7/2/2014 5:49 P.M. ET
Some starters get rest before off-day
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- A game ahead of the their first day off after 16 straight games, the Reds rested a couple of starters Wednesday vs. the Padres. As catcher Devin Mesoraco and Joey Votto both sat, Brayan Pena caught Johnny Cueto, as he often does. Todd Frazier moved from third base to first base, and Ramon Santiago got a rare start at third base.
Reds manager Bryan Price gave no thought of putting Pena at first base and catching Mesoraco like he did in Cueto's previous start at San Francisco.
"I think it's good for Devin to get a little bit of a break," Price said. "He's kind of been our go-to guy. I just thought about having Pena catch. I wanted to get Santiago in there also. He's kind of been the odd man out in this mix. He's a good player, and he needs to play a little bit to stay sharp."
For Votto, it's a chance to rest his left quadriceps injury that lately seems to be affecting him more. There have been some awkward swings and limping while running in recent days.
"We're all watching the same game," Price said. "I told him yesterday that I was going to give him this day off to give him back-to-back days off."
ASG hopeful Hamilton named NL Rookie of the Month
SAN DIEGO -- Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton was named the National League's Rookie of the Month for June. Hamilton is the first Reds player to receive the award since Todd Frazier in August 2012.
For the month, Hamilton led all NL rookies in steals (14), runs (18), hits (36), doubles (10), home runs (three) and was second in RBIs (18), average (.327) and OPS (.848).
Hamlton may not be ranked in the top 15 outfielders on the NL All-Star ballot results, but he's holding out hope he might be named to the roster.
"I would love to," Hamilton said before Wednesday's game. "It would be a great honor. The way the All-Star Game is now, you want to win because it helps you [in the World Series]. I feel like if I can get in there, it would be awesome. Players have said, 'The way you're playing now, you have a chance to get in there.' In the late innings, I could make something happen."
Hamilton, 23, has come on strong at the plate after some struggles in the beginning of the season. From June 10 through Tuesday, he was hitting .364 (.32-for-88) with a .385 on-base percentage and a .423 batting average on balls in play. Hamilton's season average in that 21-game span jumped from .251 to .283, with a .314 OBP and 35 steals. His 2.9 wins above replacement is ranked 10th among all NL players.
What's helped Hamilton improve from when he was batting below .200 in mid-April?
"I think I'm more relaxed," Hamilton said. "Lately, I've been seeing a lot more pitches than I had been seeing. I'm getting a feel of how the pitcher is going to pitch me. It's the second time around [against some teams]. I'm not just swinging at a lot of bad pitches now. I saw how they pitched me the first time and what I did against those pitchers. Seeing pitches the second time around is good."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Reds trade Jurrjens to Rockies for Minor Leaguer Riggins
SAN DIEGO -- The Reds traded pitcher Jair Jurrjens to the Rockies on Wednesday for Minor League first baseman Harold Riggins.
Jurrjens, a former big league star for the Braves, signed a Minor League deal with the Reds on May 18 and was pitching for Triple-A Louisville. He was 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA in six starts. Jurrjens last pitched in the Majors in 2013 with the Orioles.
Riggins, 24, was batting .263 with seven home runs and 25 RBIs for Double-A Tulsa.
Ondrusek struggling to find consistency
SAN DIEGO -- Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek has been searching for consistency. There are times when he seems close, but then games like Tuesday happen.
In the 8-2 loss to the Padres, Ondrusek entered what was a two-run game and gave up four runs and two hits, including Carlos Quentin's two-run homer. After the homer, he walked Yasmani Grandal.
"It's been more of a challenge to get him into a groove, in large part because there's times he comes in and he's very sharp, and other times where he's not," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. "It's been hard to get him on a roll or keep him on an extended roll."
Overall, Ondrusek has a 4.76 ERA in 27 games with 35 hits, 13 walks and 25 strikeouts over 28 1/3 innings. He has stranded 13 of 19 inherited runners. In Ondrusek's last 12 appearances before Tuesday, he had a 1.26 ERA and had given up six walks with 14 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings.
Much of the front end of the Reds' bullpen has been used sparingly of late. Until Tuesday, Ondrusek's last appearance was on June 23, when he threw 10 pitches over one inning.
"There hasn't been as many opportunities for these guys to pitch with the regularity they're used to," Price said. "That's not an excuse. The job is to come in and do your job when you're called upon, and do it well on a consistent basis. That's why you're in the big leagues."