Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:10 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
When I went to Class A game the other day, I sat in the front row just to film from that angle and I was shocked at just how close I was sitting -- and how little the fans around me were paying attention.
Of course, it's worse at the minor-league level and in spring training where the stadiums are smaller, but it's still dangerous at the big-league level. Last night in Los Angeles, a fan at the Dodgers game was hit by a foul ball from Matt Holliday and carried off on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. [Associated Press ]
This spring, of course, Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar was struck in the face by a foul ball and lost an eye.
On Friday, Salazar returned to manage the Lynchburg Hillcats.
This weekend, it was a feel-good story to see Salazar back in uniform, but it was so close to being different. [Lynchburg News Advance ]
STRANGE BALK -- Take a minute to watch this -- last night Justin Verlander tried to pick off Daric Barton at first, but caught a cleat in the dirt, so instead of making a bad throw to first, he threw home and hit David DeJesus. Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck ruled it a balk, awarding Barton second base. DeJesus later walked. Verlander said afterward, even he laughed at how it looked. [MLB.com ]
BRADEN LEAVES EARLY -- A's starter Dallas Braden left Saturday's game with shoulder stiffness after five innings. There's no update yet, but it could be bad news for the A's. [San Francisco Chronicle ]
AFRICAN-AMERICAN PARTICIPATION DECLINES -- As teams honored Jackie Robinson this weekend, the Mets' Willie Harris finds the lack of African-Americans in the game "sad." Only 9.1 percent of major leaguers on opening day 2010 were African-American, while 20 percent were in 1995. Harris said he doesn't think MLB markets its top African-American stars, such as Torii Hunter, Carl Crawford and CC Sabathia, well enough. [New York Daily News ]
Rockies STARTER FALLS - - For the first time this season, a Rockies starter picked up a loss in the game. Jason Hamel was the first Rockies starter to earn an L, falling 8-3 to the Cubs and ending the Rockies' seven-game winning streak. [Associated Press ]
AND THERE'S THAT --The other day White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he has the league's best bullpen, despite his relievers blowing six saves and converting just one. On Saturday, he said he knows he has a good defensive team, despite its 15 errors this season, 13 in the last 10 games. [Chicago Tribune ]
SPEAKING OF -- The A's lead the majors with 17 errors, including one more on Saturday. First baseman Daric Barton -- widely viewed as one of the best defensive first basemen in the game -- is tied for the team-lead with three errors. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has three, as well. [MLB.com ]
EARNING HIS KEEP -- Could this be the year Alfonso Soriano lives up to his promise and salary? Soriano leads the Cubs with five home runs and 12 RBI. [Chicago Tribune ]
NO LEFTY -- The Dodgers don't have a left-handed reliever in their bullpen after Hong-Chih Kuo was place don the disabled list and replaced on the roster by right-hander Ramon Troncoso. [Los Angeles Times ]
ROYAL PEN -- One of the reasons the Royals are leading in the American League Central is their bullpen, well, almost all of their bullpen. In a reversal of expectations, only closer Joakim Soria, one of the best closers in baseball the last couple of years, has struggled. Manager Ned Yost said his closer is just "human" and should be fine. Still, the likes of Tim Collins, Jeremy Jeffress and Aaron Crow have impressed. [Kansas City Star ]
NEW PITCH -- Giants closer Brian Wilson is playing coy about a new pitch in his arsenal. Wilson, who will talk about most subjects, isn't discussing a new pitch he's throwing to right-handed batters. It may be a two-seam fastball, a cutter or even a screwball. [San Jose Mercury News ]
ATTENDANCE WOES -- This month six teams have set records for their lowest attendance since their current park opened -- the Braves, Indians, Mariners, Cardinals, Yankees and Twins. Overall attendance is down just two percent this year, which is less than I expected. [USA Today ]
HOW LOW CAN IT GO? -- Seattle is being hit particularly hard at the turnstiles. [Seattle Times ]
UBIQUITOUS OBLUQUE -- I missed this earlier this week, but heard Tim McCarver bring it up during yesterday's Mets-Braves games -- Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times wrote a great article about the oblique injury, noting 14 players had gone on the DL this year with an oblique injury. Also, before MRI technology improved to its current point, the injury had been called rib cage or abdominal injuries, the diagnosis is just better nowadays.
