CINCINNATI — For the Cincinnati Reds, it is gain one, lose one — and that doesn’t mean games in the standings. It means players and a whole bunch of paper shuffling and lineup adjusting.
On Wednesday, shortstop Zack Cozart returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore wrist. But second baseman Brandon Phillips was out of the lineup with a sore foot.
And before Wednesday’s game, the Reds announced they had picked up right handed relief pitcher Ryan Matheus off waivers from the Angels and he’ll join the team Thursday. Relief pitcher Carlos Contreras was optioned to Class AAA Louisville to make room for Raisel Iglesias, Wednesday’s starter.
PHILLIPS INJURED HIS foot stealing second base Monday night and tried to play Tuesday. After striking out three straight times, he was removed from the lineup. It was diagnosed before Wednesdah’s game as turf toe, a painful injury that can linger.
“It’s a foot injury and there were lingering effects Tuesday that we didn’t know about until he made mention of them during the game,” said manager Bryan Price. “It became apparent it was getting worse. I don’t think it is something that will limit him for an extended period of time.”
COZART WAS HIT by a pitch on the wrist and missed a series in Pittsburgh, then came back for three games in two days in Chicago and was 5 for 10. Then he missed Monday’s game and didn’t start Tuesday’s game.
“I was shocked on Monday when I came in after playing three games in about 24 hours,” said Cozart. “I didn’t have any problems. I showed up Monday to do my early work and it was killing me. I don’t know what happened between Sunday and Monday. Maybe just playing in general.
“Monday and Tuesday was not good, but today I feel really good,” Cozart added. “I don’t know what’s going on. There has been some clicking and rattling and sharp pain going on in there. I couldn’t swing Monday or Tuesday. It’s weird. I just don’t know how to explain it.”
PRICE ON RAISEL IGLESIAS before he made his second major league start Wednesday: “He has dealt with more pressure on the world stage with the Cuban National team than coming in here to face the Atlanta Braves.”
MATHEUS, 31, has appeared in only 146 games during his five-year major-league career and in only eight the last two years(9 2/3 innings). He appeared seven times (8 1/3 innings) for Washington last year and only once for one inning for the Angels this year.
When asked about him before Wednesday’s game, Price said, “All I know is that we got him on a waiver claim, that’s all I know. I know he is a good pitcher.”
When pressed about what role Matthews will fit, Price expounded — just a bit.
“Any team is going to need a number of players to come in when we need them due to injuries or lack of performance,” said Price. “So there could be an opportunity for Ryan to come in and give us a shot in the bullpen.”
ATLANTA MANAGER Fredi Gonzalez watched Reds pinch-runner Michael Lorenzen motor around the bases from first base to home plate to score the winning run Tuesday night on a hit to the left field corner.
“I watched him and thought to myself, ‘He runs the bases a little better than a right handed pitcher,’” said Gonzalez. “So after the game I checked their media guide and saw he was an outfielder at Cal-Fullerton and then it all made sense.”
It makes sense to Reds manager Bryan Price, too. And he might even take a step further with Lorenzen than pinch-running.
“You don’t play center field at a Division I school like Cal-Fullerton if you are not a talented baseball player,” said Price. “For me, he is a guy if we were short on the bench I’d put him in the outfield. He is not far removed from playing college baseball and he got some at-bats in Double-A last year. Pinch-hit? Pinch-run? Play the outfield? I’d do it if we had to have it.”
GONZALEZ WAS TALKING about his exuberant and energetic utility player, Phil Gosselin, how he is always under foot, always visible in case he is needed.
Gonzalez looked at a group of Cincinnati writers and said, “Do you guys remember Juan Francisco?” Everybody did. He was a third baseman and the Reds traded him to the Braves for pitcher J.J. Hoover.
“Well,” continued Gonzalez. “When he was with us I’d look for him about the sixth or seventh inning and then tell somebody, ‘Go up in the clubhouse and wake up Francisco. I might need him.’”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I grew up watching The Big Red Machine every Saturday on TV and not once did I hear any walk-up music for Tony Perez or Pete Rose.” — Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez.