10/07/12 9:32 PM ET
Baker has high praise for dependable LeCure
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
It was LeCure who replaced Johnny Cueto when the Reds' ace had back spasms eight pitches into his start. LeCure took over to finish the at-bat against Marco Scutaro in the first inning and completed 1 2/3 scoreless innings with one hit, two walks and one strikeout.
"This guy has done everything for us," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. "He's gone long. He's gone middle. He's gone short. He wants the ball. He'll very rarely tell you no. You have to monitor him. He's gotten some very big outs for us. You feel as comfortable bringing him in with the bases loaded as you do with anybody on the team."
LeCure, who came up as a starter before switching to the bullpen in 2010, was 3-3 with a 3.14 ERA in a career-high 48 games this season while totaling 57 1/3 innings. Twenty times he threw more than one inning, and he worked at least two innings 12 times.
Down the stretch, LeCure allowed only two hits over his final 10 appearances.
"He's going to throw strikes," Baker said. "He'll get righties out as well as lefties. He gets lefties out actually better than righties. His ball has a lot of movement. He's been great."
Durable Hanigan shows no signs of weariness
SAN FRANCISCO -- Even before the postseason, Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan was already well past his career high for games caught in a season.
After playing 91 games in 2011, his previous high, Hanigan was the primary catcher this season and appeared in 112 games, with 98 starts.
"I feel great," Hanigan said of his workload. "I think I'm getting smarter at figuring out my routine and the types of things I have to do postgame and pregame and overall as the year goes. I'm a little smarter about making sure I put in the extra time to work on my body. It's something you learn as you get older.
"I trained for it in the offseason to be a starting guy and to catch as many games as they want me out there. I always tell them to run me out there and that I'm ready for whatever. I would never tell them I'm not ready to play because of that."
This season, Hanigan established career bests with a .274 average and .365 on-base percentage. He had two homers and 24 RBIs. Defensively, he had a tremendous season -- his pitchers' 3.05 ERA when he catches was lowest in the Majors, and he threw out a National League best 48 percent (34-of-66) runners attempting to steal.
Hanigan has had a history of reduced production when he plays a lot of games. He batted .200 in September with a .286 OBP. But the Reds also gave Dioner Navarro more games down the stretch.
If need be, Hanigan was prepared to catch every game for the Reds during the postseason.
"Nothing hurts. I'm ready to roll," Hanigan said. "It's obviously a long year for a catcher, but it's been exciting and fun. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm ready to go as much as they want to use me, and let's try and get this thing done."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Brandon Phillips on Saturday night in Game 1 of the NLDS became the third Reds player with at least three hits and three RBIs in a postseason game since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920. The other two players to achieve the feat were Tony Perez in 1975 and Mariano Duncan in 1990.
Baker, who led the Giants to the 2002 NL championship, is the third manager in postseason history to oppose a team he previously led to a World Series. It was also done by Yankees skipper Joe McCarthy against the Cubs, in the 1932 and '38 World Series, and Billy Martin, whose A's were swept by the Yankees in the 1981 ALCS.