CINCINNATI — With Johnny Cueto pitching Wednesday, it was ‘Scouts Day’ in Great American Ball Park. With Cueto ostensibly on the trade block, every team wants to take a look or two at Johnny Beisbol.
As the scouts gathered in a corner of the press box, as they do nearly every day, one scout said, “You guys are looking at the wrong guy. You should be looking at the third baseman (Todd Frazier). Now there is a guy who could bring the Reds a lot. He is the kind of guy to build a team around.”
It isn’t likely Frazier is available. He should be one of the very few untouchables on the Reds roster. But as former pitcher Joaquin Andujar once said, “I’ll tell you in one word. Youneverknow.”
WHEN FRAZIER WAS relayed what was said, he smiled broadly and said, “That’s nice to hear. I’d be very disappointed if that happened. I don’t even think about it because I want to be a Red. Number one, it is out of my hands. Number two, I don’t think I’m going anywhere. Number three, this is the place I want to be.”
IN THE MEANTIME, Frazier creeps ever closer to becoming the lead vote-getter to start the All-Star game. Thanks to a huge promotional push by the Reds, Frazier was within 63,000 votes of Matt Carpenter at the last count, and voting closes Thursday at midnight.
“What the Reds are doing is huge for me,” said Frazier. “I was sitting in a McDonald’s the other day and saw a ‘Vote Frazier’ poster. I’m getting big around here. I thank everybody and it is pretty neat to see the Cincinnati Zoo get behind me, having a walrus hold up a sign that says, ‘Vote Frazier.’ And they have stuff at the Newport Aquarium. It is very much appreciated. We have Reds fans all over the world and let’s keep making that push.”
PITTSBURGH SCOUT Carl Loewenstine remembers a game he scouted in Toledo when Todd Frazier played for the Louisville Bats.
The Mudhens had a promotion each game where a visiting player was designated as ‘The Ice Cream Man.’ If that player struck out, everybody in the stands got free ice cream.
“Frazier came up the first time and the entire crowd was on him,” said Loewenstine. “He struck out and the stands emptied as fans ran to get their ice cream. When Frazier came up again, the fans were on him again, thinking they were going to get ice cream again.
“Well, Frazier nearly hit one clear out of the stadium for a home run,” Loewenstein added. “When he got to home plate, he turned to the crowd and acted as if he was eating ice cream out of a cup. I had him marked down as a utility player, but when I got back to my room I wrote in my report, ‘This guy is just goofy enough to be a good player.’”
KKGATE fizzled quickly, disappeared as quickly as a fresh donut next to a cup of coffee.
Just before Tuesday’s game began at 9:11, a Twitter post showed Brandon Phillips, dressed in civilian clothes, standing in line at a Krispy-Kreme donut shop. Shouldn’t he be in the clubhouse, dressed and ready to go to the dugout? And much was made of it in Twitter world.
MANAGER BRYAN PRICE became aware of it after the game and called Phillips into his office. Price admits he is not Twitter friendly and asked Phillips about it.
“He was here in the clubhouse and was not tweeting,” said Price. “There are advertisers on your Twitter account if you have so many followers and those advertisers can release tweets whenever they want. That’s what happened. He was here, he never left. It is a non-issue, just inconvenient for that tweet to come out at 9 o’clock from Krispy-Kreme.”
Phillips, who missed the last two games with injuries to both hands, was back in the lineup Wednesday, with no donut sugar on either hand.
REMEMBER SEAN Marshall? The big left handed pitcher played catch for the first time since spring training, a 10-minute pitch-and-catch session from 60 feet before Wednesday’s game.
Afterwards, it was if Marshall discovered a cure for all cancers. He was enthralled.
“Free and easy, free and easy,” he said. “So far. So good. I didn’t feel anything in my shoulder. I’ll start doing this every other day and build it up.”
Manager Bryan Price was nearly as enthusiastic, maybe more.
“He looked normal, not like a guy coming off shoulder surgery,” said Price “It is incredible how amazed you can be over 10 minutes of throwing, a game of catch. Sean Marshall is one of the better relief pitchers in baseball, so seeing him playing catch on July 1 is pretty special. We’ll keep handing him the ball and move forward with a throwing program and keep our fingers crossed that he stays strong and possibly even this year he gets back to pitching.”
CUBAN PITCHER RAISEL Iglesias pitched three scoreless innings Tuesday for the Louisville Bats in the first test of his injured oblique.
“A really good report, very sharp for three innings,” said Price. “He threw 21 pitches in the first inning, working around an error and a walk. Then he threw 22 pitches over the next two innings. No issues with the oblique.”
Price said Iglesias most likely will make two more starts in the minors before being activated back into the Reds rotation after the All-Star break, “barring an emergency in which we might need him.”
TONY CINGRANI threw a bullpen Wednesday morning and will pitch Friday for Class AAA Louisville to test his shoulder.
“He is as strong with his shoulder as he has been in a long while,” said Price. “He’ll throw a couple of innings Friday. We are going to get him as much work as we can to get him stretched out so he can fill a myriad of roles for us.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Johnny Cueto was dressed resplendently when he walked into the clubhouse before his start Wednesday and as he walked past Marlon Byrd’s locker, Byrd said, “Oh, man. Look at that. Coming in here looking like money.”