CINCINNATI — Steve Selsky admits it without hesitation and without qualms: “I’m probably the worst athlete in my family.” And that includes his father, mother, sisters and wife.
Selsky, a 26-year-old outfielder and the latest minor-leaguer to wander into the clubhouse and put on a Cincinnati Reds uniform, clubbed a double Wednesday night in a pinch-hitting assignment, his first major-league hit.
That he is even with the Reds is a major upset because not many 33rd-round draft picks find their way into a major-league clubhouse. But he has earned his way — six years in the minors where he hit .296 with 44 home runs and 250 RBI.
HIS FATHER, ALSO NAMED Steve, played minor-league baseball in the Chicago White Sox system and when dad left son after spring training this season, he said, “Well, son, I’ll see you in Cincinnati this year.” The son just laughed and said, “Yeah, sure.” And dad said, “I mean it, i’ll see you in Cincy.” So there he was Thursday standing in the clubhouse wearing Reds uniform No 50. Father knows best. “He has always been my No. 1 fan since Day One. He never doubted that it would never happen.”
Now, about his family, the super-pituitary athletes.
“My father never made it to the majors so he knows how it feels to work to get here,” said Selsky. “He has been in my shoes, knows how hard you have to work and knows you need a little bit of luck to get here.
“Both my dad and mom are freak athletes so they had some kids who could play some sports,” he said. “My mom (Lu Ann Terheegan) played volleyball at Long Beach State on a national championship team and played on the women’s Olympic team. She was a top, top volleyball player.”
AND HIS SISTLERS? “Two of them were All-American volleyball players in college. Both tried our for the Olympic teams. They’re freaks. They just dominate their sport. They are undersized for volleyball players, but still better than other girls.”
Selsky’s wife, the former Brittany Cole, was a soccer player at Arizona, where they met and Selsky proudly said, “She was twice the Gatorade Player of the Year back-to-back.”
“My wife hasn’t missed a game since 2010 in college (University of Arizona),” said Selsky. “She was either at the game or watching on TV or listening somehow. She has been with me every step of the way. She has learned a lot. She knows trivia, knows what we’re trying to do, knows when we mess up, knows plays and situational hitting. It’s crazy. She’s picked up so much. She is not your normal fan.”
And Selsky has another admission: “Baseball isn’t my best sport. I’m a better volleyball player. That’s my best sport. We all grew up volleyball players.”
THERE IS A WHITEBOARD in manager Bryan Price’s office and part of it lists the probable pitchers for the upcoming series. For Friday’s game against Oakland the name is Antony DeSclafani, his first start this season.
Asked how it felt to have his name on that board, Price laughed out loud and said, “Oh, yeah. A long time coming. I am. He was such a big part of our rotation last year and scheduled to be our Opening Day starter this year. We lost him in his second to last start of spring training.
“He has put in a lot of work and had some setbacks, but we’re pretty confident he is ready to go,” said Price.
And there is good news about pitchers Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen, both of whom are leaving Arizona after working out there, “And probably happy to get out of that 110-degree heat,” said Price.
“Both threw pain-free in their last workouts and the ball was coming out good and they were throwing strikes with a good mix of pitches,” Price added. Iglesias is moving to Class AA Pensacola for some rehab starts and Lorenzen is coming to Cincinnati to do a side session before reporting to Class AAA Louisville for rehab starts.
BILLY HAMILTON WAS out of Thursday’s lineup but it wasn’t just a day off. He is banged up. He hurt himself Wednesday, but it wasn’t on the fantastic diving catch he made on St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams. He banged his head sliding into third base, raising a knot. “I thought the dive hurt him because he got up slowly, but he was fine. No complaining,” said Price. “But after the slide he was banged up and he has to go through the concussion protocol.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Baseball players all have their walk-up songs when they come to home plate, but with the plight of the Reds bullpen, by far the worst in nearly all statistics in the majors, somebody suggested, “When the bullpen door opens and one of the relief pitchers heads to the mound they should play, ‘Who Let The Dogs Out.’”