CINCINNATI —There is a problem with the Cincinnati Reds using on-the-job training for its starting staff of all rookies.
How many innings can they pitch? Do they have a limit? Is there a plan?
Indeed, there is. Manager Bryan Price waved a legal pad in the air, then quickly placed it on his desk and covered it with another piece of paper.
“There it is,” said Price. “But it is not for public display. What we have listed is the innings pitched by our young buys in 2013, 2014 and so far in 2015. We have listed our goals for each one for the year.
“WE HAVE HAD AN eye on that,” Price added. “The biggest challenge is for a lot of guys who will be considered for call-ups for September or even earlier. We’ll have guys who don’t have that first major-league season where they pitched in September and had a chance to take their workload from 145 innings or 150 to 175 or 185. We’ll have a lot of guys who we’ll have to be cautious with their innings.”
He is talking about guys the current rotation of Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorezen, Raisel Iglesias, Davi Holmberg and Keyvius Sampson, plus the likes of Robert Stephenson and Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb.
“When September gets here, with all the pitching resources we have, it will be a lot easier than it will be for August,” said Price. “There is no doubt we have a real focus on how many innings we give all these guys and how we utilize them over the next two months.”
IT WAS ASKED if the Reds might consider a six-man or seven-man rotation when pitch limits get close.
“I’d never say never,” said Price. “But what I like about the five-man rotation is that these guys get conditioned to pitch every fifth day for six months rather than five months. Baseball has done everything in its power to not overload pitchers. But we still seem to have an unbelievable amount of Tommy John surgeries. As much as we’ve changed training routines and innings limits and pitch limites, guys still get hurt.”
Price said baseball has to wonder if it should get more cautious with its pitchers at this level or, “Do we reflect back to days gone by when injuries weren’t as prevalent when pitchers just took the ball and pitched until they were tired and then you took them out. That’s how things used to be.”
PRICE SAID HE DOESN’T want to send a message that the Reds are just preparing pitchers for the future rather than trying to win games.
“You don’t want to make the priority that you are trying to get all the pitchers you have to pitch,” he said. “You do that and you throw away the priority of trying to win the game. We don’t feel like selling the season off in the name of getting all these pitchers ready for 2016. We all want to compete for wins every day.”
NOTHING HAS COME down yet on whether Marlon Byrd and Joey Votto will be fined and suspended for their parts in the on-the-field skirmish Sunday with the Pittsburgh Pirate. Both were ejected, which always means a fine and sometimes suspensions.
And Price said Tuesday there may be some fines and suspensions for players not ejected.
“I know stuff is still coming in and things are still being pieced together,” said Price. “When I was out on the field Sunday with umpire Joe West he said we can expect, once the tape is reviewed, that some players who remained in the game might receive some fines or suspensions. There were things happening that the umpires were not able to see while they were in the middle of that mosh pit of players.”
FARM REPORT: Right handed pitcher Robert Stephenson was named International League Pitcher of the Week after he went 1-0 in two starts with a 0.64 earned run average. In the two starts he pitched 14 innings for Class AAA Louisville and struck out 15. It won’t be long before Stephenson will appear in the Reds rotation.
Adam Duvall, an infielder playing outfield in Louisville after he was obtained from San Francisco in the Mike Leake trade, was 3 for 10 in his first two games with a home run.
John Lamb, one of the three pitchers obtained from Kansas City in the Johnny Cueto trade, pitched six innings and gave up one earned run and four hits Monday for Class AAA Louisville. He did not get the win, though, because the bullpen gave up three runs in the seventh and eighth innings and the Bats lost, 3-2.
WHEN THE REDS were in St. Louis, pinch-hitter deluxe Skip Schumaker, a former St. Louis Cardinal, received a standing ovation when he walked to the plate in Busch Stadium.
“That’s pretty special,” said Schumaker. “I don’t know why they keep doing that, but it’s pretty cool.”