CINCINNATI — Zack Cozart was hit on the wrist by a pitch and missed all three games in Pittsburgh. Then he came back with a bat attack in three games against the Chicago White Sox — 5 for 10 with two doubles and three RBI.
When the Cincinnati Reds returned home Monday to play the Atlanta Braves Cozart was out of the lineup again. And he was out of the lineup again Tuesday.
What gives? Did he re-injure the wrist? It’s a bit of a mini-mystery. According to manager Bryan Price there was no incident to inflame the wrist. The pain just popped up.
“He is doing treatment and getting a lot of attention to it,” said Price. “We thought we were over the hump in Chicago because he played without any issue at all. It is a little unusual that it has come back, so we have to take a different direction to ascertain what the problem is.”
IS THE DISABLED list a possibility? “Not at this point in time,” said Price. “We haven’t gotten that type of feedback from Dr. Tim Kremchek (team’s medical director). He might be in the lineup tomorrow. That’s where we are. We hoped there would be improvement from yesterday to today, but there wasn’t.
“It isn’t anything he did to it,” Price added. “He played three games in Chicago without incident and in his last at bat he smoked a two-run double in the ninth off closer David Robeertson and everything was looking great. But he came in the next day and couldn’t swing the bat or field ground balls.”
IN COZART’S ABSENCE, Price is playing Kristopher Negron at shortstop and hasn’t lost much in defensive prowess. Negron plaays everywhere — outfield, third base, second base, first base — but shortstop is his preferred position, the one he played in high school, college and in the low minors.
“Everyone in our system told me over the last couple of years that shortstop is Negron’s best position,” said Price. “But with Cozart at short he doesn’t have much opportunity to play there. He has been wonderful. He is athletic, he has enough arm strength and he understands the position more than we had known until I actually put him out there. Now I can see what everybody in our player development system was talking about.”
BECAUSE PRICE REFUSES to use one of his starting pitchers on only three days of rest this early in the season, the Reds need a starter for Wednesday night. And that guy is Cuban rookie Raisel Iglesias.
Iglesias, signed out of Cuba last year, started a game the first week of the season in place of Homer Bailey against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He gave up three runs and four hits over five innings, walked three and struck out four. He was not involved in the decision, a Reds’ win, and then was sent to Class AAA Louisville.
He hasn’t been slam-door good for the Bats, 1-2 in four starts with a 3.80 ERA. He gave up nine earned run and 21 hits in 21 1/3 innings.
“He has been fine,” said Price, with a not-so-ringing endorsement. “He has been throwing strikes (seven walks, 11 strikeouts) and has been changing arm angles. He is going through the same growing pains at times that young pitchers do. Every now and then he loses the feel for his arm slot. He is transitioning back to being a starter. Everybody is excited about his development and there really are no negatives.”
REMEMBER RYAN MADSON, the free agent pitcher the Reds signed for 2012? They paid him $6 million not to pitch. Madson, signed to be a set-up guy but tore his rotator cuff the first week of spring training and underwent Tommy John surgery. He never threw a pitch for the Reds.
He tried a comeback in 2013 with the Los Angeles Angels but didn’t make it and retired. Now, he’s back. He is pitching for the Kansas City Royals after a three-year layoff and Tommy John surgery — 14 appearances, 16 2/3 innings, 1.62 ERA, three runs, seven hits, four walks and 18 strikeouts.
FOR THOSE WHO want an autographed copy of my book, The Real McCoy, and can’t find me personally, Books & Company at The Greene Town Center in Kettering has some. I signed 60 for them on Saturday.