Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reds finalize Opening Day roster

The Reds needed to trim the roster size down to 25 players by Monday. On Sunday, they did so by effectively putting the final touches on the Opening Day roster.

Honestly, there really wasn't much wiggle room in the makeup of the team. Of the 25 spots, 22 were pretty much already locked down. However, the final bench spot and the last two bullpen spots were thought to be up for grabs between several players.

Those who survived the final round of cuts included INF Cesar Izturis, RHP J.J. Hoover, RHP Alfredo Simon and LHP Manny Parra.

Among the players cut included RHP Logan Ondrusek, RHP Jose Arredondo, INF Emmanuel Burriss, C Corky Miller, OF Denis Phipps, OF Derrick Robinson, and UTL Jason Donald. Ondrusek was optioned to Double-A Pensacoloa, Arredondo to Triple-A Louisville, and Donald was designated for assignment.

Injured RHP Nick Masset was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to 3/22.

Here is a look at the Reds' 2013 Opening Day roster...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Reds continue to make fan experience better with new additions to GABP for 2013

The Reds continue to strive toward making the fan experience at Great American Ball Park even better. They have added or expanded several new things to the stadium ahead of this season. And here is a look at some of those aforementioned enhancements, courtesy of a press release from the Reds...
• Renovated Team Shop - The renovation of the Reds Team Shop by Majestic on Crosley Terrace includes new entrances, additional check-outs, improved customer flow and more floor space to showcase an even larger selection of official and authentic Reds gear.
• Crosley Terrace Expansion - Fencing has been removed to increase the size of Crosley Terrace, while new gates welcome fans to the new Kroger Fan Zone. A patio has been added for bands and entertainment. Fans can leave the ballpark to visit the Team Shop and Reds Hall of Fame at a dedicated re-entry gate.
• Budweiser Bowtie Bar - Built over the visitor's bullpen in right field, the Budweiser Bowtie Bar will serve Anheuser-Busch draught and bottled beer on this popular gathering spot for fans holding any type of ticket while they watch the game. The bar features a 43-foot-wide Budweiser script sign. The three-tiered area also includes group seating for 54 to 90.

Hot Starts and Cool Predictions for 2013 Season

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Let’s start this week off with a trivia question. Please name the only team the Reds had an undefeated record against at Crosley Field. I’ll answer it at the end of this post.

It’s here! Spring training is ending and the teams are heading north to begin the 2013 campaign on Monday (Sunday if your Texas and Houston). It’s the only time this season the Chicago Cubs will have a chance to win the N.L. Central.

Cincinnati will enjoy 16 of 22 at Great American Ballpark to start the season. It seems to be an outstanding opportunity to get 2013 off to a fast start, except for one minor thing, the Reds rarely start quickly.

I examined the last 25 April’s and the figures aren’t very encouraging. From 1988 to 1992 the Reds had great success in April, winning 59 of 100 games. The past 20 seasons have not been so good, 222 wins, 238 losses, however things have been improving slightly over the past three seasons with the combined April record being 37 – 35. Remember, divisions are not won in April, but a great start will certainly take some of the pressure off in September.

Ten most memorable season openers in Reds history

There's nothing quite like Opening Day in Cincinnati. The pageantry, the tradition, the promise that only a new season can bring; it all adds up to one of the most anticipated days of the year for the Queen City. The city has been lucky enough to celebrate many of them since the team was established in 1869. And in honor of yet another one in 2013, I thought it'd be neat to take a look back at some of the more memorable ones in franchise history:

March 31st, 2011 – Reds 7, Brewers 6-Milwaukee becomes the first team in 42 years to open the season with back-to-back homers. However, it isn’t enough to ensure them a victory. Capped by Ramon Hernandez’s walk-off 3-run homer (his fourth hit of the day), the Reds rally to score four runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the GABP crowd home happy. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first Opening Day walk-off homer in history in which the team was trailing by at least two runs at the time of the homer.

Friday, March 29, 2013

RR Roundtable: Roster decisions, season predictions and more

This place will soon come alive with the sounds of summer.

After months of kicking around aimlessly through the cold months of winter, baseball fans can finally rejoice - the season is here! With that, our esteemed group of Redlegs Review writers convene for a joyous edition of the RR Roundtable. This week, Scott Eddy (@scotte97) returns as moderator and is joined by Jimmi Adair (@Redlegs_Review), Jesse Welte (@RedlegsWriter), Dan Howard (@DaHermit16) and Jon Davis (@I_Bleed_RedsRed). 

This week's topics include the final roster cuts and our opinions of who should stay and who should go, if the Brew Crew is any more of a threat with the services of one Kyle Lohse, surprises of spring and the key to the Redlegs stretching this season from April into late October. So, take this as your invitation to the discussion!

1) It’s finally nearly here. With spring training at an end and Opening Day just around the corner, there are a couple roster spots left up for grabs. There seems to be one infield spot and a couple bullpen spots lefts up for grabs. Jason Donald, Cesar Izturis and Emmanuel Burriss are fighting in the infield while J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra, Logan Ondrusek and Alfredo Simon are battling for the final ‘pen spots. Who would you pick for these final roster spots?

Taco Bell ensures a happy birthday for Redlegs Review creator

I'm a paint wizard.
No, that's not a headline from The Onion. Today marks the 24th birthday of Redlegs Review founder, creator, editor, moderator, etc, Jimmi Adair. As has become the social custom, I wished him a happy birthday from my Twitter account and he of course replied with a comment about indulging on several Doritos Locos Tacos from @TacoBell in order to celebrate. Carrying on with the thread, I quoted it and demanded that he be given free tacos for his birthday.

