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Tag:Joey Votto
Posted on: August 14, 2011 1:38 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Posada produces in start

Jorge Posada

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jorge Posada, Yankees: For the first time since he'd been benched, Posada was in the Yankees' starting lineup on Saturday. He may have made manager Joe Girardi reconsider things, if only briefly. Posada was 3 for 5 with six RBI including a grand slam in the the fifth inning off of Rays reliever Brandon Gomes as part of the Yankees' 9-2 victory. It was Posada's fifth career six-RBI day and will be in the lineup as the DH again on Sunday.

Miguel Cairo, Reds: For the first time in his 16-year career, Cairo hit more than one homer in a game, blasting two homers against the Padres in the Reds' 13-1 victory. The 37-year-old now has a career-best seven homers on the season, besting his 2004 total of six with the Yankees. The Reds clubbed seven homers in all, with Cairo and Ryan Hanigan hitting two each. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier also homered. The first five homers of the game came off starter Tim Stauffer, who last just three innings, and Cairo's second homer was off reliever Anthony Bass and Hanigan hit his second off of Joe Thatcher

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: Cabrera's third inning three-run homer was the Indians' only offense of the day, but it was enough for Cleveland's 3-1 victory over the Twins. It was Cabrera's 20th homer of the season, making him just the third Indians shortstop to hit that many home runs in a  season. Jhonny Peralta and Woodie Held each accomplished the feat three times, with Peralta's 24-homer season in 2005 setting the team mark for homers by a shortstop. While that doesn't sound like much, Cabrera entered the season with just 18 homers in his career. He also reached a career-high with 71 RBI.


Jered Weaver, Angels: In his first game back from a six-game suspension, the Blue Jays hit Weaver harder than Carlos Guillen.  The Angels' ace lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits. His eight runs were as many as he'd allowed in his previous seven starts and the three homers were as many as he'd allowed in his last 80 1/3 innings. Adam Lind's grand slam coped a five-run fifth, marking the first time Weaver had allowed mor ethan four runs in a start since Aug. 17, 2010. Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Teahen also homered off of Weaver, whose ERA jumped from 1.78 to 2.13.

Oakland Athletics: The A's committed four errors and had two wild pitches in a 7-1 loss to the Rangers, but A's manager Bob Melvin said, "Really, we played worse than that" (via the San Francisco Chronicle). Oakland starter Trevor Cahill took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Yorvit Torrealba broke it up with a one-out single. That same inning, Jemile Weeks committed two errors on one play, setting up Ian Kinsler's RBI double for the game's first run. Shortstop Eric Sogard had an error in the fifth and third baseman Scott Sizemore's eight-inning error led to an unearned run in the three-run Rangers' eighth. The A's lead the big leagues with 98 errors in 119 games.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: With a 5-1 lead, Guthrie allowed six consecutive two-out hits and five runs in the sixth inning, leading to a 6-5 loss to the Tigers. In his first 5 2/3 innings, the right-hander had allowed just two hits and a run but then fell apart. Guthrie fell to 5-16 on the season and the Orioles have lost nine of 11.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Votto: Superstars 'overrated' in baseball

Joey VottoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Joey Votto is not only the reigning National League MVP, he's also one of the most introspective players in the game. When you talk to Votto, he usually considers the question, thinks about the answer and gives you an answer you may not have expected.

He's not the easiest of interviews because Votto approaches them like his at-bats, he's always thinking and evaluating not only what's coming at him, but also what repercussions his actions may have. So when he talks, it's usually interesting, but it's hardly ever rote.

Enter today's column by Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Most of the column is the usual woe-is-me small markets can't compete whining. But what's interesting is Votto responses. This past offseason Votto signed a three-year extension, covering his remaining arbitration years and still allowing him to become a free agent following the 2013 season. At that point, the Reds may not be able to afford him.

But Votto points out, that may not kill the Reds. Here's Votto on the impact of an MVP: "You're never going to win if you put too much emphasis on your superstars. It's such a shared responsibility to win. I won the National League MVP, and in 85 percent of the games I wasn't changing the game. In the NFL, if I'm the MVP quarterback, I'm changing 12 out of the 16 games, maybe higher. Superstars can be overrated in this game."

It's an interesting thought. In basketball, it's damning if a player like Charles Barkley never wins a championship. In football, quarterbacks are judged more by rings than ratings. But in baseball, some of the game's greats are still considered greats, even without winning a title. Among them, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb, Carl Yastrzemski and Ken Griffey Jr. have 12 MVPs and no World Series rings. LeBron James is still considered a failure because he doesn't have a title and Dan Marino's lack of a title is brought up as much as his records.

