UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while listening to the Cincinnati Reds on the radio and watching/listening to the NCAA brackets announcement on TV — and that’s why our Maker gave us two ears.
Slowly, very slowly, the walking wounded are returning to the field for the Cincinnati Reds.
Shortstop Zack Mozart made his second start of the spring Sunday afternoon in Peoria, AZ. against the Seattle Mariners and connected on a two-run home run during the Reds 5-3 victory.
And Raisel Iglesias makes his spring debut, probably for two innings, Monday when the Reds played the California Angeles of Anaheim in Tempe, AZ. Iglesias has been held back due to the shoulder weakness he encountered late last season that shut him down.
NEXT ON THE LIST is catcher Devin Mesoraco and the plans is to play him for the first time this spring sometime this week. Mesoraco underwent hip surgery late last season and has been brought along carefully and slowly.
Billy Hamilton? Still absent with stiffness in his shoulder after he underwent shoulder surgery last year.
OPENING DAY STARTER Anthony Desclafani bounce back Sunday from a subpar performance ill his previous start. He became the first Reds starter this spring to go four innings and held the Mariners to two runs and three hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Relief pitcher Pedro Villarreal, released after last season but re-signed to s minor-league contract, is one of a long gray line of bullpen prospects and is making a sturdy case for himself. He pitched two innings Sunday and gave ump no runs, no hits, walked one and struck out two, lowering his spring ERA to 1.29.
Such was not the case for Caleb Cotham, one of the four prospects the Reds received from the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman. Gotham pitched one innings and gave up three hits and a run and his spring ERA is a stratospheric 13.50.
TYLER HOLT, ACQUIRED late last season off waivers from the Cleveland Indians, who drafted him in the 10th round of the 2010 draft and has major league experience, is one of the bushel basket full of outfield prospects playing exhibition games for the Reds.
Although his name has not been mentioned as strongly as some of the other like Scott Schebler, Jake Cave, Jesse Winker and Yorman Rodriguez, the 27-year-old Holt, drafted by the Tribe out of Florida State University, is making a statement.
He has seven hits in 22 plate appearances (.318) and he singled in the third inning after the first seven Reds went down in order. Cozart followed with a two-run home run.
AND IMMEDIATELY after Cozart’s home run, Cave drilled a home run over the 41 sign in center field to give the Reds a 3-0 lead. Cave is hitting .320 for the spring.
Seattle scored two runs in the third off Desclafani, but the Reds scored the two runs they needed to win on a run-scoring double by Jordan Pacheco and a run-scoring single by Ivan DeJesus Jr.
Although spring training records are meaningless and the club front office checks out individual performances more than team performances, the Reds are 6-7-1 nearly halfway through the exhibition season.