BIG DRAFT -- What if you had to pick from Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Justin Upton, Ricky Romero, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Mike Pelfrey, Wade Townsend, Chris Volstad, John Mayberry Jr., Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz? The 2005 draft offered those choices. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ]
WRIGLEY GRIDIRON -- The Cubs and Northwestern want to continue playing football games at Wrigley Field, despite the challenges they faced this season. In the end, money wins. [Chicago Tribune ]
TUCSON HOME -- Padres owner Jeff Moorad said Tucson will be the Triple-A home for the Padres for at least another year and could be an option if the team isn't able to get funding for a park in Escondido, Calif. [Arizona Daily Star ]
A DIFFERENT MANNY -- Manny Ramirez changed when he went to Boston. [Akron Beacon-Journal ]
HOT DOGGIN' -- A look at the best and craziest hot dogs at ballparks this season. I'm thinking about getting that Meat Lovers Dog at Great American Ball Park later today. I'll take pictures. In the name of "journalism" of course. I'm also curious about the Bahn Mi Dog at Nationals Stadium and [SeriousEats.com ]
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Tags: Aaron Crow, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alfonso Soriano, Andrew McCutchen, Athletics, Braves, Brian Wilson, Cardinals, Cardinals, Carl Crawford, CC Sabathia, Chris Volstad, Clay Buchholz, Colby Rasmus, Cubs, Dallas Braden, Daric Barton, David DeJesus, Dodgers, Giants, Hong-Chih Kuo, Indians, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Hamel, Jay Bruce, Jeremy Jeffress, Joakim Soria, John Mayberry Jr., Justin Upton, Justin Verlander, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Luis Salazar, Manny Ramirez, Mariners, Matt Holliday, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Ned Yost, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Ozzie Guillen, Padres, Ramon Troncoso, Ricky Romero, Rockies, Royals, Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, Tigers, Tim Collins, Torii Hunter, Troy Tulowitzki, Twins, Wade Townsend, White Sox, Willie Harris, Yankees
Posted on: March 31, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 10:39 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
CINCINNATI -- Ramon Hernandez didn't expect to hit the game-winning homer -- even after it left his bat. All he was thinking was he wasn't making the last out.
He didn't, his three-run homer off of Brewers closer John Axford gave the Reds a 7-6 win on opening day, capping a four-run ninth inning for the defending National League Central champions.
"I have no clue how I hit it out, to be honest," Hernandez said after his 334-foot home run landed in the Brewers bullpen in right field of Great American Ball Park.
But he knew how he got there -- with help from his teammates, and Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee.
"It took a three-run homer to win it, but you can't hit a three-run homer with nobody on," Reds left fielder Jonny Gomes said.
It was what led up to that homer that typified why the Reds led the National League in runs scored a year ago en route to their division title -- hustle and good at-bats.
The inning started with a Brandon Phillips single, which was followed by Joey Votto working a walk. With two on and still no outs, Scott Rolen hit a slow grounder to third, where McGehee fielded it and tried to tag Phillips going to third.
"I thought he was going to go to second, but when I saw him reach out with the glove, that's when I went into my Matrix mode and got out of the way," Phillips said.
McGehee felt he pushed Phillips far enough out of the baseline to get the out before throwing to first, where Rolen beat out the throw. Third-base umpire Dan Bellino ruled Phillips safe at third.
Rolen joked that he was thinking double out of the box, but then said he was just trying to get down the line fast enough not to be doubled up. When he looked up, he saw bases loaded.
After Jay Bruce struck out, Gomes was trying to avoid a game-ending double play and nearly ended the game in a different way, by hitting it over the wall. However, his liner went to the deepest part of the park for a sacrifice fly, scoring Phillips and brining up Hernandez.
"You saw two great hustle plays with Brandon and Scott in the same play," Gomes said. "What you're trying to do there, is extend the inning and not give up outs.
"That's what we did. When you start with a positive note, it's contagious and you're almost a goat if you don't do that. When you're not hustling to first, when you're not avoiding tags, you're the goat. It's a special group of guys here."
With an 0-1 count, Axford's 93 mph fastball stayed up and got over the plate. Hernandez crushed it, watching it and raising his hands in celebration before he even reached first base, while manager Dusty Baker danced what appeared to be a jig in the dugout.