Votto also realizes that he'll have a huge payday coming up, and even if he leaves, the Reds will have gotten a bargain for his first six years in the big leagues.

"Over that first six-year span, you're probably paying a guy 15 to 25 percent of what he's worth. He’s getting the minimum for three years, then 40, 60, 80 percent, roughly," Votto told Daugherty.

"You get to call a player up, whenever you want. You get to delay his [arbitration] clock. It can be very fair for all the small market teams. Look at Minnesota. Tampa Bay has had a pretty good stretch. Payroll matches market, with some exceptions. Baseball is doing a pretty good job."

The reason this is brought up is that many see Votto as the catalyst for what the Reds could do in the offseason trade market. He's an MVP in the prime of his career, cost-controlled for two more years. The Reds have a young first baseman in Yonder Alonso who may not be Votto's equal, but he's certainly a capable player (who can't play another position) that will be cheaper for the next several years. Add Alonso at first with whatever other upgrades Votto would bring in return and the Reds could find themselves better, even without their best player. It would certainly stink for the marketing department, at least initially, unless the gamble paid off in wins. Wins are a better marketing tool than an individual.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 12:21 am
 

Youkilis could see himself with Reds

Kevin YoukilisBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Kevin Youkilis is under contract with the Red Sox through next season with a club option for 2013, but he can see life after Boston.

With Adrian Gonzalez locked up through 2018, Youkilis won't be returning to first base anytime soon and one of the team's most prized prospects is a third baseman, Will Middlebrooks. In an interview with ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald, the 32-year-old Youkilis said he could see himself returning to his hometown of Cincinnati after spending the all of his career in Boston.

"If it wasn't Bsoton, I would want to play in Cincinnati just to say that I did it," Youkilis said. "I grew up rooting for them. I used to be bitter towards the Reds because they didn't draft me, but that bitterness is gone. It would be fun and it would be for my family."

He could also make sense for the Reds. Cincinnati's current first baseman, Joey Votto, is a free agent after the 2013 season and would certainly command big money in free agency, perhaps more than the team can afford. The team is also without a third baseman of the future, as Scott Rolen's contract runs through the 2012 season and at 36 may not play past that contract. The Reds' top third base prospect, Juan Francisco, has had three stints in the big leagues, but failed to make a true impact. Francisco, 24, has a ton of power, but isn't very good defensively. Todd Frazier, currently on the roster, has played third but lacks a true position.

Youkilis is beloved in Boston, but said he could see a day when he wasn't playing for the Red Sox.

"I don't know what their plans are past [2013] but I actually think it would be cool, if I don't play here, that there's going to be another guy to enjoy the opportunities that I had," Youkilis said. "I've been thinking about that a lot. Probably for the first time in my life I haven't worried about if I had to go to another team and it doesn't bother me."

Youkilis went to high school at Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, just up I-71 from Great American Ball Park and also played four years at the University of Cincinnati. Youkilis was undrafted after his junior year and taken by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2001 draft. He's a frequent visitor to Cincinnati in the offseason and at Bearcat football games.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 12:20 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 12:21 am
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Posted on: August 8, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Reds' Alonso left in positional limbo

Yonder AlonsoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The moment Yonder Alonso was drafted by the Reds in the first round of the 2008 draft, the questions about where he'd play began. Alonso played first base at Miami and looked like he'd be limited to first base.

That's fine and good, except for when you have the reigning MVP at first base already and that player's just 27. 

Last spring the Reds started trying Alonso in left field and he played 30 games there in 2010 between Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville, but still played the bulk of his time at first base, logging 96 games there. This season with his bat ready for the big leagues, he was given more time in the left field, where he played 62 games in left compared to 21 at first base.

Since the left-handed hitting prospect was called up to the big leagues when Jonny Gomes was traded, he's started three games in left and none at first. The first part is going to change, the second may not.

Alonso's latest position may be third base after he struggled in two games in left at Wrigley Field this past weekend, playing one ball into an inside-the-park home run for Cubs rookie Tony Campana and then misplaying another ball for a crucial error in Saturday's loss.

When asked on Monday when Alonso would play left again, Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters, "not in the near future," according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Alonso took ground balls at third base -- his main position growing up, he's said -- but Baker said he doesn't expect Alonso there anytime soon.

"You don't want to do it in the big leagues," Baker said, according to Fay. "But that's the position he started at. It's a mirror image of first base, really. You get more plays. Most first baseman are at first because they're left-handed or they don't have the arm to play third.

"We'll see. We're trying to find the best place to get his bat in the lineup."

