04/17/2013 5:14 PM ET
Baker recalls wild suspended game as player
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Tuesday night's suspended game vs. the Phillies was the first for the Reds since July 30-31, 2004, vs. the Astros. In that game, play was suspended in the top of the 11th after four rain delays that totaled three hours and three minutes. Action resumed at 11:30 a.m. ET the following day, and Jason LaRue won the 3-2 game for the Reds in the 13th inning with a two-out, walk-off double against Chad Harville.
Reds manager Dusty Baker had his own suspended-game saga as a player for the Dodgers on Aug. 17, 1982 vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The ballpark was without lights then and the game was suspended in the 18th inning because of darkness.
Los Angeles won the game the following day by a 2-1 score on Baker's sacrifice fly in the top of the 21st inning. Lefty Jerry Reuss pitched the final four innings for the win, and then worked the regularly scheduled next game for five innings to get two wins in a single day. Baker recalled shuffling back and forth defensively between left field and right field with pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.
"[Manager Tommy] Lasorda put Fernando in left field against a left-handed hitter, and I'd move over for a right-handed hitter. ... That was crazy," Baker said. "It was like running sprints during the game. The umpire was like 'C'mon, c'mon, c'mon.' I was like '... Dude, I just got over here.' I was 1-for-3 in regulation and 1-for-[8 overall]."
Reds to call up Cingrani for Thursday start vs. Miami
CINCINNATI -- The Reds on Wednesday made official the expected news that left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani will be called up from Triple-A Louisville to start on Thursday vs. the Marlins in injured ace Johnny Cueto's rotation spot.
A corresponding 25-man roster move to make room for Cingrani has yet to be revealed. Cueto was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a strained right lat muscle.
Rated the organization's No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, Cingrani was dominant in his three 2013 starts for Louisville. He was 1-0 with 14 1/3 scoreless innings, two walks and 26 strikeouts. Reds manager Dusty Baker is hoping that the rotation doesn't miss a beat with Cingrani taking over for Cueto.
"That's what the depth of the organization is about," Baker said. "We're here to win ballgames and not see who the next rising star is, even though it's exciting. We want him to fit in like we hope he does."
Cingrani's last start for Louisville on Sunday was cut short after two innings and 45 pitches in case he was needed in the big leagues after Cueto was injured during his start on Saturday vs. the Pirates.
In his first start of the year, vs. Toledo, Cingrani had six hitless innings with 14 strikeouts. A third-round Draft pick in 2011 out of Rice University, the 23-year-old had moved up quickly and has primarily excelled with only two pitches -- a fastball and changeup.
"He's been down there to work on getting secondary stuff over. Most pitchers work off of their fastball," Baker said. "The best pitch in baseball is a well-located fastball. There have been guys that throw everything and can't get [anything] over -- they have eight pitches, all of them bad. Then there are some guys like Mario Soto -- he had two pitches, a changeup and fastball."
This will be Cingrani's first big league start, but he made three big league relief appearances last season as a September callup, including one vs. the Marlins on Sept. 15. He pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
"That helps quite a bit actually, because you know that you can pitch here," Baker said.
The Reds have not had a left-hander start a game since Dontrelle Willis on Sept. 29, 2011, at Pittsburgh. Cingrani will end a franchise-record-tying 180 consecutive games in which a right-handed starter was used.
Frazier demonstrating defensive improvement
CINCINNATI -- During Tuesday night's game vs. the Phillies, just before it was suspended by rain in the ninth inning, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier made a nice diving stop on a hard one-hop grounder to his left that robbed John Mayberry Jr. of a hit. The game was scoreless, which made the play even more clutch.
"That felt good," Frazier said on Wednesday. "You never really know what can happen there. I was trying to knock it down. It actually came back as I dove. I had to alligator-arm it a little bit. When I came up, I just had to fire it over there."
Replacing an eight-time Gold Glove winner in Scott Rolen, Frazier made defensive improvement a priority in the offseason. He focused on agility and footwork during workouts near his New Jersey home and worked with bench coach Chris Speier during Spring Training. The results have been evident as Frazier has been steady thus far, while making several sparkling plays.
"Fraz works hard. It just doesn't happen because you wake up in the morning," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He put in the work. ... Plus, it's helped that he's played one position for the first time in his life."
Frazier has previously played every infield position and left field, and primarily the corner infield spots last season. But playing third base regularly has become a good fit and very comfortable.
"It helps me out a ton -- first and foremost, it helps out my arm," Frazier said. "Secondly, all I have to worry about is one position. I don't have to worry about first base or left field or something like that. It keeps me calm. It's like the biggest thing for me -- being calm out there defensively, trying to be solid. Third base is basically knocking down balls in those late innings."