Join the Redlegs Review Streak for the Ca$h group

I am addicted to Streak for the Ca$h on I'm terrible at it though. I think I had a streak of 10 or 11 wins once. I try to make a tons of picks though, which is almost certainly my downfall in a game where about 27 wins will get you a lot of money. The problem is all 27 of those wins have to be in a row, so I should probably focus more on picks in which I am supremely confident. I pride myself on total wins and being about .500 to make myself feel better. Oh well. Come join the fun in the Redlegs Review SFC group or search 'Redlegs Review' in the group search on ESPN and see if you can beat my monthly streaks (you can and will) and/or total wins, as well as those of the other members. If we get a lot of people, maybe we'll have a contest or two throughout the year.

Reds boast healthy presence in ESPN's top 500 player rankings

Slowly but surely, day-by-day, the ESPN Baseball Tonight crew has been unveiling its rankings for the top 500 players in Major League Baseball for 2013. The series began on March 20 and concluded on Friday, with the unveiling of the top 10 players.

As you might imagine, several Reds made the cut. After all, there are only so many active MLB players they can choose from. And why not cherry pick guys from a team whose expected to defend its division title?

Without further ado, here is the list of Reds players who made the grade, accompanied by their 2013 ranking (their 2012 ranking is in parenthesis)...

Friday's mixed bag of Reds news and notes

Only three games stand between the Reds and Opening Day after being handed an 8-3 defeat by the Royals on Thursday.

They will travel to Phoenix Friday night to battle the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Cincinnati will then engage in a couple of split-squad games on Saturday -- one against the Indians and another with the D'backs. The Reds receive an off day on Sunday to rest up for the season opener at Great American Ball Park the following day.

Until then, a mixed bag of Reds news and notes...

+ Opening Day is Monday, folks. Are you REaDy? Here is a look at the projected lineup Dusty Baker will send out there against Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels. Johnny Cueto will take the mound for the good guys.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Photo: Taiwanese baseball fans mistake Manny Ramirez for Johnny Cueto

You may have heard that former MLB slugger Manny Ramirez recently signed a deal to play professionally in Taiwan. Well, if not, just know that he did. Here is the story if you don't believe me.
On Wednesday, Ramirez made his much-anticipated Taiwan Chinese Professional Baseball League debut with his new team, the EDA Rhinos. He went 2-for-6 at the dish, with two singles, but the biggest takeaway from this game is the image you see above.
These fans are apparently on board with the signing of Ramirez, except there is only one problem, the gentleman depicted on their sign is definitely not Manny Ramirez. It's Reds ace Johnny Cueto.

I suppose these ladies confused the two because of their similar hair styles, or maybe it's because both players hail from the Dominican Republic, but whatever the reason, it's the thought that counts, I guess.

Video: Sean Marshall gives tour of Goodyear Ballpark

Have you ever wondered what the inside of the Reds' spring training facility in Goodyear looks like?

Well, if you are anything like me, you have. And thanks to Cincinnati southpaw Sean Marshall, folks who can't make the trip to the desert can finally get a peek inside at what they been yearning to see.

Watch as Marshall gives his best tour guide impersonation by showing us around the place. I'll say this, those hot tubs look pretty welcoming. Especially if that's the place where all the good gossip is going down, according to Marshall at least.

Seriously, what kind of gossip are we talking about here? Are we talking "I saw Joey Votto pick his nose in the batting cage yesterday," or are we talking "the food at this place is atrocious?"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Video: Reds players star in hilarious outtakes clip

Baseball bloopers are often synonymous with outrageous events that happen on the field. But what about all those events that happen off the diamond?

Well, those hilarious mistakes are captured in the video above, which features outtakes of Reds players during a spring training shoot.

Watch as Aroldis Chapman, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and other Reds ham it up for the camera.

If this doesn't make you laugh as a Reds fan, I'm not sure what will.

Roster size down to 34 after two more cuts

We can now count the number of days left until Opening Day by using one hand. However, Cincinnati has yet to finalize their 25-man roster.

They took a step closer on Wednesday by trimming the roster size down to 34. Southpaw Wilkin De La Rosa and right-handed pitcher Clay Hensley were given pink slips this morning and were re-assigned to the minor league camp.

De La Rosa, 28, appeared in nine games this spring and tallied a 9.31 ERA in 9.2 innings of work. He spent the bulk of 2012 with Double-A Pensacola and is a good bet to start the season there in 2013.

Hensley, 33, hurled 12 innings this spring in eight games and posted a 4.50 ERA. He spent last year in the San Francisco Giants bullpen and is likely to begin this season at Triple-A Louisville.

With those two gone, that still leaves nine more cuts to be made by Monday. Skipper Dusty Baker said he hopes to have his roster set before the Reds break camp and head home on Saturday.

Via Cincinnati Enquirer

Reds Opening Day roster is far from set

"Pedro...I'm on the rooster!" -Rube Baker
We are less than a week from Opening Day in the Queen City and I couldn't be more excited about it. 2013 holds the potential for another NL Central title for the Reds, as well as a deeper playoff run, and perhaps the chance for the team's first World Series win since 1990. It all starts on April 1st though and the Reds still have some roster trimming to do before they can take the field. The Reds must get their roster down to 25 ballplayers in the coming days. There are a couple heated battles still taking place, namely for the last bench spot and for those precious bullpen spots. The Reds will have some tough calls to make.

