Taxed Reds bullpen looking for respite
Baker seeking longer outings, fewer pitches from starters
MIAMI -- If he could get away with it, manager Dusty Baker would have preferred to slap a padlock on the Reds bullpen Tuesday night.Baker found himself pulling for starter Bronson Arroyo for more than the usual reasons. Johnny Cueto lasted five innings in Monday's 6-5, 10-inning win and Homer Bailey went only five innings on Friday vs. the Cubs. "Our bullpen is really upside down," Baker said. Cueto threw 110 pitches in Monday's game, including 33 during a three-run third inning. On Friday, Bailey had 106 pitches, including 64 through his first three innings. This was one of the reasons the Reds had Cueto as the No. 2 starter and the more dependable Arroyo in the third spot in front of Bailey. "We have to find a way to minimize the pitches from our starters," Baker said. "One hundred pitches in the fifth is a lot of pitches. Even though they're battling, we have to command the strike zone a little better. That's a lot of pitches and a lot of pressure on the bullpen, especially when we're playing 12 consecutive games." Right-handed setup man Nick Masset was expected to get the night off after he pitched for three straight days. Masset worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam for the victory Monday.
Reds may call up reliever from Minors
MIAMI -- After the bullpen was heavily taxed again for five innings of work in a 10-8, 11-inning win, the Reds might soon have to look to Triple-A Louisville for reinforcements."I don't know, I think we've got a day before we make that decision," manager Dusty Baker said after the game. "Hopefully, Homer [Bailey] can deal [Wednesday]. We need innings." Rookie Logan Ondrusek struggled again with three earned runs and five hits allowed in the eighth inning with Nick Masset unavailable. Ondrusek now has a 16.20 ERA through five appearances. The most likely candidate at Louisville for a callup would have been Jared Burton, but he is on the disabled list -- retroactive to April 8. The injury was listed as "thyroid testing." "We're not sure what it is," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said of Burton. "He didn't have a lot of strength or something. He's had a lot of tests. We don't know the results yet." Jocketty confirmed there was no plan to add a reliever before Wednesday's game. "We'll see how it goes tomorrow," he said.
Bruce pleased with approach
MIAMI -- Right fielder Jay Bruce snapped a career-high-tying 0-for-17 slump on Monday with a double in the second inning and a single in the fourth. Bruce didn't savor the hits too much, however."It's always good to get hits, no matter if you're 0-for-17 or 10-for-17," Bruce said. "I've been feeling great. I was hitting the ball right at people, taking good at-bats and really couldn't stress about it too much. The hits weren't coming but the at-bats and approach have been there all along, in my opinion. It had been a solid season as far as that is concerned but obviously, this is a results driven game. It's nice to start getting some." Bruce had to apologize on Tuesday for making an obscene gesture to his teammates that was caught on camera after his double. In a more positive moment for Bruce, he took a one-out walk in the eighth inning Monday by laying off an outside slider for ball four. It was a pitch he might have chased last season. "Even though I had only been walked once before that [this season], my pitch selection had been better," Bruce said. "I don't go up there to walk but to swing at pitches I can drive. If walks happen, it's a product of that."
Hernandez likes playing in Miami
MIAMI -- Catcher Ramon Hernandez has been busy trying to arrange getting tickets for family and friends this week. Hernandez, who lives in Miami during the offseason, reserved 50 tickets for family and friends on Monday and was planning to do likewise on Wednesday and Thursday."It'll be busy, but it's good. I like it," Hernandez said. In Monday's win, Hernandez was 1-for-4. He did not start on Tuesday but always enjoys playing in Florida. He is a native of Venezuela but now calls Miami his permanent home. "When you go home, you relax," Hernandez said. "You see your family and see your kids. It's always nice because you have little time during the season to come home and sleep in your own bed."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.