7/6/2013 10:00 P.M. ET
Hannahan, Izturis deliver big in rare starts
By Mark Schmetzer and Mark Sheldon / Special to MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Lineup changes aren't always about the players sitting out. Sometimes, they're as much or more about the player going in.
That was the case for the Reds Saturday against the Mariners in the second game of their Interleague series at Great American Ball Park. Jack Hannahan started at third base and batted sixth -- spots normally filled by Todd Frazier -- while Cesar Izturis started in place of Zack Cozart at shortstop and batted seventh.
"These guys need playing time," manager Dusty Baker said. "It's not always about rest."
Baker's mini-shakeup produced maximum results for the Reds. Izturis doubled his season RBI total by driving in three while going 2-for-4 with a double, while Hannahan set season highs with three hits and two RBIs in Cincinnati's 13-4 win.
Izturis, who drove in three runs in one game for the first time since May 19, 2010, for Baltimore, gave Baker credit for helping the non-regulars prepare by letting them know a day ahead of time that they were starting.
"Dusty's always good about letting you know, and that's good, especially when you don't play every day," he said. "It's definitely all mental. We've got people here who can help us prepare. It's not that easy, but we know what we're here for."
Hannahan and Izturis aren't likely to make many starts after Saturday, Baker said.
"You're talking two weeks [between possible starts]," Baker said. "You try not to let them go too, too long."
Saturday's start was Izturis's 16th of the season and first since filling in for second baseman Brandon Phillips during a two-game series at Oakland June 25-26 while Phillips was on paternity leave. Hannahan's start was his 14th and 11th at third base.
After going 0-for-4 in Cincinnati's 4-2 loss to the Mariners on Friday, Cozart was 2-for-14 on the homestand with one hit in his last 12 at-bats, dropping his overall average from .246 to .240. On the other hand, Frazier's double in his first at-bat on Friday extended his hitting streak to five games (6-for-19, .316).
Chapman's parents will watch All-Star Game in person
CINCINNATI -- Reds closer Aroldis Chapman has often been secretive about anything in his life pertaining to his former home in Cuba, but he revealed something important on Saturday.
Chapman, who was elected to the National League All-Star team for the second time on the players' ballot Saturday, will have special guests watching the game at Citi Field in New York on July 16.
"My parents are going to be with me. They are here with me now," Chapman said via interpreter Tomas Vera. "I'm going to feel really happy pitching there. It will be even better because my parents are going to be there watching me pitch in the game."
Chapman, a 25-year-old hard-throwing left-hander, declined to provide details about his parents or how they got out of Cuba.
"They got here in January," Chapman said. "They spent Spring Training there with me. We didn't want to say anything to anybody."
In July 2009, Chapman defected from Cuba while in the Netherlands for an international tournament. With some assistance, he established residency in the small European nation of Andorra.
Leaving without notice meant Chapman had had a long separation from his family -- including a wife and a baby daughter, Ashanti, whom he has yet to meet.
"They're still in Cuba. God willing, they will be here soon," Chapman said.
Declared a free agent after coming to the United States, Chapman signed a six-year, $30,250,000 contract with the Reds. He debuted in the Majors on Aug. 31, 2010, and on Sept. 24 at San Diego, fired a record 105-mph pitch.
Chapman spent the 2011 season as an eight-inning set-up man for Cincinnati. Installed as the closer in May of 2012, he posted a 1.51 ERA and saved 38 games.
This season, Chapman is 3-3 with a 2.57 ERA and 20 saves in 23 chances over 38 appearances. He has struck out 59 with 18 walks.
"In three [full] years, this is my second time going to the game," Chapman said. "This means a lot for me. I think I've advanced a lot in the game."
Paul out of lineup following wall collision
CINCINNATI -- Left fielder Xavier Paul wasn't in the main area of the Reds clubhouse before Saturday's Interleague game against Seattle.
He was in the trainer's room getting treatment for the injuries he suffered in the ninth inning of Friday's 4-2 loss. Paul crashed into the cement part of the wall in foul territory down the left-field line while trying to catch Kyle Seager's foul ball on the ninth pitch of what would become a 12-pitch at-bat that ended with him flying out to center fielder Shin-Soo Choo. Paul appeared to injure his right elbow, but manager Dusty Baker said the injury was to Paul's shoulder. Paul finished Friday's game, but he did not start Saturday.
"Walls are pretty forgiving," said Baker, an outfielder during his playing days. "They're real forgiving, more than they used to be."
Somebody pointed out that walls still have a winning record against players.
"The walls beat me," Baker said. "I'm on the wall's list. You're going to be on the wall's list, unless you're scared, and if you're scared, then you're not going to be playing too long, unless you learn how to play. Paul Blair taught me."
Blair won eight Gold Glove Awards during a 17-year career as an outfielder, most of them with Baltimore. Baker and Blair were never teammates, but the Reds skipper considers Blair to be among the most underrated outfielders of the era.
"He doesn't get the recognition of a Willie Mays or Curt Flood, but he was one of the best," Baker said.
Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.