Here is my best attempt at "rosterology" and since it's March Madness season, it will be somewhat in the stylings of a college basketball bubble watch. Any numbers following a player's name, refer to his spring statistics as of 3/26.

Locks: Ryan Hanigan, Devin Mesoraco

Photo: Reds fan places 'miracle pancake' on eBay, claims it's divine sign Reds will win World Series

The Reds Miracle Pancake. Reds WS Champs in '13. Put butter on it.

The Reds are heavily favored to win the National League Central Division in 2013. If they are successful, it would mark the third division crown in four seasons for Dusty Baker's team. 

But the franchise has set the bar even higher this time around. Many believe, myself included, that Cincinnati has all the pieces to contend for a World Series title. They boast one of the game's elite hitters in Joey Votto, a formidable starting rotation and defense, and the league's most dominating bullpen, especially now that Aroldis Chapman appears to be heading back to the closer role.

However, the greatest sign that 2013 may be Cincinnati's year to bring home the hardware stems from divine intervention while Reds fan Joel Knueven was whipping up breakfast last Sunday.

Our friends over at OMGReds have the scoop:

Wednesday's mixed bag of Reds news and notes

We are coming down the home stretch of spring training, folks. It's been a long, cold offseason, but the start of the regular season is a mere handful of days away.

The Reds will play host to the Padres at Goodyear Ballpark later this afternoon before welcoming the Royals to town on Thursday. They will wrap up their spring slate with a visit to Chase Field for a date with the Diamondbacks on Friday and a pair of split-squad games against the Indians and D'backs on Saturday. Sunday is an off day before Opening Day commences on Monday against the Angels.

Here is a mixed bag of news and notes to enjoy until then...

+ Mark Sheldon reports that Devin Mesoraco has won the backup catching duties. He beat out veteran Miguel Olivo, who appears to be heading to Triple-A Louisville.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reds to roll out even more food options at Great American Ball Park in 2013


Food offerings at stadium venues have come along way in recent years. It used to be rare to find anything besides traditional items such as hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and coke. Now, concession menus across the country have expanded to accodomate even the most fickle of eaters.

The Reds have certainly done their part to stay up with the trend by offering its fans a nice blend of local flavor (i.e. LaRosa's, Graeters), exclusive stadium favorites, and food for the healthy-minded, among others. But in an effort to appease fans even more, Great American Ball Park will be adding to its already impressive list of concession options by rolling out new food items in 2013.

Here are a few of the more notable ones, courtesy of Jamie Ramsey:

Reds unveil list of festivities for opening week in Cincinnati

The Reds have provided a list of announcements for opening week. Here are some of the scheduled festivities planned....

• Opening Day Block Party: The second annual Reds Community Fund Charity Block Party kicks off at 11 am on Joe Nuxhall Way and Freedom Way. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Budweiser, Coca-Cola, LaRosa’s, Queen City Sausage, UDF and Kahn’s. Admission is free. Music provided by WEBN. All proceeds benefit the Reds Community Fund’s P&G MLB Urban Youth Academy.
• 94th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade Grand Marshal: Reds Hall of Famer George Foster will serve as the Grand Marshal of the Findlay Market parade, which begins at Noon.
• Ceremonial First Pitch: Joe Torre, manager of Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
• National Anthem: Cincinnati firefighter John Winfrey will sing the National Anthem.
• Honorary Captain: Bob Kevoian from the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom Show radio program will serve as the Honorary Captain of the Game.
• Game Ball Delivery: Fire Chief Richard A. Braun of the Cincinnati Fire Department will deliver the official Game Ball to the mound during pregame ceremonies.
• Flyover: Two T-28 Trojans and one B-25 Mitchell from the Tri-State Warbird Museum in Batavia will perform a pregame flyover.
• Wounded Hero Recognition: Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will participate in a pregame ceremony to honor wounded heroes.
• Moment of Remembrance: To honor the victims of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, the Reds (and all MLB teams) are wearing a symbolic ribbon patch and will observe a pregame moment of remembrance.
• American Flag: Members of the Cincinnati Fire Department will hold the giant American flag during the National Anthem. The Cincinnati Fire Department is celebrating its 160th year in 2013. The Cincinnati Fire Department was organized in 1853 and is the nation’s oldest fully paid professional fire department.
• God Bless America: Local quartet The Mistics will sing God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch.
• Rally Towels: “This is Reds Country” rally towels will be distributed at the gates (while supplies last), courtesy of Cincinnati Bell, Horseshoe Casino, Kroger, Homemade Brand Ice Cream/UDF and P&G.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Photo: Ken Griffey Jr. chats with LeBron James before Magic game

Miami Heat's LeBron James talks with retired baseball player Ken Griffey Jr. as the Heat prepare to play the Orlando Magic in a NBA basketball game in Orlando, Florida

Two of the most gifted athletes of our generation were in attendance at the Amway Center on Monday as the Orlando Magic played host to the surging Miami Heat.

Seen here is retired Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. engaging in conversation with Heat forward LeBron James just before Miami ran their epic winning streak to 27 games with a decisive victory over the Magic.

Griffey, 43, who now makes his home in Orlando, marveled the sporting world for years with his unbelievable combination of speed, power, and flair. He was often referred to as "The Natural" during his playing days because of his instinctive ability and smooth playing style. A 13-time All-Star, the Cincinnati native is a sure bet to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame one day.

Junior is definitely one person who can relate to James, who people often refer to as a natural, as well. Junior was once at the top of his profession, just as James currently is in the NBA. And like Junior, the 28-year-old James possesses physical tools unmatched by anyone else in his sport.

