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Deck McGuire: A long, long road to Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — Deck McGuire sounds like a swabbie in the Irish Navy and his baseball life has been like the motto, “Join the Navy and see the world.”

For McGuire it has been a baseball odyssey — sign a contract and see America. And the 28-year-old right hander drafted No. 1 by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 out of Georgia Tech can recite his stops as his own person ramblin’ wreck.

“I was drafted by the Blue Jays in ’10, traded to the Oakland A’s, released and signed as a minor league free agent with the Dodgers, signed with the Cardinals as a minor league free agent and signed with the Reds as a minor league free agent,” he said.

WITH ALL THOSE TEAMS, though, he didn’t make it to the majors until this year when the Reds called him up after he finished his season as a starter for the Class AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

His real stops along the way, though, read like the Johnny Cash song, “I’ve Been Everywhere.” McGuire’s travelogue: New Hampshire (four times), Dunedin, Fla., Salt River, Ariz., Sacramento, Buffalo, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Springfield, Mo., and Pensacola.

He is a man of perseverance.

“Yes, a long trail to get here, definitely not a short road,” he said. “I’ve always said, ‘Just keep getting a jersey and that means you have an opportunity.’ So I just tried to go out every five days in Pensacola and keep getting better.”

McGuire made 27 starts and one relief appearances for the Blue Wahoos and was 9-9 with a 2.79 earned run average. That included a scoreless streak of 21 innings and a one-hitter after he gave up a first-inning home run during a 5-1 win over the Biloxi Shuckers.

AND NOW IN THREE RELIEF appearances for the Reds he has given up no runs and two hits over 4 2/3 innings.

“Any tim ethey give you a chance it is my job to come in and get outs,” he said. And that’s what he is doing.

He made his major league debut last week in St. Louis and pitched a 1-2-3 inning against his former team.

“It was exciting to not only face a former team (St. Louis) and former teammates, but I made my debut in front of my family and the support system was awesome.”

As he talked, he put down his cell phone after wishing his son a happy first birthday via Twitter.

And about his first name? Deck? Not really. His first name is William. But his mother’s maiden name is Deck and for some reason he can’t explain how or why he became Deck. He smiled and said, “It’s a southern thing.”

BILLY HAMILTON WAS NOT in the starting lineup Thursday against the Cardinals, but manager Bryan Price nearly guaranteed he would be in the game in some way as a pinch-runner or pinch-hitter or as a defensive replacement. Price said Hamilton’s return to the starting lineup probaby is Friday when the Boston Red Sox come to town.

With Hamilton out, Jesse Winker has been batting leadoff but on Thursday it was Scott Schebler batting leadoff and Winker batting fifth.

“With Schebler on top it is a little bit more speed,” said Price. “With the way Winker is swinging the bat right now he provides us with a nice protection for (clean-up hitter) Scooter Gennett.

“He gives us another on-base and contact hitter, two through five (Zack Cozart, Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, Winker), all .345 or higher (on-base average).

“And if the truth be told, with the particular group of players in the lineup today (Phillip Ervin in center, Patrick Kivlehan at third base) it just seems to make the most sense. It isn’t a new theory,” said Price. “It’s just that when I wrote down the names of the guys who were going to play this seemed to shake out as the best lineup.”

WITH THE BOSTON RED SOX coming to town there is the chance that Reds relief pitcher Luke Farrell could pitch and face his father, who manages the Red Sox.

Price hopes it happens and plans to try to make it happen.

“The little things that go undiscussed are things like this,” said Price. “I really wanted Patrick Kivlehan to start some games in Philadelphia and New York so his family could see him.

“And I knew Zach Vincej’s parents had been to see some games and hadn’t gotten to see him play. And their last chance to see him live was Sunday, which was why I played him when it normally would have been Jose Peraza at shortstop when Zack Cozart gets a day off,” said Price.

“You may not have the luxury of doing that if you are in first place by a game,” said Price. “But if you’re not it provides you with some opportunities to get these guys in for some special moments for their families. And I know that Luke Farrell pitching against his dad’s team would be unique, extremely unique.”


There were some bobbleheads in manager Bryan Prices office, but they won’t be there long. He plans to get rid of them. When somebody asked if if he didn’t want to see a little Homer Bailey looking at him in his office, Price said, “I really don’t. Collector? No, I’m not a collector. I don’t know where these are going to end up. Not in my household, I can tell you that.”


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