"When you have all your teammates waiting for you because you just won a ballgame, it's one of the best feelings you can ever feel," said Hernandez, whose homer capped a four-hit day. "Celebrating with your teammates is the best part."
It's something the Reds have plenty of practice at. Last year they were second in the big leagues with 45 come-from-behind wins and tied for second with 22 wins in their last at-bat, including Bruce's walk-off, division-clincher last September.
Shortstop Paul Janish, who along with starter Edinson Volquez were the only different starters from last year's opening day lineup, called the hitting "infectious."
Rolen called it "good baseball," while Drew Stubbs called it "magic."
Whatever it was, it was fun.
Posted on: January 26, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 4:19 pm
I just got back from the Johnny Cueto news conference in Cincinnati. Even though the Cueto deal was known since last week, it was the other stuff that was a little more interesting.
First of all, the 5 p.m. news conference started at 5:05 p.m. because Reds general manager Walt Jocketty was talking to Edinson Volquez's agent on the phone. With Cueto signed, Volquez is the last arbitration-eligible player the Reds have.
"There's no update. We continue to negotiate and we're talking to them about both a one-year and a multi-year deal and hopefully we get something resolved soon," Jocketty said.
The team hasn't gone to arbitration since 2004 and Jocketty said he's "sure" they won't go to arbitration with Volquez, even if it's a one-year deal.
It would fit in with what the Reds have done this offseason, buying out the arbitration years of not only Cueto, but also Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, all in their first year of arbitration.
"We felt that it's important to solidify the core of this club for a number of years, know where our cost will be on certain, key players over the next three or four years and build from there," Jocketty said. "We'll build with the young players we have on the 40-man roster now and the number of guys that are coming here in the next couple of years."
He did warn that if the fans don't come out to Great American Ball Park, the team may have to say goodbye to the likes of Votto, Cueto and the team's other young talent.
"At some point when Johnny gets beyond this contract and Votto and some of the other guys, we're not sure if we're going to be able to sign these guys again," Jocketty said. "So we have to have players that will be able to step in and take over. Hopefully we can do that, it just depends on how our revenues and what we're able to generate over the next couple of years and if we continue to win, I think we will. I think our attendance will improve and our revenues will improve and we'll be in great shape to try to re-sign these guys."
Votto signed a three-year deal, taking him up to his free-agent years, while Cueto gave up a free-agent year and the Reds also have a club option for a second. Cueto, 24, will earn $3.4 million this season, $5.4 in 2012, $7.4 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014. The Reds have a $10 million option for 2015 with an $800,000 buyout.
Bruce signed the longest deal, going through 2016 with a club option for 2017.
Volquez has asked for $2 million and the Reds have offered $1.3 million.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: January 21, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 4:23 pm
So far this offseason, the Reds have done little to change their team -- for 2011 or beyond.
The biggest moves made by the NL Central champs have been extensions for Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto. They've avoided arbitration for the next three with Votto, Bruce and Cueto. Another first-time arbitration eligible player is right-hander Edinson Volquez, and the Reds are looking to buy out his arbitration-eligible years, as well.
"We're looking at both -- one-year and multi-year," general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer . "We're hopeful that we'll get something done."
Volquez is the team's last arbitration-eligible player. He submitted a request of $2 million, while the Reds countered at $1.3 million.
Volquez, an All-Star in 2008, was acquired in a trade for Josh Hamilton in Dec., 2007. He was suspended for 50 games last season after testing positive for a substance on the banned list, though he has claimed it was a fertility drug he used by prescription from a doctor in the Dominican Republic in order to start a family with his wife.
Volquez was coming off Tommy John surgery. Volquez was 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA last season, a year after going 4-2 with a 4.35 ERA. He was 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 2007.
The Reds have made avoiding arbitration a priority this offseason -- while Votto's deal was only for his three arbitration years, they got three arbitration years and one free-agent year from Cueto and the arbitration years and three free agent years for the "Super Two." The team also avoided arbitration with left-handed reliever Bill Bray. Cincinnati hasn't gone to arbitration with a player since 2004.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: January 16, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2011 4:58 pm
The Reds have agreed to a three-year deal with National League MVP Joey Votto worth $38 million, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports .
The Reds avoid arbitration with Votto, buying out all three years of his deal, but Votto doesn't give up any free agent years with the extension. The deal is pending a physical, which is expected to take place on Monday.
