mean by that with that strained right forearm, he could only throw fastball, change-up. That’s not available to me. To me, I like his enthusiasm. I like him. But now is not the time for heroism.

"We warmed him up a number of times. I don't know why he felt the need to tweet it. That's one of the perils. Plus, he pitched last Sunday in Cleveland and he had to come out of the game because of that. We've been very patient to see if this thing would subside, which it hasn't. This way, it's been a week since he pitched. Fifteen days on the DL, he could pitch in a week. If we used him (Saturday) for one batter, we'd lose him for two weeks."

The Reds placed LeCure on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, making room for left-hander Tom Cochran. 

Dusty didn't say what he thought of LeCure's mustache, but I've got to say, I think it's fantastic.

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Posted on: May 22, 2011 6:22 pm

Volquez's spot in rotation in jeopardy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edinson VolquezThe Reds are "mulling" Edinson Volquez's spot in the rotation after not only his bad start on Sunday against the Indians, but his even worse choice of words following the game, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

After giving up four first-inning runs and seven runs (six earned) in 2 2/3 inning on Sunday, Volquez attacked the team's offense.

"Everybody has to step up, start to score some runs," Volquez said after the game. "In the last five games, how many runs have we scored? Like 13? That's not the way we were playing last year. We're better than that."

He's not wrong -- well, except that it's 12 runs in the last five games -- but he's not exactly earned the right to bring that message.

The Reds have trailed in all 11 of Volquez's starts this season and he's given up 21 first-inning runs this season. He's usually settled down (as his total of 38 runs allowed shows). On Sunday he didn't, allowing another run in the second and two more in the third.

Reds manager Dusty Baker said the team may consider demoting Volquez from the rotation.

"We're mulling that around now," Baker said (via MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.) "Last time, he was a lot better. This outing, he didn't start off well again. We've got to discuss what to do."

Sam LeCure has excelled as a long-man for the Reds and pitched better in relief than as a starter. At Triple-A, the team has Matt Maloney, who is 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts, Mike Leake who is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in one start since being sent down and Dontrelle Willis, who is 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA. Willis left his outing Saturday when he was struck in the leg by a batted ball.

Volquez does have options remaining, so he could be sent down if the team wishes to do that.

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Posted on: May 6, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2011 8:53 pm

Mike Leake could excel in long relief role


By Evan Brunell

Mike Leake was bumped from the rotation to the bullpen several days ago to make way for Johnny Cueto's return to the rotation Sunday. Cueto is finally over his injury troubles and coupled with Homer Bailey's own return to the staff has created some recent roster shuffling as the Reds try to get the rotation into gear. Until then, Baker's happy to have both Leake and Sam LeCure as long relievers.

"We were going to start the season with [Leake] as the long man and my sixth starter -- don't send him out to the Minor Leagues yet," Baker told MLB.com. "That's why we sent [Matt] Maloney down to get stretched out. The way my starters have been going, I've got him and [Sam] LeCure. I've got two long guys, which is what we need right now. Once they [in the rotation] start humming again, we'll deal with that when they get there. We've got to start humming first."

Baker feels as if Leake could be quite a find in the bullpen despite giving up eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings last season in his stints as a reliever near the end of the year when Cincinnati was trying to manage the righty's innings. However, Baker brings up some good points as to why Leake may be ready to succeed as a long man.

"I think he'll be a very good long man. He stays in shape. He comes in, he throws strikes. He's keeping the ball down to get double plays," Baker said. "I don't have to hit for him if he comes up like you do a lot of relievers, because he can hit. Therefore, he can extend that part of my bullpen out, unlike a lot of guys.

"In the second half [of last year] and this year, he's had a little trouble with the lineup about the third time around. To me, that equals, in theory, a perfect long man."

Baker's right. A perfect long man would be someone who can chew up innings, and what better than someone who keeps the game moving by throwing strikes. The ability to have Leake stay in the lineup when he comes up to bat is a big one and will do nothing but improve his chances of staying on the mound.

But is Baker right about Leake struggling with the lineup the third time around? 


The first time around the order, Leake performs impressively, giving up an opponent batting line of .255/.310/.385. He keeps up the good times the second time through, actually limiting batters to less extra-base hits but also coughing up more walks for a .253/.333/.382 line. But then the wheels fall off, with a .324/.365/.500 mark his third time through. You don't want to see the numbers for the fourth-plus time through.

