Friday, February 28, 2014

Reds news and notes to propel you into your glorious weekend

While much of the region is bracing for yet another winter storm this weekend, the Reds continue to enjoy sunny skies and pleasant temperatures in Arizona. Those lucky dogs. And it will be this way for the foreseeable future as we close the book on February and turn the pages to March.

Keep warm by running down this list of Reds news and notes for Friday:

+ Well, Thursday's outcome wasn't pretty as the Redlegs were blasted by the Indians, 13-2. Reds pitchers allowed 10 walks and 12 hits. Three of those hits cleared the wall for home runs. One of them resulted in grand slam. Yeah, let's put this one in the rear view mirror, shall we?

+ Sunday will mark the 10-year anniversary of Marge Schott's passing. In homage of the late ex-Reds owner, ESPN will be airing an Outside the Lines feature at 9 a.m. with a follow-up on SportsCenter at 10 a.m. The piece was produced by Reds fan and Ohio native Luke Perry.

+ John Fay provided a slew of notes/updates on Reds players in a Friday blog post. For starters, Jack Hannahan had offseason shoulder surgery that previously went unannounced. He has yet to appear in a game this spring. Meanwhile, Jonathan Broxton is inching closer to full health by throwing bullpens every third day. Mat Latos is striving toward bouncing back from knee surgery, too.

Jose Diaz has been one of the good stories in camp after dropping 70 pounds over the winter to get into better playing shape. The 30-year-old made his spring debut Thursday and turned in a scoreless inning while humming his fastball as hard as 97 mph. He could very well be a darkhorse to join Cincinnati's bullpen sometime down the road. The right-hander tallied a tidy 1.66 ERA for Triple-A Louisville in 2013.

+ After jamming his thumb while sliding in Wednesday's game, Brandon Phillips appeared completely pain free in Thursday's affair. So, that's a great sign.

+'s Mark Sheldon writes how Billy Hamilton is making pitchers work from the leadoff spot. It's a small sample size, but Hamilton's shown the willingness to work the count thus far.

+ If you play fantasy baseball, this Sports Illustrated post may interest you. It aims to project what kind of fantasy value each Reds player will provide this season. I won't give away the whole article, but they tabbed Todd Frazier as the "sleeper" and Devin Mesoraco as the "breakout" player.

+ Looking to buy single game tickets this year? The Reds will open up single game ticket sales beginning Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Come one, come all.

+ Ron Rogacki of Bless You Boys writes that "the Reds are better than people think." Here's an excerpt of what Rogacki said about the Reds:

They easily have the best pitching staff in the division, provided the rotation stays reasonably healthy. The Reds are fully capable of winning the NL Central in 2014 after winning it by nine games with largely the same roster in 2012. At the very least, I would expect them to make the Cardinals uncomfortable.

Let's hope Rogacki's faith in the Reds is validated come October.

+ Dan wrote a compelling piece about his experience waging war against his cable company. I think anyone who's had cable before can relate to this strife.

+ Jesse put a bow on our week-long series of previewing the Reds by position this morning. We saved the outfielders for last. Have a look.

+ The black uniforms that the Reds have unveiled this spring have caused quite a stir. Fans seem to either love the black unis or hate them. Apparently, the Sporting News is not a fan. Personally, I think the uniforms look pretty cool. But I can see how people would be upset over the "Reds" wearing anything else but red.

+ In case you missed it, here are Thursday's news and notes. If that doesn't entice you enough, how about seeing a picture of yours truly from roughly three years ago?

+ Only 31 more days until Opening Day, folks.

+ Lastly, a happy birthday goes out to a pair of Reds today: Aroldis Chapman and Neftali Soto. Chapman turns 26 while Soto should see his car insurance go down by turning 25.

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