‘Three things cannot be hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.’ — GAUTAMA BUDDHA.
CINCINNATI — Scooter Gennett was not trying to hide anything. The truth was in the way he threw, dropping down to throw sidearm. And some of those throws had first baseman Joey Votto scrambling like a prairie dog running from a coyote.
His shoulder is hurting, has hurt since about the third day of spring training.
As Gennett said before Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, when his name was not on the line-up card, and he was asked about the sore shoulder affecting his throws, “Uh, yeah (said with a chuckle). Anybody who has been watching the games could probably tell that there’s something there.
“And it is not only the throwing, it affects everything,” he added. “With my hitting I feel I’m late on a lot of pitches that normally I’m never late on. I’m not one to make excuses so I’m not really saying that’s why I’m not throwing the way I should or hitting the way I should, but there is something going on.”
And, indeed, it has infected his entire play.
“I began three days into spring training and I don’t remember a particular throw or any swing,” he said. “It just gradually began hurting and I’ve been doing everything I can to get it right. It is just not getting there.”
Gennett underwent an MRI Monday morning and nothing definiitive showed up so he is taking a couple of days off from defense and throw in hopes things will improve by Friday.
“If I can lift my arm I feel like I can play,” he said. “But is it enough to help the team? That’s where I am — am I knockin’ in more than I’m lettin’ in?”
ALEX BLANDINO has the best hair on the team and preobably the best teeth. And he resembles the movie version of Serpico, although he has no clue who Serpico was. When told he was an undercover drug police officer (Al Pacino), he smiled and said, “OK, I am going to check it out.”
Blandino is making fast advancement, not only on the field but with the pecking order in the clubhouse. When the team left on its last trip Blandino dressed in a far corner with some of the relief pitchers. When he returned, he discovered his locker was moved next between Jesse Winker and Tucker Barnhart.
“I found my locker had been moved and it’s nice to be down here with the regulars, that’s for sure,” he said.
Blandino, 25, is a northern Californian now living in Arizona and was a No. 1 draft pick in 2014 out of Stanford University. He has slowly matriculated step-by-step through the Reds system and finally made it to Class AAA Louisville midway through last season. He wasn’t spectacular.
But he widened some eyes during spring training and although he was sent to Louisville his memory was fresh in the front office. He played only three games at Louisville and was 0 for 8, but was quickly called up.
And he had an inauspicious start, 1 for 17. But the Reds stuck with him and now he is on a seven-game hitting streak (10 for 26, .385) that includes three two-hit games.
“He has really played good,” said Riggleman. “He is a pretty skilled guy. He throws the ball well, has enough arm to play shortstop, has great hands. With anybody there is the question of his bat and he is swinging the bat good.”
Blandino played third base when Eugenio Suarez was injured and is now playing second base during Gennett’s absence.
“That first week for me (1 for 17) was an adjustment period, my first time in the big leagues,” he said. “A lot of new things are thrown at you. It was like getting settled into an environment.
“I started more slowly than I wanted, but I kept things simple, kept my thoughts small about doing what I know I can do,” he added. “I didn’t try to press, didn’t try to hit a six-run homer. That was the key, just get back to getting things under control at the plate.”
Of course, more playing tine usually flattens any kinks and the more Blandino plays the more he hits and plays solid defense.
“It helps to be in there on a daily basis, getting more at bats. That’s helps the timing,” he said. “It is important, too, to be able to come off the bench as part of a double switch. It is two different approaches, but it is something I’m working. It will be important to me as I try to move forward.”
Blandino has no preference over third or second and added, “I even played shortstop growing up, third in college (Stanford) and second in the minors. It i not for me to decided. I just have to be ready to go whenever my name is in the lineup. I like playing and sure won’t complain.”
He says he is getting a lot of help and advice from his teammates.
“This is a great clubhouse, full of guys who want to see you succeed,” he said. “The energy is great and positive. I work with Geno (Suarez) and Jose Peraza a lot on defense. When I was struggling Geno came up to me and said, ‘Hey, man Don’t press. They didn’t call you up as a favor. You are here because you belong.’”
And lately he is showing he does belong.
IT WAS A LONG TIME coming and it was historical when the Reds won the series over the weekend against the Minnestoa Twins two game to one.
It was their first interleague series victory of three or more game since they swept the Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park in September, 2013. Since then the Reds had lost nine straight interleague series of three games or more and were 4-23 in those series.
THIS ISN’T FAKE NEWS, but it is Old News or Monotonous News. Joey Votto was named National League Player of thr Week for the fifth time in his career. During the week he hit home runs in four straight games, had 22 totals bases, nine hits and scored seven runs.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Manager Jim Riggleman on pinch-hitting for Billy Hamilton twice since Riggleman took over: “I don’t manage for one man, I manage for 25.”