Saturday, March 23, 2013

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. 

+ It's official. After much speculation over the past few days, Aroldis Chapman will in fact begin the year as the team's closer. Additionally, Leake will be the fifth starter in the rotation.

+ So, is Chapman pleased with the decision? You bet he is. Closing is what the southpaw wanted to do all along. “I'm really happy to be the closer of the team,” Chapman said. “They told me today [Friday]. I felt good, and I was happy about it.”

+ The folks over at Big League Stew have running a series this spring in which they talk to major league players about their lives off the field. Earlier this week, they featured Mat Latos. Good stuff.

+ Spring training never fails to produce some of the most unthinkable injuries known to mankind. This spring was no different and ESPN's Jayson Stark provides an overview of some of the strangest ones from 2013, including Oakland A's outfielder Michael Taylor, who sliced his finger while trying to throw away a wad of bubble gum. You can't make this stuff up, folks.

+ The Reds have several players on their roster who might be more valuable than their respective salaries suggest. Bleacher Report's Tyler Duma highlights three Reds in particular in this post.

+ There are a lot of folks in Cincinnati eager to see Billy Hamilton in a Reds uniform, but they will have to wait a little longer after the speedster was cut from the roster last week. Alexander York takes a stab at projecting Hamilton's potential impact in the majors this season, assuming he does get the call up from the minors at some point.

+ Mark Sheldon writes that Latos is much more at ease entering this season than he did a year ago. As you may remember, Latos was the key piece in the trade that sent four players from Cincinnati to San Diego. Latos said he felt a tremendous amount of pressure in 2012 because he didn't believe he was worth the price of four players (Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger).

+ How good is Dusty Baker's starting rotation? Dayn Perry of CBS Sports lists Cincy's rotation as the best in the National League Central. See how he ranked the other four teams in the division by clicking here.

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