Votto, 27, led the National League in on-base percentage (.424) and slugging (.600), and was the overwhelming winner of the National League MVP, getting 31 of 32 first-place votes.
The Reds drafted Votto in the second round of the 2002 draft out of Canada and he made his debut in late 2007 before earning the starting first baseman's job in 2008, when he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, behind Cubs catcher Geovony Soto.
Votto was arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and had been reluctant to discuss a long-term deal.
In December, Votto told reporters he couldn't fathom signing a 10-year deal like Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki.
"I don't know as far as beyond three years, I think it's a real unfair question to ask," Votto said (via Sheldon ). "This is not me saying I don't want to be here. But last year was a difficult year for me. This year was a better year for me. It's really hard for me to think three years ahead, five years ahead, seven years ahead or 10 years ahead. When Tulowitzki signed that 10-year contract, I was blown away. I can't imagine seeing myself 10 years from now saying I want to be here. It's an overwhelming thing to ask a young person like myself and say, 'here's a lot of money, be happy with this over 10 years, deal with it.'"
Votto's new deal will buy out his arbitration-eligible years. As a first-year arbitration-eligible player, the three-year deal will not affect his free agent status, he'll still be a free agent following the 2013 season.
For the small-market Reds, they now have payroll certainty -- they know exactly what they'll be spending for one of the game's best young players of the next three years.
Arbitration numbers are due this week, and it's possible Votto could seek to equal or top Ryan Howard's record $10 million judgement. He will now average more than that over the next three seasons, but with another MVP-type season, Votto could ask for even more.
It's not without risk for Cincinnati -- the team is essentially banking on the fact Votto will improve from his breakout season in 2010, when he hit .324/.424/.600 with 37 home runs and 113 RBI. In 2009, Votto missed chunks of time dealing with depression and panic attacks following the sudden loss of his father. He also suffered with vertigo-like symptoms.
Cincinnati also locked up its other young talent, Jay Bruce, earlier this offseason. Bruce, who was arbitration-eligible as a "Super Two", signed a six-year deal worth $51 million to avoid arbitration.
The Reds, who haven't gone to arbitration with a player since 2004, have three arbitration-eligible players remaining, left-handed reliever Bill Bray and right-handed starters Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: January 16, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: January 16, 2011 10:35 am
The Reds are "working hard" at a three-year contract for National League MVP Joey Votto, Sports Illustrated 's Jon Heyman tweets .
Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty has repeatedly said this offseason that he hoped to avoid arbitration and work out a long-term deal with his first baseman.
Votto is arbitration-eligible for the first time and Heyman suggests a deal would be for three years, buying out his arbitration-eligible years, and still allow Votto to be eligible for free agency following the 2013 season. Heyman tweets the deal would "likely" be for "about $37 million." That would give Votto a large payday, as well as give the Reds cost certainty for the next three years.
Earlier this offseason, the team signed Jay Bruce -- arbitration-eligible as a "Super Two" -- to a six-year deal worth $51 million, also avoiding arbitration.
Votto is one of four arbitration-eligible Reds remaining, along with left-handed reliever Bill Bray and right-handed starters Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez. Cincinnati hasn't gone to arbitration with a player since 2004, when the team beat Chris Reitsma.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:32 pm
The Reds "appear to be close" to signing outfielder Jeremy Hermida to a minor-league contract, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon writes .
The Reds are looking for a left-handed hitting reserve outfielder and have said to be looking at Scott Podsednik and Fred Lewis.
Hermida played for the Red Sox and A's last season and hit .216/.268/.351 with six home runs and 29 RBI. Hermida played his first five seasons with the Marlins, hitting .265/.344/.425 in the National League.
The Reds have right-handed hitters in left (Jonny Gomes), center (Drew Stubbs) and on the bench (Chris Heisey), with left-handed Jay Bruce in right. Heisey can play all three outfield spots.
The team could still bring in Lewis or Podsednik and let them all battle it out in spring training. Lewis makes more sense for the Reds because he's younger and cheaper than Podsednik.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:22 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:15 pm
The Reds announced a six-year contract extension with Jay Bruce on Tuesday. Bruce, who won't turn 24 until April, is the proud owner of a $51 million contract.