Joey Votto says winning World Series is 'most important thing in my career'

Could this be the year the stars align just right for the Reds? Could this be the year Cincinnati celebrates its first World Series title since 1990?

The Reds have been stockpiling talent for a decade now in preparation to contend for a championship. Their ability to scout, draft, and develop players has led to the franchise's recent success, which includes a division crown in 2010, and another in 2012. However, the Reds have yet to break through to the World Series, let alone an appearance in the NLDS.

But the 2013 campaign may be different.

Cincinnati seems to have all the pieces to make a push to the title. They boast a dominating bullpen, a formidable offense, a sharp defense, and an above-average starting rotation. Oh, and they also have Joey Votto.

When asked by Big League Stew how important winning a World Series is to him, this is what the former MVP had to say.

Video: MLB stars featured in new Opening Day commercial

Major League Baseball's Opening Day is now less than a week away.
In an effort to pump up the excitement for the 2013 season even more, MLB has launched a new campaign, which illustrates what drives some of the game's biggest stars to succeed.
The series of commercials will feature Yankees second basemen Robinson Cano, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Giants catcher Buster Posey, Rays pitcher David Price, Angels outfielder Mike Trout, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and Mets third basemen David Wright.

The spots for Cano, Trout, and McCutchen have already been released. More are to come and can be seen on MLB Network, FOX, ESPN, and TBS throughout the season.

So, who is ready for some baseball?


Ten thoughts on the current state of the Reds entering the regular season

One week from today, the Reds will be playing host to the loaded Los Angeles Angels at Great American Ball Park for their season opener. It's going to be a festive occasion full of pageantry, tradition, and dreams of what the new season may hold. Until then, the Reds still have several exhibition games left in Arizona to endure.

Being that we are so close to commencement of the regular season, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my views on the current state of the Redlegs. These views are uncensored and relatively unorganized. I mostly just wanted to put in writing the culmination of what I've been thinking about this spring.

Here goes nothing...

1) The promises made by the Reds have become about as reliable as the local weatherman. For the third season in a row, they were adamant about turning Aroldis Chapman into a starting pitcher. And for the third season in a row, they changed their mind. Ultimately, the club can handle their business in whatever fashion they like, but this wishy-washy plan with Chapman is starting to become quite annoying.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Reds third base coach Mark Berry diagnosed with cancer

On Sunday, Reds third base coach Mark Berry delivered some tough news to the clubhouse. The 50-year-old told the team that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

“I have cancer,” Berry told reporters after the team meeting. “I know it sounds bad, the word cancer, but there are plenty of people in this clubhouse that have had it and I know people around the game who have beaten it. My sister had it and beat it. That part hasn’t bothered me.”

The cancer, which was diagnosed last Wednesday in Cincinnati when he had part of his tonsil removed, is located on his tonsil and two lymph nodes. Luckily, the cancer is contained in the left side of his neck, and has not spread anywhere else. Furthermore, team medical director Timothy Kremchek said the condition was detected relatively early and the outlook for Berry is positive.

Reds need not give up on Mike Leake just yet

The biggest question looming over Reds camp this spring was finally answered on Friday. Cuban southpaw Aroldis Chapman will officially begin the season as the team's closer, assuming the same role that he excelled at in 2012. This after the Reds were adamant that Chapman would pitch in the starting rotation in 2013.

Opinions regarding the decision are quite mixed among the baseball community. But one guy who is undoubtedly in support of Chapman staying in the bullpen is nearly forgotten Reds pitcher Mike Leake. Leake will enter the season as the fifth starter now that the team no longer plans to use Chapman in the rotation. And that has some fans moaning and groaning.

It's hard to honestly refute that Chapman is the more exciting pitcher to watch over Leake. Chapman throws a fastball that lights up the scoreboard. Leake throws a fastball that rarely breaks 92 MPH. However, it wasn't too long ago when one could actually make a solid argument that Leake was the most productive pitcher on the staff.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Video: Joey Votto crushes homer out of the stadium

There were some concerns entering the spring about Joey Votto's apparent lack of power at the end of last season. Votto missed nearly two months during 2012 due to a knee injury, but returned to Cincinnati's lineup in early September. After hitting 14 homers before going on the disabled list, Votto did not homer at all following his return, which included the last four weeks of the regular season and the NLDS.

But any seeds of doubt about the health of Votto's knee, and his perceived lack of pop, may have been eliminated on Saturday as he belted a towering homer off an offering from Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, which cleared the spacious corridors of Goodyear Ballpark.

Darvish had fooled Votto on a previous pitch in the count when the former MVP swung through a slow curveball. But it's hard to trick an elite hitter twice, as the young Darvish found out the hard way.

Votto's homer gave him three total for the spring.

As for the game, the Rangers managed to come back and win, 6-2.

Saturday's huge collection of Reds news and notes

Camping out

Most of the country will be glued to their televisions this weekend to see which teams will advance to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, our beloved Redlegs will be continuing to fine tune their skills in Goodyear.

The boys in red secured a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday thanks to a clutch two-run single by Jack Hannahan as part of a rally in the ninth inning.

Mike Leake started the game and allowed four runs on five hits in five innings of work. Jose Arredondo got the win despite allowing having his scoreless outings streak of four snapped.

Cincinnati will play host to the Texas Rangers Saturday afternoon beginning at 4:05 p.m. Mat Latos will get the starting nod for the Reds.

+ The Reds released 1,500 tickets for Opening Day Saturday morning. Here is the scene at Great American Ball Park Friday night as droves of fans can be seen camping out for the chance to purchase tickets. For the record, temperatures fell below freezing in the Queen City area overnight. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Brandon Phillips gives Shane Victorino a pair of Louboutin sneakers

Reds second basemen Brandon Phillips and Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino recently played alongside each other in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA.

