7/10/2014 6:10 P.M. ET
Price sees Ondrusek on the ascent
By Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Right-handed reliever Logan Ondrusek had a rough start to the season, posting a 5.62 ERA through the end of May. But he turned things around in June, with a 1.50 ERA in 11 appearances.
After giving up three earned runs in the seventh inning of an 8-2 loss to the Padres on July 1, Ondrusek tossed two scoreless frames in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Cubs, helping give the Reds a chance to mount their five-run comeback in a 6-5 victory.
"I think between Logan and [J.J. Hoover] -- slow start, bad numbers -- I think people are real fickle with relievers, in particular," manager Bryan Price said. "Quite often, we ask these guys to come in with a lot of low-scoring games we had in the first two months of the season, with no margin for error. They had some early-season losses, and no doubt about it, that can affect your confidence.
"I think the last game was a boost to [Ondrusek's] confidence and his understanding that he's an important piece to what we're doing here. It's funny, in 2010, when he made our club, I remember telling [Reds general manager Walt Jocketty] later that year, 'I bet you this kid, at some point in time, is going to close for us.' I still think there's some untapped potential there in Logan to be really, really good."
Phillips to have thumb surgery, out six weeks
CINCINNATI -- Brandon Phillips has a torn ligament in his left thumb and will undergo surgery on Friday. He will be out approximately six weeks.
Phillips bent his thumb on his glove hand backwards when the glove got stuck in the grass as he tried to make a diving grab of an Anthony Rizzo grounder in the eighth inning on Wednesday.
"It's a big blow," manager Bryan Price said after Thursday's 6-4, 12-inning loss to the Cubs. "He's a great two-way player, and he's been really consistent for us offensively. He's sat in the middle of the order, mostly No. 3 and 4 most of the year. And he's been spectacular defensively. So definitely a blow, but we'll weather it."
Shortstop Zack Cozart is very familiar with Phillips' abilities and will miss his double-play partner.
"It's tough," Cozart said. "I knew he was hurt pretty bad, because when he makes a play like that, he wants to finish it, and he couldn't even turn over and throw the ball. I thought it was his shoulder at first, but it could be even worse. ... It's tough. Me and Brandon, we play pretty well up the middle together, so it's going to be tough for our team."
The news on Phillips comes on the heels of Cincinnati placing first baseman Joey Votto on the disabled list for the second time this season due to a left quad injury.
"I feel like we've had our team healthy for about a month this whole year," said Skip Schumaker. "So it's been a tough road, no doubt about it. It just hasn't been one guy; it's been about three or four superstars. Brandon's a big part of this organization and a big part of this team. He's our three-hole hitter; that's tough to replace. ... I haven't seen anything like this, it's crazy. It seems like right when we get someone back, another guy goes down. They're freak injuries. Brandon's dove a million times. Why now? It's just kind of weird."
Price said he was planning to use a combination of Schumaker and Ramon Santiago to fill the void at second. He also didn't rule out the potential of getting help via a trade as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.
"It's possible," Price said of acquiring help from outside the organization. "That'll be a conversation I'm sure we'll be talking about for some time now, and it's the month for considering what we can do to help our club. … Schumaker will be all over the place; he certainly will play some second. I'm very, very comfortable with Santiago at those three infield spots [other than first]. So they'll both see a lot of playing time, I'm sure."
Center fielder Billy Hamilton also exited Wednesday's game in the eighth. He had a tight left hamstring and was listed as day to day, but pinch-hit in the 10th inning on Thursday, flying out to right.
Reds recall Negron, option righty Contreras
CINCINNATI -- Outfielder Kristopher Negron was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday and right-handed reliever Carlos Contreras was optioned to Louisville.
Negron, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, was reassigned to Louisville the day before Opening Day. He is versatile defensively, having played 46 games at shortstop, five at second, three at third and 26 in the outfield at Triple-A this season. Negron hit .269 with 15 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 25 RBIs in 75 games. He also stole nine bases in 11 attempts.
"[Negron has] played all over. … He's done a really nice job there," manager Bryan Price said. "He started out really slow. For a guy who had a really outstanding Spring Training for us, he had a slow start at Louisville, but he's up to [.269]."
Contreras, who was recalled from Double-A Pensacola on June 21 and made his Major League debut by pitching a scoreless ninth inning against the Blue Jays the same day, appeared in three games for the Reds. He allowed one run on two hits over 4 1/3 innings (2.08 ERA), walking three and striking out two.
"This transaction wouldn't have happened if we didn't have the two injuries [to Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips Wednesday]," Price said. "I was very happy with what [Contreras] brought to the table. He got the opportunity to come up from Double-A and give us a look at what we have going forward. And I didn't think he was scared. He's got good stuff. I think he's got three quality pitches, and I think he's going to be a very good one for us."
• Including their series win over the Cubs, the Reds are 9-2-1 in their last 12 series.
• Infielder Jack Hannahan continued his rehab assignment with Class A Dayton on Wednesday. In two games as a designated hitter, Hannahan has gone 2-for-6 with a double and an RBI. He is recovering from right shoulder surgery last October.
• Right-handed relief pitcher Brett Marshall was designated for assignment by the Reds on Thursday. Marshall was claimed off waivers from the Cubs two days before pitcher and catchers reported for Spring Training. In his final spring outing, he sustained a strained tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand and began the regular season on the 60-day disabled list.
Marshall was reinstated from the DL on June 20 and optioned to Triple-A Louisville, where he went 0-5 with a 10.97 ERA in seven appearances, walking 27 over 21 1/3 innings pitched.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.