Tag:Mike Leake
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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Posted on: March 25, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Reds putting Bailey on DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Homer BaileyAll offseason we heard about the Reds' pitching depth and it won't take too long this season to put it to the test.

With Johnny Cueto already expected to miss his first start and Bronson Arroyo being tested for valley fever, the team said Friday it will be putting Homer Bailey on the disabled list to start the season with a right shoulder impingement.

The team hopes Bailey will miss just two starts.

"It's nothing to be alarmed about," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said (via the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay on Twitter). "If we didn't take care it now, it would bother him all year."

Sam LeCure will take his spot in the rotation, along with Edinson Volquez, Arroyo, Mike Leake and Travis Wood. LeCure, 26, was 2-5 with a 4.50 ERA last season with the Reds in 15 games, six starts. As a starter, he went 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA.

The National League Central has been hit hard with starting pitching injuries this spring, with the Brewers losing Zack Greinke for a couple of starts, the Cardinals losing Adam Wainwright for the season and the Reds' slew of injuries. The Astros' Wandy Rodriguez missed a couple of weeks with shoulder tendinitis but returned on Tuesday and is expected to start the season on time.

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:14 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/22: Fox strikes again

Jake Fox

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Orioles bats -- Jake Fox, pictured, hit his eighth homer of the spring for Baltimore, but he wasn't alone in peppering Yankees pitching on Tuesday. Luke Scott hit a shot over the scoreboard in right-center. J.J. Hardy also homered. The Orioles are slugging .445 this spring, the best mark by an American League team in Florida. The Phillies at .447 are the only Grapefruit League team with a better slugging percentage.

2. Wandy Rodriguez, Astros -- Sidelined the last two weeks with left shoulder tendinitis, Houston's left-hander allowed three hits and an unearned run in four innings, throwing 40 strikes in 60 pitches. Rodriguez is scheduled to start again on Sunday and then face Cliff Lee in the Astros' second game of the regular season.

3. Travis Buck, Indians -- The Indians outfielder had two homers in Tuesday's game against the Diamondbacks, raising his spring total to four. He had four total homers in 177 at-bats between the minors and the A's last season.

3 DOWN

1. Adam Dunn, White Sox -- Chicago's new slugger struck out three times on Tuesday in an 0-for-4 performance, giving him 22 strikeouts this spring. He's hitting .208/.311/.358 this spring with one homer in a team-leading 53 at-bats.

2. Mike Leake, Reds -- The day after it looked like Leake had his ticket to Cincinnati punched thanks to Johnny Cueto's injury, the A's took BP on the Reds' right-hander. Leake gave up single runs in each of the first two innings on Tuesday and then allowed five in the third, while recording only one out. In all he gave up six hits, seven earned runs, walked four and saw his ERA rise to 9.39. Daric Barton and Coco Crisp both hit solo homers off of Leake.

3. Welington Castillo, Cubs -- A rough day for Castillo, who nearly beat out an infield single, but showed his catchers speed and was thrown out in his only plate appearance of the day. Sure, lots of folks went 0 for 1 on Tuesday, but not many saw their average drop from .706 to .667. Castillo has 12 hits in 18 at-bats, plus two walks, so his on-base percentage is still .700. For those of you not used to that statistic, it's officially "not too bad."

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:04 pm
 

Cueto likely to start season on DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto was shut down for the next week-to-10 days and will likely start the season on the disabled list, meaning Mike Leake's first minor-league start will have to wait.

Johnny CuetoThe Reds announced that Cueto has mild inflammation on his right shoulder and will stay at the team's training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., when the team leaves for Cincinnati next week.

"Everything structurally is fine," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told reporters, including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "The recommendation from Dr. [Timothy] Kremchek is to shut him down for a week or so and give it a chance to get him back on a throwing program."

The team expects him to need at least two weeks.

Another Reds starter, Bronson Arroyo, is dealing with the flu, so he's been bumped back a start, as well. That leaves the rotation as Edinson Volquez, Homer Bailey, Arroyo, Travis Wood and Leake.

There had been a battle between Wood and Leake for the final spot -- just as there was last spring. Last spring Leake, the 2009 first-rounder, won the spot out of spring, bypassing the minor leagues altogether. Leake had a fantastic first half of the season (6-1, 3.53 ERA), but then struggled and fought shoulder fatigue and was finally put not he disabled list. He finished the season 8-4 with a 4.23 ERA.

With Leake struggling, the Reds called up the left-handed Wood, who took a perfect game into the ninth at Philadelphia in his third career start. Wood finished the season 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 starts.

Wood was winning the spring battle, going 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in four starts. Leake is 1-0 with a 6.23 in four games and three starts. However, in his last appearance, he went four scoreless innings against the Indians.

Cincinnati's pitching depth has been praised all spring, and like most others in the National League Central, it's being put to the test early.

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 8:17 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 8:45 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/7: Encouraging outings

By Matt Snyder

As we all know -- yet can't emphasize enough -- spring training performances at this point aren't indicative of what we're likely to see during the regular season. That being said, you can pick and choose based upon circumstances which players did something relatively significant, and three starting pitchers in particular took the hill Monday and likely made their respective teams feel pretty happy.

3 UP

1. Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies. The Rockies' ace had his start pushed back a few days due to an infection in his thumb, but he took the hill Monday and showed he was just fine. He worked three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. It's safe to say there's no reason to worry about him at all the rest of the spring -- assuming he doesn't suffer a different injury.