The five questions (or more) is something our football brethren have been doing for a while (check it out here ), and we thought you might enjoy a baseball version. The Reds held a news conference on Tuesday for Bruce and CBSSports.com's Facts & Rumors blogger C. Trent Rosecrans caught up with Bruce afterward.
1. CBSSports.com: So, at the end of this contract (even if you include the team option for 2017), you'll still be younger than Jayson Werth was this year…
Bruce: (Laughs) Yeah, you know I paid a little bit of attention to that. We're just starting this one. It's something that takes care of itself. Winning takes care of it too. If you win, everyone's going to be happy and excited to play. I'm just really excited about this.
2. CBS: Speaking of winning, how many times have you watched that home run to clinch the division?
Bruce: I've seen it a lot. Whether I've watched it, seeked it out, that's different. It was a great moment.
CBS: You still get chills?
Bruce: Absolutely. It was a great moment for me and a great moment for the Cincinnati Reds fans. Those people, it's been thin around here for a few years, but we're bringing back a good tradition. There's such tradition here in Cincinnati, I'm just happy to be part of the revival.
CBS: There's a YouTube clip from someone right behind home plate, have you seen it?
Bruce: I've seen that. That's pretty surreal. It's cool they got it and they were sitting there to see it.
CBS: I think they even called it.
Bruce: I've talked to a bunch of people who say they've called it.
CBS: Did you?
Bruce: No, I was just trying to hit the ball hard.
3. CBS: When you talk about contracts like this, there are people who say you left money on the table, how do your react to that?
Bruce: You know what? It's not a true statement because you don't know what you're going to put on the table or take off the table. I plan on leaving money on the table, I plan on outperforming this contract, because that would probably mean I'm playing well and we're winning here in Cincinnati. I'll tell you what, yeah, OK, say I left money on the table, you're talking a ridiculous… it's an absurd amount. It's not bad what I took from the table. I plan on outperforming it, that's the best case for me, leaving money on the table. I'll make it up in the long run and it's not a big deal. The money took care of itself, the money's going to be there. It's just a blast.
CBS: It's kinda stupid seeing those kind of numbers…
Bruce: It is; it doesn't feel real. I'm going to take it a day at a time and enjoy it. There's a lot of doors that will open from that.
CBS: Have you splurged on anything yet?
Bruce: No. I have everything I need.
CBS: What do you drive?
Bruce: I have a truck and a [BMW] 7 series. I keep my truck at home and I take my 7 series through the season.
CBS: That's nice
Bruce: Absolutely. People think I'm getting this big $51 million check, like Happy Gilmore. It's not how it is. There's some planning that goes into that. You still have to be a normal person, you can't get too ahead of yourself. If I tend to this money correctly, as I know I will, there won't be any worries for me and my family for the rest of my life.
4. CBS: This game has a way of humbling you, so I guess that's not too tough. You can look at the Phillies, who swept you guys last year, and you add Cliff Lee. What does that make you think when you saw that?
Bruce: That's four legitimate aces they have over there. But to be the best, you have to beat the best. We're going to go out there and play those guys like we've always played them. We can beat them, we didn't last year, and we have to prove that to people. I'm obviously a huge believer that we can. I'm not worried about it.
5. CBS: One last thing, I know you and Joey [Votto] always competed with numbers throughout the minors, do you still do that?
Bruce: Absolutely. Joey, he's been tremendous, obviously. I think there's always been a sense of competitiveness between us -- that's just us and people on this team. But yes, I aspire to be the hitter Joey is -- who doesn't? He's the MVP of the league. Joey's done such a great job with all aspects of this game and his life, to go through what he's gone through and be where he is, is truly amazing. I consider Joey one of my better friends. It's really excited to have gotten to watch him.
Bonus question: Another reporter asked Bruce about MVP Joey Votto's desire to stay long-term, and Votto's comments earlier this month about not thinking about a long-term contract with the Reds or anybody. Here's what Bruce had to say: "I think people are construing it a little differently than it really is. Joey doesn't want to leave here. He told me last night, I don't what to go anywhere, I love Cincinnati and I want to be here. What people have to understand is Joey and I are in a different situation. He's almost four years older than me. Joey wants to be here. He doesn't want to go anywhere. For people to think he does is not the right thought."
-- C. Trent Rosecrans