GOODYEAR, AZ. — It isn’t often a manager makes out a lineup card before a game then has to remove the first four guys in the batting order. But that’s what happened to Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price on Sunday.
In order, he had Billy Hamilton, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco in the game. He had to remove all four for various aches and pains.
The most serious is catcher Devin Mesoraco, who suffered a mild concussion Saturday when he took a foul tip off his mask and because of MLB’s concussion protocol will have to miss at least seven days.
PHILLIPS HAD A collision on a bunt against the Cubs, Hamilton ran into a wall chasing a ball and Frazier had lower back stiffness.
Phillips was back in the lineup Monday, Frazier is scheduled to return Tuesday and Hamilton is on the ol’ day-to-day basis.
Mesoraco took a foul tip off his mask Saturday against Kansas City and Price said, “There is always a concern with anyone who suffers a concussion,” said manager Bryan Price. “It is a front and center issue in professional sports, particularly in light with what is happening in football and the law suit against the NFL.
“There is definitely a concern, but at this point I don’t feel as if the sky is falling,” said Price. “And I don’t have any information to suggest that there is a point of concern for long-term residual concerns about Devin.”
SAID MESORACO, CONFINED to riding a stationary bicycle and walking a treadmill for now, “At least it happened early so we can get rid of it and I can be ready to go. It is definitely tough to sit back and not do anything, that’s for sure. This is the time of year when you can get a lot of work in. But I was feeling good coming into camp, so I’m not too worried.
“You hear more and more about (concussions), but other guys have them and come back,” he said.
Mesoraco said the club is investigating a more padded mask for him and some additional protection inside the batting helmet he wears when he catches.
“Hamilton won’t be playing (Monday or Tuesday),” said Price. “He was a little sore in his shoulder after hitting the wall and we got the soreness out and he was in the lineup for Sunday. But he showed up Sunday morning after a night’s sleep and didn’t feel a great deal better. It is just a matter of making sure it’s right. If he played it could affect his swing and his throwing so there is no reason to run him out there until he feels better. And that could be a couple more days.”
AFTER THROWING NEARLY 50 pitches Sunday, Homer Bailey will throw another bullpen on Wednesday, then begin throwing live batting practice on Saturday.
“There haven’t been any setbacks with Homer, he has stayed on schedule for all four of his bullpens,” said Price. “His progression should continue at a positive rate. We have set up two live batting practice sessions for Homer before we put him in game action.”
ROBERT STEPHENSON, a No. 1 draft pick in 2011, threw 25 pitches during a live batting practice session Monday morning. If he comes out of that with no repercussions with his shoulder he will throw one more batting practice and then be ready to appear in a game.
DURING ONE OF the many lulls during a spring training game, the guys in the press box began a discussion: “Who would you want on your side from the Reds during a fight?”
Donald Lutz was named. Skip Schumaker was named. Todd Frazier was named. I chose Aroldis Chapman because of his athleticism, his size, “And, remember, he is a boxer, too.”
- Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, chose Schumaker, a feisty and wiry little guy. The next day he asked Schumaker about it and Schumaker chose Chapman, “Hands down.” So I guess I won, but I’d prefer Chapman to have his hands up, not down, if he is going to protect me during a fight.
SO FAR, the battle for the available rotation spots is heated. Everybody has done well and nobody has eliminated themselves.
What happens if that continues? Who makes it?
“We’d have to have four more weeks of everybody doing what they have done to have that problem,” said Price. “I hope we do. It is nice to have difficult decisions to make as opposed to last year when we left camp it was like, ‘Who’s left standing?’ Right now we have a great list and it would be a difficult challenge to feel like we got it right if we had to make up our rotation right now. So many are performing at such a high level.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: It was mentioned to manager Bryan Price that the starting pitchers had not given up an earned run through the first six games and he said, “You had to say it, didn’t you? You had to say it. Well, I’m not showing up tomorrow.”