Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Bronson Arroyo
Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Fifth rotation spot a battle in Cincinnati

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It is not a stretch to say that rookie Mike Leake was a key spark that helped light Cincinnati's baseball Renaissance during the first half of 2010.

So how could it be, then, that the young right-hander is scratching and clawing for a rotation job here this spring ... and has a better than 50/50 chance of opening the season at Triple-A Louisville?

Well, circumstances broke just right for Leake last year at this time and he completely skipped the minor leagues, jumping from Arizona State to the bigs. He was the first starting pitcher in the majors to accomplish that since Jim Abbott with the Angels in 1989.

But a couple of things are at issue this year: One, the length of last season eventually wore him down and the Reds wound up pulling him from the rotation late in the season. And two, behind Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto, the Reds have a growing number of other good young arms.

Essentially, it's a three-person battle for the last two slots in the rotation among Leake, Homer Bailey and Travis Wood. One disadvantage facing Leake is that Bailey is out of options (meaning, the Reds now have to place him on waiver and risk losing him before they can send him back to the minors). Consequently, Bailey probably has a job won unless he turns in an absolute clunker of a spring.

At roughly 5-10 and 175 pounds, Leake, who went 8-4 with a 4.23 ERA in 24 games (22 starts) last year for the Reds, remains a wisp of a guy.

"You hope he's getting stronger," manager Dusty Baker says. "He was a little kid [last year].

"I was always told there are kid muscles and there are man muscles, and he don't have his man muscles yet."

The Reds still value Leake, 23, and appreciate that he helped launch them early in 2010 toward their greatest heights since 1995. But like other very young pitchers, he still hase some developing to do.

"He was our best starter over the first eight or 10 weeks and he was on the worst schedule," Cincinnati pitching coach Bryan Price says. "Because we were trying to limit his innings, he wasn't on an every-five-days schedule."

Whenever the Reds had an extra off day, they pushed Leake back, and he often started with five or six days' rest, rather than just four. As Price says, those are not optimal conditions for a starting pitcher.

"I think we have a chance to start [the season] with Mike because he's a winner," Price says. "We have a good problem [with many talented, young arms], but it's going to be a bad problem for one of the guys."

There is a chance the odd man out among Bailey, Wood and Leake could pitch out of the bullpen, but those circumstances would have to be extenuating. The Reds' first choice would be to send whomever does not make the big league rotation to Triple-A Louisville so the kid can continue to develop.

Sunblock Day? SPF 50, baby. Warmest day yet in Arizona, in the 80s, with the 90s right around the corner.

Likes: Eric Davis in uniform as an instructor in Reds camp. ... Joe Morgan visiting. ... The fried chicken and biscuits at Culinary Dropouts in Scottsdale. ... The Fennville, Mich., boys high school team winning an emotional district tournament opener after the unspeakable death of one of its players last week following a game-winning shot to cap a 20-0 season. Former colleague Jeff Seidel captured the heartbreak and the optimism nicely in this story.

Dislikes: None today. How can there be any after reading the gripping story above? Just prayers and thoughts.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
"Keep me in your heart for awhile
"If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
"Keep me in your heart for awhile
"When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
"Keep me in your heart for awhile
"There's a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
"Keep me in your heart for awhile"

-- Warren Zevon, Keep Me in Your Heart

Posted on: February 9, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Woodjock on hold while Peavy focuses on pitching

While White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy concentrates on regaining his health this spring, Woodjock will be placed on ice.

Dreamed up by Peavy last spring, Woodjock 2010 was a fundraiser that allowed major league players to play out their rock and roll fantasies. Peavy, Bronson Arroyo, Bernie Williams, Barry Zito, Aubrey Huff, Gordon Beckham, Tim Flannery and others all participated in the Scottsdale, Ariz., concert last March that raised money for Team Focus, Strikeouts for Troops, Autism Speaks and White Sox Charities through the Jake Peavy Foundation.

There was supposed to be a Woodjock 2011, too.

"As cool as it was, as much as I love it, I didn't want any distractions," Peavy told me this week. "I didn't want any distractions for the team or for my teammates.

"I want them to know I'm sold out to the cause. I'll bypass Woodjock this year and it will return bigger and better next year."

About 1,200 people attended last spring's fundraiser. The way Peavy figured it, all sorts of athletes put on charity golf tournaments. But you don't often see a ballplayer hosting a charity concert.

