GOODYEAR, AZ. — The data is limited so far, just some first glimpses of the pitchers in camp by Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price, but he did assimilate some first impressions by watching bullpen sessions.
There are some pitchers in camp that Price has never seen so he watched closely during their first days pitching off a mound.
And who impressed him?
The first name Price spat out was John Moscat, a 23-year-old right hander, a fourth-round draft pick in 2012 out of Pepperdine University. Price mentioned Moscat after first saying, “I have very high expectations for this (pitching) group coming off last year.
“I had never seen Moscat pitch but I heard great things about him,” said Price. “He has not disappointed in the least.” Moscat has advanced quickly through the system. He started at Class AA Pensacola last season and was 7-10 with a 3.13 ERA in 25 starts before a promotion to Class AAA Louisville. He was 1-1 in three starts with the Bats.
Then Price threw out some more names.
“I like Nick Travieso,” he said. “I’ve seen Anthony DeSclafani on video and a couple times before camp started. I’m very happy we have Nate Adcock (a 27-year-old free agent who pitched briefly for Texas last season but has been a career minor-leaguer). I like seeing the way he is throwing the ball.”
Price also mentioned 36-year-old Jason Marquis, a legitimate candidate for one of the vacant rotation spots. Marquis, a 13-year veteran, missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery.
“Marquis is a guy I’ve seen quite often live, but never on our side,” said Price. “He has been very impressive. He has put in a lot of hard work to get back and he looks like a veteran, an in-shape veteran who is here to compete and win a job. That’s terrific.”
HOMER BAILEY is taking it slow as he recuperates and regroups from surgery on the flexor tendon in his right elbow last September.
Asked Sunday morning how he feels, Bailey smiled and said, “Feeling better every minute.”
But he has yet to throw off the mound and there is no timetable.
“I saw Homer throw (long toss) two days ago and he looked really good,” said Price. “The process from coming back from surgery is that there is actually a date that nobody can define, but there is a date when your arm is back to normal. But the process to get to that point for each guy is different.
“That’s why it is always so hard for us to say it will be eight months or 12 months or 15 months after surgery,” Price added. “He feels good, but it takes him longer to get loose and I’m sure he is still breaking up scar tissue. But he feels good, no setbacks since surgery.”
Price said he has not discounted the chance of having Bailey on the roster for Opening Day. “But we will get to a date this spring where if he is not pitching in games we would not consider having him on the active roster. It just wouldn’t make sense to force him through three or four starts in spring training.”
WHILE HIS SHOULDER continues on the mend, relief pitcher Sean Marshall is making certain his long, long legs are in shape. He is Goodyear’s tallest bicyclist.
The 6-foot-7 left hander rides a bike on most mornings to the park, a five-mile pump. “It is easy coming over, but a little tougher going back after working out and it is more uphill on the way back,” he said.
Marshall also rides about 13 miles in the early evening. “Good for my legs, getting them strong,” he said. “I ordered a little mirror from Amazon that I hang on my sun glasses so I can see behind me and I listen to music at a low volume.”
AS A PRECAUTiONARY measure, the Reds held back Robert Stephenson from the first round of pitching off a mound. There was a minor issue with him during long-tossing, but the Reds No. 1 draft pick in 2011 made his bullpen session debut Sunday.
PRICE WAS AMUSED during a rules discussion meeting Saturday with major league officials when somebody brought up the forfeit rule.
“They covered some things in the game I’ve never seen before,” said Price. “A forfeit. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a forfeit at the major league level. I mean, what did they do, tweak the forfeit rule? I don’t even want to discuss that. I know we have to have nine players on the field.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Manager Bryan Price pitched some batting practice Friday and Saturday, but took Sunday off and said, “I need a day off today. So 52 is the year where your arm can’t pitching three days in a row in spring training.”