Yonder AlonsoWhile Alonso's looked shaky in the field, he's been locked in at the plate, where he's started the season 8 for 16 with two doubles and a homer. The Reds called up another prospect, Dave Sappelt, on Sunday when Chris Heisey went on the disabled list and Sappelt will likely get a chance to play quite a bit in left and center. Sappelt had a hit leading off in his major-league debut on Sunday. Fred Lewis is starting in left on Monday.

Finding a spot for Alonso is tricky. The Reds thought he was the best hitter available when they took him with the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft and he's shown it in the minors, where he's combined to hit .293/.370/.466. He was hitting .296/.374/.486 with 12 homers when he was called up. Although he's 4 for 7 as a pinch-hitter so far this season, going forward he's going to be too valuable for filling just that role.

The Reds and Blue Jays reportedly talked about a blockbuster sending Joey Votto to his native Toronto in exchange for Jose Bautista, opening a spot for Alonso. Although that deal didn't go down, it does show how much the team values Alonso and feels he can be an impact player in the big leagues.

Votto is under contract through 2013, so he's in the team's immediate future but could be too expensive when he reaches free agency. Alonso would be a lower-cost alternative.

Alonso could also finish the season strong and be a more valuable trade piece in the offseason because of his early success in the big leagues. 

Physically, Alonso looks more like a first baseman -- or DH -- than third baseman, but he says he feels comfortable there. He didn't play third at Miami because current Twin Danny Valencia was at third base when he got there. The Reds have a need at third base. With Scott Rolen on the disabled list (and at 36), the Reds are using a combination of rookie Todd Frazier and veteran Miguel Cairo to man the position. Rolen is under contract through next season and the team's top prospect at the position, Juan Francisco, has been hurt this season and unproductive in a couple of big-league stints.

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 9:48 am
 

Pepper: Cardinals-Brewers rivalry heats up



By Matt Snyder


Last year it was the Cardinals against the Reds in the NL Central. This time around, it's the Brewers who seem to have drawn the ire of the Cardinals. Tuesday night, the Cardinals beat the Brewers to move within 2 1/2 games in the NL Central and break the Brewers' long winning streak, but everyone was talking about a pair of hit-by-pitches after the game.

In the top of the seventh inning, Brewers reliever Takashi Saito hit Albert Pujols in the hand/wrist area. It loaded the bases and was pretty clearly not intentional. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa even said as much post-game, though he also noted he still had an issue with it (via Associated Press).

"Real scary. They almost got him yesterday. There's nothing intentional about it," La Russa said. "That's what all these idiots up there -- not idiots, fans are yelling and yell. Do you know how many bones you have in the hands and the face? That's where those pitches are."

Next half-inning, La Russa left in Jason Motte to face Ryan Braun. Motte missed Braun on his first pitch, but not on his second try. He was removed after the hit-by-pitch and is the Cardinals hardest throwing reliever. Of course, La Russa says they weren't trying to hit Braun.

"And Braun, we were trying to pitch him in, too, it's just a little stinger," La Russa said (AP). "I don't want to even hear about Braun getting a little pop in the back when we almost lose [Pujols] in several ways."

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina -- who was ejected and may have spat on the umpire -- backed up La Russa's story. Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy had a different spin.

"That's clearly intentional. I mean that's ridiculous," Lucroy said (AP). "There's no way that we were trying to hit Pujols on purpose. You kidding me in that situation? If we wanted to put him on base, we would have walked him. That's ridiculous. We were trying to pitch inside and get a ground ball to third base."

For whatever it's worth, Pujols had no issues with his getting hit, saying "it's part of the game." (AP)

It's hard to not take sides here, because I don't think anyone other than Cardinals fans -- and even some of those would be excluded -- believes La Russa. It appears pretty obvious Motte was left out there to hit Braun and was going to have four chances to do it, not just the two it took. From here, each individual can make the call as to whether or not it was warranted.

Ryno moves on: After being named the Triple-A manager of the year, Ryne Sandberg was reportedly not even in the Cubs "top three or four" choices to manage the 2011 season in the bigs, but he doesn't hold a grudge. Sandberg told the Chicago Sun Times that he's moved on and looks forward, not backward. He says he still plans on making it to the majors one way or another. He's currently managing the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate.

LoMo visits Fan Cave with a 'friend:' Last week, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison had a highly publicized run-in with a praying mantis in the Marlins dugout, and he later admitted via Twitter that he's afraid of bugs. Tuesday, he showed he was a good sport by visiting the MLB Fan Cave with someone dressed as a praying mantis. (MLB.com)

Hard-luck losers: Beyond the Box Score took a look at the pitchers with the most losses in MLB history that came while they still threw at least seven innings while allowing three earned runs or less. It might be easier to simply disregard the archaic wins and losses stat, but since it's still mainstream, I'm on board with things like this. You'll find Nolan Ryan, Bert Blyleven and Greg Maddux on the list, among other all-time greats.