Apparently, the two have become pretty good pals after Victorino tweeted out the above picture of a pair of red Christian Louboutin sneakers that Phillips gave him as a gift.

As you can see, the size 6.5 shoes actually come with spikes! Unfortunately, the spikes poke out above the shoe, thus in theory making them illegal to use as actual baseball cleats.

No word yet on what Phillips' motive behind gifting his buddy a pair of classy sneakers was. But I guess we'll just assume he did because he is a super nice guy. Here is what the Gold Glove second basemen said in response to Victorino's tweet, though.

Aroldis Chapman will officially remain as Reds closer

As you can see above from the tweets of the esteemed Reds beat writers, Aroldis Chapman will officially be the Reds closer in 2013 and according to John Fay, there wasn't much disagreement on it in the end. In 68 appearances last year, Chapman was 5-5, with a 1.51 ERA and 38 saves in 43 chances. He struck out 122 over 71.2 innings, so you can see why he will continue to be an asset from the bullpen in '13.

That helps to eliminate what could have become a major distraction for this team. I think most fans will be happy with this decision since they know he can be successful at the end of games. There are some who still think he should start, myself included, but I'm not really upset about him closing and no one else really should be either. The rotation was solid last year, and this will ensure that the Reds put a team as great as last year on the field, but with the addition of Shin-Soo Choo.

The state of modern day baseball

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Another World Baseball Classic, another disappointment for Team USA, another country conducting a wild celebration in a U.S. baseball stadium. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick of this.

The result of last Friday's game has left me with a terrible taste in my mouth. Team USA, comprised of multi-millionaires, multiple all-stars, managed by a legend, with a coaching staff of baseball royalty, was eliminated by a team that is made up of players from a territory of the United States. Is this how the residents of England felt in 1882 when they lost for the first time to Australia in Cricket? The media went wild, writing about the death of Cricket in England. I’m not taking anything away from Puerto Rico. They certainly deserved to win, but please allow me to eulogize baseball in America, as far as I’m concerned USA baseball, on the international stage, died last Friday.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Perry thinks Reds starting rotation is tops in the division

Dayn Perry of has been running a series this week in which he ranks the rotations in each division in baseball. On Thursday, it was the National League Central's turn.
Even despite the rumors that Aroldis Chapman may be heading back to the bullpen, Perry still believes the Reds boast the best rotation in the Central. Here is what he had to say about his pick.
How rock solid was the Cincy rotation last season? Well, just six pitchers made starts, and it would have been five if not for a make-up doubleheader. That's a rare sign of health and consistency. Johnny Cueto, who finished fourth in the NL Cy Young balloting last season, is a certifiable ace, and Mat Latos (2.84 ERA in the second half) makes for an outstanding No. 2 man. While Bronson Arroyo is occasionally prone to gopher-itis, he's an established innings eater, which every rotation needs. The 26-year-old Homer Bailey, meanwhile, has benefitted from significantly improved command over the last two seasons. And while the (likely) decision to move Aroldis Chapman back to the bullpen drains some upside from the fifth spot, Mike Leake is more than capable by the standards of his slot.
Pretty fair assessment, I think.

Cueto and Latos provide one of the best one-two punches in the league, while Bailey has continued to blossom into an elite pitcher. Arroyo may show some regression this season due to the miles he's been logging on his arm, but I expect Leake to take a step forward in 2013 after being overlooked all winter long thank to Chapman's projected move into the rotation.

Via CBS Sports

Daugherty says Aroldis Chapman will remain in Reds bullpen

Have you heard the news? According to Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds are expected to announce today that Aroldis Chapman will remain the closer. I repeat. Aroldis Chapman will be the Reds closer in 2013. He is no longer expected to work his way into the starting rotation.

Update (11:50am)

Daugherty clearly announces his displeasure with this decision, wondering what the Reds have been doing all this time preparing him to start and wondering why they paid Jonathan Broxton so much now. I, for one, tend to agree with him, although in the short term, this certainly doesn't hurt the team's chances in 2013. The bullpen just got that much better, and the rotation is the same as it was last year, with a couple veterans and a couple prospects as depth.

Join the Redlegs Review 2013 NCAA bracket group

The NCAA tournament is almost upon us. The first game starts at 12:15 ET between the Crusaders of Valparaiso and the Spartans of Michigan State. HURRY and join in on the fun by adding your bracket to our Redlegs Review group on ESPN. The winner gets eternal bragging rights as the first champion of this timeless competition as well as an automatic bid into next year's group. OK, so everyone gets an automatic bid into next year's group, but you can talk the most trash because you won in 2013! So go join now by clicking on Redlegs Review group above and show us you NCAA bracket intellect. Maybe we'll come up with a prize by the end. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday's mixed bag of Reds news and notes

The Reds (8-14) plated five runs in the fourth inning to help propel themselves to a 10-6 win over the White Sox on Tuesday. Chris Heisey fueled the offense with a homer and four RBI. Jay Bruce added a solo homer, while Derrick Robinson pounded out three hits and scored three runs. Homer Bailey got the start and allowed five runs (four earned) in 4.1 innings.

Wednesday marks the last off day of spring training for the Reds as they won't receive another one until the day before their regular season opener on April 1.

They are set to play host to the Oakland A's on Thursday in an afternoon tilt.

In the meantime, here are some news and notes to keep you occupied.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Billy Hamilton cut, reassigned to minor league camp

The roster count now stands at 37.

