CINCINNATI — A decision has been made, an understandable one but also a curious one.
For the immediate future, manager Bryan Price plans to use the popular Scooter Gennett every day at second base and Jose Peraza goes to the bench.
Gennett, based on performance, certainly has earned it and Peraza has struggled.
But. . .
—Aren’t the Reds in a rebuild mode and isn’t the 22-year-old Peraza part of it?
—Do the Reds plan to sign Gennett for next year and/or to a long-term deal? There are no indications that anything is in the works.
—It isn’t offense the Reds need. They have plenty of that and offense is why Gennett is going play. And for sure the move weakens the team’s middle defense.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Price. “Scooter influences our club in a lot of ways.
“The by-product of that is that Jose Peraza loses some playing time,” he added. “I will want to move him around with some starts because I don’t see him as an all-purpose utility player. We see him as a strong middle-of-our-defense performer. And I think he’ll eventually look a lot more offensively like he did last year.
“Jose has put some pressure on himself and he shares a position with a player who is having a terrific year,” said Price. “This serves two purposes — to get the production that Scooter has provided all year into the lineup and also gives Jose a little bit of a blow from the grind that it has been for him the first 3 1/2 months.”
PRICE DID A ONE-ON-ONE conversations with Peraza and said, “He is a professional and is a terrific, terrific young guy. And he is going to be a terrific player and is already a solid player. But Scooter has been nothing short of spectacular with the bat.”
Gennett is hitting .307 with 16 homers, 54 RBI, 15 walks, 57 strikeouts and an on base average of .357. Peraza is hitting .253 with four home runs, 26 RBI, six walks, 51 strikeouts and a .277 on base average. And Gennett has more than 100 fewer at bats than Gennett.
WITH CINCINNATI REDS PITCHERS falling like trees in a lumber yard, fans want to know.
Why so many injuries to Cincinnati Reds pitchers?
First of all, it isn’t just a Cincinnati epidemic. It is happening all over baseball, to all teams. There isn’t a team in the majors that doesn’t have a starting pitcher on the disabled list, some more than one.
When Scott Feldman went on the disabled list this week, it completed the cycle for the Reds — all five starters coming out of spring training have been on the DL. The Seattle Mariners lost their entire starting rotation.
THERE HAVE BEEN MORE than 200 pitchers spend time on the disabled list this season.
Narrow-focused fans wonder why the Reds are infected and some wonder if it has anything to do with the team’s medical staff.
Manager Bryan Price is quite to put a lid on that can of squirming worms.
“I would not point a finger in any direction to say there is a cause for this,” said Price. “There is another organization that had all five starters on the disabled list at the same time (Seattle). Yes, there is an epidemic of arm injuries to pitchers.
“It is a problem not only here, but collegiately as well,” he said. “We can all choose to point fingers, all people in the baseball community, but until there is a definition as to why these guys are getting hurt, we can’t say anything.”
NOBODY KNOWS FOR SURE and it wouldn’t be happening and teams would stop it if the cause was uncovered. Price, though, has his theories, albeit not proven.
“It could be a number of things,” he said. “Maybe it’s the fact kids choose one sport and play it all year at a young age. Maybe it’s the training chain, the fact that kids are working out earlier and getting arm strength earlier in their lives and doing damage.”
Price shrugged and said he doesn’t know. Who does?
“I know what my speculation is but I’m not the physical expert,” he said. “All I know is the things I saw as a young pitcher and as a young pitching coach that matured into an old pitching coach.”
And what might that be?
“Maybe there is a price to pay for kids being able to throw so hard at such a young age,” he said. “We are really seeing it in the last hand full of years. We are seeing things we’ve never seen. We’ve never seen this type of velocity. We’re seeing it in our minor league reports, seeing it in college, even seeing it in high school.”
Answers? There are none and pitchers just keep hurting their elbows and shoulders.
ROBERT STEPHENSON, supposedly a new and improved Robert Stephenson, returns from Class AAA Louisville to start Saturday’s game against the Miami Marlins.
“We saw a much higher strike percentage this time (in Louisville),” said Price. “He is throwing a breaking pitch (slider) that he can throw for a higher percentage of strikes. His walk percentage was down and his hits per innings pitched count was down. So there are some really good signs there.”
While serving his time in Triple-A, Stephenson worked on his slider and tweaked some mechanics.
“I feel really good about the progress I made the last couple of months,” said the 24-year-old right hander, the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2011, a guy who has been six years in the making. “I made more progress these last two months than I made in all the previous years as far as my command and control in the zone. I wanted to go down there and throw strikes and I’ve done a really good job of that.”
One thing, though, didn’t work. And he quickly scrapped it.
“I tried taking my hands over my head out of the wind-up and I walked five guys in two innings,” he said. “So I said, ‘I can’t do this any more.’ So I went a little lower with my hands that’s stuck with me.”
Of his slider, Stephenson said, “The last time out it wasn’t very good, but for the most part it has developed a lot and I’ve decided to come back and throw it more.”