Cincinnati has eyes on winning the division, so needs to maximize the contributions of every player on the staff. With that in mind, Leake does appear to be a great option as a long reliever and sixth starter who can step into the rotation in a pinch, allowing the Reds to avoid making a quick roster transaction. But it's not the best use of his abilities as Leake must figure out a way to limit batters turning into Robinson Cano. He can't do that without practice.

That's why, while Leake may be a better pitcher than Sam LeCure, he could find himself optioned to Triple-A once Baker and the Reds feel comfortable with the rotation. That will allow Leake to get stretched back out as insurance and also enable him to work on his issues the third time through the order.


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Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:27 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 12:27 am

NL Central rotations returning to normal

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Homer BaileyThe National League Central is slowly getting its pitchers back.

Milwaukee will get its first chance to see former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke in the second game of the team's double header in Atlanta on Wednesday, while the Reds announced Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto will return to the rotation this week.

Bailey, pictured, returns on Thursday, while Johnny Cueto will start Sunday at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. Cincinnati had planned on giving Cueto another rehab start before activating him from the disable list, but Mike Leake's clunker on Tuesday may have sped up Cueto's timetable.

Leake allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Astros on Tuesday and will likely be moved to the bullpen to serve as the long reliever, with Sam LeCure headed to Louisville in time for the Kentucky Derby.

"Coming out of spring training, [Leake] was going to be our long guy," Baker told reporters, including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He performed well in those other guys' absence. Tonight was the first time he got whacked around in a while."

Bailey has looked good in his rehab starts, starting three games and allowing just one run on 11 hits in 16 2/3 innings, while striking out 14 and walking four. Cueto's made four starts for Triple-A Louisville, going 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA, allowing 10 earned runs (12 total) on 19 hits in 14 1/3 innings, striking out 13 and walking six.

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 5:50 pm

Volquez to start against Cardinals tonight

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edinson VolquezEdinson Volquez will make the start for the Reds tonight against the Cardinals, two days after he was scratched from his start following a rain delay. Jake Westrbook starts for the Cardinals.

Reds manager Dusty Baker was upset with some deception and gamesmanship by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Friday, when the Reds-Cardinals game was delayed by rain just two batters into the game. Because the home team controls the start time, La Russa started reliever Miguel Batista for those two batters before coming back with scheduled starter Kyle McClellan more than two hours later. After Volquez warmed up for the regular game time, Baker decided to put long man Matt Maloney in after the delay to protect the arm of Volquez.

The Reds listed the starter for Sunday night's game as TBA yesterday before announcing Volquez would start today.

Right-hander Sam LeCure, whose spot in the rotation was coming up on Sunday, will instead pitch Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Volquez has struggled in first innings this season, so that will be something to watch when he does make his start. His ERA in the first inning this season is 29.75 and 1.93 afterward.

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Posted on: March 27, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 3:55 pm

All of a sudden, Reds rotation a mess

By Matt Snyder

The defending NL Central champions entered camp with at least six viable starting pitchers: Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Travis Wood, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake. Some fans may have even inexplicably thought Dontrelle Willis had a chance of impressing, but he's been moved to the minors (it was announced Sunday via press release, forgive me for yawning).

It did, however, look like an embarrassment of riches, especially if you looked from the angle that Volquez was far enough away from Tommy John surgery to fully return to form and Cueto, Wood, Leake and Bailey were young enough to expect improvement.

Instead, Bailey will start the season on the DL, Cueto is headed that way and Arroyo has mono. As a result the fairly anonymous Sam LeCure is going to begin the season in the rotation.

Wood has thrown the ball relatively well this spring for the most part, but he's the exception.

Leake has been dreadful, having allowed 27 hits, 16 earned runs and seven walks against just four strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings. Yes, that's a 9.39 ERA and 2.22 WHIP. This is fresh off a season that saw him go 3-4 with a 6.47 ERA after the first week of June, so there has to be plenty of concern.

Volquez has been pretty bad himself (8.38 ERA and 2.38 WHIP), to the point that he was talking about how great he felt after a lackluster effort last time out.

We shouldn't put a ton of stock in all spring numbers, but for young guys trying to get back in the groove or players working back from injuries, they matter to some extent. I'm sure Dusty Baker would rather have everyone throwing it well, that's for sure. The good news is nothing that's happened thus far counts and that the injuries all appear to be pretty minor. Everything could work itself out by the middle of April -- and it's a long season.

Still, within just over a week, starting pitching has gone from a strength to a big question mark for the Reds.

Just goes to show how precious starting pitching is, doesn't it?

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com