Tag:Aaron Harang
Posted on: August 27, 2010 6:38 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 6:39 pm

Reds keeping rotation options open

The Reds are keeping their postseason rotation options open, placing rookie Mike Leake on the 15-day disabled list with "rigt shoulder fatigue" while keeping the door open on veteran Aaron Harang returning to the rotation.

Harang is penciled in as the starter for next Tuesday's game against Milwaukee, manager Dusty Baker said (though Homer Bailey is currently on the team's probables for Tuesday). Harang has been on the disabled list since July six with lower back problems. He made two starts in Triple-A with less-than successful results.

Still, Harang said he feels fine and dismissed his ugly stats -- two starts, 11 innings, 14 hits, 11 earned runs. He did strike out 10, while walking only two (and hitting a batter).

"You go down there and anything around the strike zone they're swinging," Harang said. "I went down there and worked on working my endurance up. It's the same thing that's been in the past, you go down there and talk to any big league pitcher, it's one of those things they'll all say the same thing."

Baker noted he never pays attention t those results either, especially with veteran pitchers against inexperienced batters -- "you can't set up someone who doesn't know they're being set up."

Aaron Harang There had been speculation that Harang would spend September as a long man out of the bullpen -- hardly something you want out of a guy making $12.5 million this season. Harang is 6-7 with a 5.02 ERA in 17 starts this season. Harang said he's going about his business today as if it's the day after a start, so he'll be on his routine for a start against the Brewers.

Whatever role Harang does find himself in, it'll likely be his final stint in a Reds uniform. There's little doubt the team will buyout the $12.75 million option for 2011.

Leake, on the other hand, hopes to have a long future ahead in Cincinnati. The team considered shutting the rookie down for the season, but the Reds went ahead and put him not he DL Friday in hopes of having him return when he is eligible on Sept. 9, perhaps in the rotation, but more likely as a long reliever and possible pinch-hitter.

"We think it's better to do this now," Baker said. "He'd still be eligible for the playoffs."

Leake made 22 starts this season, going 7-4 with a 2.22 ERA in his first 11 and 5-6 with a 5.60 ERA in his second 11. He was also ineffective out of the bullpen in two appearances, allowing eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Baker said the team will concentrate on Leake's fitness level and building his strength back up from the grind of a full season. Leake threw 138 1/3 innings, about the same workload he had last year at Arizona State (142 innings), but on a shorter schedule of the five-man rotation instead of once a week.

"We did the same thing with Homer (Bailey) and look at how he's come back," Baker said.

The team does have Sam LeCure on the current roster (although it's to be seen if he'll be here on Aug. 31) and Matt Maloney in the minor leagues, both of whom have pitched well as starters for the Reds this season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 25, 2010 2:45 am
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Posted on: August 25, 2010 2:41 am
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Posted on: August 25, 2010 2:38 am

Reds may shut down Leake

Mike Leake was one of the good stories of the early season for the Cincinnati Reds, but after being moved to the bullpen in hopes of limiting his innings, the team is now considering shutting him down for the season.

"We're addressing it now," Reds manager Dusty Baker told the Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Fay following Tuesday's 16-5 loss to the Giants. "It seemed like he was getting hurt on his slider. He's rolling it up there. It's not sharp."

Mike Leake Leake made his second relief appearance of the season in the game, allowing six hits and six runs while retiring just a single Giants batter. Leake gave up two home runs, a two-run shot to Juan Uribe and a three-run homer to fellow rookie Buster Posey.

Leake's ERA jumped from 3.85 to 4.23 with the appearance.

Leake was taken out of the rotation following his Aug. 14 start against the Marlins, when he picked up his eighth win of the season. Because he'd thrown 135 2/3 innings at that point, the Reds moved him to the bullpen to protect the 22-year old's arm.

He made his first relief appearance Saturday in Los Angeles, allowing two runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings.

For the season, he's now thrown 138 1/3 innings.

The Reds' first-round pick in 2009, Leake skipped the minor leagues, making the rotation out of spring training. Leake won his first five decisions, netting a 2.22 ERA in his first 11 starts.

In his next 11 starts, he went 3-4 with a 5.60 ERA.

Leake threw 142 innings at Arizona State, plus 19 2/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League.

When rosters expand in September, the Reds could shut Leake down as a pitcher, but still use him as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. As impressive as his stats as a pitcher are for his rookie season (91 strikeouts 51 walks), Leake was even better at the plate. In 58 plate appearances, Leake hit .348/.423/.370 with three RBI and six sacrifices.

Fellow rookie Travis Wood was battered about by the Giants, allowing seven runs on seven hits in four innings. The team has Aaron Harang close to returning from a rehab assignment, although the team had been considering using him out of the bullpen. Left-hander Matt Maloney is currently in Triple-A, but is 0-2 with a 3.09 ERA in two starts for Cincinnati this season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: August 24, 2010 11:18 am
Edited on: August 24, 2010 12:51 pm

Harang may head to bullpen

Aaron Harang Aaron Harang is on the verge of rejoining the Reds, but for the first time in his career, will likely be a reliever according to MLB.com.

