04/29/2013 8:04 PM ET
Reds' offense leaning to the left
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- With the promotion of outfielder Donald Lutz on Monday from Double-A Pensacola to replace the injured Chris Heisey, the Reds' offense became more left-handed heavy.
Lutz, Xavier Paul and Jack Hannahan could be lefties off the bench at any given time, with Derrick Robinson and Cesar Izturis listed as switch-hitters. Shin-Soo Choo, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are the lefty hitters in the regular lineup.
"From all right-handed a couple of years ago to left-handed. We've got what we've got," manager Dusty Baker said. "It helps when like the Cardinals have only one lefty [in the bullpen] now."
Baker said that because of an undisclosed injury, Robinson is unable to hit from the left side but can still bat right-handed.
Heisey hits DL; Lutz earns first MLB promotion
ST. LOUIS -- The Reds placed left fielder Chris Heisey on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a strained right hamstring and recalled outfielder Donald Lutz from Double-A Pensacola.
This is his first promotion to the Majors for the 24-year-old Lutz, who hails from Germany. He was given the news by Pensacola manager Delino DeShields.
"It was amazing. I just gave him a big hug," Lutz said. "The emotions kind of kicked in after I talked on the phone to my mom back in Germany."
The left-handed-power-hitting Lutz batted .211 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 21 games for Pensacola, but he impressed manager Dusty Baker during Spring Training, when he batted .277 with two homers.
"He brings a lot of energy. He has a ton of talent," Baker said. "He struggled some down there. I said to him, 'It was a great opportunity. It's not like you really earned this spot.' He was the next guy on the roster that I was hoping would be doing well."
Baker believes Lutz has a chance to start over and learn a lot.
"You don't see many guys promoted to the big leagues hitting .211," he said, "but anybody can get off to a bad start, too."
Lutz was actually born in Watertown, N.Y., but grew up in his mother's native Germany. Originally a hockey player, he didn't pick up baseball until he was a teenager. He is a product of Major League Baseball's European Academy and will be the first German to play in the modern big leagues upon his debut.
As for a cheering section, Lutz's girlfriend, brother and some friends are making plans to go to Cincinnati. His mother is tending to his ailing great-grandmother and isn't sure of her travel plans.
"Everyone is trying to come over. It's amazing," Lutz said. "My phone was blowing up. All of Germany, everybody, is behind me. It's a really good feeling."
Heisey was injured on Saturday running to first base as he grounded into a double play. He has struggled in replacing the injured Ryan Ludwick as the regular left fielder and is batting .173 with two home runs and five RBIs in 23 games.
Not quite a month into the 2013 season, Heisey is already the seventh player from the Reds' 25-man roster to be placed on the DL. Xavier Paul is likely to get a majority of starts in left field, but Baker said thatg rookie Derrick Robinson would start on Tuesday when the Reds need stronger outfield defense with Bronson Arroyo pitching.
No pain for Cueto after bullpen session
ST. LOUIS -- Reds ace Johnny Cueto, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right lat, threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Monday. It was his second time working off a mound since going on the DL.
"It was pretty good, no pain," Cueto said. "I threw my breaking ball, everything."
Cueto hoped to discuss going on a Minor League rehab assignment with pitching coach Bryan Price, though plans remained fluid for the time being.
"We'll have to see how he comes out of today," manager Dusty Baker said. "I have to talk to him first."
Cueto was eligible for activation for the first time on Monday, but that is unlikely to happen for a little while.
Bruce supportive of Collins' coming out
ST. LOUIS -- On the Monday of groundbreaking news from NBA player Jason Collins, who revealed that he is gay in a Sports Illustrated essay, the reverberations are being felt throughout major professional sports.
The Reds' clubhouse is no exception.
Right fielder Jay Bruce is supportive of Collins' decision to come out.
"I'm happy for him," Bruce said. "I can't imagine what it's like to live your whole professional life basically in secrecy. I don't think anyone should let society pigeonhole them into thinking something is right or wrong. I'm happy he did it for himself. I am sure it's a pretty big weight lifted off of his shoulders now."
Bruce felt there would be no issue for him if one of his teammates revealed that he is gay.
"No, not at all," he said. "There's a professional aspect that goes into a team anyway. Whatever your sexuality is, it's your business or prerogative."
Manager Dusty Baker believes that the issue of a clubhouse accepting a gay teammate would be up to the players. As for himself?
"It's not really what I think," Baker said. "It's what his teammates think."
Baker, who lives in the Bay Area, recalled watching Collins play when he was a college standout for Stanford.
"Maybe he feels better. That's what counts," he said. "That's why he came out and said it. It takes weight off of his shoulders. All I know is, people want to know your reaction to something somebody else does. It doesn't matter what my reaction is. It's his thing."