But, alas, with Peavy returning from major arm surgery, he intends to direct all of his energy to the field this spring and low-key everything else.

"We'll have some troops out, still, and we'll have a nice dinner," says Peavy, whose charity work with the military started when he played in San Diego.

As for Woodjock, Peavy says, "Stay tuned for 2012. We're going to bring the house down."

Likes: Pitchers and catchers reporting means spring is right around the corner, doesn't it? Check back here beginning next week to join me for the annual Camp Tours. We'll move from clubhouses to batting cages to restaurants and roadside Dairy Queens with the greatest of ease. ... What a fun story San Diego State basketball has been this winter. Can't wait for the SDSU-Brigham Young game on Feb. 26 on CBS.

Dislikes: Contract stories. I know it's an essential part of today's game. But when the Cardinals and Albert Pujols are bickering over what will wind up being a contract in the neighborhood of $300 million ... and when the overwhelming odds are that he will stay in St. Louis ... well, let's just cut to the end story, sign the contract and move on.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Don't want to be an American idiot
"One nation controlled by the media
"Information age of hysteria
"It's calling out to idiot America"

-- Green Day, American Idiot

Posted on: March 11, 2010 12:23 am
 

Trading Cy Youngs for guitars -- for a night

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The place to be in the Cactus League on Thursday might not be a baseball field so much as a club in Scottsdale, where a handful of big leaguers including two Cy Young winner -- White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy (2007) and Giants pitcher Barry Zito (2002) -- and Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo and former Yankee Bernie Williams will headline Woodjock 2010: A Big League Jam Fest for charity.

The event, hosted by Peavy, will benefit the Jake Peavy Foundation, which raises money for Team Focus USA, Strikeouts for Troops, White Sox Charities and Autism Speaks.

Also scheduled to participate are White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink, Giants infielder Aubrey Huff, Giants pitcher Brandon Medders, Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery, White Sox shortstop Omar Vizquel, White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham and former infielder Ben Broussard.

The players/musicians will play various musical genres -- rock 'n' roll, country, jazz, blues, bluegrass, classical and Latin.

The concert will take place at The Venue in Oldtown Scottsdale at 7 p.m. Thursday night. If you're in the area, tickets are available here.

Sunblock Day? Not in my definition of the term. Another cold one in Arizona today, with the temp barely creeping into the 60s and a stiff wind blowing -- howling? -- all day.

Likes: Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon says he is very impressed with the Rays' attitude and work ethic in camp, and he thinks everyone believes the off-season was too long. Translation: He thinks the hunger has returned following the 2008 World Series run and then swinging and missing in 2009. ... Good to see Padres right-hander Chris Young, who has had back-to-back seasons marred by injuries, healthy and strong at this point in camp. ... The rental car lady in Florida was not in the mood for nonsense when I returned the car early the other morning. She was busy working her little hand-held computer upon my return, and when I told her I'd like a full refund because the Florida weather was so crappy for three weeks, she didn't even crack a smile. "You'll have to talk to them inside at the counter, sir," she said without even so much as a hint of a smile. Uh ... I was kidding? ... Notre Dame over Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament on Wednesday. ... Butler over Wright State in the Horizon League tourney title game. What a season for those Bulldogs. Going undefeated in league play is an incredible achievement. ... The jerk salmon at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Glendale the other night. ... Excellent win for the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central boys' basketball team on Wednesday in a 55-53 district tourney triumph over Whiteford.

Dislikes: Former big leaguer Riccardo Ingram, now a hitting coach in Minnesota's system, battling a brain tumor. He was stricken last summer while serving at hitting coach at Triple-A Rochester and, after treatment at Duke University and ongoing chemotherapy, he's doing great right now and is in uniform in Twins camp. The plan for him in 2010 is to serve as a roving hitting coach between Rochester and Double-A New Britain. Here's a prayer that Ingram, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, continues to feel well and beats this thing. And here's another prayer for his wife and two daughters as they all fight through this thing.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well, I came upon a child of God
"He was walking along the road
"And I asked him, Tell me, where are you going?
"This he told me
"Said, I'm going down to Yasgur's Farm
"Gonna join in a rock and roll band
"Got to get back to the land and set my soul free
"We are stardust, we are golden
"We are billion year old carbon
"And we got to get ourselves back to the garden"

-- Joni Mitchell, Woodstock

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