Harang has been on the sidelines since June 30 due to lower back spasms and has been making rehab starts in Triple-A. On Friday, Harang coughed up six runs over six innings despite a 5/0 K/BB. In 11 innings, Harang has given up 14 hits and 11 runs, not exactly something the division-leading Reds can justify slotting into their rotation.

"We'll probably use him as a long man," general manager Walt Jocketty said Monday, adding that the team must decide whether he needs more rehab starts first.

Harang has struggled this year, posting a 5.02 ERA in 17 starts. Over the last few years, Harang has become a back-of-the-rotation starter despite his durability, and you can trace his devolution as a top starting pitcher to May 28, 2008.

Up until that date, Harang had been a durable, top-of-the-line starter for the Reds, clearing the 200-inning barrier from 2005-07 without much difficulty. After tossing six complete games in 2006, Harang was inked to a five-year, $36.5 million deal. A 3.73 ERA in 2007 made that deal look pretty good, but the best was yet to come for the 29-year-old.

On May 25, 2008, Harang got rocked by the Padres in 5 1/3 innings. Despite walking just two and striking out seven, nothing went right that day over 103 pitches. Three days later, the Reds were involved in a tight battle with the Pads, deadlocked at 9-9 going into the 13th inning. Harang was tabbed in relief and went four scoreless, tossing 63. He was lights out, striking out nine and walking just one, giving up just two hits. While the team would eventually go on to lose 12-9 in 18 innings, Harang's ERA rested at 3.32.

There was some concern immediately following the game if Harang was too gassed, but he made his next start on four days rest, lasting just four innings and giving up six runs. He finished the season with a 5.88 ERA in 18 starts, totaling 184 1/3 innings and spending time on the DL for right forearm soreness (ya think?). And he's never been the same since -- he posted a 4.28 ERA in 162 1/3 innings in 2009 sandwiched around a bout of appendicitis and his strikeout rate has declined. (Thanks, Dusty Baker!)

From 2005-07, Harang was good for a WAR around five. Since then, he hasn't cracked 2.5, which was 2009.

A move to the bullpen might be best for the struggling right-hander, but the rotation may still be in Harang's future. Edison Volquez, who recently returned from Tommy John surgery, lasted just two-thirds of an inning and has struggled in half of his eight starts. If Volquez continues to struggle over the next several starts, it might be Harang taking over. Other than Volquez, it's not likely Harang could crack the rotation what with Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Travis Wood and Homer Bailey taking up the other four spots.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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.
Posted on: July 15, 2010 6:33 pm

Volquez to start Saturday

Edinson Volquez Less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Edinson Volquez will start for the Reds on Saturday.

Volquez, who was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs in April, made four starts for Triple-A Louisville, going 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA. In 23 innings with the Bats, he gave up 11 hits, eight walks and stuck out 21.

Bronson Arroyo is scheduled to start on Friday, but the team hasn't announced the rest of its rotation beyond Arroyo and Volquez. Rookie Mike Leake has already thrown 109 2/3 innings, after throwing 142 innings at Arizona State last season.

With Volquez in, the Reds have to figure out the rest of their rotation, and what to do with Leake.

If Volquez pitches like he has in the minor leagues -- hitting 97 on the radar gun -- and passes drug tests, he helps solidify the rotation, along with Arroyo (9-4, 4.04 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (8-2, 3.42). That leaves the fifth spot that's up in the air between veteran Aaron Harang (6-7, 5.02) and rookie Travis Wood, who has been impressive in his three starts so far, posting a 2.18 ERA and even taking a perfect game into the ninth inning of his last start, Saturday at Philadelphia.

The team is also expected to get the talented, if underperforming, Homer Bailey (1-2, 5.51) back and have also seen two nice starts from left-hander Matt Maloney.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: July 11, 2010 1:41 pm

Arroyo won't talk extension

Bronson Arroyo Maybe Bronson Arroyo is a fan of The Who, because he says he won't get fooled again.

Stung by signing a contract with Boston in 2006 only to get traded to the Reds before the season started, the Cincinnati right-hander told the Cincinnati Enquirer he plans to follow through with the option year of his contract in 2011. He won't negotiate an extension that would give him more years but reduce his $11 million salary for next season.

"I’m not going to stay for a discount,” he said. "I’ve done that once. Loyalty in this game is the utmost. I got to look out for me. For what I’ve done the last six years in this game, to sign back for less than what my option is would be insane."

That stance puts the Reds in a tough spot, because it means they have to decide right now whether Arroyo is worth $11 million next year at age 34. The buyout on the option is $2 million.

If they're not willing to commit that money, they need to trade him before the deadline, but they're a first-place team and he's been a valuable starter (9-4, 4.04).

On the other hand, Arroyo could bring a big return on the trade market and, if there's any area the Reds have abundance, it's starting pitching. They have Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Travis Wood, with Edinson Volquez, Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey due to return from the disabled list.

-- David Andriesen

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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