The Reds effectively inched closer to the 25-man limit by cutting top prospect Billy Hamilton and RHP Drew Hayes on Tuesday. They have both been reassigned to the minor league camp.

Hayes appeared in six games this preseason and tallied a 3.86 ERA in 4.2 innings.

Hamilton struggled in his stint with the big club this spring. He batted .174 (4-23) with two walks against nine strikeouts. Although his speed is second to none, Hamilton still has a long way to go before he can man the center field position in Cincinnati.

Here is a look at the updated roster:

Keith Law says Chris Heisey primed for breakout season

ESPN's Keith Law recently highlighted eight players who he believes are destined to take a leap forward in performance this season. One of those players he included was Reds platoon outfielder Chris Heisey.

Here is what Law had to say about him:
I've always thought the Reds didn't like Heisey, given how they've relegated him to super-sub duty in the outfield. But other execs have told me the Reds refused to discuss him in deals this winter, so perhaps they are likely to give him the playing time he deserves -- especially with no true center fielder on the roster. Heisey is a better pure hitter at this point than Ryan Ludwick, who isn't likely to hit 26 homers again at age 34.
Heisey's performance in 2011 (16 HR, 50 RBI) suggested bigger things were to come in 2012, but that wasn't necessarily the case. Heisey received nearly 70 more at-bats last season than he did in '11, but his power numbers didn't rise as the team hoped it would. He hit just five homers and drove in 19 fewers runs, while his average, on-base percentage, and strikeout-to-walk ratio stayed about the same.

Joey Votto opens up on tedious hitting approach to ESPN

The April 1 edition of ESPN The Magazine will definitely be something that Reds fans will want to get their hands on.

One of the articles set to appear in the issue features a compelling, insider's look at the way of MVP first basemen Joey Votto approaches hitting.

The piece is written by Buster Olney and it is absolutely superb.

ESPN Insider's can read the article in its entirety before the magazine hits shelves via this online version. But for those of you who don't have an Insider membership, and still want to know the gist of the article, here is a brief synopsis of Olney's masterful work.

Video: A day in the spring training life of Sam LeCure

Sam LeCure is one of the most overlooked players on the Reds roster.

His fastball won't clock in at triple digits on the radar gun, he may not be a defensive wizard at second base, and he isn't the face of Major League Baseball, but he does play a key role on the team.

Drafted by Cincinnati in the fourth round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Texas, LeCure has made his home in the bullpen after beginning his professional career as a starter. In 2012, LeCure notched a 3.14 ERA in 48 appearances, which spanned 57.1 innings.

When he is not pitching in relief, he can be found on Twitter regaling followers with insightful thoughts and positive words of advice.

Seen here is the 28-year-old giving us a behind-the-scenes look at what a day is like for a big leaguer in spring training. The video shows everything from the time LeCure arrives at the complex for a photo shoot, to workouts, to conditioning.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Receive $5 off a TEAM LATOS Reds shirt with special promo code

Great news, folks!

Redlegs Review and the TEAM LATOS crew have teamed up to offer a special promotion to our blog readers.

Fans who wish to purchase a t-shirt like the one above can do so for $20 by entering the promo code "Redlegs" at checkout. The shirt retails for $25. Basically, you receive $5 (20%) off just by simply being a reader of ours and entering the aforementioned code!

Be sure to take advantage of this deal before it's too late. You can purchase your t-shirt (S-3XL) by following this link to the official TEAM LATOS page.

Remember, you have to use "Redlegs" in the coupon code box upon checkout to get the deal.

Also, be sure to give TEAM LATOS a follow on Twitter. You won't be sorry.

More Opening Day tickets to go on sale Saturday

From the Reds...

Fifteen hundred Opening Day tickets will go on sale Saturday, March 23 at 9 am at the Great American Ball Park ticket windows only.

The available tickets to the April 1 season opener vs. the L.A. Angels (4:10 pm) are limited to 1,000 View Level and 500 Standing Room Only.

Ticket prices are $32 for View Level and $20 for Standing Room Only.

There is a limit of four tickets per person. Cash and major credit cards will be accepted.

Three Reds who are up, three Reds who are down

Two weeks from today, the city of Cincinnati will be enjoying an unofficial holiday as the Redlegs open their 2013 season against the Halos from Los Angeles. It will be a momentous occasion for all of Reds country as we celebrate the dawn of a new campaign. But for now, we are left to count down the days until Opening Day finally arrives.

In the meantime, let us explore a post I like to call "three up and three down," which features three players who are scorching the stat sheet this spring, and three others that are...not. While success or failure in the preseason doesn't always mean the same result for the regular season, it should be given at least some value. Because honestly, what else do we have to go off of right now?


+ C Devin Mesoraco - There was some talk over the winter that Mez may begin the year in Triple-A while free agent signee Miguel Olivo would serve the backup catching role to Ryan Hanigan. Mesoraco's sizzling bat this spring has virtually eliminated any possibility of that happening. The former first round pick is batting a team-leading .435 (10-23) with two homers, 10 RBI, and three doubles. Hanigan's contract is up at the end of the year and the Reds would like nothing more than for Mesoraco to earn the starting catcher job by September.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dusty Baker wants to manage Americans in World Baseball Classic one day

File:Dusty Baker talking before game.JPG

After being eliminated by Puerto Rico on Friday, the Americans are now 0-for-3 in their bid to win the World Baseball Classic. In fact, the United States has failed to finish any better than fourth place in the tournament, which is a major disappointment to say the least.