Legend of Sam Fuld: Sam Fuld has been a bit of a cult hero in Tampa Bay since being traded from the Cubs this past offseason, so it was only a matter of time before a promotional poster was made. I have to say, it's pretty hilarious. A spin-off of Legends of the Fall, the Legends of the Fuld poster features Fuld, Chuck Norris and the Dos Equis guy. (TampaBay.com)

Use the Force: The Marlins won on two ninth-inning runs Tuesday night -- which came courtesy of a Justin Turner throwing error. Marlins catcher John Buck reportedly distracted the Mets' second baseman, and Buck credits his first-base coach for employing a "Jedi mind trick." Luke Skywalker would be proud. (Fish Tank)

Cody's the answer again: The 2010 Giants postseason hero was Cody Ross, a very late addition last August via the second trade deadline (using waivers). This season, the Giants were reportedly seeking a center fielder who could lead off, but Ross might again be the answer. He filled both roles Monday and Tuesday. (SFGate.com)

MVPs together again: Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton won the MVPs from their respective leagues in 2010, and they're commemorated together on a bobblehead, as Louisville Bats -- where the two were once teammates (OMGReds).

Sad road of Irabu: Robert Whiting of Slate chronicles the career of recently-deceased Hideki Irabu in an excellently written story.

Frankrupt: The dissatisfaction with Dodgers owner -- at least for now -- Frank McCourt has spawned many different money-making ventures by disgruntled fans, including T-shirts that say "Frankrupt" and a website that begs Mark Cuban to "save the Dodgers." (LA Times)

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Posted on: August 1, 2011 9:20 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 9:24 pm
 

Votto loves Minute Maid Park

By Matt Snyder

When Reds first baseman Joey Votto doubled in the third inning at Houston's Minute Maid Park Monday night, it marked the 11th straight game he's recorded an extra base hit in that particular stadium. Does that sound like a long streak? Evidently it's pretty tough to pull off, because it hasn't happened in more than 15 years, according to a press release the Reds sent out.

The last player to have such a streak was Jeff Bagwell, who did it from 1993-1995 in San Francisco's Candlestick/3-Com Park.

For his career, Votto entered Monday night with the following numbers in Minute Maid Park: .394/.450/.706 with 16 doubles, four triples, three home runs, 19 RBI and 17 runs. That was in 27 games.

Oh, and the 2010 NL MVP was the NL Player of the Week last week, too, so it goes without saying he's locked in.

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:22 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 7:42 am
 

Bell's slide steals the show

Heath Bell

By C. Trent Rosecrans


PHOENIX -- Heath Bell was sure he wouldn't get hurt sliding into the pitchers mound in the eighth inning -- he'd practiced it after all.

Wait… what?

"Yeah, I practiced," Bell said of his slide.

Where?

"On my lawn. Last week," Bell said. "I'm not going to do something stupid… well, I'm not going to do something stupid without preparing myself."

 Bell has sprinted in from the bullpen for every appearance since 2009, but for his third All-Star Game, he wanted to do something a little special. The result had players and fans alike laughing as the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Bell came in to face Jhonny Peralta with two outs in the eighth and just before he got to the mound, he slowed his run and slid feet-first, tearing up a little of the infield sod along the way.

See the play here.

The idea was hatched in the Padres' bullpen recently as Bell tried to conjure a signature move for his All-Star appearance. Finally, fellow right-hander Anthony Bass suggested the slide.

Even with the practice under his belt, Bell had second thoughts during the game. First manager Bruce Bochy gave his "this game really counts" speech before the game and Bell reconsidered. Then during his run, he thought maybe it was just a bit too much. But when he saw third baseman Pablo Sandoval clear the way for his slide -- he went for it.

At second base, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had gotten full warning that Bell was going to do "something." He saw the sprint and thought it was nothing new -- Phillips' former teammate Todd Coffey has been doing that for the last five years. And then Bell went into a slide.

"What in the world?" Phillips recalled. "It was funny. It was classic."

What about first basmean Joey Votto? What did he think?

"I think he was safe. I wasn't really that surprised," Votto said. "I was expecting more from Brian Wilson afterwards, though. I thought maybe he'd do something cool, like parachute in."

Wilson said he enjoyed Bell's slide, but had just one thought.

"You better get the guy out," Wilson said.

Bell needed five pitches, but did get Peralta to pop up to Phillips, ending the inning.

"It was my third All-Star Game and I wanted to have a blast," Bell said. "I did and I did my job."


For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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