CINCINNATI — The pitching carousel continues with the Cincinnati Reds and the latest is: Cody Reed is A Gone Guy and Austin Brice is the latest trinket in the bullpen.
Reed pitched two innings in relief Wednesday night and gave up four walks and two hits, including a two-run home run to Andrew McCutchen. The walks are more of a concern to manager Bryan Price than the home run.
“We talked to Cody before Wednesday’s game and talked about getting him into games more frequently, but we had to see some reliability of command. Everybody who comes up here is going to get hit from time-to-time. But the one message we want to send to everybody in our organization is you have to be able to throw strikes. That’s the No. 1 pre-requisite to pitching in the major leagues.”
BRICE, 24, WAS ACQUIRED in mid-January in the trade with the Miami Marlins that involved Dan Straily. Brice was born in Hong Kong, but is not of Asian descent. He is polite and soft-spoken and now knows he should have spoken up this spring when he had arm issues. Being with a new club and wanting to make the team, he said nothing about the pain and tried to pitch through it.
“Austin was not representing himself very well in spring training because he was trying to pitch through something we didn’t know about,” said Price. “Since then he has gotten his arm in shape, is throwing the ball well. We needed to get Cody Reed some work in Triple-A and we needed a fresh arm up here.”
Said Brice, “I was topping out at 90 miles an hour in spring training. It was bad, as far as performance for me. It was rough and I was trying to get through it and I just finally threw in the towel.
“I wasn’t doing myself any favors — just tearing up my arm,” he said. “I usually throw in the mid-90s. I was putting a lot of effort into just reaching 89-90, so it wasn’t a good situation.”
PRICE SAID BRICE HAS BEEN stretched out to three innings at Class AAA Louisville so he can be valuable in either mid-game appearances or in assignments to eat up innings, a long relief guy.
“Absolutely I can do that,” said Brice. “I’ve thrown more than 600 innings in the minors as a starter, so trying to get through innings is easy for me. That’s my mindset this year, to get as many innings as I can under my belt.”
Brice said the final determination of his spring problems was only a nerve flareup in his elbow and he was having numbness and tingling in his hands. “I was in some pain and I said nothing because that’s kind of the way it always goes when you’re trying to make a team. So, when you’re not doing good and continue, you are just tearing your body up.”
WHEN BRICE THROWS HIS FIRST pitch he will become the 19th different pitcher to throw a pitch for the Reds this season. Brice was 0-1 with a 3.60 earned run average is six relief appearances over 10 innings at Class AAA Louisville, giving up four runs, nine hits, four walks and striking out six.
When he was told the Price said they didn’t get to see what Brice really was during spring training, Brice laughed and said, “Shoot, I didn’t get to see what I was in spring training. I knew after it got better that I had to go to the minors and get innings in. Now I hope I can knock out some innings for them up here.”
A LOOK AT THIS MORNING’S National League Central standings hints of parity, although it is early. Only three games separate the division leading Chicago Cubs (15-12) from the last place Pittsburgh Piraters (12-15). In between are the Milwaukee Brewers (14-14) St. Louis Cardinals (14-14) and the Cincinnati Reds (13-14).
“It seems there is some parity to start the season,” said manager Bryan Price. “Most people think the Cubs have the most talent, the most depth in the rotation and the bullpen and their regulars and their bench. They are all built to be winning right now. However, they haven’t created that separation and the rest of us are kind of lingering around.”
PITTSBURGH MANAGER CLINT HURDLE may be the most interesting guy managing a baseball team and that includes Chicago Cubs wine-sipping Joe Maddon.
When Hurdle played briefly for the Reds at the start of the 1982 season, he often ate breakfast at Hathaway’s Diner in downtown Cincinnati. His waitress was Geneva.
Now, 35 years later, Hurdle still does breakfast at Hathaway’s when the Pirates are in town, “And Geneva is still my waitress,” he said. A friend added, “And it cost him $50 every time, whether his bill is $5 or $20. He always leaves her $50.”
Sitting on Hurdle’s desk is a book, “Leaders Made Here,” by Mark Miller. There are two baseballs on the desk with one word penned on each: “Habits” and “Listen.”
And Hurdle says one of the first things he asks ballplayer he meets for the first time is, “What are your dreams and how can we help you get there?”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Somebody said to Manager Bryan Price, “Don’t you sometimes wish you had a radio in the dugout so you could hear what Marty Brennaman says? Without delay or pause, Price shot back, “I don’t.”