Now, Reds skipper Dusty Baker wants to play a key role in changing that for a future Classic.

"I would like to manage it when I'm through," Baker said Saturday. "I don't want to do it now."

The United States has had three different managers for each of the first three Classics. Tommy Lasorda managed the team in 2006, Davey Johnson in 2009, and Joe Torre in 2013. All three were not actively managing an MLB team at the time of their WBC service.

"Tony La Russa is probably next in line," Baker noted of the retired former Cardinals manager.

Sunday's mixed bag of Reds news and notes

The Reds were on the road Saturday for a pair of split-squad games. They managed to squeak out a 7-6 victory in Scottsdale over the Giants, while settling for a 9-9 tie (yes, a tie) with the Brewers in Phoenix.

Aroldis Chapman started against San Francisco and allowed one run on two hits in four innings of work. Mike Leake started against Milwaukee and was knocked around for 10 hits and seven runs in 3.1 innings. The two continue to battle for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, or do they? More on that later.

Here is a mixed bag of Reds news and notes...

+ The United States suffered a disappointing exit from the World Baseball Classic Friday night as they were eliminated by Puerto Rico, a team they had previously beaten in the tournament, by a score of 4-3. Team USA has now failed to win the Classic, or even reach the final, in each of its first three tries (2006, 2009).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Controversy brewing in Reds camp as Aroldis Chapman says he wants to close

The intrigue surrounding Aroldis Chapman this spring grew a little more on Saturday as Chapman admitted his preference to close rather than start.

“Truthfully, I would like to be a closer but that’s not in my hands," said the southpaw after his outing against the Brewers.

His preference to close falls in line with the same opinion of skipper Dusty Baker. However, it goes against the wishes of GM Walt Jocketty and pitching coach Bryan Price, who both would like to see the Cuban native serve as a starter.

Chapman cited the excitement of finishing games as one reason why he prefers pitching in relief.

Photo: Bob Uecker and The Honky Tonk Man reunite at Brewers game

The Reds traveled to Phoenix on Saturday to take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Park.

Up in the booth, it was a WrestleMania reunion as longtime Brewers play-by-play man Bob Uecker caught up with former WWF Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man before the game. The two go way back to WrestleMania II and IV as Uecker served as a colorful ringside announcer and Honky Tonk served as a menacing wrestler.

Here is a clip to remind us all of how the pair first met.

Reds make five more roster cuts

Dusty Baker made a second round of cuts Saturday morning to trim the remaining Reds roster down to 39 players.

Those were sent packing including RHP Curtis Partch, INF Henry Rodriguez, 1B Neftali Soto, RHP Pedro Villarreal, and 1B Donald Lutz.

Lutz was optioned to Double-A Pensacola -- the same place he finished last season.

Despite being axed, Lutz actually performed well this spring. The slugger batted .360 (9-25) with one homer, seven RBI, and six runs scored.

The remaining 39 players are battling for just 25 spots on the Opening Day roster.

However, when you truly break it down, there really only remains a few open spots available. The most interesting battle involves Jason Donald, Cesar Izturis, and Emmanuel Burriss for the last bench spot. Donald may have the upper-hand just because the other two are non-roster invitees.

Reds round table: Chapman, spring observations, bobbleheads

This week marks the fourth installment of the Redlegs Review round table. In this edition, RR staffers Jimmi Adair (@Redlegs_Review), Scott Eddy (@scotte97), Jesse Welte (@RedlegsWriter), Dan Howard (@DaHermit16), and Sara Frey (@somegoodideas) offer up their thoughts on five recent topics.

These topics include the possibility of a global World Series, concerns for the upcoming season, whether Aroldis Chapman should start or close, spring training surprises and disappointments, and which bobblehead giveaway is most desirable.

- Bud Selig recently made comments that he envisions a "true World Series" coming into existence someday, where the MLB Champion would play the champion of a foreign league such as Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League. What are your thoughts on this?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reds limericks in honor of St. Patrick's Day

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Now that the Cardinals have selected Francis 1 to be their leader, what are they going to do with Mike Matheny? (Insert rim shot here.) In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this Sunday, I thought I’d become Irish this week and provide a few cheesy Reds limericks. Thanks to Vivian Ooten, and Dr. Jack Ward for their input.

At first base is Joey Votto;
Working hard is his motto;
He plays with such grace;
He puts a smile on our face;
While we stand and cheer bravo!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Video: Several Reds talk about the Aroldis Chapman question

The most hotly-debated question this spring has been what to do about Aroldis Chapman. Should he start or should he close? Or should we all just grab a Frisch's Big Boy and a scoop of Graeter's Ice Cream and relax?

Here in this video are several members of the Reds discussing their thoughts on the matter. They include shortstop Zack Cozart, skipper Dusty Baker, left fielder Ryan Ludwick, starter Homer Bailey, starter Mat Latos, and second basemen Brandon Phillips.

I thought one of the interesting things Phillips said about Chapman was that he believed Chapman could hold his own with Billy Hamilton in a foot race. I would really like to see if that is true or not.

Video: Pete Rose looks really comfy in this furniture promo

Life after baseball has presented plenty of promotional opportunities for all-time hit king Pete Rose. In fact, his playing days were also littered with a ton of appearances in television ads and such.

The Cincinnati native has made his mark over the years in commercials for the likes of Aqua Velva, Nestle Crunch, Kool-Aid, and Atari, just to name a few. And who could forget this classic 1985 Wheaties ad that shows a flashback of Rose getting hit No. 4,192 to pass Ty Cobb?

