CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati-Louisville Baseball Shuttle Service was in action Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, as it is all the time, nearly on a full-time schedule with the Cincinnati Reds.
First of all, catcher Stuart Turner was activated off the disabled list. And pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla was recalled from Class AAA Louisville to pump fresh blood into the weary bullpen.
To make room, pitcher Jake Buchanan was optioned back to Louisville and pitcher Asher Wojciechowski was designated for assignment because he has no options left.
THE REDS ARE HOPEFUL that no team claims Wojo and that he will accept an assignment to Louisville rather than accept free agency.
“We don’t want to lose Wojo, but he has no options left,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “He can be claimed (by another team) and if not he can accept an assignment to Triple-A or take free agency. We’d like him to stay because he gives us the depth we like to have. And we think he could do a nice job in our bullpen.”
WOJCIECHOWSKI STARTED SATURDAY’S game and it leaves a hole in the rotation for Friday’s game in Washington. Who will fill it?
It won’t be Homer Bailey, even if his start Monday in Louisville goes well. That would be on only three days of rest and Price prefers not to risk that scenario.
“We have to look at our options for that first game in D.C., but it won’t be Homer,” said Price. “We’re not holding our breath on Homer, we’ll just let what happens happen and decided after he pitches if he needs to continue on his rehab or if he is ready for activation. We’ll look at internal options for Friday in D.C.”
Bailey is working on 11 straight scoreless innings on rehab, five at Class AA Pensacola and six at Class A Dayton Wednesday.
BAILEY HELPED THE DAYTON DRAGONS clinch a Midwest League playoff spot and Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan, also on rehab, pitched three scoreless innings late last week to help Pensacola clinch the first half Southern League championship.
“You don’t want to be a big league guy who goes into Pensacola and screws it up for them,” Price said with a laugh. “Nothing like having a little bit of Bailey and Finnegan on your minor league teams when you are heading down toward the wire.”
WITH THE RETURN of Turner, the Reds again have three catchers and a short bench. There was speculation that the Reds might have to offer him back to the Minnesota Twins because he is a Rule 5 pick.
The Reds have to keep him on the 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Twins for $50,000, or work out a trade with the Twins.
The Reds, though, want to keep him. Asked if he worried about his status while he was on a 20-day rehab assignment, Turner said, “I can’t worry about it. It concerns the whole year, really, and could happen at any point. You just can’t worry about it. You take the most out of it and whatever happens happens.”
ONE OF THE NEATEST things in baseball happened Thursday when Dayton Dragons manager Luis Boliver became a citizen and what happened didn’t escape the notice of Reds manager Bryan Price.
“The interesting footnote to that is that when he got his citizenship his entire team and coaching staff showed up for the ceremony,” said Price. “That really speaks very highly of the connectivity that Luis has with his players.”
Price saw video of the ceremony and, “I sent him an e-mail and he was surprised and touched by it. I said it speaks very highly of his character to have his entire team and staff show up for that huge event.”
Bolivar led the Dragons to a playoff spot in the first half, Dayton’s first appearance since 2011.
“The Dayton thing has been awesome and fun to watch,” said Price. “They’ve performed well. The game reports constantly talk about the effort and their ability to come back in games. That’s a tribute to the players and the staff. They are highly motivated.”
REMEMBER NUKE LALOOSH, the pitcher in the movie ‘Bull Durham’ who fired wild pitches off the screen and knocked the head off the bull mascot?
Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta threw one of those Saturday that sailed behind the hitter on the rise and crashed into the screen. And it didn’t surprise Reds pitcher Homer Bailey.
“I’ve seen that out of him a lot,” said Bailey. “We work out together during the off-season. He is the worst guy in the world to play catch with from 70 feet. He is all over the place and sometimes he’ll throw one 20 feet over your head. You just say to yourself, ‘What is he doing?’ But he can’t help it.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Reds manager Bryan Price was asked about Father’s Day tradition and he said, “It is pretty challenging because my daughter is 29 and we’ve spent almost every Father’s Day apart all the way back to when I was a minor league coach. So tradition really has come via Hallmark or AT&T. They get a lot of business during baseball season.”