GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Now that Johnny Cueto's pending disabled list stint to start the season has helped settle the question of who will make up the Reds' rotation, the last pitching staff questions of spring solely involve the bullpen.The competition, in all likelihood, will go down to the wire. "You knew that was going to be the case," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday. "You knew there would be big competition for those final couple of spots."
2010 Spring Training - Cincinnati Reds
News & Features
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Sights & Sounds
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Still not locked into spots, officially at least, are right-handers Jose Arredondo, Jared Burton, Sam LeCure and Logan Ondrusek and left-handers Bill Bray, Matt Maloney and Dontrelle Willis.Bray's track record vs. the left-handers and the fact he's out of Minor League options should cement his status as the team's second late-inning lefty along with Aroldis Chapman. Arredondo has had an inconsistent spring, often dealing with command issues during his first innings in over a year. He missed last season because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and has an 11.12 ERA over five games. Baker said there was a chance that Arredondo, who is also out of options, could begin the season on the disabled list. That would buy the club some time. "He's shown flashes of having great stuff like he had before," Baker said. "It's just inconsistent location. Strength could still be a question." With several good outings and the ability to work two or three innings, non-roster invitee Dontrelle Willis has moved into having a strong chance of making the team. Willis also can hit well, which enhances his chances to hit for himself and be used as a pinch-hitter on days he's not available to pitch. Not helping matters in the decision process is all of the remaining candidates have been hit hard at least once in the past week. For example, LeCure had seven scoreless innings all spring until he gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings Friday vs. the Cubs. "That makes it tough," Baker said. "You go by how they're throwing now, but you also have to consider a guy's history too, and what he's done for you. Everybody in the mix has had a rough outing lately."
Leake optimistic despite spring numbers
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The latest spring start for the Reds was not a good one for Mike Leake. In a 10-8 loss to the A's, he was hammered for seven earned runs, six hits and four walks over only 2 1/3 innings.Leake worked behind a lot in the count, and when he was forced to throw strikes, several of his hits were scorched, including home runs by Daric Barton and Coco Crisp. "They were near strikes," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "They were a ball or two off. He wasn't way off, but off just enough. Enough that the umpire couldn't give him any strikes." "I felt a little too good today," said Leake, who struck out one. "I was just missing a little bit and not putting it exactly where I wanted it. I don't like to walk people. I was trying to go out there and throw them all strikes. In reality, I was trying too hard. It was kind of biting me in the butt a little bit." Leake has a 9.39 ERA in five games this spring, and has been hit hard in three of them. The 23-year-old is not reading too much into his results. "In college preseason scrimmages, I always did bad," Leake said. "I'm pretty optimistic about this year. Last year, I did really good in Spring Training and the results didn't end up where I wanted them [in the season.]" Leake came in battling for a rotation spot, but is now assured of breaking camp with the big league club after Johnny Cueto went down with a shoulder injury. That does not have Leake relaxing, mentally. "There's still going to be a decision when he comes back, whether it happens in three weeks, a month or however long it takes," Leake said. "Once the season starts, I just have to compete and do what I know how to do."
Hernandez slowed by sore right elbow
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Catcher Ramon Hernandez has been bothered lately by a sore right elbow, and will be examined on Thursday when Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek is back in town.Whether Hernandez will have to miss time is unknown. "I don't know. He's treating it," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday. "It just came up. It just happened. It's nothing structural in there. He's just having a little trouble getting extended sometimes." Hernandez last played on Sunday and has made some strong throws to second base in games. He's slated to play in a Minor League game on Wednesday as the designated hitter. "When it gets warm, it gets loose with less pain," Hernandez said. "But when it's cooled off, it gets a little sore. Hopefully it's feeling better and will be good by the time camp ends." If Hernandez did have to miss time, it would create an opening for Corky Miller or top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco. Both are non-roster invites to camp. Miller has significant amount of big league experience while Mesoraco played only 14 games at Triple-A Louisville at the end of last season.
Dave Sappelt, who had a long-shot chance coming in, is getting a serious look from Baker. Sappelt was used as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and rolled a single through the left side to raise his average to .545 (18-for-33). "I want to see how he can [handle] pinch-hitting, which is tough on most young guys," Baker said before the game. "With his stroke, I think he can do it." ... Against the A's, most of the Reds regulars played nine innings for the first time this spring. Brandon Phillips was lifted after the fifth inning.