Now, Rose is featured in the promo above plugging Cincinnati furniture purveyor Muenchens. It shows Charlie Hustle lounging seductively on a Tempur-Pedic mattress and pitching the product while wearing some plaid pajamas and a sweet t-shirt. Plus, if you buy a mattress, he's even willing to pitch in an autographed bat and two tickets to a future game!

Pete says he might have smashed 5,000 hits during his career had he been able to sleep on such greatness back in the day. Just think of what you could do if you slept on one every night. The possibilities are endless.

Via SportsGrid

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shin-Soo Choo drawing high praise from teammate Jay Bruce

The Redlegs (5-12) had their three-game winning streak snapped by the San Francisco Giants (7-8) on Wednesday. Cincinnati fell, 9-5, to the reigning World Series champs in Goodyear.

Bronson Arroyo started and limited the Giants to one earned run over four innings. On the contrary, Pedro Villarreal surrendered seven hits and six runs in relief. Villarreal managed to record just one out before being pulled.

Offensively, Denis Phipps, Jason Donald, and Derrick Robinson each had a pair of hits as the Reds pounded out 15 as a team. Additionally, Chris Heisey smashed a solo homer to notch his first hit of the spring.

The Reds will pay a visit to Peoria for a date with the Seattle Mariners Thursday afternoon.

Until then, here are some interesting quotes from the week...

A midweek roundup of Reds news and notes

It was all smiles for these guys Tuesday night

Don't look now, but after beginning the spring 2-11, the Reds have now won three games in a row with their victory over the Dodgers Tuesday night. Dusty Baker's bunch will go for four straight when they play host to the Giants at Goodyear Ballpark Wednesday afternoon.

Now, some Reds news and notes...

+ The United States dominated from start-to-finish in their 7-1 win over Puerto Rico in the second round of the World Baseball Classic Tuesday night. Brandon Phillips and the Americans will take on Reds reliever Alfredo Simon and the Dominican Republic on Thursday in what is sure to be a classic.

+ Billy Hamilton is currently listed as day-to-day due to a strained hamstring. The speedster did not play Tuesday and is not expected to play Wednesday, either.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reds make 12 roster cuts

Dusty Baker made his first round of roster cuts Tuesday. There were 12 in all and none of the players came as a real surprise.

Here is the list of the players who were cut:

RHP Nick Christiani
RHP Chad Rogers
C Nevin Ashley
OF Kris Negron
OF Ryan LaMarre
LHP Ismael Guillon
OF Yorman Rodriguez
RHP Carlos Contreras
RHP Josh Ravin
RHP Kyle Lotzkar
RHP Daniel Corcino
LHP Tony Cingrani

An update on how 20 former Reds are doing this spring

Jared Burton has resurrected his career with MIN
Once a Red, always a Red. Isn't that how the saying goes?

Although none of these players are currently in the Reds organization, they were at one time, and if you're anything like me, you're probably curious to know how they're doing.

With that being said, here is a spring update on some of the notable ex-Reds.

1B Yonder Alonso (San Diego)
+ Former 7th overall pick (2008) is hitting .138 (4-for-29) with no homers, one RBI, one double, and no walks this spring. Despite his recent woes, the 25-year-old is still listed as the starting first basemen on San Diego's depth chart.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A mixed bag of Reds news and notes

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Cincinnati lifted their Cactus League record to 3-11 after racing past the split-squad Chicago White Sox, 7-3, on Sunday. Shin-Soo Choo and Todd Frazier led the offensive charge with seven hits between them. The Reds enjoy an off day on Monday before welcoming the Dodgers to Goodyear Tuesday evening.

Until then, here is a mixed bag of Reds news and notes...

+ Team USA avoided an early exit from the World Baseball Classic by notching a 9-4 victory over Team Canada on Sunday. United States second basemen Brandon Phillips says the loss would have been humbling, "I would have been embarrassed. USA this is where baseball started and we represent our country. I just feel that if we had lost we didn't do our job. We have to go out there and try to be the first American team to win the WBC. That is our goal."

+ Joey Votto finished the tournament 2-for-9 with five runs scored and five walks. Although he hit only .222, his on-base percentage was .500. On the contrary, Phillips is hitting .214 (3-for-14) so far.

2013 Reds predictions: Potential All-Stars

We've reached the end of our predictions series and today we'll look at which Reds players might don the NL All-Star jersey come July. There were 10 ballots cast by the Redlegs Review team and a player had to receive at least five votes to be included.

So which Reds do we think are potential All-Stars in 2013?

Joey Votto (10), Brandon Phillips (9), Jay Bruce (8), Johnny Cueto (7), and Mat Latos (7)

Phillips and Cueto were two of the most egregious snubs last year. The good news is that Tony LaRussa will not be managing the 2013 NL All-Star team, so perhaps those guys will have a shot this time as long as they perform.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Reds to open special Joe Morgan exhibit this week

Press release from the Reds...

The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum is honoring Joe Morgan with a special exhibit that examines the many highlights of his illustrious career.

Featuring game-used equipment, rare photographs, memorabilia and never-before-seen items from Joe's personal collection, the exhibit shines a light on the player who many historians consider to be the best second baseman in the history of the game.

The exhibit opens to the public on Tuesday, March 12 at 10 am.. Morgan will be available at 6:30 p.m. for the ribbon cutting ceremony and VIP preview of the exhibit.

The Joe Morgan exhibit is part of a season-long celebration of Joe's great career that culminates with the dedication of the Joe Morgan Statue on Saturday, Sept. 7, prior to the 1:05 pm Reds vs. L.A. Dodgers game.