Roenicke thrown into fire early
Rookie faces tough situation in first big league game
PHOENIX -- The warmth of the Arizona desert had nothing on the heat Josh Roenicke was exposed to for his Major League debut on Saturday.The Reds reliever was summoned by manager Dusty Baker while Diamondbacks runners were on second and third with two outs in the seventh. Oh yeah, the game was on the line, too. The score was 1-1. "I figured I'd be able to start an inning off for my first one, which I think [Baker] was hoping for," Roenicke said. "I got warm to go in the seventh if we scored." The Reds didn't score, and Baker wanted to keep Edinson Volquez in the game in an effort to get him 17 wins. But Volquez gave up a leadoff double and a walk. Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt got two outs and Baker needed a right-hander. He called for Roenicke. "If you're going to come in with men on base, that's one of the best scenarios you can get," Baker said in defending the daring move. "It's one of the things we have to find out what he can do in that situation for next year." Roenicke struggled with his command and walked first batter Chris Young on four pitches to load the bases. Adam Dunn was hit by a 2-0 pitch that forced in the go-ahead run. Roenicke struck out Mark Reynolds to get out of the jam with no more runs crossing. The Reds were able to come back and win, 3-2, in 10 innings. "I came in here and watched it afterwards," Roenicke said. "I felt I was yanking the ball a little bit, and obviously nerves came into play. But I wasn't missing up. I was missing down, which means I wasn't overthrowing it, which I didn't want to do. I wanted to be relaxed and focused." Among rookies, Roenicke is a little older at 26. He posted a 2.80 ERA in 57 appearances combined this season at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville before his first big league callup on Monday. Roenicke had several family members and friends at the game, including his father Gary -- a former Major League outfielder. Roenicke kept his strikeout ball and Baker gave him the lineup card from the game as a souvenir.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.