2. John Lackey, Red Sox. He was a major bust last season, putting up his worst ERA since 2004 and the worst WHIP of his career. Last week, Lackey said he was "tired" of talking about last season. The best way to quiet the critics is to come out and have a good 2011. He's building himself a nice foundation in the spring. He threw four shutout innings Monday, allowing just one hit and no walks.

3. A.J. Burnett, Yankees. After an incredibly disappointing 2010 season, Burnett seems on track to put the negative behind him. He threw three perfect innings Monday, keeping his spring ERA at 0.00. A big season from Burnett would be paramount to the Yankees' success this season.

3 DOWN

1. Mike Leake and Homer Bailey, Reds. The defending NL Central champs have a pretty strong group of guys vying for the last two rotation spots, and neither of the two listed here did much for himself Monday. Bailey started and went 2 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and four earned runs. On the plus side, he did strikeout three while walking none. Leake went three innings, but coughed up nine hits and four earned runs. Travis Wood is the third starter in the mix, and he looked good last time out.

2. Blake DeWitt, Cubs. The second baseman was hitless in three at-bats. Normally that wouldn't be too awful, but his team pounded out 18 hits and 14 runs. He's now just 3 for 18 this spring. To rub salt in the wound, his replacement -- Scott Moore -- hit a grand slam in his first at-bat after taking over for DeWitt.

3. Luis Castillo, Mets. The veteran is in a four-way battle for the job of starting second baseman. After going hitless in three at-bats, he's now 2 for 13 this spring (.154). This coming after new manager Terry Collins has made it known he wants some offense from second. Needless to say, things aren't looking great right now for Castillo.

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Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:47 pm
 

Reds name Edinson Volquez opening day starter

In what appeared to be at least a three-man race to get the baseball on March 31 for the Cincinnati Reds, former All Star Edinson Volquez will get the nod over Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto et al.

Dusty Baker made the announcement Tuesday , a day after telling Volquez of the decision.

The 27-year-old right-hander is certainly talented enough to be the ace of the defending NL Central champions. In his only full season as a starter -- 2008 -- Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. He struck out 206 hitters in 196 innings. He was so good, he even drew votes for NL Rookie of the Year , despite not being eligible to receive the award (details, details ... ).

In the past two years, Volquez has started 21 games, going 8-5 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. His start in last season's NLDS was a bit disastrous, but he was still regaining strength in his return from Tommy John surgery, which he had in August of 2009.

Volquez says he's already 100 percent and will certainly ready to go on opening day.

Baker seems to have arrived at the decision by simply eliminating the other starters in a relatively stacked rotation.
"We're very confident in Volquez. Plus, you name who you think can handle it the best," Baker said. "Is Homer ready for the No. 1? Is Wood ready for No. 1? Is Leake ready for No. 1? Cueto just signed a four-year contract, and what's he, 23 years old? He's already got enough pressure on him. I'm trying to relieve any pressure from him thinking he has to prove he's worth the money.

"There's nobody looser and I think can handle the situation better than Volquez. Not much bothers him. At least he doesn't show it bothers him."
As for Bronson Arroyo, who went 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and logged over 200 innings for the sixth straight season last year?
"I think Bronson has always leaned towards not being it," Baker said. "He's more of a long-run type of guy. What's Bronson's ERA, [3.88]? If you're facing No. 1s, that equals a lot of losses. He's fine with it. I talked to him about it. He was thinking about it this winter, he feels it's the best spot in the rotation for him, too."
 -- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: November 6, 2010 3:19 pm
 

Seriously, there's live baseball on tonight

Dustin Ackley
Don't tell the guys over at the college football blog I told you this, but you really don't have to watch college football today. There's actual live baseball on TV. Good baseball, even.

The Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game is on MLB Network at 9 p.m. Eastern. The Arizona Fall League is where organizations send their best prospects, and Rising Stars is essentially the AFL all-star game, so there are some serious players on the rosters. In 2010, 28 of the 50 players on last year's Rising Stars rosters played in the majors, including Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey (sorry, World Champion Buster Posey), Mike Leake and Starlin Castro.

There are 19 former first-round picks on the rosters this year, including 2009 overall No. 2 Dustin Ackley (pictured) of the Mariners and former Top 5 picks Eric Hosmer (Royals), Josh Vitters (Cubs) and Tony Sanchez (Pirates).

The scheduled starting pitchers are the Royals' Mike Montgomery and the Yankees' Manny Banuelos. If you want to check out whether any of your team's prospects are playing, complete rosters can be found here.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 17, 2010 1:30 am
Edited on: September 17, 2010 11:27 am
 

Reds rookies get dressed up

As I've mentioned before, I'm a sucker for the rookie road trip .

Thursday, it was the Reds' rookies that got to dress up for their trip to Houston, and Reds blogger/assistant media relations director Jamie Ramsey has the photos .

What's more, two local Cincinnati TV stations have video of the rookies getting ready. Here's Fox 19 and WLWT .

That's Jordan Smith in the police woman costume, Yonder Alonso as the baby, Chris Valaika as Mrs. Claus, Travis Wood as the female Robin, Mike Leake in baby blue, Logan Ondrusek with the bright pink wig, Chris Heisey in a corset and Sam LeCure as a purple showgirl.

On Twitter , LeCure said, "I enjoy that stuff, it's an honor."

And it really is -- it's a time when the veterans can see what a rookie is made of -- if he makes the best of it, he's a good guy. If he sulks and tries to get out of it, his teammates won't forget it.

UPDATE: Add FSOhio to the list with video of the rookie fun.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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