March 25, 2011

The Daily Brief: Who Gets the Last Bench Spot?

Last Game
Yesterday’s game was televised, which made it nice that it lasted extra long, taking 3 and a half hours to complete. Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching continued to struggle in the thin, dry Arizona air, as they allowed 15 runs and 17 hits. The offense continues to take advantage of the opposing team’s pitching, as well, scoring 13 runs yesterday. It wasn’t quite enough, though. I’m choosing not to worry and focus on how 13 runs will win a majority of times during the regular season.

Next Game
The Reds will try again tomorrow to keep their opponents from reaching double digits when they send Edinson Volquez to the mound against the San Diego Padres. His ERA of 11.57 doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence. The Padres’ starter will be Wade LeBlanc. Game-time is 4:05pm EDT and can be heard on 700 WLW.

Roster Competitions Winding Down
As spring training winds down, every club has to decide which players to choose for the final spot or two on the roster. It’s no different for the Reds. John Fay recently broke down the open spots.

They’ll likely go with 12 pitchers and 13 positions players. That’s eight regulars and a second catcher and four bench players. Miguel Cairo, Edgar Renteria and Chris Heisey will get three of the spots.

That leaves one bench role. Fred Lewis and Jeremy Hermida are the front-runners for it, with Dave Sappelt and Juan Francisco as long-shots. (Sappelt isn’t on the 40-man roster.)

Manager Dusty Baker seems to think it’s between Lewis and Hermida, though.

“It comes down to Hermida and Lewis. Hermida has had a better spring,” Dusty Baker said, “Freddie Lewis is one of the better athletes on the team. He hasn’t really demonstrated what we all feel he is capable of doing. We haven’t decided what the solution is yet.”

Of course, Baker also thinks Francisco is very important.

“You can see the potential and what’s in there. It’s just matter of him — if he can get a good pitch to hit most of the time — he’s going really hit. Most of the time when he’s out, they trick him on bad pitches.”

To increase his versatility, Baker is having Francisco start in the outfield today. We’ll see in a few days if that factors into Baker’s decision

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Of the 40 players on the Reds’ 40-man roster, 13 of them were drafted or acquired by previous general manager Wayne Krivsky.

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